Hampstead CC v Downtown Abbey cast - Emma Thompson pitches in at celebrity cricket match

 Emma Thompson on the field
Downtown Abbey stars Jim Carter (left) and Dan Stevens
 Imelda Staunton with her dog, Molly

Published: 22 September 2011

IMAGINE a world where Emma Thompson leads the cricket team out to field, Imelda Staunton makes the tea and what seems like half the British acting fraternity chat and joke on the sidelines. 

No, this is not some sort of alternative Harry Potter reality. This is Hampstead.

The Celebrity Cricket Match at Hampstead Cricket Club on Sunday afternoon featured several sights seen only in north London: the Oscar-nominated actor Imelda Staunton cutting pieces of cake for police officers, actors Greg Wise, Michael Simkins and Downton Abbey star Dan Stevens locked in athletic contest, with fellow Downton star Jim Carter providing the match commentary.
And then there was Ms Thompson’s bowling.
The Bafta- and Oscar-winning actor jogged onto the pitch with businesslike intent to throw the first ball and get the match under way between the “Celebrity XI” and the Hampstead Cricket Club XI.
To cries of “Believe, Thompson!” from her fellow thespians, Ms Thompson opted for a low, bobbling underarm toss – a nightmare for any batsman, or indeed for anyone who likes cricket.
As Professor Sybill Trelawney in the Harry Potter films, Ms Thompson has some prior experience hurling spherical objects at opponents. She knocked out a werewolf with a crystal ball during the Battle of Hogwarts.
But what works for werewolves does not always work for professional cricketers.

Ms Thompson’s attempt was easily batted away and the Sense and Sensibility actor retired to the autograph tent, admitting her bowling skills were “awful”.

Fellow Harry Potter star Imelda Staunton agreed that Ms Thompson’s bowling had “absolutely not improved” in the three years she had opened the cricket match to raise money for the club in Lymington Road.
“What I like about her is that she’ll always give it her best shot,” she said. “I can’t run, catch or hit either. It’s a good job I’m the cake stall woman.”
The annual event is run by Ms Staunton’s husband Jim Carter, the club chairman.
Mr Carter, who plays the butler Mr Carson in the award-winning series Downton Abbey, provided a lightly sarcastic sports commentary for the match, pointing out the dubious bowling and fielding of his Downton companion Dan Stevens and Sky Sports presenters Matt Floyd and Simon Lazenby.
Penelope Wilton, Downton’s Isobel Crawley, signed autographs on the boundary.
Mr Carter said: “It was a brilliant day – the rain held off and the celebrities emerged victorious for the third year running. 
“Success all round!”


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