WRITERS, comedians and actors went down to a brave three-wicket defeat to a local Powys cricket team at the Hay Festival this week – in a game umpired by Stephen Fry.

Despite featuring former professional cricketers in ex-Yorkshire captain Azeem Rafiq and ex-England captain Claire Taylor, the Authors CC could not prevent defeat against Hay-on-Wye Cricket Club, in what was an enjoyable spectacle on the inaugural Hay Festival Sports Day – organised to coincide with it being in an Olympic year.

The all-star cricket match was played on Wednesday and was overseen by actor and author, and now umpire, Stephen Fry.

The all-star cricket team featured broadcaster Adam Rutherford, writers Robert Macfarlane and Charlie Campbell, comedians Marcus Brigstocke and Carrie Quinlan, musician and actor Johnny Flynn, as well as former pros Claire and Azeem.

Many of the players come from the Authors Cricket Team, which boasts a history dating back 100 years. The likes of PG Wodehouse, AA Milne and Arthur Conan Doyle have all represented the team.

More recently, they have played against Indian Premier League (IPL) players, the Vatican and the national teams of Japan and Iceland.

Hay-on-Wye CC posted on its Facebook page about the match, saying: “A couple of photos before what was a fantastic occasion for the club today.

County Times: Ex-Yorkshire captain Azeem Rafiq discusses a potentially controversial call with umpire Stephen Fry. Pic: DRL Photography.Ex-Yorkshire captain Azeem Rafiq discusses a potentially controversial call with umpire Stephen Fry. Pic: DRL Photography. (Image: DRL Photography)

“We came away with a three-wicket win against the Authors CC, featuring ex-England captain Claire Taylor and ex-Yorkshire captain Azeem Rafiq.

“Some massive work has gone into making this event happen, with it even in doubt less than 24 hours before start of play with the poor weather we have had.

“Proud to be wearing The Old Black Lion, Hay-On-Wye, on our new shirts as well for the first time. A proud day.”

READ MORE: Gary Lineker tells Powys audience story behind Match of the Day fall-out

The event is the latest addition to the Hay Festival Sports Day, organised to mark this Olympic year with leading thinkers and sports stars showcasing their creative talents in conversations and interactive free activities across the festival; with appearances from ex-footballer and broadcaster Gary Lineker, tennis coach Judy Murray and former athlete and politician Lord Sebastian Coe, among others.

Writer and batsman Adam Rutherford said ahead of the clash: “On Wednesday, the cricketers of Hay-on-Wye will feel the full force of seven middle aged writers and a couple of comedians. And two ex-professionals. Our sledging will be eloquent.”

Hay Festival CEO Julie Finch added: “Worlds collide at Hay Festival with events that offer a detour from the day to day.

“In this thrilling year of international sport, our first ever sports day seeks to explore its interconnections with the arts and their dual roles in promoting wellbeing.

“We are delighted to welcome this all-star cricket team and Hay town onto our programme, and grateful to festival president Stephen Fry for ensuring a fair game.”

The day forms part of a packed programme of activities at Hay Festival 2024, with a dynamic line-up of 600-plus events. The festival started on May 23 and finishes on June 2.

Hay Festival Hay-on-Wye 2024 is supported by lead sponsors Baillie Gifford, the Welsh

Government, Arts Council England and Arts Council Wales, lead media partner the BBC and digital media partner TikTok.