View from the Sumeet
Pacific v Luton Town at Alexandra Palace  Sun 16 Jul 2017 at 2pm
Won by 2 Wickets
Friendly fixture

After last week's banana-skin against our local nemesis, Black Rose, it was back to winning ways again. No more than you might expect, having skittled the opposition for 101 in 25 overs. However, although our fears in advance of the game proved unfounded (i.e. that Luton Town CC sounded ominously like a 1st XI, and that Pete "Melchett" Holman might have sent us over the top again to another Hoddesdon-style massacre), they turned out to be not just a bowling side, but a bloody good one. We only needed 2.5 an over in order to win, but had to scrap for almost our full ration of 40 until we finally crawled, limped and heaved ourselves over the line with about 9 balls to spare.

Once again we were confronted with testing bowling that offered almost nothing in the way of free hits (and an outstanding keeper who just refused to concede a bye on the rare occasions the bowlers strayed), and once again we almost folded. That we did not, in the face of fielding tighter than a gnat's g-string and bowling meaner than a Tory immigration campaign, was down to a masterclass of controlled self-denial by our keeper-batsman. Sumeet has been as guilty as most of us of this season's lemming-like tendency to not show good bowling enough respect and try and hit our way out of trouble before really getting set - but not this time. Playing carefully within himself on a tricky pitch (that bounced more than is usual at Ally Pally but still threw in the odd grubber for old times' sake) he played watchfully for almost the entire innings, waiting for the rare bad ball and then dispatching it clinically, chiefly via brutal cuts through cover-point.

Having done his skipperly duty and made sure everyone else had a decent bowl, Hussain found his team performed too darn well to allow him a trundle himself, so opted for one of his rare forays up the order 'to blunt the new-ball attack'. The result was no different from the usual outcome in his customary position ten places lower (nought), but he is at least illustrating what remarkable variety a scoreless innings can encompass, and underlined his credentials as one of the club's true 360degree players, stroking 0s all round the wicket. In a change from propping forwards to try and hold up an end for the last remaining batsman, he this time found himself fending off both the new ball and a series of sharp lifting outswingers that were utterly wasted on him. He also found himself batting in a lid for the first time ever, after some hurried consultation of the club's Public Liability insurance resulted in Webbo sprinting on from the boundary and urging sanity to prevail.

At the other end, Jay resisted with considerably more skill, but found the going equally tough, managing just one edge for 4 down to third man before yet another yorker snuck through, and the skipper fell the same way. We'd opted to bat for 10 overs before tea owing to the early end of their innings, and were already something like 19-3 before the kettle had boiled. Poor old Ben Burnham discovered that the cricketing Gods aren't happy with just having a sh*t in his bed, they want to piss in his shoes and puke in his wardrobe, too, with a brave attempt to break the shackles resulting in a catch to mid-on and a forlorn trudge back to the pavilion. Some extremely proactive skippering rang the changes throughout, getting through an entire Rubik's cube's worth of bowling permutations that must have unsettled the scorer almost as much as the batsmen. It's certainly novel for so many bowlers to have third spells when limited to a maximum of eight overs each.

A resolute Ali hung around for longer than almost anyone, and was third top scorer (with 12!) before falling to yet another Joel Garner-esque yorker speared in from wide on the crease. Webbo appeared comfortable in defence for his short innings, but tried to launch a brisk offie from their skipper and only found the deep-set straight field. Tim looked good on debut, and hit a couple of confident shots before another toe-crusher saw him off as well. Enter Stockton, whose long stride and even bigger bat have ridden to the aid of many a distressed innings this year. A busy stand with Sumeet made the bowling look a lot less threatening. and almost got us within touching distance. But with the onlookers' buttocks just starting to unclench, he took on their skipper and the straight field, and perished the same way as Webbo. Given his contributions this season, and that one big over would've made the match a near certainty, one can hardly blame him, but with Shaz also falling soon after it meant another round of squeaky bottoms, and we were grateful for Aroon's calm head and strategic left-handedness to see us home.

Earlier in the day some meticulous bowling from Stockton and Saunders had met a truly bizarre batting display from Luton Town. After a dozen overs they had barely scored 20 runs, were already about 4 down, had not hit a single boundary, and all of the batsmen had looked unconvincing at best. The skipper was pondering feeding them some runs to make a bit of a game of it, and idly wondering if Ali Duncan's moment of bowling glory might have arrived, but wiser heads dissuaded him, on the grounds that you never know. Just as well, because what we didn't know was that they were an excellent bowling side whose batting consisted of about five no 7s, an assortment of 9s, 10s and 11s, plus Shahid Afridi.

Boom Boom of Bedfordshire strode in and spanked a number of scorching straight drives, with an unfortunate Timbadia, understandably rusty in his first game for over a month, copping the brunt. A courageous over of spin from Aroon took the pace off the ball, and a no-less-ferocious amount of swing from Boom Boom resulted in only 1 run of ding, whereupon Webbo curved one into the top of middle-and-leg to bag the most vital of his 4 scalps. Just in the nick of time, too: another 20 or 30 runs might well have been too many against their attack. With some relieved fielders daring to creep back in from the boundary, Aroon then hoovered up most of their tail, with debutant Tim bagging the last man after three overs of well-controlled off-spin. 


PS. On Behalf of Luton Town CC i Would Like To Thankyou For Hosting Us. It was Great Close Game. Lads Enjoyed It . So thankyou Again Goodluck for rest of the season.. We shall see you guys Next Season.Regards Nasir

Luton Town v Pacific
Toss won by Luton Town
Luton Town innings Runs Mins Balls 4s 6s
 Extras (b 0, lb 2, w 5, nb 2) 9    
 TOTAL (25.0 Overs) 101    
 Fall of wickets: 
Bowling O M R W  
 Ben Stockton 5 4 4 1  
 John Saunders 5 0 6 0  
 Jon Webley 6 0 23 4  
 Sharan Timbadia 3 0 29 1  
 Aroon Korgaonkar 5 0 22 3  
 Tim Garrett 2.3 0 8 1  
Pacific innings Runs Mins Balls 4s 6s
  Jay Lakhani b Waqar  4  0  15  1  0  
  Ahmed Hussain b Arslan  0  0  22  0  0  
  Sumeet Sharma† not out  65  0  7  9  0  
  Ben Burnham c ? b Arslan  1  0  5  0  0  
  Aly Duncan b Arslan  12  0  31  1  0  
  Jon Webley c ? b captain  1  0  10  0  0  
  Tim Garrett  3  0  11  0  0  
  Ben Stockton c ? b captain  15  0  21  1  0  
  Sharan Timbadia b Waqar  2  0  7  0  0  
  Aroon Korgaonkar not out  0  0  5  0  0  
  John Saunders did not bat  0  0  0  0  0  
 Extras (b 0, lb 2, w 2, nb 0) 4    
 TOTAL (38.3 Overs) 105    
 Fall of wickets: 
Bowling O M R W  

Other matches:
 Sat 31 Aug 2019, Markyate & Luton Town CC,
 Magic 8 Ball sighted in Luton win, Sat 01 Sep 2018, Away, Won by 3 wickets