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Haverhill C.C. v Lashings XI Thursday August 23rd 2007


After months of planning and preparation the cricket road show known as the Lashings World XI finally rolled into Haverhill last week. Like many fans in the area I had purchased my ticket and booked the day off work in order to see some of the great names of recent test cricket performing in our neck of the woods.

The only problem was the weather. Persistent rain over the previous few days (and most of the summer) left me resigned to the fact that play down at the Manor Ground was highly unlikely.

But us cricket lovers are eternal optimists so rather than make any assumptions I went down to the ground as planned. It was still raining, the covers were on, but there was a sizable crowd already. Those in corporate hospitality were making use of the fact they had a roof over their head, and quite rightly decided to stay there a little longer, no doubt concentrating on reducing the wine stocks in the process.

The organisation of the event was impressive. So much effort had gone into setting up the day it was clear that the weather would not be the winner. At one point a number of Haverhill players took up stations in front of sections of the crowd and updated us all on what was going on. Nice touch that.

Finally the news we had been waiting for, play would start at 4pm. The Lashings team read like a who’s who of test cricket. Where else can you go and see players assembled from eight nations, who have accumulated a total of 522 Test and 1404 one-day international appearances. This is what we had come for; this is what we had waited for.

The match started off as a 10 over game, but half way through the Lashings innings (they always bat first) it was decided to up the overs to 15, which was a bonus. Seventeen runs off the first over gave an indication that Lashings were unlikely to run many singles when it was easier to despatch the ball over the rope. The star of the innings was Chris Cairns, the New Zealander who after blocking the first few deliveries then proceeded to smash the ball to all parts.

He was challenged at one point by the announcer to deposit the ball on to the ice cream van. As there were two on the ground parked next to each other the target area was thus doubled. His attempt took the ball from outside the off stump over square leg for six, landing only a few yards from its intended target. It would have been poetic justice had the task been accomplished, if only to serve as pay back for all the ‘bling blong’ tunes the van had been annoying us with earlier on.

We were denied seeing several of the Lashings stars bat, simply because Haverhill contrived to drop at least four, maybe five catches. But never mind, by now the innings was in full swing (literally) and the corporate guests had finally appeared from their hideaway (although some by now may have been seeing more than two sets of stumps).

After fifteen overs Lashings had 166 – 3. Not bad at all, seeing as they only ran about ten singles. The champagne moment for Haverhill came from by Nurul Hoque. Talked up by the announcer as the ‘Bangladeshi Express’ he proceeded to live up to his new nickname by flattening Rashid Latifs’ off stump with his first ball.

In reply Haverhill got off to bright start with Neil Winter finding the boundary early on. But it was the introduction of Adam Dellar that really got things going. He deservedly won the man of the match award for a superb 71 not out including several sixes, one of which cleared the marquee with ease and was found embedded in the bowls green. Just about all of the Lashings players have played for, and still retain links with English counties so Adams performance would have done him no harm at all.

In years to come people will talk about the rainy day in August 2007 when the cricketing stars of the past came to Haverhill. I believe the day will also be remembered as one where a talented young player took a big step towards becoming a star of the future.

It may have only been a 15 over thrash but it was worth the wait. Haverhill may have lost the match (by about 30 runs) but in every other respect they were the winners. Well done to all of them.

Steve Potter,
113 Westward Deals,