Scoundrels Feel Burnham’s Heat
Pacific v Stoke Newington at Wray Crescent
Sat 19 Sep 2020 at 1pm
Won by 9 wickets
Friendly fixture

The story of this match starts back in the prehistoric days of 2015. It was in this year that the 2015 AGM was scheduled, and at that AGM I was named one of three Vice-Captains of the Pacific Cricket Club for the 2016 season. At some point in early 2016 I was then given an ‘official’ PCC match ball in the event I might, I dunno, captain a match or something.

But the Kookaburra ™ ball was not called upon in 2016, instead it stayed with me like a nostalgic memory of a past lover. Year after year I brought it to Wray Crescent or Ally Pally, and year after year it went back in my bag. The ball saw me get married, finish a PhD, and become a father. It saw untimely tragedy at PCC, elation as PCC members set new club records, and this correspondent captain exactly zero PCC matches through it all. It saw cricket itself stall completely in 2020 in the face of a preventable pandemic. It saw the rise and fall of Corbynism and our great country find the courage to throw off the shackles of petty bureaucratic annoyances like passports that aren’t blue and the European Convention on Human Rights. Wins and losses stacked up, wickets were taken, runs were scored, Prime Ministers came and went, PCC fielding embarrassments continued, and still, old and worn like a Theresa May campaign slogan, the ball endured. Until suddenly something wonderful happened in the world of this ball - it was called forth on 19 Sep, 2020, to fulfil its preordained function. It was the Match Ball of an actual PCC Match.

However all of this time and exposure to sweaty elements had changed the ball, perhaps in the way we are all changed by time (and sweaty elements). After we lost the toss and Stokey chose to bat, Mutz inspected the ball. “This ball is old...wait it’s not that bad, this is a decent ball….yeah it’s ok we can use this.” It had the typical new ball sheen but, unbeknownst to all of us, under the surface a deterioration of some kind had occurred.

The first inkling I had of this was just after opening bowler Ed Hart’s second over, when I heard Ed mutter something along the lines of “this ball is swinging like crazy”. At that point his figures were 2-0-5-2. One over later his figures were 3-0-5-3 and Korgy took him off, I would assume because our Captain had paid his match fee and wanted more than an hour of cricket to show for it. Ed’s pacy new old-ball swing was simply unhittable and he took out Stokey bats 2, 3 and 4 with ease. At the other end Keyana restricted the oppo to 3 an over, and again Korgy took him off as it looked like short spells were the order of the day. An astute choice considering we potentially had 7 bowlers to get through plus a magic ball.

Korgy then set about toying with the opposition, running through our bowling roster to accelerate or decelerate the taking of wickets at his leisure. A bit of Eppy here, a bit of this correspondent there. Throw on some Gingell and season it up with some A-bomb. Finally the cat was bored of his mouse and Ed was brought back to finish it out. I heard a Stokey tail-ender marvel at how the ball was still swinging in bright sun in the 22nd over as Ed blasted through the final two wickets to end with figures of 4.5-0-15-5. Not only did Korgy extend the match time to get his money's worth, he managed to get someone else to pay for drinks!

We were set 103 to win, at Wray Crescent, and all day to get it. As a Pacific veteran I’d never say never but it was hard to see how we could fuck this one up. The returning Paul Rajkumar put on a quick 39 in 49 balls, while opening partner Rob Dinsey added 9, before the born-again batting barbarian Ben Burnham brutalized everything he saw with a truly depraved 50-not-out off 35 balls. After 16-something overs of batting that was it, we’d smoked the Stokes. Man of the Match goes to Ed “Hitman” Hart, closely followed by Ben “Feel the” Burnham in the voting. Special mention of course goes to the bizarre Kookaburra ball. The general consensus is that the ancient ball’s surface deteriorated quickly but it’s aged leather had at the same time softened and become easy to smooth and shine up (perhaps because of all the contaminants it had picked up over the years in my bag). This led to a ball with radical and persistent swing throughout a day of sunny conditions. Just FYI I heard someone say “Yeah that’s how Pakistan used to do it”. 

ADDENDUM - there was also a 16 over beer match which this correspodent did not participate in. Perhaps someone else who did can drop something about it here for the record. 

Stoke Newington v Pacific
Toss won by Stoke Newington
Stoke Newington innings  R  M  B  4  6
Jacob   run out Epstein    1  0  6  0  0  
Kush   c Rajkumar b Hart   0  0  1  0  0  
Jonas Nisse   b Hart   0  0  2  0  0  
Noah   b Hart   8  0  13  2  0  
Charley   c Korgaonkar b Epstein   8  0  19  0  0  
Samnath   b Davis   10  0  17  1  0  
Ramiz Khan   b Gingell   20  0  27  4  0  
Vivek   not out    27  0  31  3  1  
Ben   run out Davis    1  0  3  0  0  
Mike   b Hart   0  0  2  0  0  
Tom   b Hart   0  0  1  0  0  
 Extras (b 7, lb 6, w 11, nb 1) 25    
 TOTAL (24.5 Overs) 102    
 Fall of wickets:  1-1 [Kush] , 2-4 [Nisse] , 3-15 [Noah] , 4-15 [Jacob] , 5-34 [Charley] , 6-39 [Samnath] , 7-88 [Khan] , 8-90 [Ben] , 9-102 [Mike] , 10-102 [Tom]
Bowling  O  M  R  W  
 Ed Hart   4.5  0  15  5  
 Keyana Sapp   4  0  12  0  
 Paul Davis   4  1  13  1  
 Nick Epstein   4  1  14  1  
 Will Gingell   4  0  22  1  
 Ahmed Hussain   4  0  18  0  
Pacific innings  R  M  B  4  6
Paul Rajkumar†   not out    39  0  49  6  1  
Rob Dinsey   b Tom   9  0  9  2  0  
Ben Burnham   not out    50  0  35  7  0  
Murtaza Siddiqui   did not bat    0  0  0  0  0  
Aroon Korgaonkar*   did not bat    0  0  0  0  0  
Nick Epstein   did not bat    0  0  0  0  0  
Paul Davis   did not bat    0  0  0  0  0  
Keyana Sapp   did not bat    0  0  0  0  0  
Will Gingell   did not bat    0  0  0  0  0  
Ed Hart   did not bat    0  0  0  0  0  
Ahmed Hussain   did not bat    0  0  0  0  0  
 Extras (b 2, lb 4, w 5, nb 1) 12    
 TOTAL (16.1 Overs) 107-1    
 Fall of wickets:  1-14 [Dinsey]
Bowling  O  M  R  W  
 Tom   5  0  36  1  
 Mike   2  0  10  0  
 Ben   3  0  13  0  
 Sondh   4  0  28  0  
 Ramiz   1  0  7  0  
 Charley   1.1  0  7  0