8 July 2017 v Old Westminsters

The Hugh Walters All Stars XI made three changes from last year, three Ramblers being replaced by two Ramblers and a guest leaving an interesting combination of four Ramblers, (one more than the captain had managed in his record equalling side against the Nomads last year) three Old Etonians – none of whom knew whether they were Ramblers or not -and the usual collection of Old Seagullians. Horne arrived late (watching the Lions!) and was disciplined by his removal from the slips, which probably would have made no difference to the two later straightforward drops in that area.

The Old Westminsters batted first and after a young opener had walked for caught behind off Forbes an older one declined to walk after a thunderous appeal – possibly on the reasonable grounds that he had not hit the ball – then departed having been bowled to a reaction which under the current Test regulations would have incurred a decent suspension.

Thereafter nothing really happened at all. After 50 overs the home side had reached the giddy heights of 145 for 5 – causing skipper Walters to the desperate ploy of his brother and Horne in the hope that a decent target would be set. The next 8 overs produced one wicket for 29 runs, following which the Westminster captain – whose Uncle had kept wicket at Lord’s for three years for the XI in the early 1960s – declared, either out of desperation or embarrassment that such a lovely day and the normal Vincent Square wicket had produced no more that 174, of which no less than 21 were wides.

The eccentric cricket was not finished. Charlie Steel, who had missed an entirely forgivable half chance in the deep, made 3 of the first 18 runs, and then 50 of the next 51. After he was out for 66 Priestley and Lovett-Turner carried on in the same vein, bringing the Ramblers a win, having scored their 175 in marginally less than half the overs of the first innings.

The convivial members of both sides adjourned to the Barley Mow to watch Roger Federer and talk about anything other than the day’s cricket.

Next year is the 250th anniversary of the first recorded match between the Old Etonians and Old Westminsters and, although Hampton Court may not be available as a venue it is anticipated that there will be appropriate celebrations including – it is to be hoped – a complete side, if not of Ramblers, certainly of Old Etonians.