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Brigands v The Stage CC, 26 May 2024

Updated: May 28

There may have been no Shakespeare without the 16th-century theatre impresario Philip Henslowe. In the film “Shakespeare in Love” he was the character who remained optimistic even in the most trying times; whether his playwrights had writer's block, his actors were in jail, or if the theatres were closed down because of the plague, he would shrug “strangely enough, it all turns out well” and when asked how, he would say “I don’t know, it’s a mystery”.

 

The Brigands selectors woke up on the morning of the game to find an inclement weather forecast and that they had lost Paul Whittle (bad back), Lee Grey (sore knee), and Jim Morris (Covid). With a rallying cry and the help of WhatsApp and the Spond, it mysteriously turned out well.


Steve Blackburn was back from diving in the Red Sea, club legend Jake Peach stepped up at short notice, and actor and son Jonathan and Iggy Cake made their way to Hambledon for their Brigands debuts.

 

Brigands were put into bat. David Mann late cut and leg glanced his way to a lovely half-century, well supported by Mark Flewitt, and Milo Fletcher who also got a half-century on his first game back after travelling around Japan.



Jonathan Cake is used to a mystery or two from his roles in Miss Marple, Death in Paradise, and Johnathan Creek. There was a brooding atmosphere as he practiced in the nets, the pavilion clock was stuck at 6.15, and gloomy clouds gathered overhead. Both sight screens were blown over in a gusty Northerly wind, the scorers had to don hats and scarves to stay warm, and then when Cake came out to bat Umpire Paul Doole had to be helped off with ice after being struck on the mouth after a well-hit pull shot that ricocheted off the square leg fielders outstretched fingertips.

 

Wickets fell, but quick runs from Ed Hands meant that Brigands declared on 184 for seven from just 34 overs to enjoy the seasonal highlight of a Sam Sargant (with Kiwi Evan) tea that featured Pam Burns’ fluffy scones that the Tavistock Monks would have approved of.



 

In reply, the visitors got stage fright.


Ed Hands bowling up the hill was seaming the ball both ways, and Neil Wood utilised the wind to bring the ball back into the right-handers. Only 7 runs were conceded in the first 7 overs, and 3 wickets fell including an outrageous slip catch by Mike Beardall.


The first change bowlers, Beardall and Iggy Cake, were equally impressive bowling 9 overs between them and conceding just 8 runs. Iggy has only just emigrated to England and is learning all about cricket where it all began.



There was a Henderson run out, a brace of wickets for Jake Peach, and two in two balls for Ed Hands that led to a 7-slip-1-gulley field for the hat-trick ball (which was called a wide).

Hat trick ball with 8 slips
Hat trick ball
Batter missing the ball and getting bowled
Wood hits leg stump to seal the victory

A valiant last wicket stand from The Stage featured a huge six from Hambledon resident Sam Sargant before Wood, in his second spell, picked up the final wicket with a floater that sealed a Brigands victory by 115 runs, followed by chips at the Bat & Ball.

 

All the world is a stage, and while everyone knew the ending, there was intrigue and pleasure in the script.

10 fielders walking off a cricket field with sun and clouds behind
Brigands walking off the field at the cradle of cricket

Brigands 184-7 declared beat The Stage CC 69 all out by 115 runs.


Photographs courtesy of Dougie Henderson who also wrote a summarised match report; "Win".

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