With the beating sun erasing any last-night worries of a washout, an experienced Veterans Cricket Victoria squad arrived in Shanghai on Sunday May 13 to take on the Shanghai CC Pirates in two Twenty20 fixtures.
Victoria captain Greg Johnson was automatically awarded the toss and opted to send the Pirates to the crease, where they opened with two of their oldest players, Andy Steele and Paddu Subramoniam.
Kelvyn Anderson (3-0-26-1) made the first breakthrough with the score on 50, finding the gap to bowl out Subramoniam (17 off 14) and bring Jamie Gannon to the crease. Some impressive running from Steele (30 off 19) saw him retire shortly after, leaving Gannon at the crease with Desmond DeSilva, who retired on 11 off 29 balls with a front foot defensive almost as stubborn as his decisions to turn down singles.
Gannon went to an athletic man of the match-winning catch by Guy Eastwood after struggling to come to terms with some wily spin from Johnson (2-0-7-1), then Jonathan Jacobson (8 off 14) and Biplove Pokhrel (36 off 18) came in to see the innings home without further loss, setting the total at 135/2.
The Veterans had a shaky start to the second innings, losing both openers to the deceptive bowling of John L’Epagniol (2-0-8-2) within the first three overs, but found ground in the middle order as Greg Lott (20 off 22), Greg Lowling (15 off 11) and Guy Eastwood (23 off 24) all made solid contributions.
With the game looking tight, Pirates skipper Jamie Boynton brought Subramoniam into the bowling attack. His precision line and length bowling saw him pick up a two-wicket maiden in the first over and he finished his spell with 2-1-1-3, earning him the Pirates man of the match award. Johnson (8 off 17) came to the crease and steadied the ship, but the loss of three quick wickets had proven just too much for the Veterans, and even Neil King’s quick-fire 23 (off 13) couldn’t take them to the total. Veterans finished on 115/7, losing by 20 runs.
After a quick break for lunch the Veterans were raring to get back on the pitch for revenge and sought to reduce the 90-minute interval to less than an hour, despite coming up against an almost fresh XI in the second game as only Pirates skipper Jamie Boynton would return to the field. “Rest is for the weak,” the veterans chirped as he struggled to get up from his chair.
Faced with the option to bat or bowl for the second game, incoming captain Kelvyn Anderson followed in his predecessor’s footsteps and put the Pirates into bat, with Boynton (25 off 19) choosing to open with himself and Ravi GVRR (14 off 19). The openers started steady, not striking their first boundary until the fifth over, when Terry Mortimer (3-0-14-0) slipped from cracking form in his first overs to give away 11 runs in his third. GVRR went down LBW when man of the match Gordon Cowling (3-0-26-1) was brought on first change, and Boynton went shortly after to a stumping so blatant it almost ran out the non-striker.
Sean Malcon (33 off 20) and Rakesh Joshi (24 off 25) were in fine nick, both retiring to give youngster Aditya Girish (3 off 6) and Gopal Yadav (30 off 18) a knock, before Will Trayford fell for a golden duck at the hands of Don Sherwell. Vikas ‘One V’ Laxman put up a steady 7 off 8 balls and Rajat Singh scored a single off his first and the innings’ last ball to close it out on 160/4.
Derek Braidner (1 off 3) and Ian Hammet (8 off 10) headed out to open for the Veterans, with Hammet the first to go. Braidner fell shortly after to bring skipper Anderson to the crease, who punished the ball to all corners of the field for an impressive 33 off 17. Greg Lott (13 off 17) and Dicky Stumbles (13 off 17) kept the score ticking through the middle order before Lott retired, but a miscommunication between Stumbles and Don Everett (1 off 2) saw the latter quickly depart.
Men of the matches Cowling (22 off 16) and Eastwood (10 off 10) held up the lower order before a piercing delivery bowled Cowling and Eastwood was stumped off a googly from Boynton. Terry Mortimer and Bill Best held up the tail, but with the runs slowing down could only amass 127/7 for the Veterans, losing by 33 runs but putting up a solid score given the longer-than-expected boundary.
A huge thanks to all of the Veterans (and their wives!) for stopping by on their Asia tour. It was a real honour to have you here and an experience positively viewed by players from both the morning and afternoon teams.
You can watch a short video of the match with the Veterans’ views on cricket online: