Arriving Pooped
Pacific v Highgate CC at Highgate CC  Sun 11 Aug 2019 at 1pm
Won by 7 wickets
Friendly fixture
 

So I should probably get this out of the way first: I’d wanted arrive around noon for this 1PM match...thinking of a masterplan Pacific pre-game net. However around 10:30am I was bathing with my 8month old baby and he took a shit in the tub. Diarrhoea, actually. This obviously threw off all my plans and I relayed what had happened to our match Whatsapp Group, mostly to let everyone know I might be late but also because it was a funny situation. When I finally did arrive, just before 1, there were a number of thoughtful and creative nicknames waiting for me...”Pooh B D”, “Shittyboy” etc etc. I think someone even came up with “Mr Pooey”. Riveting stuff. You’d think everyone on the team was a Guardian writer. Anyway, this all set a scatological tone for the match banter, and by association, this report.

I don’t even know the name of the team we played. They were a last minute replacement for Mayfield who couldn’t get 11 together and forfeited. So we’d already won the day’s league match by default, could we win a big Number 2? Someone said they’d played against one of the oppo the week before and the player was decent. Someone else suggested that while they were a mishmash team, the oppo was going to have some players from the 2nds of some other proper club. All I can say is that if there were any 2nds on our oppo’s team, I’ve been missing out on being a legend in league cricket somewhere.

I think we lost the toss because we fielded first, with Oli and JD opening the bowling. The technical term for being completely unable to poop is “fecal impactment”, which is analogous to what our opening pair did to the oppo. Nothing was coming out. Chairman Hail was exceptional here, getting plenty of bowel ball movement and figures of --get this-- 8-6-5-0. To be fair, the opposition was mostly grandpa’s and 12-year-olds but still, who has figures like that??

The two opening bats were gone quickly, one run out, and the other off injured as a result of the same run-out. In came #3 & #4 and it was more of the same, Oli and JD squeezing tight. After 10 overs there had been a grand total of 18 runs scored. Tighter than [INSERT POLITICIAN’S NAME HERE]’s anus. I reckon you really could insert just about any politician’s name in that joke and it would work, with the exception of Boris Johnson. Not because he’s got a loosey caboosey, but because he hasn’t got one at all. That’s right, Boris Johnson has no anus. It’s the only explanation for why we can still see his face. Anyone with a normal anatomy who wants a no-deal Brexit... baiting a return of the Troubles, daring Scotland to leave the UK, crashing the economy...must have their head up something else.

Anyway, in the 11th over Cap’n Stocko made the first change by bringing on Young Pandya, and he was immediately humiliated by allowing 8 whole runs in a single over. In front of his parents, even! In his next two overs he allowed 5 runs and then 3, respectively, which really started to let the oppo back in the game...after 16 overs they had 42 runs, pushing the rate up over 2.5. Threatening. At this point All Hail was bowled out so on came Timothy “Tim” Garrett to drop a few kids off at the pool leg-breaks in good areas. Yung Pandz bowled their #4 at this point and their #2 came out again, I guess he’d recovered. After a few more overs Stocko brought out yours truly, and I quickly put the hobbling #2 out of his misery. Their #5 came out and tried to accelerate things with #3 to little effect. #3 was the sort of batsmen we see a lot of round our parts...blocking everything on the stumps, cross-batting everything else. The one notable aspect to his game was his high backswing, almost past his shoulders. Their #5 was a larger fellow who really hit the ball hard, but it was just one of those days where most everything went to a fielder. I got him stumped coming down the track with a big swing and miss to my knuckleball around the 30th over, and after Aroon got #3 (who’d top scored with 51), that was effectively that. Aroon got one more and then Reny picked up a late wicket with the paciest display by a Pacific bowler on the day, and at the end of 40 overs the opposition had picked up a surely-gettable 165 runs. We were certainly helped in all this by some excellent work behind the stumps courtesy of Archie.

Before I move on to any discussion of tea, I will spend a minute talking about the stumping because over the years many Pacificos have asked me about my knuckleball. In baseball, a knuckleball is a slower ball (what we call an “off-speed pitch”) that, despite its name, is usually thrown with the fingertips. The idea is to have very little or no rotation on the ball, allowing the ball to float through the air in an unpredictable manner, because spin tends to stabilize a ball in flight – even if that stability is to always curve (swing) in a certain direction. The knuckleball is not a popular delivery in cricket bowling, probably because the lack of spin means it doesn’t do much off the pitch, and as we all know, slow bowling that doesn’t turn usually gets Ben Burnham’d all around the park. However, I’ve found the knuckleball occasionally very useful in cricket. In fact, my first ever wicket for Pacific was with a knuckleball...it was a full toss to which the batsmen didn’t play a shot, assuming it was a no-ball that would sail over his head, but instead it took a huge dip and plopped right on top of middle stump. I hold the ball with two knuckles instead of fingertips, mostly because the knuckles give a tighter grip which I need to ensure that I don’t drop the ball during my run-up. When I’ve shown this grip to a few players of South Asian heritage, they’ve all said “Oh yeah, that’s a carrom ball”. However it’s definitely not. If you watch Ashwin bowl his carrom deliveries, he does hold it with the knuckle, but he’s then flicking his finger over the ball...sometimes to the left and sometimes to the right...essentially using his knuckle-grip as a way to undetectably put arbitrary directional spin on the ball. Sometimes you can pick a googly ahead of time from the slight change in wrist action, but I’d say it’s impossible to pick which way a decent carrom ball will turn at the moment of release because the wrist is always the same. The knuckleball is a very, very difficult baseball pitch to master, and there are usually only 1 or 2 pitchers in the entire Major Leagues at any one time who throw it regularly. However, since it’s a slow ball which doesn’t put so much pressure on your arm, if you can throw it at the Major League level, you can pitch for a long time because your arm doesn’t deteriorate. Charlie Hough was a good example of this, a right-handed knuckleballer who first pitched for the LA Dodgers in 1970 and didn’t retire until 1996 – that’s a 25-year career pitching at the top level. Currently the only knuckleballer in MLB is Steven Wright of the Boston Red Sox, but as he’s an asshole (he has a conviction for domestic assault against his wife + he’s currently serving a suspension from MLB after testing positive for a banned growth hormone), let’s ignore him and take a look at a knuckleballer from my era, Tim Wakefield:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ruYaDSvOHNk
You’ll see that Wakefield’s knuckleball mostly “falls off the table” (has a sharp vertical dip), but not always...some break right, some break left, some even rise or switch directions mid-flight. Just remember that these are all the same pitch, trundling along at 65-70mph, while the average right-handed MLB pitcher is throwing 90mph.

Back to the match...or rather, tea. I’d say it was very solid. There was a large plate of stir-fried rice w/ chicken, a smaller bowl of veggie stir-fried rice, 3 sandwich options including one marked “Halal” (always appreciated), some green salad, some watermelon, and a plate of biscuits. I especially enjoyed the rice and watermelon, and unlike last the last time I played at this ground, there was enough food to go around. There was also, again, a bowl of chiu-chow style chilli oil, the sight of which always warms my heart. Except in this instance, instead of a spoon, some joker put a fork in it to use as a serving utensil. I don’t know if you’ve ever had to use a fork to apply chilli oil, but the best you can do is coat the fork and then flick the little oil that’s collected off of it, and repeat, which is as tedious and messy as it sounds. It’s always something with Highgate tea.

After tea it was time to chase down this total. The weather was changeable, no surprise, and I got a bit chilly in the cloud cover and breeze so after few overs I wandered back into the clubhouse. The Man U / Chelsea match was on TV so I sat down to watch for a bit and promptly fell asleep, only waking up after we were something like 130-4 after 20 overs and about to put this match to bed. How exactly this happened will be filled out shortly by one of my illustrious teammates who was awake at the time...


Highgate CC v Pacific
 
Highgate CC innings Runs Mins Balls 4s 6s
  Sibey run out  0  0  0  0  0  
  Fletcher c Sub b Davis  11  0  0  2  0  
  Matthews c Sub b Korgaonkar  51  0  0  8  0  
  Thompson b Pandya  19  0  0  3  0  
  Gillham st b Davis  19  0  0  2  0  
  Mir c Sub b Korgaonkar  16  0  0  3  0  
  Juniper not out  23  0  0  3  1  
  Holyes lbw b Ponnamkunnath  5  0  0  1  0  
  Rowse not out  5  0  0  1  0  
  Newton did not bat  0  0  0  0  0  
  Ridder did not bat  0  0  0  0  0  
 Extras (b 5, lb 0, w 5, nb 0) 10    
 TOTAL (40.0 Overs) 165-7    
 
 
 Fall of wickets: 
 
Bowling O M R W  
 John Deighan 5 1 17 0  
 Oliver Haill 8 6 5 0  
 Chai Pandya 6 0 36 1  
 Tim Garrett 7 1 18 0  
 Paul Davis 6 1 23 2  
 Aroon Korgaonkar 5 0 40 2  
 Reny Ponnamkunnath 3 0 12 1  
 
 
Pacific innings Runs Mins Balls 4s 6s
  Rahul Ravikrishnan c ? b Mir  25  0  30  4  0  
  Archie Village† b Hayes  6  0  7  1  0  
  Tom Ireland not out  77  0  73  13  0  
  Reny Ponnamkunnath b Hayes  9  0  11  2  0  
  Ben Stockton* not out  35  0  34  6  0  
  Chai Pandya did not bat  0  0  0  0  0  
  John Deighan did not bat  0  0  0  0  0  
  Paul Davis did not bat  0  0  0  0  0  
  Aroon Korgaonkar did not bat  0  0  0  0  0  
  Oliver Haill did not bat  0  0  0  0  0  
  Tim Garrett did not bat  0  0  0  0  0  
 Extras (b 9, lb 2, w 4, nb 1) 16    
 TOTAL (0.0 Overs) 166-3    
 
 
 Fall of wickets:  1-13 [Village] , 2-63 [Ravikrishnan] , 2-63 [Ravikrishnan] , 3-80 [Ponnamkunnath]
 
Bowling O M R W  
 Hayes 8 2 33 2  
 Ridder 4 0 24 0  
 Mir 8 0 38 0  
 Fletcher 2 0 18 0  
 Thompson 4 0 31 0  
 Peter 1 0 15 0  
 Sibey 0.2 0 5 0  
 
 

Other matches:
 Another Stock-ton helps Pacific jump the Highgate , Mon 06 May 2019, Highgate CC, Won by 65 runs
 Jay stars with the bat but without enough support, Mon 07 May 2018, Highgate CC, Lost by 136 runs
 Weather saves Pacific as Mayday calls for rain, Mon 01 May 2017, Highgate CC, Drawn
 Collis king in fourth successive victory, Sat 28 May 2016, Wray Crescent, Won 148 runs
 Raining on our parade, Mon 02 May 2016, Highgate CC, Drawn
 The highest Irish landmark, Mon 04 May 2015, Highgate CC, Lost 5 wickets
 Webley leads the victory chase, Mon 05 May 2014, Highgate CC, Won 7 wickets
 Holly's century puts Highgate out of reach, Mon 06 May 2013, Highgate CC, Drawn
 I regret to inform you..., Mon 07 May 2012, Highgate CC, Cancelled
 Richards leads run fest, Mon 25 Apr 2011, Highgate CC, Won 5 wickets
 Long awaited return ends with victory, Sun 08 Aug 2010, Highgate CC, Won 3 wickets
 By Mutual Agreement, Sun 27 Apr 2008, Highgate CC, Cancelled
 Highgate Social 1 Highgate Club 0. We Miss Out Again, Sun 09 Jul 2006, Highgate CC, Cancelled
 A Win To Avoid the Wooden Spoon, Sun 04 Dec 2005, Middx Ckt Academy, Won 25 Runs
 Favourites Confirm Status, Thu 09 Jun 2005, Victoria Park Pitch 1, Lost 2 wickets
 Sun 21 Nov 2004, Middx Ckt Academy, Lost 9 runs
 Xmas dinner at the Alexanders, Thu 28 Aug 2003, Highgate CC, Abandoned As a draw