Magic 8 Ball sighted in Luton win
Pacific v Luton Town at Away  Sat 01 Sep 2018 at 1.30pm
Won by 3 wickets
Friendly fixture

As a cricket afficianado, there is little that can happen on the field of play which brings a more unexplainable joy than the all-run four. Magnificent catches, massive sixes and cartwheeling stumps are showier and perhaps more memorable, but there something special about the batsmen completing four runs without the intervention of the boundary. How to feel then, about an all run four being followed by its comedic long lost cousin, the four overthrows? Many of us will have seen sixes and sevens scored this way, but an eight? 

The incident in question came off the second ball the eleventh over of Pacific's chase, bowled by first change Sajjad. His first delivery had already raised eyebrows as the tearaway quick hurled himself into his delivery stride on a dusty pitch and lost his footing entirely, tumbling after the ball before coming to rest in a heap in the middle of the pitch. A single dot in the scorebook didn't quite do that one justice, but the scorers were to have their own moment seconds later.

The batsman, as so often for Pacific, was Chasseaud, who was already motoring along nicely with an early cover drive for four having alerted the hosts to his ability. Sajjad ran in and bowled, a little too wide, and was met with a cut shot with force enough to all but reach the boundary without crossing it. The less than enthuastic point fielder jogged after the ball as the batsmen completed three runs, and unfurled a rather underpowered throw which may have reached the keeper on the fourth or fifth bounce. Alert to the opportunity, Chasseaud called Pacific number three John Deighan back for a risky fourth run, and the debutant would have been run out at the bowlers end by a powerful throw but for the ball missing the stumps and tearing off to the boundary after the batsmen had made their ground. After he'd finished laughing, the umpire shouted "That's an EIGHT" to the scorers, clearly unable to find a hand signal for "an all run four and a boundary of buzzers" in his MCC Umpire's handbook.

That was perhaps the most memorable moment of the game, but it was not the only notable incident of the day. Earlier, Luton had compiled a decent total of 190 after being 80-6 at drinks as some looser Pacific bowling allowed them to get away after a strong start in which Sumant Kumar (3-18) and Jon Webley (3-43) had made early inroads. After an in-hindsight cunningly heavy tea of takeaway pizza, chips and Irn-Bru provided by our hosts, a Pacific side started the chase with less emphasis on quick singles that might otherwise have been seen. Accordingly, opener Tom Davies compiled an impressively obstinate 1 from 25 balls alongside Chasseaud, who had passed his captaincy duties onto Tom Ireland for the day due to a hangover.

Pacific looked comfortable with Chasseaud (48) and Webley (39) showing their class at the wicket, but the game turned when Toby was caught in the covers off Sajjad and the home side promptly introduced their spinner. Fezan, the aforementioned spinner, had a mixed first over in which he bowled five full tosses and conceded nine runs. There was a warning of what was to come though, with the lone pitching ball landing well outside Webley's leg stump and turning across him to comfortably miss off. You could hear the intake of breath on the boundary from the middle, and it was justified.

Fezan's next brought the breakthrough, another huge turner ripping past the swing of Webley, who had clearly decided to hit the spinner off his line, and a smart stumping was completed by the keeper. In came Zahid (Zee) Ali at six, and promptly repeated the same events with remarkable accuracy, departing stumped first ball and sending the familiar and comforting feeling of the Pacific collapse through the team. Mutz Siddiqui came in at 7 to join captain Ireland and settled things down a little before Tom became the spinner's third victim, this time caught at mid on. At least he managed to hit one.

With six wickets down, Pacific needed someone to stick around and support Mutz, but it was not to be Dinsey (4) who played the spinner well but then edged a lifter from the paceman at the other end behind to depart with almost 50 still required and only three wickets in hand. Nerves were building in some quarters, but not for captain emeritus Chasseaud, who described himself as "2 out of 10 concerned", and, perhaps more importantly, for #9 batsman Sumant Kumar, who blocked his first fifteen balls before switching gear and going on the attack, eventually matching batting partner Mutz with 28 not out apiece as the victory was confirmed. It all seems a little simpler in hindsight than it did at the time.

Despite the long journey to the ground, a good time was had by all and plenty of material was provided for the match report. On another, duller day I may have spent paragraphs talking about the Jon Webley chilli sauce catapult, Mutz's near death experiences at the hands of Ghana's Cricket Ambassador or our forthcoming tour to West Africa which is being arranged, very kindly, by Arup Sen. But those stories will have to wait for another day as I've agreed to play again on Sunday and need to go and get my kit together. A good win, and a great game.


Luton Town v Pacific
Toss won by Luton Town
Luton Town innings Runs Mins Balls 4s 6s
  Shaudas c Chasseaud b Webley  54  0  0  0  0  
  Fezan lbw b Kumar  5  0  0  0  0  
  Rahber b Kumar  0  0  0  0  0  
  Nazaqat c Chasseaud b Ireland  9  0  0  0  0  
  Nassir b Webley  0  0  0  0  0  
  Mulasin b Sen  7  0  0  0  0  
  Waqar b Webley  18  0  0  0  0  
  Tasaunar run out Webley  17  0  0  0  0  
  Milko lbw b Kumar  34  0  0  0  0  
  Sajjad c Deighan b Ireland  30  0  0  0  0  
  Ali* not out  1  0  0  0  0  
 Extras (b 4, lb 0, w 5, nb 2) 11    
 TOTAL (32.1 Overs) 190    
 Fall of wickets: 
Bowling O M R W  
 Tom Ireland 7.1 1 25 2  
 Sumant Kumar 8 2 18 3  
 Jon Webley 8 0 43 3  
 Arup Sen 5 0 38 1  
 Jasbir Basi 2 0 24 0  
 Rob Dinsey 2 0 12 0  
 John Deighan 4 0 26 0  
Pacific innings Runs Mins Balls 4s 6s
  Toby Chasseaud c Cover b Sajjad  48  0  36  7  0  
  Tom Davies c Mid-off b Rahber  1  0  25  0  0  
  John Deighan c Midwicket b Nassir  6  0  10  1  0  
  Jon Webley st b Fezan  39  0  28  8  0  
  Tom Ireland* c Mid-off b Fezan  31  0  30  5  0  
  Zahid Ali st b Fezan  0  0  1  0  0  
  Murtaza Siddiqui† not out  28  0  34  3  0  
  Rob Dinsey c Wicketkeeper b Nassir  4  0  5  0  0  
  Sumant Kumar not out  28  0  24  5  0  
  Arup Sen did not bat  0  0  0  0  0  
  Jasbir Basi did not bat  0  0  0  0  0  
 Extras (b 7, lb 2, w 0, nb 0) 9    
 TOTAL (34.3 Overs) 191    
 Fall of wickets: 
Bowling O M R W  
 Waqar 8 1 26 0  
 Rahber 5.3 1 28 1  
 Sajjad 4 0 42 1  
 Nassir 8 0 42 2  
 Fezan 8 0 43 3  
 Tas 1 0 5 0  

Other matches:
 Sat 31 Aug 2019, Markyate & Luton Town CC,
 View from the Sumeet, Sun 16 Jul 2017, Alexandra Palace, Won by 2 Wickets