We arrived at the Kulm Parc Oval in the Stadion to find a hard and true pitch that had been expertly prepared for us by Bart Davey, the groundsman. This is currently the only grass wicket in the whole of Switzerland, unlike the 1920s when the first authentic cricket matches were played at Zuoz.
The Kurverein, with enormous thanks to Martin Berthod, once again sponsored the hire of a massive 8 ton yellow Roller which made it possible to have a safe surface to play on.
The Kulm Parc golfers generously gave up a day on their driving range, for which many thanks are due to Club President Daniel Buechi. Bart also purchased some plastic covers in case of rain, and
also to protect our precious wicket from golf balls during the run up to the great match.
It was a perfect Engadin day, and amongst the first arrivals were the family Boller who bravely parked their vintage Bentley within striking distance of the batsman’s crease. They were joined by Franco Gansser’s Riley and Maurizio Mazzotti’s M.G.. It was slightly disappointing that our opposition arrived with only 4 players so we had to give them two of our own. Also it was a pity that only two British SMTC Members were there to play for the C.C.C (Cresta Cricket Club).
The 25 over a side match commenced at 11am with lunch taken between innings at 1pm. Daniel Haering won the toss for the opposition and elected to bat first. He opened himself with Tom Butt, the cricket master at the Lyceum Alpinum, and they faced a gentle opening attack provided by the two Bensons (father and son). With the score at 33 in the 7th over, Alexander Benson, aged 13, persuaded Tom Butt to loft a drive that was superbly caught in the covers by Dino Boller – high fives all round.
The next ball to the incoming batsman, John Hallam - President of the St. Moritz C.C, was a fine out-swinger, pitching on off stump, which induced a faint nick to the keeper - a golden duck and a hat trick beckoning? Sadly no, as the two skippers had agreed to a “not out first ball” rule. Given a second chance, Hallam went on to score a stylish 25 before retiring.
Daniel Haering, who rode the Cresta last season for the first time, notched up 21 with some powerful hitting before succumbing to our local rule of “6 and Out”, made necessary by two short boundaries that threatened the safety of spectators and vintage cars, Rolf’s House, and a shortage of replacement balls if lost among the Alpine flowers.
After a rustic knock by Bart Davey that resulted in several large divots in his own precious wicket, there was a circumspect innings by Terry Martin ( Rolf’s English butler, Pimm’s maker and cricket nut) that ended with a flourish when he swung a ball high into the Tower of Rolf’s house for another “6 and Out”, narrowly missing a window.
Owing to their lack of players, the first three were invited to bat again and their innings concluded at 168 for 2. Our bowling had been unchallenging but the fielding of Silvano was a joy to watch, as he flung himself to the grass in his efforts to prevent runs. His beautiful cashmere sweater in SMTC colours will have to be sent to the dry cleaners. Natascha and Tommy were very enthusiastic, good-natured and nimble in the outfield, and almost everyone bowled or “threw” one over.
During the interval we all rushed to our iPads to discover what was happened back home at Trent Bridge. After a delicious BBQ lunch provided by ever generous Rolf Sachs, washed down with a glass or two of Pimm’s, we returned reluctantly to the game in hand.
John Springs and Stephen Bartley donned their cricket pads, and visualising themselves as Hobbs and Sutcliffe, set off to chase the daunting target. The bowling of Tom Butt and our charming Indian player Ehsaan Kadiwala was tight and difficult to score from, so gradually we got behind the asking rate. Just as he was getting going Bartley was yorked by a beauty from Butt. At the other end, Springs, batting more like Boycott than Sutcliffe, but with a matchless forward defensive stroke, was out for splendid 3 in the 11th over.
Rolf Sachs looked to have his eye in and made a swift 19 before being stumped or run out – the scorer never managed to find out which.
Dino Boller then struck some elegant blows, unlike Chris Walti who had over-indulged at lunch and was out second ball.
It was left to the Bensons to give our score some semblance of respectability with a stand of 22. At the fall of the next wicket, the next two batsman were fielding as substitutes and refused to bat, so the captain had to strap on his pads once again.
By this time the St. Moritz CC’s four bowlers had bowled their allotment of five overs each, and with 80 needed from just 5 overs there was only one thing to do. Facing his second ball from Natascha, he went down the wicket and was clean bowled by a high, tempting, but unfortunately well directed underarm lob. It was a classic case of being “Bowled over by a Maiden!”
Young Benson went out to atone for his captain’s ignominious dismissal and hit his first ever 6, so although we lost once more, we went down fighting, in the Spirit of the Game.
After the team photos, there was a prize giving. In the absence of a trophy, Silvano Vitalini kindly donated a bottle of Krug which was presented to the winning captain to be shared amongst his team (all 4 of them). Man of the match was Alexander Benson who perhaps deserved the Krug more than Daniel for his efforts on and off the field and showing us once again how the game should be played. All non – SMTC members were given a badge for entertaining us, and Rolf conducted terrific Cresta Firework that resounded around the valley.
Henry “Blowers” Blofeld sent us the result of the 1st Ashes Test Match which England had just won by a slender margin so the losing players were able to depart in a happier frame of mind. “Blowers” has promised to come again next year if possible.
|Cresta CC||St. Moritz CC|
The Lord Brabazon of Tara