Alan Wheelhouse Cup 2021

Jonathan Hammond (1975-85) reports on the T20 match between the ONs' Phoenix XI and the Nottinghamshire Law Society for the Alan Wheelhouse Cup 2021.

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Phoenix XI

It was typical Phoenix Weather: glorious sunshine from a cloudless sky. The solid silver effect Wheelhouse Cup shone like the two equally talented teams. The captains had only brought winners' speeches with them.

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Nottinghamshire Law Society

Nottinghamshire Law Society were hoping to retain the Cup for another year. The passion they brought to this annual match was evident when two very smartly dressed gentlemen appeared from the changing rooms. They had only brought their own professional umpires! Thank you to Colin Langton and Rukman De Silva for taking the time to keep us all in check.

Alan Wheelhouse Cup 2021

Jonathan Hammond tapped the beer barrel, adding yet another skill to his growing repertoire. He had picked up a barrel of New Dawn 3.9% from the Trent Navigation Brewery only 30 minutes beforehand. Such is the hospitality offered to those who pop down to support the Phoenix XI.

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The toss

Kassra Powles, Captain of the Law Society, won the toss and decided to bat. This resulted in some of the Phoenix XI putting down their pint glasses, having only managed to consume a quick half. Your Phoenix XI were Nigel Hampson, John Croasdale, Eduardo Martin, David Axtell, Will Vickerstaff, Charlie Lea, James King, Stephen Powell and debutants Adi Das, Richard Hayes and Tristan Sawle. What a team!

Alan Wheelhouse Cup 2021

Axtell opened the bowling; Martin Foulds and Aaron Singh the batting. A single off the first ball, followed by 5 dots. King stepped up for his first Phoenix over for almost a year. Singh duly dispatched the ball around the 360 degrees available. 12 runs from the over. Lea bowled his usual pacey line and length, which produced 4 to long leg and 5 dot balls.

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Spot the ball!

How would rookie Das cope with the pressure? The first ball was wide, but the rest of the over brought only 4 runs off the bat. Foulds then faced the youthful and ever-energetic Vickerstaff. Experience versus youth… and the youth bowled him off-stump. Liam Wilkinson took Foulds' place.

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Will Vickerstaff bowling

Alan Wheelhouse Cup 2021

Powell's pace and line caused all sorts of problems for the batsmen. A catch slipped through the fingers of King at gully, but only one quick single was achieved from the over - a missed opportunity of a run out at the bowler's end. Eduardo Martin's first delivery gave another chance to King at gully, the ball dropping to the floor again. 8 runs were added to the score, Singh retiring on 26.

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Richard Hayes arrives...

Sawle began his Phoenix adventure with a wide, 2 dot balls, and then the wicket of Tom Lyas, caught by Axtell at gully. An impressive start for the youngster. Alistair Rose joined the fray for the Law Society. The debutant Hayes, carrying the hopes and expectations of the crowd on his broad shoulders, hurled a fast one down to Wilkinson… who watched it fly past him some 8 feet wide of the wicket. The third ball surprised everyone, including the bowler, as Wilkinson missed Hayes' slower one. It eventually reached the crease, nudged the middle stump backwards and toppled the bails. 1 over, 1 wide, 1 wicket and 1 run… Hayes had arrived!

Alan Wheelhouse Cup 2021

Hampson's tight line and length bowling gave the batsman little opportunity of scoring. The Law Society were half way through their innings and were going to need more runs on the board to make it a real battle. There was a rumble of thunder in the distance, but the clouds parted and sunshine broke through yet again.

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From the River Bank End

Axtell, from the River Bank End, drew an aerial shot through mid-wicket by Alistair Rose. The energetic and agile Martin took the catch, magnificently, only inches off the ground. Axtell's 2 overs, 9 dot balls, 5 runs, 1 wicket, were a masterful lesson for the youngsters watching. Next King removed George Handere with a delivery that looped up, inducing the hungry batsman to swing wildly enough to make a complete turn before seeing his middle stump hit.

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Charlie Lea bowling

Alan Wheelhouse Cup 2021

Lea bowled a fierce over, yielding only a wide and 1 run. A near perfect example for the new recruits to see how it's done. Das produced a pacey wicket maiden, accounting for Paul Hinchcliff. We hope to see Das gracing the Adbolton ground over the next few years with his wonderful line and length. Vickerstaff continued the sensible bowling, the batsmen now struggling to score. Powell's 2 overs for 3 runs also brought the scalp of Law Society captain Kassra Powles, bowled middle stump. Vicki then became the first woman player to bat for an opposition team at Adbolton.

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A first

She carried her bat at the end of the innings, scoring 4 runs with style, great timing and patience. Umar Rishab thoroughly enjoyed himself with two 6s and a 4, forcing a hunt in the long grass with the second blow. Sawle’s second over saw only two singles. Hayes then continued where he had left off, a straight one (the only straight one?) deceiving Rishab. Singh came back to the crease with only 7 balls to face, including a second tight over from Hampson. The Law Society innings came to an end on 106.

Alan Wheelhouse Cup 2021

Hampson and Sawle opened for the Phoenix, Lyas and Singh for the Law Society. Only 5 runs came from the first 2 overs, Hampson an example of patient batting, finding the gaps. Sawle sent a 4 to square leg, but was then caught by Singh off the bowling of Lyas. Croasdale joined Hampson. “There’s 3 there, run ‘em up!” was met with a sardonic smile from the other end. Croasdale continued with his stylish shots until a slower ball from Rose resulted in a brilliant catch on the run by Singh. Out for 9.

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Dave Vickerstaff, groundskeeper

A huge 6 and a 4 brought about the retirement of Hampson on 26. With the sun setting over the City skyline, sail boats tacking and turning on the Trent, ducks and geese calling out, confirming their evening roosts, only 33 runs were needed from 54 balls. Hayes' cut through gully secured his first runs in a Phoenix shirt, but he was soon bowled by Powles for 4. Das reached his 25 runs for compulsory retirement. Hammond joined Martin, who lost his wicket to one from Wilkinson that kept straight and low. Hammond reminded the incoming Powell that the pizza delivery was due in 4 minutes, so there was no time to lose.

Alan Wheelhouse Cup 2021

A quick single for Powell gave Hammond the strike with only 2 needed to win. Having played his signature pull to leg throughout his innings (to every ball he faced), he played one through mid-on for the winning 4 runs. Powell and Hammond left the field of play to general applause. The Wheelhouse Cup had been regained.

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Simon Jackson in light blue

Post-match beers and pizza were only interrupted for the presentation of the Cup to the winning captain, Jonathan Hammond. Simon Jackson offered some wonderful words to remind everyone of the influential work of Alan Wheelhouse ON, Past President of both the Old Nottinghamians' Society and the Nottinghamshire Law Society, who had performed the opening of the Pavilion at Adbolton. A Cambridge Blue, Alan played alongside the great Henry Blofeld.

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Andy Murdy

Thanks are due to John Coates, chairman of the Ground Management Committee, and to groundskeeper Dave Vickerstaff for preparing the ground, clubhouse and pitch. Without them we would simply not be able to turn up and play. Thanks, too, to supporters Robin Fisher and Chris Padwick for helping to reduce the weight of the beer barrel, making it easier to return at the end of the evening. Andy Murdy also beamed the match around the world, commentating for those not there to enjoy the sunshine, blue skies, beers and pizza with us.

Jonathan Hammond
Captain, Fixture Secretary, Team Selection Manager, Kit Man & Head of Post-Match Catering, Scorer, Team Photographer, Match Reporter, Head of Social Media & now, Beer Barrel Tapper

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Scene from the balcony at Adbolton

Alan Wheelhouse Cup 2021

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