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Victory for President’s XI at the Annual Cricket Match

25 June 2024 College life

On the 19th of June, Clare Hall hosted its Annual Cricket Match, drawing College members, friends, and family to Leckhampton Field. The Students Team was up against the President’s XI, who were hoping to defend their win from last year. The sunny day was filled with vibrant conversation and excitement for the match, shared over delicious afternoon tea kindly provided by our kitchen team. The President’s XI ultimately emerged victorious, with a final score of President’s XI 117-7 v Students 100-6.

For a full recap of the day, enjoy a report written by John Drew, along with photos from the match.

The Midsummer Cricket Frolic

by John Drew

Come midsummer, the Cricket Club was delighted to hear that Kailen Patel and Alex Ferreira had been selected to try out for Varsity, an unprecedented honour for Clare Hall.

Delight was tinged with dismay for Club President Ben Rae, counting on this star pair to avenge the defeat the Students suffered in last year’s Grand Midsummer Challenge Match.

We were lucky to get in a game at all this year. An unusually wet springtime had done for scheduled matches if not the customary sociable nets on Mondays, while – minor detail – construction at Leckhampton put our customarily cake-filled pavilion out of use as well as a sizeable chunk of the pitch.

All obstacles put aside, what a match it was!  As happy and closely contested an occasion as any down the years: returning old-timers and total newcomers mixing it as gaily as the clouds and sunlight in the sky above. To cap it all, Desmond Lam, he of the iconic Trophy the match is played for, came all the way from Macau to play.

The President’s strong line-up batted first and old midsummer hands Josh Matthews, Jehangir Cama and Sam Strong once more bounded their way to undefeated maximums – retiring at between 25 and 30  – while Sam Martensz crafted his sinistra way to double figures. 

Egged on by the infectious cheer-leading of wicket-keeper Chris Hendry, the Students remained undismayed. All-rounder Martin Baur had drafted in his brother Anton from Germany and, both in the field and later at bat, the Teutonic Twins performed as well as any missing Blues might have done. 

Chris, inspired by his own war-cries, eventually threw down his gauntlets to take 2-2 as a bowler – rookie Simon Coleman being unable to atone for the dismissal of Skipper Sam – while Holly Hedgeland, unaccountably appearing as a Student, made some nifty stops on the truncated, fenced-off boundary.

Even more wonderfully, newcomer Padmini Rajouri, playing for the first time ever, had returnee all-rounder Ram Rawat caught off her bowling, so repeating the feat of miracle-worker Nadiah Thanthwari-Jauhari in the 2022 Match. Not to be outdone, Nadiah herself reappeared suddenly to clean bowl last batter Binu. 

After the customary luscious tea in its temporary tent, 117 looked an insurmountable total for a side with a long tail, especially when a smarting Lawrence Hamilton, determined to do with ball what he had left undone with bat, took two early crucial wickets. Worse followed when an unruffled Peter Swann was run out. It was then that Anton swept in to avenge his brother and join old pro “Unni” Unnikrishnan and the irrepressible Chris in a runfest that took the score from 33 to 99. 

Great was the joy and expectation on the boundary when only three sixes were required to level the scores. Alas for the excited onlookers, they had reckoned without the guile of Presidential skipper Sam, who had kept back a couple of star bowlers to be in at the death. These put a stranglehold on the hapless tail-enders, between them unable to muster more than one wide.  

Proper semblance of order was brought to the whole proceeding by the professional umpiring of reimbursed hitter Ian Strachan and imperturbable Lizzy Conder, perennial guest from sister college Clare along with the revered Mark Smith. Thanks to impeccable Niall Taylor of the Cav we can reliably report the scores as: President’s XI 117-7 v Students 100-6. 

At the ensuing Dinner, President Ben shone a ray on the day’s highlights, singling out newcomers Anton and Padmini for their outstanding performances and saluting Kathreen Ruckstuhl’s return to The Match after nine years. He then dispensed a sundry array of mugs and rubber ducks to those less – or more — fortunate than himself. 

To conclude the formalities, Desmond Lam, not out on the day, was on hand to present his own prized Trophy to winning skipper Sam, a decisive moment providing retiring President Ben – thanked by John Drew for his three-year stint — with good reason to stay on for one more challenging year. 

Stellar Stats: Jehangir Cama 30 n.o. & 2-21; Sam Strong 30 n.o.; Josh Matthews 29 n.o.; Unnikrishnan V.B. 27 n.o.; Anton Bauer 25 n.o.; Chris Hendry 22 & 2-2; Lawrence Hamilton 2-10; Martin Baur 2-15.