Friendly Duke of Norfolk’s XI v Cambridge University Cricket Club Blues: Sunday, May 1st
After an early 6 am meet, and the unexpected sighting of Darshan Chohan, the Cambridge Blues arrived at the spectacular Arundel Castle Cricket Club to face the Duke of Norfolk’s XI. Having won comfortably in the previous encounter, an expectation of a strong side was writ large on the weary faces of the team as they warmed up.
Having lost the toss, Jamie Abbott (Magdalene) led his side onto the field. Alex Waghorn (Pembroke) was given the responsibility of beginning the game with ball in hand. An aggressive opening partnership, including some bellicose stroke-play reminiscent of Angus Dalgleish’s winter against Tom Colverd’s dubious off-breaks, took the opposition to 85 without loss in the 11th over of the day. A lofted cover-drive attempt from D Phillips (48) found the capable hands of Chohan (St Catz), and the torrent of runs was broken. 13 runs later, Waghorn trapped the other opening batsman N Walker (39) lbw. With Jonathan French’s older brother at the crease, the opposition rebuilt somewhat before Izhan Khan (Pembroke) took the wicket of L Gibson (11). At 141-3 now, the game was beginning to swing towards a middle-ground. With Khan and Rory Sale (Fitzwilliam) both bowling well, and Waghorn providing bursts of pace, a steady drip of wickets curtailed the earlier run-rate and the opposition declared at 283-8, with N French on a well-played unbeaten 121 from 131 balls.
Crusaders Captain Tom Day, a new addition to the side (Girton), took first ball of the Cambridge innings with Chohan at the other end. A good opening bowling performance saw Cambridge in trouble with the score at 3-2, with both opening batsmen dismissed cheaply. The ‘responsibility’, stressed by captain Abbott in the changing room during the change-over, lay with him and veteran Alex Hearne (St John’s). A superb partnership of 132 between the two batsmen at just below a run-a-ball saw the blues regain a competitive place in the game. With still 149 runs to chase, Hearne (62) was dismissed. A ten over partnership worth 80 runs between Abbott (115) and Dalgleish (52*) moved the game into a highly competitive state, before the Cambridge captain was caught in the deep. Needing a run-a-ball for the final 10 overs, Dalgleish (Trinity Hall) and Colverd (Robinson) (33*) waited until the very last over to hit the winning runs, which comprised a mammoth 6 from Dalgleish to also bring up his half-century.
This was a well-deserved win for the Blues, with good performances from many players. Particular mention must go to Waghorn (4-98) and Abbott (115) for their efforts. Thanks go the umpires and scorers, as well as Arundel Castle Cricket Club for facilitating the match. There were many positives to be drawn, but we must remember:
1 Catching every ball in the warm-up teaches us nothing (nibble).
2 N French is a difficult older brother to have.
3 If you open the batting in a declaration game, bring something to read.