Thursday saw a touring side from 1st Battalion Coldstream Guards come to town to play Abbotskerswell Friendly XI in a 40 over game. The grey and rainy start to the day, soon gave way to another glorious sunny day in South Devon.
The guards, skippered by Lt. Paynter, travelled down from their Windsor barracks and played Torquay in a T20 game on Wednesday 16th, being bested by a good Torquay T20 side.
The Abbots players were keen to take on the longest continuously serving regiment in the British Army, and with availability high, skipper Ian Jarman had a tough selection to make.
The toss was awarded to Abbots and Jars chose to bat first, opening with Charlie Hill and James Roberts.
Lt. Paynter and Gdsm. Tongue opened the attack for The Guards and an opening stand of 39 saw Robbo dismissed by Lt. Paynter for 5 in the 7th over. Leroy Lane came to the crease for a brief cameo having been promoted up the order from designated 11 to 3, but exited shortly after arriving without troubling the scorers.
Tom ‘Dougie’ Heath then came in to partner Chilly. With both of them fairly rattling away on the scoreboard, Chilly retired Not Out for 75, with the score on 101.
Despite some troubling bowling by the opening pair, ably supported by LCpl. Sharma and 2Lt. Grenville, new man at the crease Darren ‘Dazzler’ Clayton dug in to support Dougie, who also retired Not Out for 75, having moved the score on to 189 – with just 13 overs to go.
When Dazzler was dismissed for 18 (193-3), Ben ‘Angry Man’ Cowdry and Toby Lovell dug in and they moved the score on to 210 when Lovell was dismissed for 10. 2Lt. Bagshaw and LCpl. Partel were giving the batsman plenty to think about, helped by troubling overs by Gdsm. Telford, LSgt. Rafi and LCpl. Hill.
However, ever playing the skippers innings, Jars came to the crease and proceeded to set about the Guards bowling, hitting a quickfire 45 off just 17 balls (6 x 6’s and 1 x 4) before being dismissed by LCpl. Partel with 5 balls remaining. Chathura ‘Chats’ Peiris then came to the crease to finish the innings off with 7* off 2 balls, leaving Ben Cowdry 24* and the total at 289-5 off 40 overs.
That proved to be a challenging total, but the Guards set off on the chase after a fabulous Ann Jarman tea, to try and chase down the runs, with Sgt. Munroe and LCpl. Sharma opening the innings against opening bowlers Ed ‘L’oreal’ Smout-Cooper and Tom ‘Bayo’ Askew.
Unfortunately, the chase proved an impossible one, due to the Abbots bowlers taking regular wickets – and despite Abbots agreeing to give all of the tourists a bat (15 wickets in total) with high scorer 2Lt. Grenville the pick of the batsmen (26) and Sgt. Munroe (20), LCpl. Partel (12), Lt. Paynter (10), Gdsm. Tonge (10), LCpl. Sharma (7) and Gdsm. Apopoz (6 off 27 balls) the other notable scorers. Given that many of the Guards had never played cricket before, they applied themselves admirably, and made the game a lot of fun for everyone.
Robbo was pick of the bowling picking up 5-1-9-4, with Dazzler 4-0-8-3 and Lovell 5-1-25-2 ably assisting. Wickets also for L’Oreal (1-32), Bayo (1-14) and Angry Man (1-0) saw the guards finish on 141-15 after Chats took a guest star role as 16th man in so the final guard could bat. (Play-Cricket scoring only allows 15 players and lists the final score as 123-14)
Very graciously, the Guards provided an enormous amount of meat which they barbecued magnificently post-game, and the Abbots players introduced them to the game of ‘Skids’ as a thank-you, which they seemed to embrace wholeheartedly.
Thanks to all who took part in preparing the grounds and pitch for the day, the obligatory thanks to Ann Jarman for the magnificent Tea, thanks to the Abbots players for making themselves available and playing the game in the right spirit, and thank you to 1 Bn. Coldstream Guards for their hospitality and visiting our little corner of Devon.