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The final match of a packed season (notable for the strange lack of rain curtailments, high number of wins, as well as record lows….) saw Superstars descend, for the first time, on a sunny Richmond Green, a venue where the car parking rates matched the views of the wicket. Skipper Gigg typically lost the toss, with Superstars invited to field by the Prince's Head XI, in front of a full house of some 200000, including various family and friends, a few dogs and, as one would expect from such an occasion, a plethora of pitch invaders (occasionally on two wheels and/or too young to be aware of matches lasting more than 3 hours), making their way across the paths criss-crossing the outfield.....
After the routine fast and accurate opening eight overs from KCZ and Varghese elicited very few opposition runs (but unusually no wickets), Singh struck first ball, snaring a second wicket within his terrific four overs. This was augmented by Plahe’s miserly spell, skillfully avoiding the craters in the run-up, to draw a sharp catch from keeper Gigg bravely standing up to the stumps. Hemingway comprehensively ensured jug avoidance with a first-ball beamer rivalling a Duggan googly for stratospheric proximity, but more legitimate bowling induced some sharp fielding from Plahe as his bullet under-arm from square-leg took out the leg stump of the opposition batsman trying for a single that only Lord Gigg would normally attempt. Meanwhile Thomson's pressure told as the batsman chopped one of his twirling men-of-oriental-origin on to the stumps. Williams then warmed up the radar for his forthcoming spell (and relieving his double-misfield frustration) by dead-eying the ball at the back of an un-suspecting square leg umpire... following this up by teasing the batsman into reverse-sweeping onto his stumps. Speaking of which, KCZ was being kept busy in the deep throughout, not least by the several tar-mac'd paths crossing the ball's route from the wicket to his patrol. Typically hostile back-end bowling from Anand kept things tight, going into the final few overs of the opposition's innings. This heralded the return of (the) Singh - capturing a third wicket - and specialist death bowler Gaught, whose mystery ball (rotating more rapidly than Championship football managers) unfortunately spun itself straight in and straight out of Plahe's waiting hands at cover. All in all, however, a strong bowling performance, from a side not short of, er, bowlers.
With a target of 143 from 35 overs, Gaught and debutant Mike Friis set about the task, with a strong opening stand, the former unveiling his full repertoire of glides past the keeper. In true England fashion, a collapse is never far away for Superstars, however, with Friss's departure - to umpire Varghese's dreaded finger - giving rise to a further three wickets within four balls: Anand becoming Varghese's second victim; Williams using his best Ken Barrington centre forward-defensive to fend his first ball off his bat's leading edge; and Hemingway playing all around a straight full toss two balls later. Plahe added three quick boundaries before succumbing, while Gigg displayed his enduring sportsmanship in preventing a two-bounce no ball by reaching to drive it straight into the hands of cover, achieving the third duck of the innings in the process. Meanwhile Gaught continued to accumulate, treating his adoring fan club to a serie s of nudges and nurdles, occasional boundaries and even an all-run three! [I'm still knackered 5 days later - Ed] Now joined by Singh at the crease, the pair began to rebuild, before Gaught was unfortunately caught frustratingly short, nobly trying to help his partner to a second run, by a direct hit from the boundary, for a crowd-pleasing, and vital, 49. Alongside a defiant Thomson (text book in defence and only troubled by the top edge of his bat), Singh continued to calmly knock off the runs, with the occasional big blow. With just a few overs to go, Thomson fell, but Varghese entered the arena to casually hit the winning boundary with an over to spare, with Singh unbeaten on 33. Superstars win!
Despite the unique playing conditions, the oppo were sporting and friendly to the last, and quite an even match for superstars. The presence of two cricketing pubs next to the green endeared the fixture further, so it is hoped the crater-avoiding and crowd-shepherding will continue next summer.
Team: Gigg (c), Chodzko-Zajko, Varghese, Singh, Plahe, Hemingway, Thomson, Williams, Anand, Gaught, Fris.
Author: James Hemingway
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1st Innings
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2nd Innings
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Nervous captivation
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Early in our innings
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Supporter Heaven
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Superstars Modelling Agency
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Superstars Modelling Agency
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Superstars Modelling Agency
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Superstars Modelling Agency
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Superstars Modelling Agency
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Our supporters were awesome
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Our supporters were awesome
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Our supporters were awesome
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The men to bring us home
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Wild celebrations
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Wild celebrations

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