Snakes and Ladders
Pacific v Archway Ladder at North Middlesex CC
Sun 25 Aug 2019 at 1pm
Lost by 6 wickets
Friendly fixture

It is an often heard refrain (usually in the pub after a batting collapse) that Pacific would have a pretty great team, if only we could get them all available at the same time. Sod's law then that we managed to assemble Chasseaud, Stockton, Sharma, Ireland and a pair of Siddiquis to play a friendly against seven men, in this case an Archway Ladder side heavily depleted by the completion of their recent tour (which apparently featured six matches in six days, meaning that more than a few of their members will have been unable to play due to strains in either muscles or marital relations). In order to make a pleasant game in the scorching heat of North Middlesex (32 degrees and cloudless), a pair of Pacificos were donated to the Archway cause - Mark Woodland and your correspondent (Rob), making it 11 v 9. To the Archway nine, we added a rotating spare fielder when someone could be persuaded out of the bar and away from the ongoing Ashes drama.

The first over of the Pacific innings was eventful - Mutz smashed the first two balls to the boundary and then the fourth to the opposition captain Faisal, an unassuming and cheerful bespectacled fellow who turned out to be rather better at cricket than looks might suggest. Faisal opened from the other end himself, and soon took a blinding caught and bowled to dismiss Sumeet for 17, a few overs after he was very nearly athletically caught by Korgy, on as a sub fielder. At 40-2, Ireland and Chasseaud came together and put on a partnership to gladden Pacific hearts and cause an immense amount of discomfort for those of us in the field. Left-right combinations are the bane of a fielding side at the best of times, and when they put on 197 in 24 overs on a cloudless, scorching hot day, there is an inevitable effect on morale that even double drinks breaks can't resolve. 

It was at the second of these drinks breaks (including the traditional North Midds bright green squash which is either lime or plutonium flavour, I shouldn't like to guess which) that the turning point of the match arrived, in the form of Riz, who had been padded up for 25 overs at this point, deciding his best chance of a game was to switch sides mid-innings. The swap was hastily agreed between the captains and we had a 10 v 10 contest, and with it a significant improvement in the standard of bowling from one end - Riz was to bowl unbroken from the moment he stepped on the field and picked up 2-29. At the other end, an older chap called Cooper was bowling loopy but legitimately spinning deliveries, and it was he who got the big breakthrough, a thin bottom edge from Chasseaud claimed by Woodland, who had by this point donned the gloves.

Walking out to bat against Riz is nobody's idea of a good time, and Cannon (4) and Bishai (0) can be added to the long list of names of those who've seen their stumps splattered off three paces. Captain Stockton and Korgy got Pacific up to a very respectable 274-5, but the run rate had been pulled back a little from a seemingly certain 300+ before Riz turned his coat.

At tea, both sides were less than desperate to get back on the field with the incredible drama unfolding at Headingley playing out on North Midds' screens. Only after Jack Leach had finished cleaning his glasses and Ben Stokes had crashed another four to level the Ashes did we begin with the Archway innings, and perhaps it was the inspiration that a bespectacled nurdler (me) and a broad bosher (Mark) needed to get a good start.

Crueller wags have often remarked that the main difficulty Pacific batsmen face is being unable to face pacific bowling, and whilst the bowling was largely blameless on this occasion (more culpable being the dead pitch and square boundaries that would barely qualify as a 30 yard circle), it is difficult to deny the empirical evidence of both openers making their highest scores of the season. Woodland rode his luck a little early on, but crashed nine fours in a quickfire 40 which came to an end when Korgy came on and bowled him, whilst I struggled rather more to score quickly as I kept hitting fielders with anything I’d middled - mostly knees, but on one occasion something that Mutz in the covers declared to be ‘right on the end of (his) bell’. 

Archways’ number three chipped one up in the air to Korgy off the bowling of Mutz, bringing the third Pacific snake in the Ladder’s order to the crease. Whilst he struggled early on against Ahmed, Riz fared rather better against the other Pacific bowlers, although a lack of interest in quick singles made my scoring rate even more torturously slow. Trying to find some way of scoring, I managed to pick up two from a reverse sweep off Ahmed before being bowled attempting to reprise the trick.

This brought the aforementioned Faisal to the crease. There are not many people whose aggressive batting puts Riz in the shade, but I think this innings might well have done it. Before he came in, Ahmed had bowled 4-0-6-1. Three overs later, those figures read 7-0-47-1 - Faisal used his feet beautifully to meet the ball before it could spin and marmalised the ball to all parts, hitting an astonishing eight sixes in a quickfire 78* despite a relatively tidy spell from Tom Ireland. Riz was hardly becalmed, and brought up his hundred (it has been ruled that this effort is not end of season mini-bat eligible) in the dying moments of the game, before Faisal smashed the winning four off the largely impressive Will.

Stats Corner:

274 is Pacific’s second highest total in a losing effort of all time, and the highest for 17 years according to our inimitable records. (Ed. I’m afraid this record is for Pacific batting second, so doesn’t apply here SL). 197 is our third highest third wicket partnership of all time, behind 209* (Webley & Richards 2010) and 204 (Ireland and Gilliat 2014). In total, the three Pacificos on the Ladder side scored 182, meaning that the eleven Pacific batsmen who took the field technically managed to score 450 in a day and still lose. Quite some going. Chasseaud's 80 takes him past 1300 runs for the season.


Pacific v Archway Ladder
Toss won by Pacific
Pacific innings  R  M  B  4  6
Murtaza Siddiqui   c Faisal b Cumming   8  4  4  2  0  
Toby Chasseaud   c Woodland b Cooper   80  0  81  10  1  
Sumeet Sharma†   c Faisal b Faisal   17  16  14  4  0  
Tom Ireland   retired hurt    101  0  82  11  4  
Alex Cannon   b Siddiqui   4  0  12  0  0  
Ben Stockton*   not out    20  0  18  2  0  
Tom Bishai   b Siddiqui   0  0  2  0  0  
Aroon Korgaonkar   not out    2  0  12  0  0  
Will Gingell   did not bat    0  0  0  0  0  
Ahmed Hussain   did not bat    0  0  0  0  0  
 Extras (b 13, lb 1, w 17, nb 6) 37    
 TOTAL (40.0 Overs) 274-5    
 Fall of wickets:  1-9 [Siddiqui] , 2-40 [Sharma] , 3-237 [Chasseaud] , 4-256 [Cannon] , 5-256 [Bishai]
Bowling  O  M  R  W  
 Cumming   6  0  60  1  
 Faisal   4  1  12  1  
 Maroof   8  0  42  1  
 Woodland   2  0  18  0  
 Asif   3  0  24  0  
 Saif Khan   4  0  34  0  
 Hooper   6  0  45  1  
 R Siddiqui   7  1  29  2  
Archway Ladder innings  R  M  B  4  6
R Dinsey   b Hussain   32  0  60  6  0  
M Woodland   b Korgaonkar   40  0  33  9  0  
Dee†   c Korgaonkar b Siddiqui   2  0  2  0  0  
R Siddiqui   not out    110  0  0  13  3  
Asif   c Stockton b Ireland   4  0  0  1  0  
Faisal Patel*   not out    78  0  0  3  8  
Saif Khan   did not bat    0  0  0  0  0  
Maroof   did not bat    0  0  0  0  0  
Cumming   did not bat    0  0  0  0  0  
Hooper   did not bat    0  0  0  0  0  
 Extras (b 0, lb 2, w 14, nb 5) 21    
 TOTAL (38.3 Overs) 278-4    
 Fall of wickets:  1-54 [Woodland] , 2-61 [Dee] , 3-133 [Dinsey] , 4-138 [Asif]
Bowling  O  M  R  W  
 Will Gingell   6.3  0  53  0  
 Ben Stockton   5  0  44  0  
 Aroon Korgaonkar   8  0  47  1  
 Murtaza Siddiqui   4  0  32  1  
 Ahmed Hussain   7  0  47  1  
 Tom Ireland   8  0  51  1