Everyone's a winner at the end-of-season dinner
Sat 11 Nov 2017 
Club news item

At a well attended end-of-season dinner, held at The Great Northern Railway Tavern in Hornsey, the winners of various trophies were announced as follows:

Player of the season: Ben Stockton: 48 wickets, 447 runs, 10 catches
Best newcomer: Mutz Siddique
Most improved player: Ahmed Hussain and Mark Woodland
Best fielder: Sumeet Sharma: 15 catches, 8 stumpings, 3 run outs
Most runs: Toby Chasseaud: 1046 runs at average of 47.55. Two centuries. Seven fifties.
Most wickets: Ben Stockton: 48 wickets at an average of 12.94
Ping pong champion: James Collis
Pool champion: Toby Chasseaud

Ten Pin Champion: Ben Stockton
Golf champion: Steve Richards
Quiz champion: Toby Chasseaud

Those present were also subjected to a speech by the club captain, as follows:

Ladies and Gentlemen

Welcome to the Pacific End of Season Dinner 2017, where we celebrate all that was best about the season.

We are of course also looking forward to the eagerly awaited Pacific quiz, which will reportedly feature top-secret revelations about Pacific members – or perhaps I should rephrase that because, as Ben has stressed, we do want to keep it clean this evening.

Now, so that we can accommodate the quiz, and after my speech last year was timed at a record-breaking and sleep-inducing 42 minutes, some of you may be relieved to hear that I shall keep it brief this year.

So please bear with me for six minutes – painful though that may be – and cast your minds back to September, when the social secretary, Ben Burnham, was first publicising this dinner.

On 18th September, he wrote to the Pacific mailing list:
"Dear members. The annual dinner will be held on 11 November. This is THE social event of the Pacific calendar. The captain's speech will no doubt be as humorous as we've come to expect, and it should be a good opportunity to laugh at Ben Stockton as he leaves empty-handed. Please let me know if you can make it. Best wishes, Ben"

A few days passed, some early birds signed up to attend, and in the meantime the committee discussed possible venues and what format might work best.

Then, on 25th September, at 11am, the Chairman wrote:
"I was wondering if the captain would want to do a big speech again. In the interests of avoiding more inappropriate laughs about how I apparently look like a certain someone, perhaps we could try something else this time?"

At 7.15pm, Ben replied:
"I like the speech, and I think it's appropriate that the captain does it. Chairman, maybe if the captain promises not to compare you to a certain someone this year that would alleviate your concerns?"

Apparently placated, at 10.20pm, the Chairman replied:
"I like speeches and last year's was one that seemed to be much enjoyed by the boozy Pacific faithful – lovers of bantz to a man, woman and child. No, if the captain's happy to keep giving a speech, it's a good tradition to keep up. I'm happy for him to give whatever sort of speech he wants. Long live the speeches!"

Thank you, Chairman. Long live the speeches indeed. Let's raise a glass, to the Chairman!

Now, I said I'd keep it reasonably short, but I have to give the club founder, Pete Hollman, a mention.

Since setting up Pacific CC in 1983, Pete has put hundreds of hours into club business, getting trophies made, and organising fixtures, which he has thus become an expert in.

Indeed, the fixture list has evolved beautifully over the years, with Pete assessing possible oppositions on a list of criteria including the quality of the pitch, the tea (very important!) and public transport links.

But of course the main thing that Pete tries to ensure is a closely matched game against an opposition of similar strength to us, and he always delivers. Except for once.

You see ahead of this season Pete decided we could do with a challenge, so he entered us into the Conference Cup, and we found ourselves playing a match that would go down in history as The Hoddesdon Massacre.

Here I shall borrow from that fateful day's match report as published in The Irish Post.

Somehow, in the first round we were up against Hoddesdon's 1st XI, who play in the Championship of the Saracens Hertfordshire League, the second tier of the county's 21 divisions, just a few rungs below professional cricket.

After losing the toss and trying not to cry in the changing room, we took to the field in bright sunshine in front of a small crowd of intrigued locals. And then… well, the scoreline says it all. They hit 499 runs in 45 overs. They put on 231 before we took a wicket. And they went from 399 to 499 in seven overs.

Obviously none of our bowling figures were too flattering – with Ravi's perfectly respectable nine overs being hit for exactly a hundred, and Sam Howes' five overs going for 84. And it wasn't just mental scars that we went away with, as Sumant's hand was almost blown off trying to take a caught-and-bowled.

In reply we struggled our way to 118 and seemed to be in self-destruct mode by then, with our heads so scrambled that three of us ran ourselves out.

Thankfully it wasn't all doom, as George Moses compiled a classy 57 to show that at least he wasn't out of his depth. But he was the exception to the rule, the next highest score being 16.

So, Pete, I think I speak for all who played in that game when I say: Thanks for that, but don't do it again.

Let's raise a glass, to Pete!

One other person who I must mention is, of course, our match manager extraordinaire, Kieran Mullens, otherwise known as the K Dog, or, to give him his Russian name, Mullenski.

Kieran has really kept the club going for the last few years, raising a side every week and keeping us motivated with his passion for the game. He is indeed the life and soul of the club – its beating heart.

So let's all raise a glass to Kieran and I shall toast him in Russian:
"Nu… Za, Mullenski! Nu… Za!"

And finally to absent friends, who we wish were here. And especially James Gleadow, who is, I think we can all agree, the very definition of a club legend. To Nuggsy!