Club captain’s speech at the end-of-season dinner 2019
Sat 23 Nov 2019 
Club news item

For those of you who missed it, this was the club captain’s speech at the end-of-season dinner, held at the trendy Pinapple pub in Kentish Town.

The speech celebrates achieving The Ormesher.

Beneath it are the chairman’s champagne moments.

Ladies and gentlemen, welcome the Pacific CC end-of-season dinner 2019 It was lovely to have Tim and Ruth with us earlier on - dropping off some fantastic cricket memorabilia - and also to have some Pacific veterans as well as some Old Citizens, who are of course James‘s other club.

First let me thank Pete, the origin of the species, for booking the Pineapple for tonight's proceedings. None of us would be here if it wasn't for Pete, who founded Pacific CC in 1983. And it's probably for the best that Hugh Macpherson is not here at the Pineapple or we don't know what might have happened.

I shall try to keep it reasonably brief and stick to a central theme, and this year the theme is catches. I think it's fair to say that we're not the best fielding side. There are of course exceptions. We must note the silky smooth wicketkeeping of Sumeet Sharma, and, of course, the fantastic backing up of James Soden.

But generally our fielding leaves much to be desired. In fact, so frustrated was John Ormesher by the number of chances that we'd spilt – many of them off his bowling – that he pledged that if we managed to get through a game without dropping any then he would buy the whole side a pint. Now many who have watched Pacific field would have been forgiven for thinking that the Yorkshireman's money was safe.

And yet, on a historic day on the 9th of June 2019, against Hadley Wood Green, the unthinkable happened. Yes, we pulled off The Ormesher!

That day's match report describes Pacific's heroics: “Under a mostly cloudy sky, lofty opening bowlers Ben Stockton and James Soden made the new cherry hoop and dance to skittle Hadley Wood Green and set up our first win of the season in the MEIL – an emphatic 10-wicket victory.

"Yorkshireman Stocko took five wickets, almost all of them bowled, while Sumeet snaffled a great diving catch behind the stumps, Reny took a calm one on his debut and the club captain grasped a juggled effort to claim the tenth wicket of the game, giving a first wicket of the season for Oli Haill and sealing the long-awaited Ormo."

And now, true to his word, John has transferred me enough (hedge) funds to present each member of that winning side with a pint. So, as I call your name, please come and collect your beautiful beverage, Sumeet Sharma, Jasbir Basi, James Soden, Ben Stockton, Murtaza Siddiqui (strawberry lemonade), Tim Garrett, Reny [absent], Phil Smith [absent], Oli Haill [absent], Rizwan Siddiqui [absent].

Now, as you can see, that leaves us with a few pints unaccounted for. So I shall have to redistribute them to some other worthy recipients – and some other good catches do spring to mind which may assist me in this task. Up there with the best of them is Korgy's catch at slip off Sam's bowling against Fives. That day's match report records that "the catch was an absolute beauty; the veteran diving low to his left, before throwing the ball high in the air and shouting: 'F**cking 'ave it!' Wild celebrations followed, similar to England’s World Cup Final victory a week earlier."

Another wonder catch was Sam's one against Amsterdamsche CC. That day's match report records that "the Cornish crooner had discovered at breakfast that his recently booked flight home was for a month after his intended return date, and was not best pleased. Thankfully, he managed to cheer himself up by pulling off an absolute blinder of a catch over his shoulder running backwards from fine leg". Now it does have to be said that Sam has dropped a couple of absolute sitters this season, but for that moment of brilliance I think he's earned a pint.

Now someone who always gives 100% commitment in the field is of course our very own social secretary Ben Burnham. And his bravery under fire is no better illustrated than during our match against Camel CC at Springfield Park. That day's report records that "the champagne moment of the match came when Burnham, fielding at mid on, lost a high ball in the sun. He tracked back to take the catch and did his very best to get right underneath it. Down came the ball, only to make the perfect connection with Ben's head and be deflected 50 yards over the boundary for four".

Now, before I finish, I would just like to read from a match report that I think is a strong candidate for report of the season. It is a piece of literary genius which not only explores the possibilities of the match report genre, but perfectly sums up the Pacific spirit, and the usual standard of our fielding. It is written by Ben Burnham and is called, quite simply, “Fulmer" after John Betjeman.

It goes like this:

Come Korgy's bombs and fall near Slough!
There isn't long for Fulmer now,
Don't let them smash it over cow.
Last overs, Death!
Come, Webley and blow to smithereens
Their number six, and his Sareen,
Tea fruit, tea rolls, tea nuggets, not lean,
Big plates, bad breath.
In the air, an edge; catch, you clown!
We'll win if they go seven down
The next one surely can't go down
Get Ormo's beers!
And get that man with double chin
Who really doesn't deserve to win,
Who washes his repulsive skin
In Tamby's tears.
And smash his stumps of polished oak
And smash his hands that played that stroke
'tween the legs of our bound'ry bloke
And give him hell.
Forgive the bald young Ben who add
-ed sixty-five, the stinking cad;
It's not his fault he's getting mad,
He batted well.
When will our top order begin to know
How to score runs without Chasseaud,
(The blood does not so often go To Toby's head)
And talk of sport and the FA Cup
In the bar with flat, warm drinks to sup
Can't mask this abject field cock-up:
Thirty-four extras bled.
Stump him, on the last ball, with care
Earn a tie: not ideal, but somewhat fair
Don't throw it straight through the fucking air
And miss the bails.
Come, Korgy's bombs and fall near Slough
How we lost this game just God knows how.
I only want to forget it now;
Pacific fails.

Well, let's hope that we don't fail too much in 2020, and that we keep the Pacific spirit alive.

The chairman, Mr Oliver Haill Esquire, has sent his apologies for not being able to be with us tonight but has sent us his champagne moments of the season, which are as follows:
- Tim's hat-trick as Chigwell tried to bat out for a draw (and we used 11 bowlers)
- The Ormo, which was achieved on the historic date of Sunday 9th June 2019, versus Hadley Wood Green in a league match, with all catches taken and no drops, with the catchers being Reny, Sumeet, Toby, James Soden, Stocko and PCC's PC Phil Smith
- The day when we won twice in a day (Mayfield cancellation then beating Highgate)
- Toby bagging 1000 runs before the end of July and a couple of weeks later overtaking Steve Lay’s 9,707 to go second in the Pacific all-time batting list
- PBD's knuckleball slower ball wicket versus Highgate (and the 600-word explanation and video links in the match report)  
- When Ben Burnham lost a high ball in the sun and it bounced 50 yards off his head to go over the boundary for four. (Thankfully he was fine and was seen at the Oval the following day enjoying watching Bangladesh beat South Africa in the World Cup with the rest of the Burnham clan)
- Also Mr Ben Burnham in the season's second match, versus London Challengers, run out finding his pants around his ankles midway through a single
- A-Bomb’s "Gatting Ball" wicket against UCS
- Several Pacificos helping a Springfield Park resident start his car

Also several honourable mentions:
- Korgy's diving catch and “fucking 'ave it!”
- Sam Howes’ incredible catch on the Amsterdam tour
- the spectacular twenty-yard sprint and diving catch by Sumeet to bag the dangerous Hannant against Chiggers
- newcomer Archie Faulks getting taken off by the umpire after a few head-high “looseners", and Jas coming into the attack and taking a wicket with the next ball
- when Walt as square-leg umpire gave Toby out stumped while he was live-blogging on his phone and the oppo called the skipper back
- Stocko sustaining a black eye as he took a catch off his face at cow corner versus London Fields
- Sumeet's 73 off 46 balls with a broken bat versus London Fields, or his 49 off 21 versus Mayfield
- PBD's baby shitting the bath before the Highgate return fixture inspiring his match report later to refer to getting plenty of bowel, sorry ball, movement
- And finally a not untypical PBD match report that not only cited an academic paper but also mentioned a possible victim of the Windrush scandal having his healthcare denied by the Tories.