Injuries take their toll
Pacific v Tower Hamlets at London Fields
Sat 04 Aug 2018 at 1pm
Lost by 1 wicket
North East London Cricket League

God damn it! The North London Cricket League waits for no man. Despite my determination to ignore him, a certain Guardian journalist, no less, has been continually pestering me for my report on a recent performance by Pacific CC. Not the most recent performance I hasten to add, but a reasonably recent one nonetheless. In any case, it sounds like it’s been a slow week on the letters desk, because he hasn’t stopped sending texts of "encouragement" since last Monday. Here’s another one now (13/08/18  at 11:55). I can only assume it’s a marvellous feast for the eyes, but as I don’t have a smartphone and can’t possible look at whatever it is he’s blinkin’ well sent me this time, we’ll all just assume it was something of high import. 

Anyway, the date of the match was Saturday 4th August in the year of 2018 under the Gregorian calendar. We were due to meet at 12:15 at the ground. London Fields would play host to the spectacle that would unfold and our opponents were those fine fellows of Tower Hamlets CC. 

Rather oddly, for anyone who has lived in Britain for the last 40 years, we’re having a balmy summer of consecutive days of actual heat and no rain. You can always tell a good summer here by the ratio of mentions of 1976 v hosepipe bans and zoological gardens with lollypops for the giraffes. Whichever cosmic forces are the cause of such things, they had been working their magic since about May-ish. It was gonna be a scorcher!

I think I had been to the pub the night before, but astonishingly I managed to pull myself out of bed with plenty of time to meander towards the ground with time to spare. Capt. T. Chasseaud had already informed us we were the effective "home" side, which meant we would be expected to "do things", such as put out the flags, warning signs and sacrifice a squirrel to the park gods.

I arrived at about 11:50. The park was already full of sun seekers, but there were no visible cricketers in sight.  Not to worry, I thought; I’ll go for a quick dip in the lido for a bit of pre-match stretching – best to look after your back, I thought.

(One of the good things about being a member of the pool is that; they give you an entry card and you can use the fast-track machine, avoiding the queue and winding everyone else up in the process. When it’s been 30+ for the last few weeks the pool can have a tendency to get rather busy.) 

Anyway, I sailed through the reception area stopping only to show the security guy what I had in my 1990s vintage Grey Nicholls cricket bag, and invite him to come and watch when he had finished – he was some sort of a West Indian and claimed to be a fast bowler.

The pool was indeed busy, but mostly with people draped around the edges and so I quickly changed and jumped in for a few lengths, occasionally noticing some particularly pleasant young ladies here and there.

At 12:15, I leapt out from the pool and hurried to meet up with the rest of the esteemed division of athletes.

(Those still in the lido queue from earlier had by now just about reached the front. A quick wave to my Caribbean comrade and I was outta there, see ya later losers!)

Mr Arup Sen was the first of the Pacifists I was to encounter and he was busy lifting/hiding behind one of the A-boards for warning people about how hard his balls are. I could see he was struggling, so immediately left him to it and looked for people who were sitting down or otherwise idle.

I spotted a cricket bag under a tree and headed towards it. Unfortunately, it was one of the other mob, but it wasn’t far to the next collection of willows and associated accoutrements for an afternoon of the greatest of sports.

We settled under the tree near the picnic tables.  A fine spot and no mistaking. Meanwhile one of London Fields’ pigeons was settling in for a midday snack – more from him later.

By now, most of us had arrived, but they still only had their solitary chap under the tree. Then suddenly a vision in white came swooping passed on a bicycle, a friendly wave and a smart hello; this guy’s got style, we thought. He continued on, parking his bike with the opposition, we had assumed he was one of them. He was not.

Capt. T Chasseaud had at some point been introduced to the Tower Hamlets skipper and they trudged over to the square to assess the playing surface and to do the toss. I didn’t actually witness the coin go up, nor come down, as myself and Mr Murtaza Siddiqui were distracted by some of the flora and fauna in the immediate vicinity. However, after a bit of initial confusion with what turned out to be the League Umpire, Capt Chasseaud had won the toss and elected to bat. Relief for the bowlers. Ideally, it would be a good few hours before we had to do anything strenuous.  And at least we had a bona fide Umpire.

The outfield was dry and hard. The wicket was dryer and harder. The park was filling up in the places that weren’t already full and we were all set for a splendid afternoon.  

Tower Hamlets did a bit of limbering up, including prayers and yoga with the "Umpire" and took to the field.  For the Pacifists, Mssrs A Korgaonkar and E Greig esq duly padded themselves in the appropriate places, picked up a glorified stick each and then headed out to the middle brimming with confidence.

The opening over was not without controversy. It revealed two key points about the game that was to follow. Firstly the "Umpire" did not have even close to the faintest Scooby do what he was up to. Secondly, those chaps from Tower Hamlets were quite a good bunch really.

Korgi played a reasonably solid defensive stroke (with his bat). Nonetheless, an excited opening bowler found cause to appeal and the "Umpire" immediately lifted his finger: LBW! A short but not insignificant protest ensued from the batsmen and to the delight of the supporting Pacifists our opener was reinstated, all the while the fielding side saw the funny side. The "Umpire" then followed up by giving a wide ball verdict which was noted by the able scorer, one Mr Sharan Timbadia.  Unfortunately the "Umpire" immediately lost his bearings and we started with a five-ball over.

The second over brought more extras, including wides, which again were overlooked by the "Umpire" and another five-baller was played. By the third over Arup had positioned himself at square leg to assist the league professional. To no avail, another five-ball over came and went, this time to protests from the square leg Ump, and a more and more agitated scorer becoming restless at the sight of any sort of extras signalling from the "Umpire", an actual six-ball over was played out.

“Umpire! Umpire! UMPIRE!!!!!!” was the phrase I recall.  Anyway it transpired it was too much for this particular League Umpire to both watch the ball and count the number of deliveries, so the counting responsibilities were passed to square leg.

Despite all this, once the "Umpire" was relieved of having to count, the game settled down a bit and we got off to a reasonable start. We were on 21 when the first wicket fell. Samin, the Tower Hamlets opener, was not causing too much trouble, but Greig mistimed one on 10 runs and lofted it to a shortish cover, and he shortly came to join the batting brigade under the tree where Mr Tim Garrett had been looking after his bitch. At this point Capt T Chasseaud stepped up.

The Umpire was bloody awful throughout. He was constantly complaining about being too tired, this was in the first five overs, and he didn’t really improve at all. I think he wanted a drinks break after about nine. I believe Arup cleverly advised him to "do one".

Korgi and Toby had a bit of a knock between them, and somewhat thanks to an incredible amount of extras we hit the 100 mark having lost no more wickets.  Eventually it did actually hit Korgi on the pad and so he was given out LBW for a second time that afternoon, this time there was no protest – Mohammed had got him for a creditable 34 runs.

Mr B. Stockton was up next. He wasn’t there for very long, but we had added 10 to our score by the time he was got, in the traditional long-on field placement. The Tower Hamlets captain had probably noted from the video analysis the previous evening. The Yorkshireman hit two fours and a single before finishing on 9.

Mr S. Howes was our next combatant and in he went.  After not very long he watched Capt T. Chasseuaed hit a four and then he too was given LBW having scored 36 from 32 including six fours. Mizan of Tower Hamlets was the man to do the damage.

Enter Mr M Siddiqui. He would be there to face 36 balls.  six of which he hit for fours. While he was there Sam was given out caught at mid on (bowled Muhammed) for five.

It was at around about this time that I went into relieve Arup from square leg umpiring. As I approached, Arup shook his head and sighed a few sighs that signified his disgust with the "Umpire". As I approached the "Professional" he randomly asked what kind of bird a pigeon is, then told me how he was going to make a video about the rules of cricket! Bizarre doesn’t really cover it, but he was actually a decent geezer, just not necessarily cut out for umpiring. The Tower Hamlets Captain, sensing some disquiet came over for a chat. I told him I had been briefed about the "Umpire"’s short comings and was under no circumstance to let him do my tax return. The game continued. Oh yeah, also at some point around this time, Ed’s bitch ran on to the field and grabbed the ball in her mouth. This was a bit of an issue for the opposition and they had some misgivings about canine hygiene, but then their captain convinced them to carry on, having rubbed the residual bitch juice from the match ball on to his trousers.   

Next up, Mr. J. Soden (who I have been calling Snowden all this time – apologies, I now understand that Snowden is a sort of a troll-like creature who occasionally plays for Pacific CC, but isn’t James).  Anyway James was there for a decent bit of cricket. He faced 19 balls, hit three fours and was eventually out to their second opener for 14. Ravi looked a half not bad bowler, but had a very weird action that Shaz described as "looking like he was carrying a handbag all the way to the crease". Weird but effective – Ravi was their best bowler on the day.

Now it was one Mr T Garrett’s turn to hold the bat, and; bear in mind, at this point he did have two working, fully functional forearms.  Tim hit 3 quick and marvellous runs and then fell fowl to the handbag bandit and was out bowled for 3 off 7 balls faced, Ravi’s 2nd wicket.  By now we were on 170.

Mr. S. Timbadia was in next.  Out he strode, still a bit pissed off with the ‘Umpire’.  He played a decent knock and before too long we had passed 200.  Mutz who had also been batting well finally fell, bowled Syed for 44 off 36.  Pacific were on 205.

Cometh the hour, I was in next.  A quick chat with Shas and we decided to try and stay in for a bit.  I was there to face 11 balls before attempting a ridiculous run and was well out by the time the stumps had been trashed at the non-strikers end. Thanks to some actual batting by Shas and more extras we were now up to 231 for 9.  I had added 5.

Mr. A. Sen was our last man in.  He also got 5 and would have undoubtedly gone on to get his hundred had Shas not selfishly been bowled by Syed.  All out then for 254 (including 55 extras).


Sandwiches or various snacks under the trees with liberal smoking to accompany.  It was at this point that I was lucky enough to be positioned immediately beneath one of our ‘Umpire’s’ favourite avian creatures.  My whites were white no more.  Capt T. Chaasseaued decided this was an omen and I was told to expect lots of wickets.  In case you are unsure – A pigeon shat on my trousers.

A bit of minor warming up took place as we awaited the return of the ‘Umpire’.  He had scarpered off on his bike to get some chicken and chips, I believe?  Anyway he returned and we got underway.

I had the ball in my hand and trundled in to restart proceedings.  Wide!  Shite, sorry lads etc.  Sam was on at the other end, and despite a wide to start with, at this point we were doing a fantastic job of defending a reasonable total.  I got an early wicket with the help of a good catch from Mutz and we were looking good ish.

As I began my 4th over, things started to go a bit wrong.  My back twinged and I could no longer run in, so I finished the over of a 2 step run up and didn’t bowl anymore that day after that.  Sam bowled well but didn’t take a wicket for his trouble.

Stockton and Shas were up next.  Ben bowled some pretty good stuff and deserved more wickets at the end of the day (I dropped one – sorry Ben).  Shas took a bit of a hammering in 2 overs and Korgi was brought in to the attack to tidy things up.

A bit of flight and guile were on display in the first over of his spell, but by the second we had encountered our second bowling injury.  Whilst saving some runs, naturally off his own delivery, Korgi managed to twist his knee and / or buggar his leg up and had to stop bowling halfway through the over.  Capt T Chaaasseeueuad would take over the over.

The Skipper would end up with 3 wickets for his 5.3 overs, not a bad performance.  Whilst all this was happening Tim Garrett was warming up his limbs ready to enter the attack.  He managed 2 balls before breaking his own arm whilst stopping the ball with his his foot and planting his arm into the hard ground surface, CRACK! Ouch.

In one delivery we lost 2 players as Ed kindly took Tim to the apothecary/ barber surgeon.  Korgi and I were both walking wounded.  The field had one or two gaps at this point.  Fear not though.  A certain long haired legend just happened to be chillaxiin’ nearby. Mr U. Pandit was slightly drunk, but all the better for it.  On he came to rapturous applause from the crowds.

Straight into the action… ‘catch it!’ ? of course he did.  And then he ripped off his shirt like a tart and run around the outfield as if he were in Essex somewhere.   Great catch though.  Unfortunately for Tiger, Marine Le Pen who had come to watch with him, was not present to witness his fantastic acrobatics.  The first of many for Soden who had a cracking (sorry Tim) day at 9th change.

Arup, Soden, Stockton and Capt Chasseeauend finished off the overs between them.  Mutz caught one behind for Soden. Stockton was on the end of another for Soden, before Capt Chaseaseasud bowled their number 6.  Another wicket for Capt Chasseuuuad with some quick work behind the stumps from Mutz took their number 7.  A fine catch was taken by my good self, which looped over the slips area, but fortunately looped into just about the right place for my back to just about manage to be able to deal with it and get Soden his 5th.  Followed by yet more heroics from Mutz behind the sticks, Capt Chasseuedd took another, Zubed was out stumped for 21.

Tower Hamlets were chasing about 12 with 3 overs to go, and got them.  255 for 9 off 39.1.  Atik finshed on 6 n.o. and Joe was 1 not out.  In the end it was an entertaining match that we probably should have won, but somehow managed not to.

Following the game we all shook hands, except for Tim, who had by now sent us a photo of his damaged arm.  And then we headed to the Pub on the Park, which was apparently too busy, even though Tiger and Marine Le Pen had saved us some space (and we walked straight through an almost empty bar, but nevermind, we headed over to the Old Ship Inn and got stuck in to some beers.  I can confirm, the chicken wings there are quite spicy.

There probably was some interesting discussion points at the pub, but I confess I can’t remember what they were – maybe do the match report a bit nearer the event next time eh?  Just a thought!




Pacific v Tower Hamlets
Toss won by Pacific
Pacific innings  R  M  B  4  6
Aroon Korgaonkar   lbw b Mohammed   34  0  41  5  0  
Ed Greig   c Cover b Samin   10  0  20  2  0  
Toby Chasseaud*   lbw b mizan   36  0  32  6  0  
Ben Stockton   c Long on b Mohammed   9  0  9  2  0  
Sam Howes   c Mid on b Mohammed   5  0  15  1  0  
Murtaza Siddiqui†   b Syed   44  0  36  6  0  
James Soden   b ravi   14  0  19  3  0  
Tim Garrett   b ravi   3  0  7  0  0  
Sharan Timbadia   b Syed   35  0  40  4  1  
Matt Dempsey   run out    5  0  11  1  0  
Arup Sen   not out    5  0  3  1  0  
 Extras (b 14, lb 3, w 35, nb 3) 55    
 TOTAL (40.0 Overs) 254    
 Fall of wickets:  1-21 [Gregory] , 2-108 [Korgaonkar] , 3-118 [Stockton] , 4-122 [Chasseaud] , 5-131 [Howes] , 6-165 [Soden] , 7-170 [Garrett] , 8-205 [Siddiqui] , 9-231 [Dempsey] , 10-254 [Timbadia]
Bowling  O  M  R  W  
 Samin   7  0  42  1  
 Ravi   8  2  26  2  
 Ruben   1  0  18  0  
 Syed   8  0  63  2  
 Mohammed   8  0  46  2  
 Mizan   7  0  32  2  
 Shilpin   1  0  11  0  
Tower Hamlets innings  R  M  B  4  6
Mo*   c Timbadia b Stockton   39  0  0  0  0  
Shiplu   c Siddiqui b Dempsey   9  0  0  0  0  
Charlie   c Pandit b Soden   91  0  0  0  0  
Syed   c Siddiqui b Soden   26  0  0  0  0  
Rabby   c Stockton b Soden   5  0  0  0  0  
Samim   b Chasseaud   17  0  0  0  0  
Kousar   st Siddiqui b Chasseaud   0  0  0  0  0  
Atik   not out    6  0  0  0  0  
Miza   c Dempsey b Soden   0  0  0  0  0  
Zubed   st Siddiqui b Chasseaud   21  0  0  0  0  
Joe   not out    1  0  0  0  0  
 Extras (b 2, lb 1, w 15, nb 3) 21    
 TOTAL (39.1 Overs) 255    
 Fall of wickets: 
Bowling  O  M  R  W  
 Matt Dempsey   4  0  20  1  
 Sam Howes   4  1  23  0  
 Ben Stockton   8  0  55  1  
 Sharan Timbadia   2  0  23  0  
 Aroon Korgaonkar   1.3  0  9  0  
 Toby Chasseaud   5.3  0  28  3  
 Tim Garrett   0.2  0  0  0  
 Arup Sen   7.4  0  52  0  
 James Soden   7.2  0  39  4