Palm Sunday
Pacific v Palm Tree at Highgate Wood
Sun 17 Jun 2018 at 1:30pm
Lost by 51 runs
Friendly fixture

In a first meeting between the two sides who share a logo, Palm Tree prevailed by 50 runs. Rather than any exoticism associated with the coconut bearing perennial though, it was canny know-how and bulldog spirit which won out.

Put into bat at Highgate Woods, Palm Tree started cautiously against the new ball of Kumar and Mcginnigle. James made the breakthrough with a ball which shot along the square to disturb Hamer’s offstump.

Green helmeted number two Colin started to free his arms, essaying favoured shots through the covers and down the ground. He also rode his luck, and we might have had him caught at extra cover off Stockton and in the slips off Howes’ new seam offering. Under heavy cloud cover, Pacific’s fielding effort was a little bit lethargic. Palm had a thirst for runs and too often we allowed them to turn ones into twos.

But Ahmed Hussain’s early introduction brought us back into the game. With just the fourth ball of his spell he evaded Moore’s bat and found the top of off stump. Palm - 81 for 2.

Hussain was having his way now.  Batsmen who’d hit through the ball with impunity were now shackled, staying in the pose of defensive shots to give a semblance of control. On 56 Colin's patience wore thin with finite effect and was bowled by another Hussain pearler.

The beatific Ramoo, in at 5, lived a charmed life. He could have been stumped twice off Hussain by Rob Dinsey, who, standing in for our regular wickies, did an otherwise sterling job. He scored an improbable 49 off just 34 balls before Stockton pouched a good catch at mid-on off that man Hussain again. If legspinners are cricket’s artists then Hussain was the Turner Prize winner on the day, the 22 yards of finely cut grass his expansive canvas. Rafiq and Jasbir also got some overs under their belts, Jas looking much more economical.

 We reined Palm in, with Stockton bowling a hostile and skilful second spell, as Abbas and Tennison nurdled the ball around, missed a lot. They couldn’t get the ball past a revived Ben Burnham, who, having taken an earlier emergency toilet break, was now on point at point. Kumar trapped ‘Alfred Lord’ Tennison for 13 with his fast and full seam up, but Palm rallied through Robbins, whose quick 25 saw Palm put on 35 in the last 3.5 overs to reach 225 off 40.

After a really nice tea, the highlight of which were a hefty bag of homemade samosas made by Ramoo, debut opening partnership of Lakhani and Ratta got Pacific’s chase off to a fine start. Lakhani hit the shot of the day, an exquisite James Vince-like cover drive off Abbas for, while Raf clipped a ball behind square.

Raf’s departure (7) brought a determined Burnham to the crease. Palm had taken the old ball, and the wily old Abbas Mirza was bowling a full length, forcing Lakhani into jamming down on defensive strokes. Ben played a careful innings before he skied a ball to Cromarty.

Cromarty, a headband-wearing S. African with evident passion for the game, now replaced seamer Raymond at the net end. At tea he told Kieran he was ‘intimidated’ by the skipper for the day’s buttoned 100% cotton shirt, but the offspinner showed he wasn’t cowed by twirling onto a sixpence from the start, oohing and aahing after every ball. A rare pie was thwacked aerially by the in-form Lakhani but unfortunately he’d picked out another Palm fielder, who took another good catch. Three wickets, three catches for Palm. They showed us exactly how to apply pressure in the field, supporting eachother after each heroic dive to prevent boundaries.

Stockton joined Mullens at the crease, the score 47 for 3 after 11. Cromarty was keeping it tight varying his speeds and throwing in the occasional leggie to keep us on guard. ‘Speedy’ Russell was also deployed. The genial Palm Treer wasn’t quick, but his singular brand of dobble, somehwhat reminiscent of NZ’s ODI specialist Chris Harris, proved hard to get away. Save for a couple of hefty blows down the ground from Stockton, the pair had to rely on quick singles.

Their committed outfielders, expertly placed in the deep, were also saving the runs which Pacific had earlier gifted. Now captain Robbins had brought his left arm spin on, forcing us to generate the pace with a softening ball, pitch and in deteriorating light. Mullens had a couple of lives. One LBW shout rolled back to the stumps off his pads, hit the base but didn’t disturb the bails. Not long after, he mishit a fulltoss which Robbins parried. Trying to up the pace, he backed his speed but was run out by a direct throw for a grinding 20, ending up on the turf as his legs gave out.

Howes showed he’s improved his batting with a nice 18 at six, and Stockton continued with measured work. But Palm had more up their sleeve, left arm veteran P Moore in fact, whose first four overs went for just 12. Both batters eventually got out to this same bowler, Ben for a mature 50 off 70. Kumar and McGinnigle scored 30 in the last three to take us up to a competitive 175. It was pleasing to see the wonderful flicked KP shots of the one dubbed ‘The Putney Flamingo’ once again.

It was an enjoyable day, played in good spirit, against an oppo who we hope to play again for sure. We got talking of haikus after the game in The Woodman pub. I asked us to write one to describe the game.

Ahmed sums up the day well:

Nice ground. Samosas.

Bowling tight. Hard to score runs.

Oppo win. Bugger.



Palm Tree v Pacific
Toss won by Pacific
Palm Tree innings  R  M  B  4  6
C Hamer   b McGinnigle   4  0  21  0  0  
C McAndrew   b Hussain   56  0  59  6  0  
P Moore   b Hussain   26  0  34  3  0  
R Kadunakadan   c Stockton b Hussain   49  0  32  6  1  
J Tennison   lbw b Kumar    13  0  41  0  0  
A Mirza   run out Dinsey    25  0  33  2  0  
M Robins*   not out    25  0  13  0  0  
M Cromarty   did not bat    0  0  0  0  0  
L Faull†   did not bat    0  0  0  0  0  
H Raymond   did not bat    0  0  0  0  0  
S Russel   did not bat    0  0  0  0  0  
 Extras (b 10, lb 5, w 9, nb 2) 26    
 TOTAL (40.0 Overs) 225    
 Fall of wickets: 
Bowling  O  M  R  W  
 James McGinnigle   8  1  32  1  
 Sumant Kumar   4  0  17  1  
 Ben Stockton   9  1  43  0  
 Sam Howes   5  0  32  0  
 Ahmed Hussain   8  0  34  3  
 Rafiq Ratta   3  0  24  0  
 Jasbir Basi   2  0  11  0  
 Kieran Mullens   1  0  14  0  
Pacific innings  R  M  B  4  6
Jay Lakhani   c Deep sq lg b Cromarty   26  0  42  3  0  
Rafiq Ratta   c W Keeper b Mirza   7  0  5  1  0  
Ben Burnham   c Cromarty b Mirza   9  0  21  1  0  
Kieran Mullens*   run out Robins    20  0  34  1  0  
Ben Stockton   c Deep mid on b Moore   50  0  70  4  1  
Sam Howes   c Mid on b Moores   18  0  35  1  0  
Sumant Kumar   not out    23  0  15  2  0  
James McGinnigle   not out    13  0  13  2  0  
Jasbir Basi   did not bat    0  0  0  0  0  
Rob Dinsey†   did not bat    0  0  0  0  0  
Ahmed Hussain   did not bat    0  0  0  0  0  
 Extras (b 0, lb 0, w 0, nb 0) 0    
 TOTAL (40.0 Overs) 174    
 Fall of wickets: 
Bowling  O  M  R  W