Charity Cricket Match 20/20

The RAF Marham Station Cricket Team played the Station Commander’s Select XI on the afternoon of 23 May 16 at Swaffham Cricket Club in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support which provides support to anyone affected by cancer.

Macmillan assisted the late Station Training Officer and former OIC Marham Cricket, Flt Lt Ann-Marie Noble after she had been diagnosed with cancer.  Ann-Marie fought hard against her cancer but tragically passed away in December 2013. She had been a keen supporter of cricket at RAF Marham and many of the Station team also knew her from her time at Cosford. Since Ann-Marie’s passing, the Station Cricket Team has organised a Charity Cricket Match to celebrate Ann-Marie’s life and to raise money for Macmillan.

This year was just that bit extra special as Ann-Marie’s sisters Philippa and Mellissa and Philippa’s son Alfie attended the event. In the morning of the match day, Ann-Marie’s family visited 31 Squadron for a tour of a Tornado (hosted by Sgt Stu Youds, Dep OIC Cricket) followed by a visit to Ann-Marie’s former office in FDLS (hosted by FS Sam Randall). Throughout they were accompanied  by Sgt Steph Wright (PSF).

After plenty of pre-match banter, the two teams assembled for the team photograph and  at this early stage in proceedings, spirits were high as it looked like being a sunny afternoon.  The two captains, SAC Ryan Tripp (Station team) and the Station Commander walked to the middle, and under the watchful eye of umpire Sgt Stu Youds, completed the toss using a 100th Commemorative Station coin. The Station team won and duly elected to bat.

The openers (Cpl Luke ‘Frenchie’ French and SAC Si Hudson)  set about the Station Commander’s team’s rather indifferent bowling, and were starting to look dangerous when the first wicket fell. After some dropped catches (3 to be exact), FS Sam Randall bowled what could only be described as a long hop, resulting in Frenchie lobbing it skywards and for the chance to be gratefully taken.  The bowling continued with the Umpire regularly calling ‘wide’ before Wg Cdr Pete Daulby claimed 2 wickets to temporarily put the brakes on the Station team. As the score began to mount the Station Commander’s team morale was kept up by the regular cajoling and motivation by OIC Cricket Sqn Ldr Tim Casey. His energy and enthusiasm began to rub off on his ‘team’ and things began to improve until Wg Cdr Andy Fell began his bowling spell. From his 2 overs, 10 wides were delivered!! Something of a ‘dubious’ record perhaps?

At this point, Cpl John Stewart (EP & R) had entered the fray and seemed to be batting for his ‘average’ as he regularly refused to run any more than absolutely necessary, to the obvious frustration of his batting partner (SAC Ben Lewis 12 Sqn). The howls of derision aimed at John for his ‘blatant’ hogging of the strike were heard from the crowd  but it all fell on deaf ears as John  duly scored 26 to retire and finally allow someone else to have a go. After some spirited bowling,  Tim Casey bagged another wicket but the Station team had scored 166-4 from their 20 overs.  Notably,  ‘Extras’ had amounted to some 62 runs of the total which was a testament to the spirited but ‘variable’  bowling of the Station Commander’s team.

Amidst gentle banter from the Station team, the Station Commander’s openers (Sgt Chris Marchant and Sqn Ldr Andy Chase) began the reply. The opening over was uneventful, but then SAC Ross Evan (LSS RAF Brize Norton and previously stationed at RAF Marham)  proceeded to bowl as if it was day one of an Ashes Test and removed Andy Chase!! Chris Marchant was out in the next over and things were not looking too good when salvation arrived in the form of the Station Commander and Sqn Ldr Tim Casey. Some very good batting followed and runs began to flow when Ross thought he had the Station Commander out LBW, but the Umpire, ever keen to ensure fair play (well it is Sgt annual Report time!!!!) decided ‘not out’.  Evans was not  impressed with this and even less so when the Station Commander skied the next ball to Frenchie who dropped the simple chance!!  The Station Commander promptly ran up to Frenchie, gave him a high five and carried on!!

After 10 overs,  the Station Commander had hit the only six of both innings, which was greeted with the biggest cheer of the day. The Station Commander and Tim Casey had to retire having both scored more than 25. The destiny of the innings, and the hopes of winning, fell upon the shoulders of the rest of the team. Sadly though, these hopes were misplaced as the wickets fell at regular intervals and, with 3 overs, to go FS Sam Randall and SAC Kirsty Sussex (both PSF) were left to try and score 70 to win! However, in true Boycott batting style they didn’t lose their wickets  and added an additional 13 runs to the score which resulted in the Station Commander’s team amassing  89-7 from their 20 overs. This meant the Station team had won the match but, ultimately, it was the occasion that mattered more.

After the match, the Station Commander was asked to choose the ‘Player of the Match’ for each team and to select a ‘Champagne moment’!! The ‘Player of the Match’ for the Station team was awarded to SAC Nick ‘Pickles’ Thownsend (SES) for his best ever bowling and batting display.  The ‘Player of the Match’ for the Station Commander’s team went to SAC Kirsty Sussex for her batting and bowling.  The ‘Champagne Moment’ was awarded to Cpl Luke ‘Frenchie’ French for his dropped catch from the Station Commander!

The Station Commander also presented the Flt Lt Ann-Marie Noble Memorial Cup to the Station Captain (SAC Ryan Tripp). This trophy was newly provided by Ann-Marie’s family as a permanent trophy for the Annual Charity Match. Additionally, the Station Commanderr also presented a signed 100th anniversary print, a 100th commemorative coin and flowers to the family and to Sgt Steph Wright for hosting Ann-Marie’s family  throughout. This was an excellent way to celebrate our former colleague and help a worthwhile cause.  Planning has started ready for next year’s match..

During the game the whole of PSF had helped to sell the vast amount of cakes produced by the families of both team and a total of £600 has been raised for Macmillan. I’d like to thank all who helped in the organisation of this event, particularly Swaffham Cricket Club for hosting us and a thank you and well done to all who took part.

Sgt Youds

Station Team Deputy OIC