Matches

Amsterdamsche CC

165/All out - 166/8
Full Time
35 Overs
Won by 2 wickets

Match Report

After the almost tropical heat of Eymet in 2017, the Stragglers were met with conditions in Amsterdam more typical of the North Sea coast in March, cold gloomy, overcast, intermittent drizzle and oystercatchers in full song. This did nothing to dent the Straggler enthusiasm to join in the celebrations of the King’s birthday, a significant holiday in Holland, with the whole population seemingly squeezed into the centre of Amsterdam to party like it was going out of fashion. Straggler tourists are known to party, and this group were there to break some records.

Saturday morning found the sommeliers down at breakfast bright-eyed and bushy tailed (they had not made it past midnight after taking a leisurely route by road). Of players, there was no sign (the final posting to the tour What’s App group had come in shortly after 5am). The sommeliers spent some time deciding how to spend their day, much of which revolved around a substantial break for lunch, and three of them set of for the centre of town on bikes.

Fortunately the game against the Amsterdamsche Cricket Clubwas not due to start until 1pm, so some modest recovery was possible. The hotel extended breakfast, Al ordered a MacDonalds to be delivered by some poor Dutchman on a bike, and the semblance of a touring cricket team began to take shape. However, a few moments before the buses were due to depart, it became clear that inter-Snape communication had been somewhat absent – Hugo and Toby’s kit had come overland in David Mitchell’s car, and was still neatly packed in the boot. The car was in the car park, but the keys were in David’s pocket, en route to central Amsterdam and lunch. Toby was despatched in an Uber to recover them. Hugo then compounded the Snape kit debacle (and earned another large fine), by leaving his trainers on the doorstep of the Hotel.

The Stragglers eventually found the ground, well concealed by acres of hockey pitches, and, bearing in mind the torrential downpour on arrival and the weather forecast for Sunday, set up a fixture which would allow everyone to get a game. We transferred Jack Wood and George BW to the opposition, and played 12 Stragglers against 13 for the ACC, including 10 year old Mark, playing his first game of adult cricket (although “adult” was not the most appropriate term for a number of Stragglers). Patch Mitchell passed responsibility for the toss to Alex Reese (always a mistake), and the Stragglers took the field with their strike bowlers wandering Amstelveen in search of their kit.

Ben and Jasper were obliged to open up, and with George being invited to open the batting for ACC, there was plenty of chat in the slip cordon. Ben was tight, giving nothing away; Jasper, on other hand, gave it all away, relentlessly smacked to the boundary in his two overs before the Snapes hove into view, fully kitted, and ready to take over bowling responsibilities; the score already at 39 from 5 overs. The other opening bat had been enjoying himself so much at Japser’s expense, that he forgot to have a look at Hugo, and was plumb first ball. Hugo followed this with another ripper, and the run fest stalled. Jack Wood stood up to a torrid over from Hugo, taking a number of body blows, before whacking one back over Hugo’s head for 6. Toby replaced Ben, and nipped out two more. George had batted carefully for his 27 (1,000 runs achieved), but skied one to Theo off Alex.

Wickets had become a procession, with every change seeming to bring success. The Chairman was aiming to reach 300 Straggler victims over the course of the weekend, and was presented with young Mark, who had managed to get off the mark in the previous over. Extreme lack of pace even did for him. 54 for 2 became 94 for 9. Fortunately ACC had thirteen, which gave Marvin, batting at 9, enough support to reach 50, and offer a degree of respectability to the score – 165 all out. The innings was notable for Al’s keeping after two very late nights (rather iron-gloved), and the damp grass allowing for some extravagant sliding in the outfield. Indeed Theo, much like a skater in a Dutch winter painting on the polders, slid past the ball on one occasion by 7 or 8 yards, unable to stop an pick it up en passant.

The Stragglers were noisily confident that the target was well under par. However, they had not faced 15-year-old Mees van der Vliet, with a rangy action and good pace off the matting wicket. A combination of excellent bowling and sharp catching in the slips, allied to batting ineptitude of the highest order, the Stragglers were reduced to a remarkable 6 for 4. The first ball of the innings had been stroked through the covers to the boundary by Will Attwood impersonating David Gower. Sadly he then did his best impersonation of Geoffrey Boycott running between the wickets and ran himself out. The next run scored off the bat was by number 6, Ben Simpson. With chaos all around him, and the ACC rampant, Ben restored order, and went on to complete a remarkable century (109*), scoring two thirds of the Straggler total, and over 80% of the runs scored from the bat after the fall of the 7th wicket. By the end, Ben was batting on one leg, having damaged his hip while bowling, and was still running singles. Only two other batsmen made it into double figures, Patch (23) and Toby (10). The rest wilted like fragile flowers against the storm, creating an extraordinary scorecard. Al managed a golden duck on his 21st birthday, although it must be said that the one-handed catch taken by Dick, ACC skipper, was quite exceptional. Victory by two wickets had not been expected after Mees’ opening spell, and he was awarded the ACC Man of the Match bottle of champagne.