Bloomin' heck
Pacific v Bloomsbury Royals CC at Millfields Park
Sat 16 Jun 2018 at 1pm
Lost by 75
North East London Cricket League

After the match there were no other volunteers to write the match report, Mutz says the string of recent top-quality reports has scared everyone off, but I figured why not. I just finished writing a 58,000 word thesis on the relative merits of medium-specific evaluative strategies of digital art, I'm sure I could knock this thing out.

The problem of course is: how to write a decent match report about a completely indecent match?

My typical solution to this sort of problem is to write make the match report actually about writing match reports, not about a thoroughly un-memorable game of cricket. But that takes a bit of effort and in this case I'm in a lousy mood because my body still aches from the match and it's too early on Sunday to start drinking (even for me), so I'm just going to write subjectively and see how it goes.

First up, the weather. The forecast said partly-cloudy and 19 and, like most forecasts lately, it was off. Definitely colder, and it got properly cold as the day went on. I was looking for a pleasant day in the field, as I'd been having nightmares about a 3am cab ride home two nights previous. This cabbie, he sounded "east" London, I guess he was from Chelmsford or something, heard my American accent and immediately wanted to tell me what a big supporter he is of the Patriots NFL team and he much he loves the USA. Fine, American football, I can talk about that, no problem. Then, seeing as that bit of chat went ok, he dove in with how I surely must agree with him that Trump is doing an amazing job, that surely I must agree that Black Lives Matter is pathetic and "those people" should just take care of themselves, and on and on. Everything I replied to this cabbie, such as "sure I'm cautiously optimistic about Korea, but the agreement said nothing and it was a smokescreen for all the problems Trump's created", and "actually Black Lives Matter are just arguing for the equality that BAME people have always deserved and are legally guaranteed" or "actually police in the states do statistically treat people of BAME heritage differently, including arrest and kill them much more often per capita" was met with another automatic FOX News sound-byte. He even said how much he enjoyed chatting with me as I got out of the cab! First thing I thought was "Now that Trump's been around for over a year, is this what I am as an American overseas? Some literal representative of a demented, buffoon of a President?" How annoying. Secondly I thought how it's still shocking to meet someone so angry with the world for their lot, even when their lot is pretty great and they are unwilling to think outside of their own media consumption. Especially in England where generally things are supposed to be a bit more thoughtful than, say, the country of my birth. And specifically with this cabbie - apparently their brains expand from doing The Knowledge, but this fellow seemed to just fill all that extra capacity with propaganda. But then I remembered, oh wait, there are millions of people like that in England, and they all voted for Brexit. And this ladies and gentleman, is one of the reasons I play cricket: days spent in the field with my cricket mates help me get depressing thoughts like this out of my head.

Anyway, back to the match, and what to say about the oppo? Bloomsbury Royals. Well, short for one thing. I'd be surprised if they had a single player over 5'6" in socks. So while it could have been an entire team of Tendulkar's, it also seemed straight-away that there was an opening for bouncers from our bowlers and aerial strokes from our batsmen (sadly we exploited neither). Second is that the team was south Asian but for a single white (English by the sounds of it) player. Someone referred to him as their "token" white player, which makes sense as a turn-of-phrase but then I thought about it. Surely a "token" gets you something..that's what tokens are, a representation of some value. But what does this team get for that guy? Usually it's the other way around - I'll find, say, one player of Caribbean heritage on a team as if to prove to the world that England Cricket's policy of selling out to SKY and keeping cricket off terrestrial TV for a generation had NO NEGATIVE EFFECT WHATSOEVER ON THE TAKEUP OF YOUTH CRICKET OR THE MAKEUP OF ENGLISH CRICKETERS. NONE. But what is the point of having one white person on your team? I mean, really, what is the point of white people anyway?? I'm white, and I want to know.

Mutz won the toss and chose to bowl. He likes bowling first - fair enough - but he also said Pacific bat better when we chase. After today's evidence I'd encourage him to revisit that reasoning. Bloomsbury were put in and it's fair to say that they didn't look spectacular batsmen, but they were strangely hard for us to get out nonetheless. It really should have been a day for seam: cloudy, breezy, occasional little rain drop. Shaz was accurate, I got the ball moving and John was quick and very economical, but we took a single measly wicket between us, the rest going to the spinners. At one point Bloomsbury was approaching 200 for 4 and it looked like 300 was on...which for some reason felt get-able on this pitch at the time. However we then quickly got to the tail - John's wicket was their last decent bat - and they ended up all out for 238 after Umrish and Tim cleaned up the last few. I have to say that very little has stayed with me from my time in the field on 16th June 2018...I think I was still dealing with the traumatic cab ride. I recall that Mutz made a fantastic catch diving to his right (although after dropping an absolute sitter that would have opened my account this season) and overall I think we fielded well. Toby made his first ever catch wearing sports glasses. Big moment. Toby also took a catch at the long-on boundary, screaming "MINE!! MINE!!" at the top of his lungs while there was absolutely no-one else around for miles. I told him good job he called it so brilliantly because it could have really been dangerous. I also remember some strong throws in from the outfield, perhaps something a former baseball player like myself appreciates more than most.

So now we bat, and a 239 target seemed to put us at a slight advantage, even when we didn't have our strongest team. Then we saw their opening bowlers. Sakil was not quite rapid, but definitely quick enough (off a very short run-up) to be uncomfortable. He did us with a dirt cheap 9 runs off 6 overs, and he bowled Toby's leg stump for 12. That sent out Umrish, who'd I'd just met that afternoon. Seems a lovely guy, and he shone at the crease...unfortunately it wasn't his batting, it was his hair. Unbelievable really. Umrish has this long mane of jet-black hair that falls almost to his waist. He tied it up in a bun when he was bowling, but when batting it's in a pony-tail, flowing in the wind out of his helmet and down his back as he ran. I told my wife about it when I got home and she said it sounds like I have "hair envy". I guess that's a thing. Anyway Tim is scoring at this point and getting irritated with the umpire's inability to signal leg-byes, or really any bye at all. There are a couple more obvious leg-byes run and Tim stands up and shouts "LEG BYE?!?!? LEG BYE?!?!?!?" after another non-signal. The umpire looks at him weird and nods, and Tim says some vaguely belittling comment about not being able to signal properly. The rational person would've thought "If I know that something I say might piss off someone in authority, especially as it's relatively trivial in the greater scheme of things, perhaps it would actually be more helpful to just keep quiet." Because the thing is, Tim knew what was going to happen next as he then said "I bet I've pissed him off and now he's going to give LBW's" - the umpire hadn't given one LBW for either side all afternoon after probably ten decent shouts. And whad’ya know, poor Umrish, who looked solid in the way that you can tell someone has had some proper coaching, is out a couple balls later LBW. Out LBW to a ball that he hit, BTW. Thank you, Tim.

So after all the leg-bying and LWB’ing, Umrish is out for 4, and Jay is then out for 12, bowled. At this point someone on our side said "yeah they're Asian, but they're Bangladeshi, which means they can field". The person who said this was also of south Asian heritage, I'm just the messenger here, but I accept that I am contributing to stereotyping. This team of almost all Bangladeshi’s was very good in the field and we were suffering for it. So in comes Sumeet and, after a few fours, he strategically picks out the area covered by Bloomsbury's one white fielder with a cracking drive in the air and...the fielder hung onto it. It was the sort of catch where you look at the ball stuck magically in your hand and think "How the hell did you get in there?". The guy didn't know anything about it. Unlucky for Sumeet (and Pacific), out for 21. John and Mutz are now in and really it was up to them and Bing at that point. Mutz out for 11. Bing in. On the sidelines Mutz was annoyed with his wicket..."Absolutely shocking" and "f***ing shite" was all I could get out of him for a good five minutes. I thought it was Catholics who were up for self-punishment but Mutz showed it's for everyone.

Had my first look at Bing, and there was a gorgeous cover drive, then another, and then out for 14 (off 13 balls). Guess how? LBW. Thanks again, Tim. So now I'm in with John and we putter along, John advising me to "just see how we get on". It's my first time batting in a year and I don't get on very well, the scorebook says it took me 10 balls to get off the mark with a single. At this point we still have over 100 runs to get in 7 overs or something. John says the ring is frustrating us and, "I think it's time to get out the paddle-sweep". The astute cricketing brain of this writer immediately replies "NO, DEAR BATTING PARTNER, IT IS NOT THAT TIME" yet my mouth is unable to form the actual words. Next ball...paddle sweep...miss...big shout for LBW. Not given. Next ball...paddle sweep...miss...big shout for LBW. Given. So goes our man of the match and with it any sliver of hope. BTW a piece of general life advice for our readers - whenever someone says anything along the lines of "get out the paddle-sweep" in any context, not just cricket, that's a sure sign that it's time to go home.

In comes Korgy and we run a couple. Those of you who know me also know how much I hate running, especially after a day in the field when I'm already sore and my bad heel is flaring up. So the oppo bowler gifts me a full toss and - smack - gone for a one-bounce four, baseball style. GREAT. I'd finally done something decent in this game. OK, eye's in, tail's up, bowling is shall we say, "un-challenging"..let's have another! Next ball...big swing...big miss...bowled. Tell me if you've heard that one before. I'm out for 9.

So I'm back on the sidelines and Korgy is in with Tim. I should quickly mention here that earlier in the day Korgy had been showing off his football skills to great effect. At this point Jay and Bing are watching the England-South Africa rugby Test on a phone, and Jay gets up, goes to his car, and just stays there. I didn't see him the rest of the afternoon. Someone said he was hotboxing it. Someone else said he was in there with his willy out. I can't be certain what he was doing in his car, I just know that we missed him on the sidelines. It was my first game playing with Jay, his humour and banter was strong, and he was unlucky to be out for 12. I also felt for Shaz - trying to collect 7 pounds match fee off some fellow with his willy out in a car full of cannabis haze has got to be awkward.

Rest of the match was mostly the same. Tim out. Shaz out. Korgy still in at the end on 10. Pacific 163 in reply to Bloomsbury's 238. Statistical highlights would be John who top-scored with 44 and was our most economical bowler, easily justifying his Man of the Match award. Tim also had a fine spell of bowling at the end, taking 2 wickets for 15 in 4 overs. Sumeet's 21 was our next highest batting total, plus he took a stumping and handled two runouts while keeping, even taking a ball off his throat with no complaint. Big thanks to Mutz for standing in as Captain. The game itself wasn't great, but as a day out with my fellow Pacificos, it's an afternoon that can't be beaten no matter the score.


Bloomsbury Royals CC v Pacific
Toss won by Pacific
Bloomsbury Royals CC innings  R  M  B  4  6
Hirv   c Kumar b Korgaonkar   57  0  48  11  1  
Sumon   c Chasseaud b Timbadia   10  0  9  1  1  
Sahil   c Siddiqui b Pandya   8  0  7  1  0  
Shahin   run out    64  0  75  11  0  
Din   c Chasseaud b Stanley   64  0  36  8  3  
Rana   c Timbadia b Ormesher   2  0  6  0  0  
Ben   c Chasseaud b Pandya   10  0  17  0  0  
Gonesh   st Sharma b Garrett   4  0  0  0  0  
Humayen   b Garrett   5  0  0  1  0  
Arif   run out    7  0  0  1  0  
Atiq   not out    0  0  6  0  0  
 Extras (b 0, lb 0, w 2, nb 4) 6    
 TOTAL (0.0 Overs) 238    
 Fall of wickets: 
Bowling  O  M  R  W  
 Sharan Timbadia   8  1  46  1  
 John Ormesher   8  1  28  1  
 Paul Davis   4  0  24  0  
 Aroon Korgaonkar   5  0  47  1  
 Umrish Pandya   5.2  0  38  2  
 Bing Stanley   3  0  35  1  
 Tim Garrett   4  0  15  2  
 Toby Chasseaud   2  0  9  0  
Pacific innings  R  M  B  4  6
Jay Lakhani   b Din   12  0  31  2  0  
Toby Chasseaud   b Sahil   12  0  19  3  0  
Umrish Pandya   lbw b Din   4  0  7  1  0  
Sumeet Sharma†   c ? b Umayan   21  0  20  3  0  
John Ormesher   lbw    44  0  56  7  0  
Murtaza Siddiqui*   b Atiq   11  0  27  0  0  
Bing Stanley   lbw b Hiru   14  0  13  2  0  
Paul Davis   b Ben   9  0  25  1  0  
Aroon Korgaonkar   not out    10  0  13  1  0  
Tim Garrett   c ? b Ben   1  0  3  0  0  
Sharan Timbadia   b Arif   9  0  7  2  0  
 Extras (b 7, lb 1, w 3, nb 5) 16    
 TOTAL (0.0 Overs) 163    
 Fall of wickets: 
Bowling  O  M  R  W  
 Sahil   5  1  9  1  
 Din   5  0  25  2  
 Arif   7  0  32  1  
 Umayan   6  0  26  1