Match reports by David Walton
In 1921, what became known as Chatham House Grammar School for Boys came into being in its modern form. This year’s revitalised cricket week set out to celebrate the anniversary of cricket being played on the field by the ‘new’ school of 1921. After some very lean years, not helped by sinkholes, unavailability and Covid, the ORs were able to provide entertaining and competitive cricket over 4 days. With the enthusiasm engendered amongst young and old ORs alike, it is hoped to return to a 5-day cricket week in 2023, which would be just reward for all of those who worked so hard to make 2022 such a success.
The perfect cricket weather did help, a complete contrast to so many years in the past, although the extreme heat and fears of a potential drought did mean we were all too aware of the negative effects of the current climate crisis! We were all indebted to the school for allowing us to re-boot the week and to ex-pupil, Clive Bowden (1966-1972; Bracks/Thomas’), who has been groundsman for as long as we, and he, care to remember. Clive highlights how important it is for the school to employ a fully-qualified replacement when he retires, especially if good quality cricket is to survive at the school and in Thanet. The ad-hoc OR cricket committee would also like to thank the site staff who looked after us so well and Laura Morgan (1997-98; Pearce’s), Head of PE at the school, for her support.
Monday 8th August, v Nelson CC
This fixture has been in place since 1995, against one of the longest-surviving Ramsgate clubs, which is also full of ORs. In fact, there were 16 current pupils or ORs playing in the match and 19 past or current Nelson players. Recognising the history involved with the centenary, this was a timed game, with win, lose or draw as possible results. It meant the team bowling second had to bowl their opponents out to win the match. In a thrilling finish and with two balls to go, Nelson fell to 212-9, in the chase of the ORs formidable 220. 13-year-old Will Roby came to the crease to bat with his dad Neil, (1988-1995; Larkin’s/Heath’s), who was on 31*. Will scored two off his first ball and salvaged the draw for the visitors, by keeping out the last ball of the match from James Bridgland (1996-2003; Norman’s/Pearce’s). The Nelson score had been built on the back of the efforts of Jordan Webster (2005-2011; Larkin’s/Mann’s) whose 40, supported Tom Turner who made 68. Wickets began to fall regularly in the chase, with current pupil, Jack Robbens (2017- Thomas-Sharman) taking 3-45 ensuring the ORs forced Nelson to accept the draw. Earlier, in the OR innings, Josh Walton (2011-2018; Mann-Somerville) scored an organised 60 to back up a belligerent 68 from Josh Christian (2006-2013; Larkin’s/Thomas’), as the home side recovered from a sharp opening spell from Nelson’s Owen Walton (5 overs, 2-10), ably supported by Reece Heatley (2005-2012; Bracks/Heath’s). In the chase for runs for the declaration, wickets fell quickly, with Neil Roby, the pick of the visitors, taking 3-17 and Will Roby taking his first wicket for the Nelson CC.
Wednesday 10th August v Band of Brothers CC
This new and very prestigious fixture was against the Band of Brothers, which originated in 1858, as the third wandering side of its type. The key distinction for “BB” was the link, solely, to the county of Kent. Known commonly as “BB”, the club founders, the original “brethren”, were previous members of the East Kent Rifles. The day before the match our opponents asked for help as they were down to 7 players due to a Covid outbreak. Needless to say, the enthusiasm we had banked on from the ORs and our local friends, ensured that the match was played as an 11 v 11 match. “BB” had 3 Nelson CC players, including Matt Williams (2014-2021; Thomas-Sharman) and his twin, Dan, as well as a Ramsgate Corinthians player, our Chairman, Mark Lewis (1980-1987; Bracks/Coleman’s). Ultimately, the match started late due to bad traffic and a 35 over game ensued. Batting first, the ORs were restricted to 166-7, thanks mainly to Martin Christian (1983-1990; Larkins/Thomas’), who scored 67* and carried his bat, as others fell around him. Only Shivay Sachdeva (2012-2018; Thomas-Sharman) made much impression from the rest, with an aggressive 28. At tea, the consensus was that the score was 20 or so short.
It could well have been 50 or so short as “BB” captain, Tom Boucher (84*) batted beautifully to guide his side to a comfortable 6-wicket victory, ably supported by Nelson CC’s George Evans (17), who belied his 65 years with some controlled stroke play. They battled against a variety of bowling including the spin of Daaim Hasham (1998-2003; Larkins/Pearce’s then Somerville at Clarendon 6th form until 2005), as well as Shivay Sachdeva and Andy Signorell (1966-1974; Norman’s/Simmons’). Nothing that captain Martin Christian tried was able to slow the flow of runs and “BB” strolled to their target in 29.4 overs. It was a pleasure to host a team with so much history in such an historic venue. However, it was a shame the ORs could not have put up a more competitive score. It is certainly hoped that this fixture can be retained and a new rivalry created.
Thursday 11th August v Ramsgate Corinthian CC
One of the oldest surviving clubs in Ramsgate that has also played more club games at the school than anyone else, returned to play the ORs for the first time in a few years. In another timed game, Corinthians batted first. In the line-up was the prolific Isaac Dilkes and his county playing sister Antonia, who were playing with their dad, Mitchell. They also included three ORs, their captain, Andrew Signorell, Mark Lewis and David Lodge (1970-77; Bracks/Thomas’). Corinthians started well, despite some tight bowling from current 1st XI captain, Joel Duraisingham (2016-;Rothschild-Pearce), (who played every game in the week), with 8 overs 2-29 and Jim Shoobridge (1977-82; Bracks/Simmons’ then Heath’s), 2-40 off 12. Even so at 104-4, with Isaac Dilkes on 48, and fielding under a hot sun, the ORs captain, James Williams (1986-1993; Bracks/Coleman’s) expected to be chasing a high score.
The match turned on a spell of 3 wickets in 4 balls, including Isaac Dilkes, as well as a run out, all by Herne Bay CC cricketer, Jack Stephens (2009-2016; White’s/Thomas’/Thomas-Sharman). He finished on 4-27 from 8 overs, having earlier removed the stubborn Dave Lodge for 35. Corinthians crumbled to 136 all out, ultimately thankful for a stylish 17 from Antonia Dilkes. In reply, the ORs were rarely troubled, only losing an early wicket to a run out, and won by 9 wickets, reaching 140-1 in just 21.2 overs. James Wilson (2002-2009; Larkins/Pearce’s) scored a fluent 69*, ably supported by Ben Buckingham (1992-99; Bracks/Heath’s) 59*. Buckingham had also taken three superb catches in the first innings, behind the stumps. This first victory of the week meant the ORs could go into the final match, against their oldest rivals on the Friday, with plenty of confidence.
The victorious OR side, including, potential future sixth-former, Cai Redmond, front left, who was playing in the same side as his dad Gareth (1984-1991; Norman’s/Heath’s) back left.
Friday 12th August, v Alexandra Park CC
AP have been touring Kent since 1921 and first played the ORs in 1929, when they were encouraged by their greatest player and OR, Con Davies, to do so. With a few obvious exceptions, the match has been played on the Friday of cricket week ever since. In recent years the festival element of the match had been lost as the ORs struggled to be competitive. However, with a new organising committee to support OR cricket representative, Mark Lewis, the quality of players that became available for the ORs this year, as a consequence, certainly made a difference. In fact, the team would be a match for most sides, not just one coming to the end of a very busy and tiring tour!
Playing their first games of the week, Elliott Fox (2011-2016; Thomas-Sharman), Josh Attwell (2011-2018; Thomas-Sharman) and Craig Alder (2008-2015; Bracks/Heath’s/Knight-Heath), certainly added to the youth and quality available to captain James Langridge (2005-2012; Larkins/Heath’s), along with those who had played earlier in the week, Dennis Hester (2008-2015; Bracks/Heath’s/Knight-Heath) and Senura Ratiyala (2008-2015; Bracks/Heath’s/Knight-Heath), Joel Duraisingham, Josh Walton and Jack Stephens. The older players, Tom Murphy (1992-1999; Bracks/Heath’s)) and Chris Ross (1995-2002; Larkin’s/Pearce’s), certainly welcomed the energy and athleticism of their team-mates!
In another timed game, AP batted first, but never got going, struggling to 133 all out. The main bowlers were Jack Stephens with 4-53 off 12 overs and Dennis Hester with 3-19. Joel Duraisingham should be credited again as he led the attack for the fourth time in the week, bowling 12 overs and taking 2-35. In reply the ORs stormed to victory with 21 overs to spare. Elliott Fox smashed a belligerent 44 in an opening stand of 62 with Stephens. After their dismissal, Josh Walton, with 29, laid the foundation for Josh Attwell to come and fire a quick 20*, in an unbeaten partnership of 27 with Craig Alder (10*), to secure victory by 6 wickets. This was certainly a shock to the visitors. However, they were thrilled that the ORs seemed revitalised and the future of the fixture secured. They showed their appreciation in “The Pub” afterwards, delighting the manager Nicola and her staff with a string of funny and rewritten versions of singalong classics, as well as sharing plenty of drinks with their hosts.
At tea, the two sides from Friday enjoy a brief respite, before returning to the action
If anyone is interested in supporting the ad-hoc committee by participating as player, official or organiser, or as a sponsor for the 2023 Old Ruymian Cricket Week, please contact OR Cricket Representative and Cricket Week Chairman, Mark Lewis, or any one of the following:
Dennis Hester (Match Secretary) email@example.com
Senura Ratiyala (Match Secretary) firstname.lastname@example.org
David Walton (Honorary Secretary) email@example.com