Top centuries at College Field – #2 P V Sarre

The College skipper ahead of his time  by Rob Batiste        Guernsey Press 2nd July 2022

P V Sarre

Elizabeth College v Victoria College in the 69th inter collegiate match in 1962

ELIZABETH COLLEGE scored what must have been one of their most crushing wins ever when they met Victoria College at cricket at the College Field on Saturday for the 69th time. After a bad start, they recovered magnificently to race to a mammoth score of 249 for 5 declared, leaving themselves sufficient time to dismiss Victoria for a meagre 69. Because there was such a difference in the standard of the sides, this inter-college match did not command the interest of previous encounters. There was much to admire in the Elizabeth College innings, with the brilliance of P V Sarre and the power of D J Bowen. Sarre joined the select band of Elizabeth College batsmen to score a century against Victoria College and Bowen was unfortunate to fail to match this by just 10 runs. When Bowen joined his skipper at the crease, things looked far from bright from the home side’s point of view.

Opening batsman A J Degnen had fallen to the fifth ball of the match with no score on the board, P L Le Cocq went at 29 and R A Strappini 10 runs later. Luckily, Sarre was in good form and E 0 Pargenter played patiently to help him in a 40-run partnership. Fortunes went very much in favour of the home side when Sarre and Bowen started to attack the bowling, and the captain completed his century before lunch, at which stage Elizabeth College were 207 for four with Bowen on 66. Bowen thrashed the bowlers after the break, and it was a great pity that he was out before reaching three figures. The innings lasted only 155 minutes.

Victoria College lost a wicket with only five runs on the board. At tea they were 54 for two and, to add to their troubles, S R Kaderali had been taken to hospital for a check-up after being hit beneath the heart by a fast delivery. Although in pain, he batted again later and, at the end, was 28 not out. It was, in general, a disappointing performance by the Jersey side, for there was little spirit in their batting. Backing up their great score and their keen bowling was some good fielding by the Guernsey side. Redford and Strappini took magnificent catches.

Elizabeth College v Forest School in 1963

PHILIP SARRE did not simply score one great College Field century, he hit two – both occasions making front page headlines in the Guernsey Press. This was a time when cricketers did not have Christian names, the paper happy to describe the individual by double initial and surname only. Philip, therefore, was addressed as P V Sarre when, in 1963, he added his name to the pavilion century honours board for a superb undefeated 122 on his home ground. But, as fine an innings that was, it paled in comparison with the outstanding undefeated 175 he struck on the same strip against the touring (UK) Forest School a year earlier. Mike Fooks opened the batting with him that day and 61 summers on recalls its excellence. ‘It was the magnitude of it – he dominated the whole innings.’ Sarre struck seven sixes that June day as he accounted for all but 70 of his team’s mighty score against a public school who were regular visitors to Guernsey and good with it.

‘A magnificent innings by Elizabeth College captain P V Sarre enabled his side to side to score a crushing 162 runs victory in yesterday’s Public Schools match at the College field,’ splashed the Press down the right side of page one the following day. ‘It was a chanceless knock’ wrote the paper, adding that it was thought to be one of the best two scored by a College player since the war, without mentioning who had provided the first. ‘In command from the start, he struck seven great sixes, including three off successive deliveries. All of these sixes were hits of over 100 yards for the wicket was right in the middle of the ground. One crossed the boundary at a height of some 30 feet,’ the report continued. Sarre also hit 19 fours that day when his century arrived before lunch and his 175 came in as many minutes and allowed him to declare at 245 for five.

Forest School were no mugs either. In the midst of a successful season of their own, star man R E J Chambers had scored 98 against Elizabeth a year earlier and added two tons in the build-up to the 1962 trip to Guernsey. On this occasion, opening bowler Malcolm Redford bowled him for nine and with fellow quickies Jon Bowen and Pierre Le Cocq also among the wickets, Forest were shot out for just 83. Sarre will have been especially pleased with his day, because the previous year he had collected a duck against the same opposition.

Forest had the last laugh on him too. In 1963, when the College skipper added his name to the inter-collegiate century honours board and won his second full Island cap against Jersey, Forest again captured Sarre for nought. Elizabeth College senior master and Island cricketer Vernon Collenette praised his efforts in his annual player review in ‘The Elizabethan’. ‘He enjoys attacking the bowling and he is now doing it with a straight bat. His 175 against Forest was a great innings. He has also bowled successfully, had fielded well and captained a successful side.’

Guernsey’s senior cricket selectors were watching closely too and were sufficiently impressed to ask the schoolboy to open the batting in both the 1962 and 1963 games against the Caesareans. On his debut young Sarre hit 31 with five boundaries. A year on, he went cheaply for eight. That was it as far as his inter-island batting career went, although he did take the new-ball when playing a third time against Jersey in 1965. Having headed off to Southampton University in September 1963 and then, later, to the University of California and Bristol, he became an Open University lecturer in geography and was lost to Guernsey cricket.

Thankfully, his Elizabeth team-mate, Pierre Le Cocq, did return to the domestic game and recalled the great ability of the man he served as all-rounder and cricket secretary, basically vice-captain. Le Cocq views his old captain as ‘up there’ with the best College post-war batsmen. ‘He was a great striker of the ball. He was tall, hit the ball very hard … a very aggressive player.’ But,’ said Le Cocq, ‘Sarre’s willingness to take the game to the opposition often led to low scores. ‘He tended to get nought or a hundred. He went out to hit the ball. In that respect, he was ahead of his time really.’ Bowen, too, was a handful. ‘He was very quick,’ said Le Cocq, who bowled first or second change. ‘He was not particularly accurate but very quick. he later became an international hockey umpire.’

Elizabeth College innings

M. A. Fooks            b Seggins              2

P. V. Sarre   not out                             175

P. L. Le Cocq                    b Ashton       6

R. A. Strappini c Maslen   b Guy           31

A. J. Degnen                    b Marshall    3

M. R. Mitchell          c Guy b Marshall     18

D. J. Bowen not out                             4

Extras                                                  6

Total (for 5 wkts dec)                           245

Fall of wickets: 1-15, 2-29, 3-112, 4-126, 5-210

Forest School Bowling

Guy 13-3-46-1; Seggins; 15-2-57-1; Ashton 5-0-33-1; McDowall, 4-0-29-0; Marshall 12-3-42-2; Chambers 2-0-17-0; Stokley 2-0-5-0