It’s funny how we become so attached to our trophies. And the quirkier the better. Just think of the present scrap between the Aussies and the Poms…
When Colin Denneny of Chapelizod CC came upon a dinky piece of silverware at a boot sale he haggled the poor vendor down to three euro and immediately thought it worthy of some special match-up in the Lizard’s annual fixture list. Club Skipper John Egan eyed up a longer format game against the Theatrical Cavaliers.
It was May ’18 (just before the heatwave hit) and after a Taverners 20/20 game the idea of an annual match, for a perpetual trophy was mooted in The Villager over sandwiches. And the trophy was paraded. It was suggested that the existing engraving could be removed or covered and a more relevant title added. Currently John said it reads ‘Kumasi Golf Club, Clifford Cup, 1970’. I perked up immediately. Kumasi? My mother grew up in a house in Churchtown called ‘Kumasi’ – her eldest brother had gone to the then Gold Coast for work aged 20 in 1953 and the country’s second city was firmly embedded in the family imagination. In fact Uncle Jim probably competed in a Clifford Cup a decade or more earlier than our model. While John suggested naming the game The Ghana Cup I had to put my foot down – for reasons of both alliteration and exoticism – The Kumasi Cup was born.
And so last Sunday in only its second outing this winged little miniature was retained by the Cavs at The College of Saint Columba in Whitechurch. The conditions were benign, pleasant even as Chapelizod went in to bat. There were no breakthroughs for some time. T. Stott looked three weeks and several Greek salads rusty, EMJ Cowley less so. Once some uncharacteristic extras were out of the way things settled to a slowish rate. A lot was coming through to point, backward point and cover and Swift and Glutz (a recent recruit from the Drakensburg) tried uphold the defences with sprinting dives and stops into the palms…
Bala replaced the miserly Cowley and kept it very tight. When Stott had bowled straight through and Glutz preferred the wind resistant end Swift was handed the ball. It was the 13th over and both openers were secure, even if the rate was slow. Two of the six(!) dropped catches had already occurred – both behind, both off Stott: to WK (Kemp) and first slip (Capt. Coury). There was a strident element to Egan’s exhorting of his players to move it along from the pavilion. After 4 dots Swift went for 6 & 4. The following over though saw a ‘you miss I hit’ moment and the first wicket came. Swift’s tempting, slowly angled, left arm over struck again very soon. There was a first baller for top-scorer PD and third baller for Stuart both caught by Tim the Greek, rock solid Stott. From the other end Glutz too was walloped by the still surviving no. 1 and with a firmer, flatter ball soon hit the target. Skipper Egan struck some good blows but his nemesis Coury brought himself on and it was soon curtains – a third dismissal at Simon’s hands this summer…
A silly second run led to an effective turn ‘n throw from Swift to the wickie and another cheap dismissal. Soon after Kemp exchanged the pads and gloves with TW White and with his first ball of lively seam skittled another Lizard. Would they bat out the full 35? They’d only just reached the ton. Cowley was returned for his final three and did what he does through pure accuracy and focus, two more fell and the target was 120.
Of the run chase there is perhaps less of major incident or drama to report. For 35 overs the run rate wasn’t steep. TW White appeared to be fully cognisant of the necessary pace demanded – not a penny more, not a penny less, to quote the great Jeffrey Archer. For White, who can sometimes bat with a focused delirium of muscular running, whole body driving and full throated calling, was hauling in the runs in a measured, almost calculating, dominance. And all of this against exceptional bowling, in a way you have to write off PD’s 6 overs in terms of the balance sheet – he’s that accurate, nippy and probing. Skipper Coury decided to late cut one on middle and off and his hand/eye wasn’t on it (or he imagined it on the 4th or 5th stump) and Sean Dugg entered. White and Duggan batted away. PD was rested to wait in the long grass perhaps for Swift but with the other two not budging (Sean D has become quite fortressy) he was returned and bowled out.
The Cavs never raced ahead but with only one wicket down it felt like they were tightening the grip. White succumbed on 30 – a man o the match innings. Duggan only lasted a couple more overs as the permanently tetchy Swift reproved his between the wickets running with ‘Zombie’ jibes. There is great forgiveness in Cavalier culture, thank Gawd.
A hurling forward defensive saw Sean bowled. Stott never, never, seemed comfortable. For every delivery J. Egan seemed unable to hop on the carpet Stott was equally unable to connect. Swing as he might as if holding a Highland caber there was, seemingly, nothin’ doing. It wasn’t long before Tim perished and his out-of-body, self-directed fulminations transported him to the kit bag.
Swift was tipping away and was clumsily dropped at least twice, no three times but two simple takes. It seemed to be his lucky day. Bala played the same stroke as Simon C earlier and was straight bowled as well. The Lizards were somewhat buoyed up at the more recent fall of wickets but the Theatricals were passed the ton and Egan dished up a no hop which Swift gave the maximum treatment. Grant Glutz was out now at 7 to finish the job. O’Regan and Cowley were there to serve if needed but another full bung and the 8 handicapper gap wedged it to the Sequoia. A single from Glutz won the day and secured the Kumasi there and then.
Cavs XI: Magennis, O’Regan, Stott, Coury, Duggan, White, Swift, Cowley, Glutz, Kemp, Bala.