Hawks swoop on weakened Pacific
Pacific v Hawks CC at Jubilee Sports Ground  Sun 16 Jun 2019 at 1pm
Lost by 53 runs
Friendly fixture
 

The lead-up to this match had all the hallmarks of an abysmal fixture – rain all week leading to a waterlogged pitch and switch of venue, oppo then dropping out leading to another switch of venue and new (and unknown) oppo, more rain the morning of the match and no trains running to the station nearest the new/final venue. This series of events led to a rather awkward situation for this writer: standing in the rain, wife and new child in tow, on Father’s Day, waiting for a rail replacement bus service to … Essex. All I can say is I’m now glad I didn’t have the razor on me (the thought crossed my mind) because the match turned out to be decent.

Arriving at Jubilee Playing Fields I was greeted by relative Pacific newcomer Tom Bishai and the sight of a wicket being rolled. Impressive for a public ground. This particular Sunday was also an auspicious one, with India v Pakistan at Old Trafford, which meant that Pacific fielded its whitest team in recent memory. The day’s question was then: would we be able to harness the power of Brexit and beat Hawks CC? (Anyone who doesn’t get this joke is encouraged to read the paper “Social Identity, Personality and Connectedness: Probing the Identity and Community Divides behind Brexit”, to sum up it provides a detailed ethnographic breakdown of Leave voting patterns.)

Having never heard of this opposition, no one knew what to expect. Their website indicated they have three Saturday XIs that play in the Essex County Cricket League, which suggested that a mishmash Sunday XI could be trouble. However, there was always hope that their key players, like many of ours, were also busy watching India v Pakistan. The opposition’s name “Hawks CC” only made me think of the Atlanta Hawks NBA team – perennial playoff losers who, growing up, had one of the most electrifying players of the era (1980-90s) - “The Human Highlight Reel” Dominique Wilkins. You can see him in action here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AS5putGxdcI

Settling into the pavilion with Babs (wife) and Beau (baby), the opposition slowly started to arrive. They were gracious, friendly, and there were rumours floating round that a chef might be arriving to make tea (in short, everything that our league opponents [CENSORED] are not). This last bit intrigued me as a significant number of the opposition appeared to be of Caribbean heritage, bringing back memories of matches past vs Mayfield CC where K Mullens and I held long and detailed discussions with Mayfield’s Trinidadian-native Mr Ramdanie about his seasoning choices after he brought a lovely platter of homemade jerk chicken for tea. There were also other interpretations of the opposition… Having just had a chuckle with Babs about the whiteness of Pacific’s XI, she clocked the opposition rolling up, calmly turned to me, and said “Sorry, darling, but you’re going to get battered.” Talk about racial profiling!

TBH, I imagine if we played the Hawks CC firsts we would have gotten battered, but it appeared that few of the 1st XI made it out. In fact, the team was largely composed of proper veterans. One player in particular could have easily been a Windrush Generation original, fresh from having his healthcare denied by the Tories. So while a battering did not take place, those readers keen to get the facts will be interested to know that we did lose this match. However, we lost the match for one very simple reason: on Sunday 16 June 2019, Hawks CC were able to put out two proper batsmen whereas Pacific could only muster one, and I’d have to say that was the real difference in quality.

We lost the toss and were put in the field. Their one giant of an opener calmly blocked his first five balls, then cross-batted the sixth for a one-bounce four. Someone asked if he had any gears between 1st and 5th. Their other opener was quickly dispatched by Hugo, as was their #3. Yours truly took care of #4, but their #5 was a very good bat and it wasn’t until 66 of his runs later than Sam was able to get him out of there (in theory I could have gotten him out on about 10, but I ducked his smashed straight drive at my head rather than attempt a caught and bowled). While those 66 runs accrued I managed to dislodge the good/huge opener for 51, and those two bats, #’s 1 and 5, were the proper batsmen previously mentioned. However, they also had a high-scoring #7. I say “high scoring” rather than “proper batsman”, as he was one of those aesthetically dis-inclined bats able to put away bad balls for boundaries with agricultural shots and he attacked our change bowlers with gusto (and 62 runs). Pick of the bowlers was Hugo, although Sam bowled better than his figures (which were already decent at 7-1-35-1). Joe Deighan, brother of John “Safe Hands” Deighan came on for a twirl and with his first ever ball for Pacific bowled their #6. A remarkable contribution even if the rest was relatively downhill from there (and how could it not be?). Ahmed was unable to make a breakthrough on the tacky surface, and Toby and JD got smacked around for an average of 10 an over. All in all Hawks CC put on 211, which felt unlikely for us although not impossible. The main feature of Hawks' batting innings was its extreme tardiness...bats 3 through 6 would all have been out had we applied the 2 minute rule (and possibly a 5 minute rule), and there were quite a few delays trying to find/pick the ball out of the bramble that surrounded the pitch. From my view at third man I noticed Babs repeatedly getting up and wandering round to check the scoreboard, knowing that she only cared about the digits in the Overs box, and feeling invisible tensions rise as 20 minutes might have past yet only 3 of those overs ticked by.

Tea was solid, if unimaginative, alas with no chef that could be identified. Hawks provided sandwiches that were home-made and tasty, complemented by green salad, melon and a few sweets. They also made a separate salad with sliced hard-boiled eggs and sweet peppers as a response to our request for something for our gluten-allergic Pacificos – a welcome touch. The one gastronomic aspect of this match that stood to me was that Hawks “went hard”, as the kids say, with the squash/water ratio. There was so much squash in the drink that it had a slightly granular texture, and I had to go measure out half-again more water into my cup. I guess some people like it that way, but really I think you want the squash to be just about present in the mix, nothing more.

In order to appease my Father’s Day away support who’d travelled to this match, I asked Toby if I could open, knowing that it shouldn’t be long before I could then escort a tired wife and baby home before things got ugly. And he agreed! Smart man. Their openers were a touch above medium pace and put most everything on the stumps. One of them quickly exploited my complete lack of batting practice by bowling an effort ball at my body, I backed away a bit and it went right through the gate and took the top of leg. Out for 2, but hey, it was 2 more runs than my opening partner Rob “The Chop” Dinsey scored. As I left the field, I relayed to Toby my opinion of the bowling and then thought to myself that, actually, this is perfect bowling for Toby and we had a chance to win if one or two other bats could hang around with him. Unfortunately that didn’t happen, although the fascinating details of how that didn’t happen will need to be filled out by someone else, as this writer was soon on his way home.

PBD 


Hello folks. "The Chop" here, finishing off the innings from about the point where I trudged off having played on; neatly finalising my pair for the weekend (two days of cricket for ten runless balls, not a fantastic return on investment). PBD's ode above neatly sets the scene of us being bugger-all-for-two yet again with Ben Burnham, fresh from a really quite decent cameo behind the stumps, joining Toby at the crease. These two were fairly clearly our best hope of chasing and they batted very well, albeit not especially quickly against bowling which started tidily and got more occasional as the innings progressed.

We were 68/2 at the halfway point drinks and needed 140 odd more to win. Post-drinks, Burnham went on the attack and marmalised a few before being bowled by the aforementioned gigantic opener, who by this time was bowling some fairly tame if servicable spin from the kind of unusual angle generated by someone verging on seven feet tall. He picked up four wickets of variable quality, having Justin Roy caught mishitting a dreadful long hop before bowling John Deighan with a genuinely excellent ball which turned through the gate of the Pacific batsman. 

By this stage Pacific were subsiding around Toby, who batted serenely but without ever quite finding the top gear that might have got us somewhere near their total. A late cameo from Sam Howes added some entertainment to proceedings, particularly against the somewhat suspect bowling of Frankie, who I suspect may have been nursing the blow of the BBC withdrawing the free TV Licence for over 75s – perhaps bowling Sam may be a salve on that particular wound. 

Pacific eventually fell 53 runs short with Toby adding more red ink and more runs to his collection but not being given the support needed to take us any closer to the target. Maybe next time... 

RD


Hawks CC v Pacific
Toss won by Hawks CC
 
Hawks CC innings Runs Mins Balls 4s 6s
  A Phillips c Roy b Davis  51  0  0  7  0  
  E Grant b Forrest  0  0  0  0  0  
  P Fletcher c Chasseaud b Forrest  3  0  0  0  0  
  M Osman c Deighan b Davis  9  0  0  1  0  
  L Lord b Howes  66  0  0  5  2  
  J Stanley c Roy b Deighan  3  0  0  0  0  
  P William not out  62  0  0  7  1  
  A Auguste not out  1  0  0  0  0  
 Extras (b 6, lb 2, w 6, nb 2) 16    
 TOTAL (35.0 Overs) 211-6    
 
 
 Fall of wickets: 
 
Bowling O M R W  
 Sam Howes 7 1 35 1  
 Hugo Forrest 7 1 29 2  
 Paul Davis 7 0 34 2  
 John Deighan 2 0 21 0  
 Joe Deighan 4 0 32 1  
 Ahmed Hussain 7 0 43 0  
 Toby Chasseaud 1 0 10 0  
 
 
Pacific innings Runs Mins Balls 4s 6s
  Rob Dinsey b Lord  0  9  10  0  0  
  Paul Davis b Minas  2  13  8  0  0  
  Ben Burnham † b Phillips  37  69  47  3  0  
  Toby Chasseaud* not out  83  120  87  4  1  
  Justin Roy c midwicket b Phillips  6  9  8  0  0  
  John Deighan b Phillips  1  8  4  0  0  
  Hugo Forrest run out  3  8  5  0  0  
  Tom Bishai c Freddy b Phillips  3  7  5  0  0  
  Sam Howes b Frank  19  20  13  0  0  
  Joe Deighan not out  2  5  2  0  0  
  Ahmed Hussain did not bat  0  0  0  0  0  
 Extras (b 3, lb 0, w 3, nb 3) 9    
 TOTAL (35.0 Overs) 158-7    
 
 
 Fall of wickets: 
 
Bowling O M R W  
 L Lord 3 0 9 1  
 Minas 7 1 16 1  
 J Stanley 7 0 29 0  
 J Well 7 0 41 0  
 A Phillips 6 0 32 4  
 Mohammed 3 0 16 0  
 Frankie 2 0 14 1