Curse of The 'Strong Batting Line-Up' Strikes Again
Pacific v Chigwell at North Middlesex CC  Sat 09 Sep 2017 at 1pm
Middlesex & Essex Invitation League

Pacific's league finale against Chigwell at North Middlesex CC was frustratingly cut short by rain waterlogging the pitch, though to be honest this couple of downpours probably saved us from defeat after we were bowled out for only 121.

Despite the day being cut short, the match was not uneventful. Pacific were graced by two of Mutz's former team-mates from Dorset, who made a delightful double act: the left-handed Chris Blake did well opening the batting and was unlucky to get caught on the pull; and Brett Custard was Mustard at No 9, top-scoring with 32 not out. Colonel Custard even banged a six into a nearby garden at cow corner, following which the irate occupant walked off with the ball, refusing to give it back, and demanded the batsman's name for the purposes of her imminent witness statement to police.  

We kept schtum, but it wouldn't have mattered in any case since (1) she may well have thought the name Custard was a joke, (2) the police would have laughed at such a report from someone who has chosen to live next to a cricket pitch, and (3) the ball would have had the bowling side's fingerprints all over it – in particular, those of opening bowlers Allum and Hannant (Chigwell being "Gremless" in the absence of regular opener Hutchinson).

After Custard ran out of suicidal batting partners, skipper Toby said at the interval: "Though Chigwell bowled and caught pretty well, we really didn't help ourselves by playing some ridiculous shots, particularly given the match situation. And though it was a stopping pitch we should have easily scored 200-plus with the batting line-up we have. Must try harder."

As predicted, the rain scuppered proceedings after only a couple of overs of Chiggles' innings. Despite some attempts by club legends to remedy the situation (see picture)  and an urgent trip to a local B&Q for sawdust, it was too much. We stayed in the pavilion and played table tennis instead, which is a good sport, but just not cricket.

When interviewed after the match, Toby said: "Fives have won the Middlesex and Essex Invitation League in their first season, so congratulations to them. This match being abandoned as a draw leaves us in third place, just one point behind Chigwell, so well done to them too – and particularly to former occasional Pacific player Rob Allum for taking four slip catches. The bastard. [Allum also bowled through for 12 overs and opened the batting.] Here's hoping we can do better next season."

Match manager extraordinaire Kieran Mullens, absent on Sunday as he was busy heroically raising money for bowel cancer charities by swimming the River Dart in Devon, added: "Thanks to all those who contributed to our efforts in the league over the course of the season. We look forward to some great afternoons of cricket in 2018, whether that be in the MEIL or the North East London League, as has been proposed."

Geek corner: This was the first ever Middlesex & Essex Invitation League match to be held on a Saturday rather than a Sunday, which was due to pitch availability.


Middlesex & Essex Invitation League 2017: The final table

8 144
8 89
8 88
8 60
8 3

Pacific v Chigwell
Toss won by Pacific
Pacific innings Runs Mins Balls 4s 6s
  Toby Chasseaud* c R Allum b Hannant  23  0  0  3  0  
  Chris Blake c fielder b Allum  31  0  0  0  0  
  Rizwan Siddiqui c Allum b Hannant  8  0  0  1  0  
  Sumeet Sharma† c & b Hannant  0  0  0  0  0  
  Murtaza Siddiqui c fielder b Hannant  5  0  0  0  0  
  Aly Duncan c fielder b Hannant  0  0  0  0  0  
  Ben Burnham c fielder b Allum  4  0  0  0  0  
  Jon Webley c fielder b Orange  11  0  0  0  0  
  Brett Custard not out  32  0  0  2  3  
  Sharan Timbadia c fielder b Orange  1  0  0  0  0  
  Rafiq Ratta st Wk b Orange  1  0  0  0  0  
 Extras (b 0, lb 0, w 0, nb 0) 0    
 TOTAL (29.0 Overs) 121    
 Fall of wickets: 
Bowling O M R W  
Chigwell innings Runs Mins Balls 4s 6s
  W McFarlane* not out  5  0  0  0  0  
  R Allum not out  2  0  0  0  0  
 Extras (b 4, lb 0, w 0, nb 0) 4    
 TOTAL (3.0 Overs) 11    
 Fall of wickets: 
Bowling O M R W  
 Jon Webley 2 0 3 0  
 Brett Custard 1 0 4 0  

Other matches:
 Sun 08 Sep 2019, Highgate CC,
 Sun 19 May 2019, Met Police Grd,
 Sharma blazes century to see off Chigwell, Sun 09 Sep 2018, Highgate CC, Won by 9 wickets
 Chasseaud ton in vain as Chigwell coast to victory, Sun 19 Aug 2018, Old Chigwellians Club, Lost by 7 wickets
 Golden Chigwell chance spurned, Sun 07 May 2017, Old Chigwellians Club, Lost by 8 wickets
 Victory is sweet in last-ball thriller, Sun 11 Sep 2016, Alexandra Palace, Won 2 wickets
 Burnham sees red as runfest unfolds, Sun 08 May 2016, Old Chigwellians Club, Drawn
 Another tight finish, Sun 30 Aug 2015, Old Chigwellians Club, Lost 5 wickets
 PCC realise Chig ambitions , Sun 31 May 2015, Alexandra Palace, Won 7 wickets
 Plucky Pacific hang on for draw, Sun 31 Aug 2014, Old Chigwellians Club, Drawn
 Pacific 'Chig' deep for victory, Sun 25 May 2014, Alexandra Palace, Won 19 runs
 Pacific on top, Sun 01 Sep 2013, Old Chigwellians Club, Won 7 wickets
 Scores level in last-ball thriller, Sun 28 Apr 2013, Alexandra Palace, Drawn - scores level!
 To Mankad or not to Mankad? Scores level despite skipper's heroics, Sun 02 Sep 2012, Old Chigwellians Club, Drawn - scores level!
 Sight screens as rafts, Sun 29 Apr 2012, Broxbourne Sports Club, Cancelled
 Could not raise team, Sun 28 Aug 2011, Old Chigwellians Club, Forfeited
 If you thought South Africa choked ..., Sun 31 Jul 2011, Broxbourne Sports Club, Lost 8 runs
 Perfect April As Draw Sanctuary for Chigwell Removed, Sun 25 Apr 2010, Wray Crescent, Won By 117 runs
 Allum the key for Chigwell, Sun 26 Apr 2009, Wray Crescent, Drawn
 The Fairest of Draws, Mon 06 May 2002, Met Police Grd, Drawn
 Marathon spell from Mileham seals it, Mon 07 May 2001, Away, Won by 3 wkts