Our fundraising cricket match was a huge success

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On Saturday September 23rd, we invited care home residents from across North Essex to join in with us for a day of leather and willow.

Our victorious FaNs XI
Our victorious FaNs XI

Care home residents, players, volunteers and visitors alike had the best time and made the most of the beautiful weather.

On Saturday September the 23rd, with funding from the East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust, The FaNs Network held it's annual charity fundraising cricket match at Colchester's beautiful Garrison cricket ground. Care homes from across Mid and North Essex came along to enjoy the beautiful warm weather, a yummy cricket tea, a free bar provided by The Odd One Out public house for those who wanted it and an enormous raffle!

Players from across the county and beyond came along to support the match, including players from Hackney, Chignal Smealey, The Real Oddies and Eight Ash Green Cricket Clubs making up the All Star XI.

The FaNs XI opened the batting
The FaNs XI opened the batting

Victory is secured!

Losing the toss and batting first, the FaNs XI innings started to crumble. Even though Charlie Loudoun was bowling at the speed of light, his first over with the new ball swung so far the best keeper in the league, Wes Murrell, was trying to catch the ball somewhere near The Abbey Arms. Cue over two, and with a healthy 14 on the board, (all Loudoun extras and Charlie demanding a ball change) opening pair Tony Lee and Curtis Clough moved on to 28, with Tony controversially dismissed for a meagre 8, and Curtis given out caught off his pad for not many more. But with Will Shearman, Alex Hammond and Tom Lee all going past 50 (and retiring), a formidable total of 269 to win off 35 overs looked a big ask, an ask SO BIG in fact, that the FaNs Chairman, Tony Smith, went off to buy a trophy at tea, so confident was he of a FaNs XI win for the first time in four years!

In reply the All Star XI started slowly, due in part to West Indian pacemen Daley Carter opening the bowling and promising he would bowl slow spin. He did not. Ghokulan tried to break every window in Colchester, but couldn't get the ball off the square such was the bowling skill on show! From the other end, Alistair Hammond was bowling back of a length on a lively wicket, almost hospitalising poor Robin Plummer on two occasions before a short delivery jumped up and bopped him on the chin! He bravely continued before inevitably having to retire hurt!

With the top order routed, only a stubborn innings from Alistair Bevitt-Smith and Luke Barlow prevented an early finish, and once team superstar Charlie Loudoun came and went, it was left to youngsters Fraser and James Loudoun to bat out the overs, with Fraser scoring an all run 5, with a little help from his Dad, who batted the ball away twice more to both sides of the pitch during the cross over!

Huge credit also goes to Danny Sharp, who performed like a seasoned pro in his first ever cricket match, and Christina Shields, taking her maiden scalp when Mangesh Dev skied to deep mid off where the unflustered Sharp sprinted like a gazelle, leapt like a salmon and pouched like a kangaroo to take the catch of the day.

Victory was sealed as the FaNs XI couldn't make the breakthrough to take the final wicket in the 70th over of the day, but still won the game by an impressive 131 runs, although one can't help but thinking that the All Star XI could have got across the line had big hitting Keith Gilligan not retired early!

FaNs XI Tom Lee receives the trophy from FaNs Chair, Tony Smith
FaNs XI Tom Lee receives the trophy from FaNs Chair, Tony Smith

So many people to thank.......

None of what we do here at Team FaNs is possible without the help and support of the local community, so we have to say an enormous thank you to everyone who helped on the day!

Birkett Long were the main shirt sponsor for the match, with Emma Clark coming along and taking control of the raffle/tea/drinks/photography and entertainment (we're also sure there was more)

Tom Knox from The Odd One Out Public House who supplied four kegs of wonderful Colchester Brewery Beer!

Tesco Highwoods who supplied to ingredients to the cricket tea!

To Colchester's Anti Loo Roll Brigade for the loan of the gazebo

To The Real Oddies Cricket Club for the use of their beautiful ground and pavillion, in addition to providing players for the All Star XI.

To every single person who bought a raffle ticket and provided a raffle prize, and every single person who paid a match fee and made a donation for the beer and the tea!

To Jade Murrell from M&M Photography who not only donated a free photo session as a raffle prize, but also donated her time to take professional photos on the day!

To Marianne & Richard Telfer for going above and beyond when ALL the things that were forgotten on the morning were quickly purchased and donated, and, even though it was a mix up, for practically providing a second cricket tea!

But mostly, to the residents and staff from all of the care homes who came along, and especially to Foxburrow Grange, who made the most incredible cricket themed cake which was won in the raffle by young Maddox, (this may have been rigged from the start)!

The aim of the day isn't only about raising much needed funds. It's about involving care home residents in something joyful, something a little different, so to see so much fun being had was such an incredible bonus to the day. They laughed, danced, joined in the cricket, had a beer and enjoyed a lovely buffet, and in one case, by a sheer stroke of luck, Tony, a resident at Loganberry Lodge and a former player at EAGCC, was reunited with old friends and with their lost brother who lives abroad, thanks to the sharp eye of Eight Ash Green's Alistair Hammond! Tony was absolutely overjoyed when he was given his own EAGCC jumper to keep!

Foxburrow cake
The wonderful cake created by the residents of Foxburrow Grange Care Home
EAGCC former player Tony, with current player Alex Hammond
EAGCC former player Tony, with current player Alex Hammond