48 days of hurt never stopped us dreaming
Pacific v Strongroom CC at Highgate Wood  Sat 28 Jul 2018 at 1.30pm
Won by 5 wickets
Friendly fixture
 

48 days. 1152 hours. 69,120 minutes. Most of June and July and have been largely unfruitful for PCC. The team has toiled tirelessly in the heat of a sweltering summer but the drought has extended to Pacific's record. Sumeet Sharma's storming 139* that sent PCC to its last win on June 10 now seems like a hazy mirage flickering on the horizon of our memory. But after the rains replenished the baked earth at Highgate Woods on Saturday, once again Pacific sipped the sweet taste of victory.

They say the smell of the air after a storm is caused by a chemical released by dead soil bacteria. The theory goes that humans are hypersensitive to it, as in our evolutionary past it helped us seek out water. But as a strong Pacific lineup arrived at the ground after an overnight deluge, it was positivity that was permeating the north London air.

It's testament to the club that this optimism has survived despite our recent run of results. Among the losses (and one draw) of the previous 48 days, we've seen exceptional individual and team performances, taking games to the wire in the hunt for that elusive victory. On Saturday the team were further buoyed by the news of a 9lb 12oz addition to the Pacific roster. The name O. Webly now seems destined to one day be engraved on the Player of the Season shield, whether awarded to Olivia or her days-old younger brother Otis.

James McGinnigle and Shaz Timbadia opened up against a Strongroom team with a few familiar faces. None more familiar than that of Paul Davis and Jim Davies, the two Pacificos drafted in to prop up an opposition who were short a couple of players. McGinnigle, bowling his uncompromising pace, made the first breakthrough after snaffling a returning ball that found the leading edge of Strongroom opener Fahim (7). Timbadia soon dismissed his partner. It was one lofty shot too many by Siddal, who picked out Stockton at waiting under a high ball at mid-on.

After the early wickets, batsmen numbers three and four, Mohammed and Vinay, steadied the Strongroom ship. James Soden - replacing Timbadia - finally broke the deadlock, with a little help from a sharp gully catch by Mutz Siddiqui to remove Mohammed (37). Davies (1) came out swinging, but Soden dropped back of a length and a skyer was soon comfortably nestled in Sharma's gloves. Vinay (23) had batted well but looked uncomfortable on a pitch that had started to pop and pea-roll as it dried out. It was a rank long hop from Stockton that finally did it for him, though. The ball was so slow and short it was on its way down by the time it reached Vinay, but it somehow found the top edge and Sharma made no mistake behind the stumps.

Strongroom took drinks on 99 for 4. The first ball at the restart barely got above ankle height, crashing into skipper Grant's leg stump to take them to 5 down. Garrett's offspin was on song, as he claimed 2 wickets in his five over spell, including a dangerous looking Rajeev. Ormesher made short work of the tail to keep Strongroom to 131, and took 2 wickets in just 1.3 overs, as Pacific cleaned up Strongroom in under 30 overs. The performance was only marred by a Soden dropped catch, which, as Ormesher had promised to buy everyone a pint if we held our chances, was likely the most devastating result of the past 48 days.

Toby Chasseaud (18) and Ben Burnham (9) strode out to begin Pacific's run chase, eagerly watched by Pacific legend James 'Nuggsy' Gleadow. Both made positive starts on a pitch that was looking increasingly difficult to bat on, but Strongroom skipper and opening bowler Grant eventually removed them both.

By all accounts Burnham was on the receiving end of an off-cutter that pitched a good yard outside off stick and took the bail off the top of leg. It was a second blow to the post-game pub trip, as Burnham was another embroiled in a 'pints-all-round' bet. The stipulations were that he must hit usual teammate, today opposition bowler, Davis, for a boundary the first ball he faces. Alas, given Burnham's dismissal, the two never met at the crease.

Sharma and Tom Ireland now went about chipping away at the 132-run target. But after a mix-up in the middle - the second between the pair in recent memory - Ireland (6) helplessly watched the ball thrown over his shoulder and the keeper whip the off bails. At least on this occasion Ireland managed to stay on his feet, avoiding a re-run of the embarrassing moment he suffered against Fives at Highgate CC, in which he found himself stranded on his arse and run out just as his girlfriend arrived to watch him bat.

Ormesher was the new man in and looked largely untroubled amid the balls popping up off a length. But it was an uncharacteristic miss of a straight one that eventually sent him packing for 15. Sharma (37) batted exceptionally but fell victim to the sort of quick glove work that he so often delivers himself.

With about 40 runs left to score at drinks and 5 wickets remaining, Pacific were cautious about celebrating prematurely - they had scored fewer runs and had lost more wickets than Strongroom had at this point of their innings. Alas, they shouldn't have been so worried. Less than 5 overs later, Siddiqui (7*) and Stockton (30*) steered Pacific to a well-deserved 5-wicket victory, their first weekend win for 48 days, 1152 hours, or 69,120 minutes.


Strongroom CC v Pacific
 
Strongroom CC innings Runs Mins Balls 4s 6s
  Siddal c Stockton b Timbadia  11  0  7  2  0  
  Fahim c & b McGinnigle  7  0  7  1  0  
  Mohammed c Siddiqui b Soden  37  0  30  5  0  
  Vinay c Sharma b Stockton  23  0  37  4  0  
  Jim Davies c Sharma b Soden  1  0  7  0  0  
  Grant* b Stockton  5  0  5  1  0  
  Robinson c Sharma b Ormesher  11  0  22  1  0  
  Rajeev st Sharma b Garrett  16  0  16  3  0  
  Paul Davis not out  0  0  4  0  0  
  Wilson c Chasseaud b Garrett  0  0  3  0  0  
  Marriot b Ormesher  0  0  3  0  0  
 Extras (b 4, lb 1, w 13, nb 2) 20    
 TOTAL (30.0 Overs) 131    
 
 
 Fall of wickets: 
 
Bowling O M R W  
 James McGinnigle 6 2 16 1  
 Sharan Timbadia 5 0 29 1  
 James Soden 5 0 19 2  
 Ben Stockton 8 2 19 3  
 Tim Garrett 5 0 24 2  
 John Ormesher 1.3 1 0 2  
 
 
Pacific innings Runs Mins Balls 4s 6s
  Toby Chasseaud c Fahim b Grant  18  0  22  4  0  
  Ben Burnham b Grant  9  0  15  1  0  
  Sumeet Sharma† st b Davis  37  0  52  6  0  
  Tom Ireland run out Grant  6  0  9  1  0  
  John Ormesher b Mohamed  15  0  16  3  0  
  Murtaza Siddiqui not out  7  0  17  0  0  
  Ben Stockton* not out  30  0  18  6  0  
  James Soden did not bat  0  0  0  0  0  
  Tim Garrett did not bat  0  0  0  0  0  
  Sharan Timbadia did not bat  0  0  0  0  0  
  James McGinnigle did not bat  0  0  0  0  0  
 Extras (b 2, lb 4, w 1, nb 1) 8    
 TOTAL (24.3 Overs) 133    
 
 
 Fall of wickets: 
 
Bowling O M R W  
 Grant 5.3 1 19 2  
 Mohamed 8 0 48 1  
 Vinay 4 0 18 1  
 Rajeev 3 0 18 0  
 Davis 3 0 10 1  
 Robinson 1 0 12 0  
 
 

Other matches:
 Stockton's strong arms not enough to down Strongroom, Sat 29 Sep 2018, Wray Crescent, Lost by 5 wickets
 Too wet in the woods, Sat 29 Jul 2017, Highgate Wood, Abandoned as a draw
 Momentum with Strongroom, Sat 08 Oct 2016, Wray Crescent, Lost 6 wickets
 The day the wheels fell off, Sat 10 Oct 2015, Wray Crescent, Lost 196 runs
 Sat 20 Jun 2015, Highgate Wood, Cancelled
 Kimchi, history and victory, Sat 11 Oct 2014, Wray Crescent, Won 83 Runs
 6 of the best, Sat 28 Jun 2014, Highgate Wood, Cancelled
 Hutchinson INXS, Sat 05 Oct 2013, Wray Crescent, Lost 42 runs
 Strongroom strongarmed out in dramatic win, Sat 29 Jun 2013, Highgate Wood, Won 4 runs
 Jittery collapse under October sun, Sat 06 Oct 2012, Wray Crescent, Lost 70 runs
 Pacific Outmuscled by Strongroom, Sat 30 Jun 2012, Highgate Wood, Lost by 41 runs
 October heatwave, Sat 01 Oct 2011, Wray Crescent, Lost 1 wicket
 A fielding performance to honour Rob, Sat 25 Jun 2011, Highgate Wood, Won 25 runs
 Wet Wiped, Sat 02 Oct 2010, Wray Crescent, Won 5 wickets
 Strong Aroon Not Enough, Sat 04 Sep 2010, Highgate Wood, Lost 1 wicket
 Strongroom's Strongest, Sat 03 Oct 2009, Wray Crescent, Lost 149 runs
 Away Or At The Oval, Sat 22 Aug 2009, Highgate Wood, Cancelled
 Strongroom Out To Pasture As Roy Ruminates At The WC, Sat 04 Oct 2008, Wray Crescent, Won 88 runs
 Probably For The Best, Sat 06 Sep 2008, Highgate Wood, Cancelled
 Kendo Keeps Bastin EverReady, Sat 06 Oct 2007, Wray Crescent, Won 6 Wickets
 Strongroom Capitalise on Claird Skies, Sat 12 May 2007, Highgate Wood, Lost 4 wickets
 Strongroom Not Airtight, Sat 16 Sep 2006, Wray Crescent, Lost 1 run
 Brittle Middle Strongarmed Away, Sat 13 May 2006, Highgate Wood, Lost 5 wickets
 Strong Team Effort Just the Ticket!, Sat 17 Sep 2005, Wray Crescent, Won 8 wickets
 Sat 21 May 2005, Wray Crescent, Cancelled