Jesters Gentlemen XI 169 all out (Alluri 49, Chak 40, Sutton 4-19)
Jesters Players XI 171-6 (Mohammed 38, Short 4-46)
Chiswick House played host to the third Jesters Club Day with the 'Players of The Jesters Cricket Club' emerging victorious in the penultimate over. A full report of the day's antics continues below...
And so it came to pass that two captains of The Jesters strode out for the toss on a glorious west London afternoon. On a sticky dog that was howling “bowl first”, Jonathan Bridcut confidently proclaimed “we’ll have a bat” and the scene was set for a fearsome battle between the ‘Gentlemen’ of The Jesters, led by said JAC Bridcut and the Players of The Jesters, led by OJD Doward.
The unheralded opening pair of Rupesh Alluri and Andrew Short were stymied by Noah Hillyard and pudding specialist Ben Sareen, with just 24 runs coming from the first 10 overs.
The score had moved on to 37 without loss when the day’s first flashpoint was upon us. Deceived by a vicious turner, Short was pinned in front by Karim Sutton and stand-in umpire Andrew Mortimer was left with the unenviable task of giving the finger to a Jesters grandee.
Despite standing his ground and voicing his considerable displeasure, it has to be said that the dissenting Cardinal took the decision remarkably well.
At the other end, Rupesh had begun to up the scoring rate with a succession of violent leg side smears that accounted for 49 of the first 56 runs. He was denied a half-century by the pumped-up Adnan Mohammed who, having been strongly advised to admire a boundary blow by the batsman the ball before, disturbed his middle stump the next. “How do you like that one Rupesh? Go and think about it with a glass of water” is not a sledge that will enter the annals.
All-rounder Adnan, showing unusual relish for his stronger suit, had begged to come on to bowl once his training partner Louis Harris had arrived at the wicket. Harris, in a poor run of form since teaming up with the born-again batsman, was cagey at first but eventually found the confidence to loft his mentor over long on for a one-bounce four.
The drinks break provided the perfect opportunity for skipper and bowler to hold a conspicuous strategy meeting. Having ‘gone aerial’ successfully, it was reasoned that the famously impetuous Harris would seek to do so again at the earliest opportunity. Long off and long on were moved three-quarters of the way to the boundary, daring the hotheaded Bomber to clear them. James Arthur was moved into a catching position at short extra cover for the mistimed waft.
It took one ball after the resumption for the plan to come off as Louis obligingly mistimed a waft straight into the safe hands of Jimbo, who made a sharp chance look very easy.
It’s never pleasant to see your friends and teammates bamboozled in such a hilarious fashion but all eleven Players were delighted to see the back of the deputy headmaster. Fortunately, Louis has a ready-made boost to his self-esteem on his mantelpiece in the form of the Roger Greenslade Trophy.
The drinks break had also enabled a rapprochement between the two Andrews with aggrieved batsman apologising profusely to beleaguered umpire… and then insisting on relieving him of the white coat.
Next to depart the scene was Matthew Williamson who, tricked by the slowness of the wicket, squirted a catch into the covers off the bowling of Paul Cole, who bowled a tidy spell of 1-30 off seven overs. Sadly, Matt barely troubled the scoreboard operator who in this instance happened to be his son James. Thank you James!
When a bemused Alex Smith was bowled all ends up by an increasingly jubilant Mohammed, the Gentlemen’s middle order of Jesters stalwarts had been blown away. The scoreboard showed 81-5 off 25 overs.
As is so often the case it was Superchak to the rescue. DJ Chak’s brisk 40 (8 fours) dragged his team back into the contest, ably supported by James Williams, who looked assured in his first innings for a few seasons before being run out by Ollie Doward.
Nick Mumby bowls to James Williams
It took the return of Hillyard (3-37) to shift DJ and the dangerous Shorbo Nag, both bowled. Mohammed (4-19) then dislodged Mortimer and was instantly removed from the attack to protect both teams from elongated tales of a famous five-for.
Skipper Bridcut, greeted with a slip cordon of seven in an attempt to cut off his only scoring shot, was duly caught at the wicket to end the innings at 169 off 46.3 overs, which was just about par on an awkward surface.
Sabina Park 2004 or Chiswick House 2017?
Jonny Bridcut faces his first delivery
A delightful DIY tea was scoffed rapidly - thanks in particular to Rupesh for the mountain of samosas - before Robbie Hudson and pinch hitter Nick Mumby set about chasing 170.
There followed possibly the day’s most mouth-watering passage of play as brothers-in-law Mumby and Mortimer faced off for family bragging rights. Initially it was Nick who seized the upper hand by launching Andy for a huge six over long on. Fortunately the moment was captured by Nick’s dad, who treats us to some wonderful commentary...
Video: Nick Mumby smashes brother-in-law Andy Mortimer for six
(footage and commentary courtesy of Mumby Snr)
And, equally fortunately, Nick’s demise was also caught on camera by his sister…
Video: "That's got to go as well!". Andy Mortimer gets his revenge.
The stodgy deck played perfectly into the hands of Phil Berman whose canny spell of seven overs for just 13 runs put the brakes on the chase. Shorbo’s leg side glove work standing up to the stumps was especially pleasing on the eye.
After a period of steady accumulation between Robbie and Adnan, the target was whittled down to 90 off the last 20 overs.
Eager to atone for his sins, it was Cardinal Short who would change the complexion of the pursuit. First Robbie (24) inexplicably offered no shot to a straight one. Santosh Verma, who had raced to 21 with big six over long on and a sumptuous straight drive off Jonny, popped a catch straight back to Andrew.
Mohammed, all dancing feet and high hands, had looked far too good for this level in top scoring with 38, but having being caught in the covers off DJ, he was forced to retrieve his shiny new official England tracksuit from his shiny new official England bag and pore over the video analysis in the pavilion.
Then came an even bigger wicket. Rowan Clapp, capable of altering the course of a match in a handful of overs, sent up a rocket off Short that arced towards the long on boundary. In a moment of IPL magic, DJ Chak plucked the ball out the air, tossing it skywards as he toppled over the rope, before 'sprinting' back onto the field to take the catch! Glorious. At 124-5, the game was back in the balance.
A quick innings of 20 from Doward, who had accidentally thinned a golf ball into a pavilion window before play, was cut short when he rashly went back to Short and was adjudged lbw by Umpire Hudson. Karmic, given the infamous incident at Club Day 2013, to see him willingly walk off the field having hit the ball. 148-6 with six overs left.
With a rampant Short on the cusp of a five-wicket haul and DJ Chak tying up the new partnership of Paul Cole and Hillyard at the other end, this was not a moment to change a successful formula… but Chak was hauled off by the captain and replaced by the captain.
The move liberated Paul (23*), who creamed Jonny for ten runs in the penultimate over to seal a famous victory for the Players of The Jesters.
Thanks to the Jesters old guard of Ranald Phillips, Stewart Francis and Graham Seed who turned up to support, along with a number of JWAGS and relatives. And to Robbie and Ben who gallantly gathered up the ‘No dog walking’ signs from the edge of the square before play only to discover that their whites had turned an unfortunate shade of yellow.
The biggest thanks of all to Jonny Bridcut for organising a successful and enormously entertaining day.
After a meeting of the JCC disciplinary board, Andrew Short has been fined 100% of his match fee.
The Club is also investigating unconfirmed reports regarding the conduct of Alex Smith, who left the field early to attend a rave in east London.
Jonathan Bridcut’s position as captain of the Gentlemen is “under review”.
Gentlemen of The Jesters
Players of The Jesters