Friday 15 May 2015 saw the gathering of many ‘stars’ from RGS cricket history reconvene to play for the Harry Newton Cup at Hartswood Sports Ground in the inaugural RGS Foundation XI vs Headmaster’s XI cricket match.
Captained by two pillars of the Reigatian Community Chris Bates (’88) & Jan Skarbek (’89), the players met for an early lunch to discuss tactics and batting lineups upstairs in the Hartswood pavilion. For many, it was the first time they had returned since leaving RGS and stories flowed whilst cucumber sandwiches and flapjacks were washed down with English Breakfast tea, essential fuel for the battle ahead.
It was The Headmaster’s XI, skippered by Chris Bates (’88) who donned the pads first and strolled out to the middle accompanied by veterans of the school umpiring circuit Andy Whiteley (current RGS staff) and David Jones (ex RGS staff 2011).
Led from the front by Rhodri James (current RGS staff) and Jim Grant (ex RGS staff 2000) the HM XI got off to a steady start, cruising through the opening spell from Alex Chalkley (’94) who was steaming in from the North Field end. Rhodri quickly made his way to a stylish 30 before having to retire (this was a social game after all!) and it was Simon Hygate (’92) who made the breakthrough with the ball in a devastating spell, picking up two quick wickets.
The middle order of the HM XI contributed evenly with Oli Massey (current RGS pupil), Greg Lawson (’89) and the Headmaster himself Shaun Fenton all getting to the middle teens. With still 7 overs remaining, someone needed to step up from the HM’s XI and take the bull by the horns to ensure a competitive score was posted. Step into the limelight our very own Matador/ RGS Director of Sport Phil Mann, who went on a timely hitting spree with a quick fire 36, including an enormous six, over the long-on boundary to move the side to 167 after 35 overs. Captain Bates was happy with his team’s total and even happier that he was able to order the Headmaster around in the field for 2 hours!
Fully refreshed and reinvigorated after a quintessential English cricket tea. Captain Skarbek gave a passionate pep talk in the changing rooms, outlining how , in 1989, he had been in exactly this same position against a motivated RGS Guildford side and chased the total down with time to spare. The challenge had been set.
Paul Radford (’88) and Chris Walker (’92) opened the batting up for the Foundation XI and played elegantly against the bowling of Mark Holman (’87) and Greg Lawson (’89). It was ‘Radders’ who fell first and he was followed in quick succession by Mark Lander (’89), Ashley Mills (’89) and Simon Hygate (’92) who all failed to trouble the scorers. With the scoreboard at 86-6 and the inspirational words of Jan Skarbek’s ‘battle of 89’ versus RGS Guildford ringing in their ears, the Foundation XI scraped themselves back into the game with cameos from James Abdool (’89), Toby Pocock (’91) and Alex Chalkley (’94) to reach 149 all out and 18 runs short of the HM’s XI.
Much to the delight of the Headmaster, Shaun Fenton and his team-mates had taken the spoils in this fantastic day of cricket. They took home with them the Harry Newton Cup, in memory of the great Hartswood Head Groundsman (between 1982-1999) who sadly passed away late last year.
Chris Bates (c), Shaun Fenton, Mark Holman, Greg Lawson, Matt Wright, Jim Grant, Sean Davey, Rhodri James, David Gent, Oli Massey, Phil Mann/ Paul Harrison
RGS Foundation XI
Jan Skarbek (c), James Abdool, Ashley Mills, Chris Walker, Alex Chalkley, Tim Bongers, Paul Radford, Simon Hygate,
Toby Pocock, Mark Lander, Jonny Hylton