Soden Attempt to Snatch Victory Mere Illusion
Pacific v London Challengers CC at Wray Crescent
Sun 14 Apr 2019 at 1.30pm
Lost by 28 runs
Friendly fixture

It was a bright, cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen. Big brother's ominous presence was yet to be felt, although little brother was perched on a bench methodically working on a roll-up. Room 101 was still closed due to a dereliction notice, but its shadow loomed large over the handful of pacifists huddled together in the chill, aware that this was a place in which a man's soul might be made to doubt fundamental truths of reality, such as whether two plus two equals four, or a football match should really be just starting half an hour before a ground is booked for cricket.

In the end the normal philosphical debate, and its habitual resolution ('they're bigger than us') did not take place, as of the footballers there was no sign, along with, it might be said, most of the home side and opposition, although most eventually trickled in by about twenty to two, and the only dastardly act of mind-altering cruelty was inflicted on the scorers, as circumstances contrived to have Soden and Snodin not only bowl at the same time but later bat together.

Mutz won the toss and opted to field first, conscious of the possibly soggy outfield from the hailstorms the day before. New-ish-comer Hugo bowled with good pace and movement, matched by one of James's best spells for Pacific, who married his natural lift with an excellent radar, marred only by a spectacular beamer that was skied to third man where Hussain took a good but pointless catch. Fine fielding by Hussain is so rare that it's rather a shame to waste it on a clear no-ball, and any believers in Karma might have started worrying, especially if they remembered the way the one-handed-into-the-moobs effort last autumn was balanced by an all-round team display that could not have been more ill-fated if we'd collectively broken into an Egyptian tomb via the underside of a stepladder, armed with a black cat and a broken mirror.

Although we were a touch ragged towards the death overs (which may have been the difference), we weren't too bad in the field overall, given early-season rustiness and a bumpy outfield. The biggest blemish was only taking one of several clear run-out opportunities, although at least we saw off the dangerous Hitesh before he could really cut loose.

Ben S came on first change, and although still getting used to bowling in match conditions, acquitted himself well, burgling a wicket in the deep in amongst a couple of comedy wides. Burglary via a full toss was also Hussain's modus operandi, shortly after he shelled a straightforward caught-and-bowled, batsman and bowler equally surprised by a rare ball that landed in a rusty spell. Ramiz bowled an excellent tight spell, and was joined at the death by Clubman-of-the-year Garrett, whose respectable line and length was rather better than the figures suggest, as the batsmen hit out at the death and a series of feilding lapses turned ones into fours. Two wickets was at least some reward, not least ending the adhesive Jaimesh's long vigil, his attempted reverse sweep sending a dolly to Riz at backward point.

In reply, Ed Greig weathered some awkward overs from the hostile and accurate Kiran, before succumbing to a yorker from a gentler bowler. Gentler is in relative terms, as Windermere proved to be one of those sides in which everyone bar the keeper seems to be an annoying, niggardly seamer. This recipe has been Kryptonite to many a Pacific innings in recent times, but in Burnham we had someone truly attired to be a superhero. Not content with wearing his underpants on the outside, he went one further by wearing someone else's underpants on the outside. Apparently Riz had offered spare batting shorts, for external use only, after Ben found his box starting to slip. Whether the ministrations of Ben's new girlfriend have meant that the previous receptacle is no longer sufficiently commodious, or now requires far greater force to restrain it in place, one can only speculate, and anyway a gentleman never tells.

Super Burnham looked as fluent has he has done for a while, one uncontrolled slap over point notwithstanding, as he mixed solid defence with his customary aggression, only to fall snicking a wide half-volley to the keeper. This was a threefold shame in that a. a slightly thicker edge would have sent the ball safely through vacant slip, b. Ben looked set for a much longer innings, c. he looked an even bet to secure the season's champagne moment in only its second match, as being run out finding his pants around his ankles mid way through a single looked only a question of time.

Ramiz looked in complete control of the bowling, and was very unlucky to murder a pull off a full toss straight to the midwicket fielder, as was Mutz to pick out backward point cutting at a long hop. A classic Riz cameo briefly threatened to tilt the match decisively our way: ten off his first two balls, including a Porsche-threatening smack into the long-off nets and a four through extra cover that scorched the turf on its brief journey to the boundary, before a slightly mistimed shot to the man at wide long-off who held his nerve and the chance.

With the top six all gone and nearly eighty needed at a run a ball, we feared the worst, but were given hope by Soden and Garrett, who both played among their best innings for the club. Tim swept a cheeky four and wellied another through midwicket, only to be undone by yet another good bit of fielding from Windermere. James smacked one hard along the deck to short mid-off, where it bounced neatly into his hands for him to turn and throw down the stumps where Tim was backed up and almost running on the shot.

With only two tailenders for company, it was always going to be a tough to score a run a ball over the last five overs, so it was sad but not too surprising when James holed out, having been given just too much to do, but that didn't detract from an excellent all-round performance, easily his best for the club. Windermere's fielding was probably the difference, despite only ten men, as nagging bowling, a slow outfield, and a 100% success rate in catching made quick scoring very difficult.

London Challengers CC v Pacific
Toss won by Pacific
London Challengers CC innings  R  M  B  4  6
Jaimesh   c Khan b Garrett   37  0  19  73  0  
Tilak   c Siddiqui b Snodin   35  0  47  3  1  
Chandan   b Khan   15  0  23  0  0  
Rajesh*   c Soden b Hussain   8  0  9  1  0  
Hitesh   run out    26  0  23  1  0  
Umang   b Garrett   1  0  6  0  0  
Amit   run out Siddiqui    22  0  12  4  0  
Kiran   run out    0  0  3  0  0  
Arthur   not out    3  0  3  0  0  
Shahil   not out    5  0  2  1  0  
 Fall of wickets:  1-64 [Tilak] , 2-97 [Chandan] , 3-112 [Rajesh] , 4-128 [Jaimesh] , 5-139 [Umang]
Bowling  O  M  R  W  
 Hugo Forrest   7  0  36  0  
 James Soden   7  0  24  0  
 Ben Snodin   5  0  34  1  
 Ramiz Khan   7  1  21  1  
 Ahmed Hussain   4  0  24  1  
 Tim Garrett   4  0  36  2  
 Rizwan Siddiqui   1  0  6  0  
Pacific innings  R  M  B  4  6
Ed Greig   lbw b Rajesh   5  0  19  0  0  
Ben Burnham   c Jaimesh b Shahil   25  0  37  3  0  
Sam Farnham   b Arthur   1  0  8  0  0  
Ramiz Khan   c Square Leg b Shahil   16  0  16  3  0  
Murtaza Siddiqui*†   c ? b Amit   10  0  14  1  0  
Rizwan Siddiqui   c Boundary b Amit   20  0  11  2  1  
James Soden   c Mid Off b Rajesh   32  0  29  4  0  
Hugo Forrest   c ? b Amit   2  0  8  0  0  
Tim Garrett   run out    19  0  18  3  0  
Ben Snodin   b Amit   0  0  2  0  0  
Ahmed Hussain   not out    0  0  2  0  0  
 Extras (b 4, lb 3, w 13, nb 3) 23    
 TOTAL (29.2 Overs) 153    
 Fall of wickets: 
Bowling  O  M  R  W  
 Kiran   6  1  9  0  
 Rajesh   5  0  25  2  
 Arthur   7  0  35  1  
 Shahil   6  0  40  2  
 Amit   4  0  8  4  
 Uman   1  0  10  0