Eleven white knights drawn from across the high seas. Together they stood shoulder to shoulder to do battle against whatever was thrown at them. Had they been a bit stronger, and had horses, they might have jousted with the long silver poles that have now arrived at Wray Crescent (presumably to suspend the new safety netting). But one thing was for sure: they were looking forward to the post-battle banquet.
Before they could eat there was some cricket to be played, but first they would have to wait for the footballers to finish. Pacific were eventually inserted and hit 229 with runs from luxuriantly bearded Justin (about 30), Toby (50), Rakujmar (85) and Ravi (35?). It was Rajkumar's first fifty for the club, reached with plenty of powerful hits, and Chasseaud's 40th, thanks to his own big straight six.
Special mention must go to Kieran for facing several rapid balls before realising that he'd forgotten to put his box on and having to scurry off to get it – to protect the K Dog's bollocks, one might say. One day our esteemed match manager and head chef might buy some kit and get properly padded up before the last possible minute, but he was umpiring just before this innings so had a good reason to be rushed.
In the end we were somewhat curtailed in the last couple of overs as wickets fell and we made it to 229, which seems to be below par at Wray these days. In the words of wistful former Cambridge scholar Ahmed Hussain: "In the last 20 overs, we seemed to be batting quite serenely but maybe in reality we weren't picking up enough boundaries."
Paul B Davis, after wishing his Ma a happy Mother's Day (don't worry: you didn't forget – it was only Mother's Day in America), built a nice innings of his own, not out in the middle but in the net newly repaired by Ahmed who had returned from a trip to the garden centre with some pond netting. So you might say that our American import was a big fish in a small pond as he worked on his pull shot and his drive. He now knows what a half volley is and that he's stronger when he plays the full ball straighter rather than across the line.
A good tea was had as Pacific's new regime continues with its fine teas and quality soaps turns around the Wray's poor reputation. Kieran brought his scones with cream and jam. I think the jam went on top of the cream, which apparently one of the North Middlesex players a couple of weeks ago said is not the correct way to do it, but they tasted wonderful to this writer. Someone (rumoured to be Ramjukar) made some brilliant rice with mince meat. PBD's coconut rice was moist and the third rice, a pesto and parmesan-tinged concoction courtesy of Oli, was enjoyed too. Andy brought salmon, smoked on his own home smoker. I don't remember seeing any of Theo's wife's quiche this week, which was a shame. The Steyns have promised something special next week though, which might be incentive enough for some potential players.
In reply we had Cincinnati in trouble at about 50 for 4 with Nuggsy looking on approvingly. Oli, who has this season reverted to bowling seam-up, stormed in from the Porshe end and generated some good pace. To get his radar working, he needed to be told that he was actually bowling inswingers. Justin, on his Pacific debut, held on to a tidy, sharp catch at first slip off the Oligarch's bowling. At the other end, there were murmurings from Cincinnati about Davis's action (possibly justified?) but he rose above the controversy to bowl some nice swingers on a good line and length.
But had Cincinnati's skipper Brendan lured us into a trap? A killer partnership quickly developed between Xxxxxx and Xxxxxx, which batted us out of the game. Xxxxxx was beautifully snaffled by Davis running and catching the ball over his shoulder but, alas, it was too late.
After the game, once the K-Dog and A-Dog double act had finally got the coals to catch light, some juicy bratwurst sausages were had. "Brats against the wall," Kieran was at one point heard to declare, as he squeezed some senf on to his German banger. It was the eleven white knights whose backs had been against the wall, and they hadn't quite fought their way to victory. Still, they had fought with honour.