Ray Cook Cricket Match Report 2020
Senior Boys' Head David Brazier gives us a roundup of the days play which involved skill, banter and some sibling rivalry.
Socially Distanced Team Shots
The lockdown meant a postponement of the annual Staff Vs Old Boys Cricket Match to the final week of September. This keenly fought fixture is always a highlight of the summer sporting calendar but few of us were prepared for the glacial wind of last Sunday.
The staff team was bolstered by a few ‘ringers’, the Harris twins George and James (2020 leavers) answered my call and with some late staff drop outs I pulled in my son Peter and a couple of mates from Farnham Common Cricket Club into the fold.
John Cook, Junior School Teacher and old boy, put the staff into bat on a slow wicket at Ashford. Progress was slow with JP Bowman bowling an aggressive spell, he was well backed up by John’s brother Charlie. James Harris and Randeep Lochab saw them off and then laid into the change bowlers, at ten overs the staff were 109 for 10.
After James Harris was dismissed and Randeep Locab retired progress was slow. Richard Fletcher batted in Test Match mode and scored a patient 14. He fell to the devilish bowling of his dashing older brother, James (father of Tristan Year 8), but more of this sibling rivalry later!
George Harris increased the tempo with support from Terry Radloff and we eventually finished on 164- 4. A good total to defend. The Old Boys spread the bowling round and there were some pleasing spells from Waqar Siraj and Raghu Nandakumara. The old boys should be commended for their excellent fielding in cold conditions as they dug deep into those resilient qualities they learnt at St James.
John Cook started well with the elegant Sam Story, but played one shot too many and was dismissed for 8. Story was impressive, with a carefully constructed innings of 23. His was the key partnership with Amaan Hadji, who left us four years ago, he’s a good bat who plays regularly for NPL. Arjun Deb and Terry Radloff produced tidy opening spells with the new ball, but it was the introduction of new overseas player, Mr Wesley Davies who bowled like a rocket taking three wickets for 7 runs in four overs. This fiery spell was only topped by the golden moment in the match when Raghu smashed a howitzer over deep square leg, a certain four, only to see Mr Davies leap like a salmon, palm the ball in the air and as he fell caught it in his left hand. All involved in the match stood spell bound!
Cricket is one of those games where inner match battles are fought, as James Fletcher came to the wicket his younger brother’s plaintive call was answered - revenge for his own, earlier, dismissal, meant the pressure ratcheted up. Richard, ball in hand, approached with intent and his usual brand of machismo; all those boyhood battles between younger brother and older sibling resonant and echoed down the years. It was as if time stood still as Fletcher junior twirled into action and...well...threw a full toss that struck his brother on the shoulder! James worked away in disbelief and rubbed the effected spot.
Despite some lusty blows from James Fletcher and the elegant Charlie Cook, who was batting far too low, the old boys were bottled by the Staff finishing on 132 for 9 in their 20 overs. Cook finished not out on 28.
In my time at St James the Old Boys have won 4 matches and the Staff are on 3. The winner today was the great game of cricket, fellowship and this very special school, St James, that we all love and value. Ray Cook, who established this competition and sadly passed away two years ago, would have loved this day: the fierce competition of the match, the banter and the Corinthian attitude displayed by the players. We miss Ray and hope we all did him and his memory proud.
Let’s hope we can return this match to the great social occasion it has been in previous years next summer.