No recovering from 0 for 3
Pacific v London Fields at Springfield Park  Sat 05 May 2018 at 1pm
Lost by 60 runs
North East London Cricket League
 

Pacific got off to a faltering start in their debut in the North East London Cricket League after a catastrophic first over as they chased 205. But as the game was played in excellent spirits in the glorious sunshine of Hackney's bustling Springfield Park, with a few pints all together in the pub afterwards, both sides went home happy.

 After being peppered by skipper Toby with various pre-game reminders in the preceding 24 hours, including a not-quite parental warning to "have a turd before you leave home" as there are no toilets at the ground, Pacific were possibly the best prepared as they could possibly be for their first assault on the NELCL. As well as being league debutants, it was a new dawn for Pacific in other ways, as we were sprinkled with four players who had just joined the team this season. One of them, James McGinnigle, opened the bowling with Ben Stockton and soon the little-and-large seamers had sent both Fields' opening bats back to the hutch lbw, with Gough-a-like McG bagging the important wicket of Robin Friend after initially struggling with his length as he adapted to the move from early season friendlies on astroturf.

First-change bowlers Oli Haill and Alastair Pusinelli, another 2018 newcomer, both kept things relatively tight against the opposition skipper and the left-handed number three. Pusinelli, a slingy-wristed seamer with a tidy action, gave the batsmen very little room and the fact he was unlucky enough not to take a wicket was more to do with the fact that the batsmen were so pinned down than anything else. At the other end, Haill initially troubled his fellow leftie, getting some surprising bounce and having what seemed like a good call for a legside glove behind turned down, with a stumping chance the same over. But after going in for drinks at 92-2, Fields came out firing after the break.

The excellently named Bing Stanley was brought on to replace his pal Pusinelli and the caps-backwards pair were soon unleashing two of their favourite choreographed handshakes in celebration as the spinner had skipper Vijay caught trying a huge hoick and not long after coaxed an edge to the velvet hands of Sumeet Sharma. At the other end, Tom Ireland struck twice as the leftie was cooly pouched by Pusinelli running in from the deep and then was given an lbw decision that he said was "probably just hitting leg".

It's maybe best to point out now that the league has just introduced neutral umpires this season, and for those who weren't counting that was four leg-before decisions for Pacific. The ump, who arrived around 15 minutes late for the 1pm start, later proceeded to give us the hurry-up for bowling our overs too slowly and, as he was keeping score on a pocket-sized scoresheet, also had more than one dispute with the scorers. He also made a short phone call at one point and was also alleged to have taken a selfie. But then Billy Bowden's probably done that too. "Also," said Ben in the pub later, "I don't think I've ever seen an umpire not adjust a single batsman's guard the whole game."

Among the big hitting towards the death, another newcomer Ben Snodin, who was probably poised to be brought on for a bowl, got under a massive skyer but with the sun in his eye, was hit in the face by the plummeting ball. His sunglasses perhaps saved his eye from worse damage but a cut and an immediate swelling around his eye were worrying enough to see him leave the field in search of ice and possibly medical help. Big boundary hits from Fields' lanky lower-order helped the 2017 league champions to finish on 205.

After a bring-your-own-tea where the highlight was Paddy bringing a chopping board and knife to slice his fresh pineapple, Pacific's were blissfully unaware of their imminent doom.

The first ball of the first over of our first innings in the NELCL saw Pacific first-time batter Bing bung a wide one straight to point. Bada-bing, for tousle-haired Aussie bowler Phil Clark.

The second ball rapped Tom, Pacific's 2015 player of the season, high on the pad to a loud and excited appeal from what was already a tight ring of fielders. The third ball rapped Paddy high on the stumps to send the bails flying and Fields into raptures.

Sumeet, calm as ever, left the fourth ball but the fifth from towering Clark him on the knee-roll and after a big appeal Fields had their third wicket of the over.

Pacific were 0-3 and the first over of the innings hadn't even finished yet.

It's fair to say that Mutz Siddiqui, having been number five on the batting order, was not quite prepared to be taking his guard in the first over and did well to be fully kitted out, though he still had his car keys in his pocket it turned out. He could well have been excused for thinking he should start the car, but Mutz, who was born just round the corner from the ground, is a relaxed figure at the crease and despite the three flat tyres, he soon got the Pacific innings motoring with some of his typical chips and biffed boundaries. With Toby composed as ever at the other end, the watching Pacificos' heart rates soon could return to normal at the boundary's edge and in the new WhatsApp live-score group chat, riveted as their distant teammates righted the sinking ship to rev up to five-an-over into the 70s.

But after Toby was given lbw "a mile forward and outside off stump", he said, Ben went at a run-a-ball 17 before snicking behind off the erratic wrist-spinner Rupert Ekblom, who Google tells me is a lawyer. The legal leggie then got another when Mutz was caught mis-timing, having registered the innings' highest score of 55. When Aly was run out yet again in his Pacific career, returning for a second but well out of his crease to a direct hit from well in the deep, the chase was looking forlorn but the new breed of McGinnigle and Pusinelli showed some fight before the chase finally petered out in the face of a late burst from Troy Utz.

We repaired to the Anchor & Hope just along the River Lea, a lovely old-school boozer where along with a perfectly Hackney mix of clientele we enjoyed some beers and the sound-system-on-the-back-of-a-bike playing 1990s drum & bass until the sun went down. Aly, Ben and the skipper later took up the locals' closing-time offer to cross the river to the marshes for the full old-school experience of an illegal rave, but couldn't find the party.

Skipper Toby felt the spirit of the day was best encapsulated in the words of opposition Aussie, Troy Utz: "We're glad you've finally joined the league. Pacific is a team that brings proper cricket culture."

OMAH


London Fields v Pacific
Toss won by London Fields
 
London Fields innings Runs Mins Balls 4s 6s
  R Friend† lbw b McGinnigle  19  0  0  0  0  
  A Turner lbw b Stockton  4  0  0  0  0  
  P Teesdale c Pusinelli b Ireland  50  0  0  0  0  
  V Shah* c McGinnigle b Stanley  36  0  0  0  0  
  T Hughes c Sharma b Stanley  0  0  0  0  0  
  A McRindle not out  34  0  0  0  0  
  V Bharath lbw b Ireland  7  0  0  0  0  
  T Utz c Sharma b McGinnigle  21  0  0  0  0  
  P Clark not out  1  0  0  0  0  
  L Sayer did not bat  0  0  0  0  0  
  R Ekblom did not bat  0  0  0  0  0  
 Extras (b 11, lb 2, w 14, nb 10) 37    
 TOTAL (40.0 Overs) 205    
 
 
 Fall of wickets: 
 
Bowling O M R W  
 Ben Stockton 7 0 32 1  
 James McGinnigle 7 0 50 2  
 Oliver Haill 8 0 43 0  
 Alastair Pusinelli 8 1 26 0  
 Bing Stanley 5 0 26 2  
 Tom Ireland 5 1 14 2  
 
 
Pacific innings Runs Mins Balls 4s 6s
  Bing Stanley c point b P Clark  0  0  1  0  0  
  Toby Chasseaud* lbw b P Clark  20  0  41  3  0  
  Tom Ireland b P Clark  0  0  2  0  0  
  Sumeet Sharma† lbw b P Clark  0  0  2  0  0  
  Murtaza Siddiqui c mid off b R Ekblom  55  0  47  6  1  
  Ben Stockton c Friend b R Ekblom  17  0  17  2  0  
  Aly Duncan run out  1  0  7  0  0  
  James McGinnigle c mid off b R Ekblom  11  0  7  2  0  
  Alastair Pusinelli not out  10  0  24  1  0  
  Oliver Haill b T Utz  2  0  8  0  0  
  Ben Snodin b T Utz  0  0  10  0  0  
 Extras (b 8, lb 1, w 8, nb 5) 22    
 TOTAL (33.1 Overs) 145    
 
 
 Fall of wickets:  1-0 , 2-0 , 3-0 , 4-72 , 5-103 , 6-108 , 7-113 , 8-136 , 9-141 , 10-145
 
Bowling O M R W  
 P Clark 8 1 33 4  
 V Shah 7 0 32 0  
 R Ekblom 7 0 37 3  
 L Sayer 8 1 30 0  
 T Utz 3.1 1 4 2  
 
 

Other matches:
 Sun 23 Sep 2018, London Fields,
 Harry's 40-odd not enough, Mon 21 May 2018, Victoria Park Pitch 3, Lost
 Vijay tons up as Fields get their own back, Sat 21 Apr 2018, Wray Crescent, Lost by 6 wickets
 Fields of Glory for PCC in season opener , Sat 14 Apr 2018, Wray Crescent, Won by 3 wickets
 Chasseaud refinds form with family support, Sun 24 Sep 2017, London Fields, Won by 6 wickets
 Ringing but not winning, Wed 05 Jul 2017, Victoria Park Pitch 2, Lost by 3 wickets
 Fields bowling depth tips balance, Fri 14 Apr 2017, Wray Crescent, Lost by 4 wickets
 Fields washed away by Webbo 10,000, Sun 09 Oct 2016, Wray Crescent, Drawn
 Fields feel Pacific force, Sun 18 Sep 2016, London Fields, Won by 7 runs
 Sodden outfield dampens our spirits, Sat 16 Apr 2016, Wray Crescent, Cancelled
 Opening stand a hard act to follow, Sun 20 Sep 2015, London Fields, Won 90 runs
 Fields' Day, Sat 18 Apr 2015, Wray Crescent, Lost 122 runs
 The Party Balloon Popped, Sun 21 Sep 2014, London Fields, Won 123 Runs
 Sheldon superstar, Fri 18 Apr 2014, Wray Crescent, Won 78 runs
 No Tea, No Justice, Sun 22 Sep 2013, London Fields, Lost 6 wickets
 It's Miller Time, Sat 20 Apr 2013, Wray Crescent, Lost 5 wickets
 Precipitating pooches and felines, Sun 23 Sep 2012, London Fields, Cancelled
 Toby seals a triumph for the optimists, Sat 21 Apr 2012, Wray Crescent, Won by 36 runs
 Friends Day, Sun 18 Sep 2011, London Fields, Lost 148 runs
 Haroon leads successful chase, Thu 23 Jun 2011, Victoria Park Pitch 1, Won 6 wickets
 Haroon hundred on debut wins game, Sat 16 Apr 2011, Wray Crescent, Won 22 Runs
 Extras Star, Sat 22 May 2010, Wray Crescent, Lost 11 runs
 Picnickers Disturbed 5 Deep, Sun 09 Aug 2009, London Fields, Won 141 Runs
 Damp squib, Tue 07 Jul 2009, Victoria Park Pitch 1, Lost 3 wickets
 Lahri Steps Through Room 101, Sat 18 Apr 2009, Wray Crescent, Won 9 wickets
 Mothers Inspiration Sees Rees & Purcell Hit Heights, Mon 09 Jun 2008, Victoria Park Pitch 1, Won 1 Wicket
 Puck !, Tue 31 Jul 2007, Victoria Park Pitch 1, Lost 4 Wickets
 Defeat Almost Snatched From The Jaws of Victory, Tue 16 May 2006, Victoria Park Pitch 1, Won 4 wickets