Grammarians given a lesson
Pacific v Old Grammarians at Wray Crescent
Sun 22 Oct 2017 at 1.30pm
Won by 9 runs
Friendly fixture

The PCC extended its late-season flurry of victories to ten out of twelve, in what was (despite a close finish) for the most part a tedious, autumnal snore-fest

To both sides' credit, participation in outdoor cricket in late October requires the sort of fervent zeal exhibited only, perhaps, by Pacific's itinerant troupe of superfans, a pleasing complement of whom were present at Wray, including virtuosic scoring duo Vic and The Guv'nor. Not everyone was best pleased by what they saw on and off the pitch, however.  One ambivalent voice from the boundary was heard to chirp "if it was raining I wouldn't be here, believe me!", while Vic was forced to use his table tennis bat as a table for the scorecard. Our very own Nuggsy even got in on the act by heckling the umpire to vent his fury at some ambiguous signalling. Your correspondent, for his part, was a bit chilly and running low on Golden Virginia.

The day did not get off to a great start. Two of OG's initial VIII arrived early, only to be told by the footballers that they would be not playing for at least another two hours. Unaccustomed to this weekly, ritualistic display of manhood, the two Grammarians in question took the remark at face value, assumed that Captain Khalid was playing a prank, and disappeared home leaving only six OGs. In order to make some sort of game of it, we gifted to the opposition veteran batsman Jon Thornton and mercenary all-rounder Rizwan Siddiqui for the day – the latter arguably an OG in his own right.

Pacific duo Murtaza "Whacker Younis" Siddiqui and Mark "The" Woodland "Creature" went in to bat first. Sadly, Mutz (9) was unable to replicate his record-breaking heroics of the previous weekend. Pending a CT scan, it is not possible to say whether this resulted from his being encumbered by the helmet foisted upon him by older brother Riz (at mum's insistence), or whether severe motor neuron damage had been sustained in the absence of said encumbrance the previous week. The Creature (8), meanwhile, continued to impress with his new-found authority at the crease, before a cruel twist of fate led to him being run out – having comfortably made it home to the danger end while Captain Chasseaud, having not heard Mark's call, remained rooted to the spot ("don't run, Forest, don't run!").

Having arguably played a part in bringing the Creature's innings to a premature end, Chasseaud continued his rich vein of form, calmly accumulating 58 runs from 67 balls as part of the game's highest partnership (121), together with returning Aussie and 2015 Newcomer of the Year, Paul Rajkumar. Despite the relatively high strike rate, on a chilly day on which the grass was longer on the pitch than off, it is fair to say that this was an innings which although highly effective, was perhaps more palatable to the connoisseur than the casual fan. Rajkumar, who has had a barren season with the bat away from the PCC, brought some spicier flavours to the Astro and posted the day's top score with 86 off 61, during which he biffed six sixes.

We've missed you, Paul. Come home. 

The truncated tea was a fraught, table-less, plate-less affair. Nonetheless, solid contributions were made by Rafiq (including Chai and a box of wings from PFC Fried Chicken), PBD (Turkish breads) and Mrs Riz (chicken biryani – edible only out of plastic cups). As the light faded, the teams went back out on to the pitch hungry, although your correspondent managed to snaffle half a packet of Jaffa Cakes to eat at deep square leg. A winter in the gym awaits.

Chasing 182 off 30 overs, the OGs slumped to 10/3 off 5.5, owing to some sharp catching from Chasseaud, Mutz, and Burnham. Danger man Thornton (46) remained tethered to the crease, while openers Stockton and Davis kept things tight and restricted the OGs to 24 from the first ten on Wray's batsman-friendly Astroturf.

Perhaps it had been the OGs' intention to see off the openers before moving through the gears against the weaker first change men. If so, it didn't work. The contrasting styles of Rajkumar, whose aggressive first over was redolent of Lee against Trescothick, together with the loop and drift of Ratta, was too much for the batting side to handle. In particular, Thornton was no match for Ratta's sheer guile and inventiveness (not least in terms of his idiosyncratic approach to appealing), and Ratta went for only eight runs off his first five overs. Having timorously blocked and prodded the too-good Ratta, Thornton eventually removed the handbrake but succumbed to Rajkumar via Chasseaud, falling agonisingly short of what would have been a memorable half century.  

Riz (53) and Khalid (28) were next to enter the fray, their powerful styles setting things up for a tight finish. With the game hanging in the balance, Garrett and Stockton took superb running catches to see off Khalid and Riz, respectively. Garrett then went on to deliver the death overs to the plucky Sujay, the OGs' No 8 (and last man) being allowed to bat on his own with a runner. In the end, he was snaffled by Rajkumar off Garrett with three balls remaining and the OGs only nine runs short of their target.

Viva la rafalución!

Old Grammarians in early trouble on 5 for 2. Photo by James Gleadow

Pacific v Old Grammarians
Toss won by Old Grammarians
Pacific innings  R  M  B  4  6
Murtaza Siddiqui†   c Wicket keeper b Sujay   9  0  15  1  0  
Mark Woodland   run out    8  0  12  0  0  
Toby Chasseaud*   c Wicket keeper b Suraj   58  0  67  5  0  
Paul Rajkumar   b Abdul   86  0  61  5  6  
Ben Burnham   b Abdul   1  0  5  0  0  
Ben Stockton   not out    10  0  12  0  0  
Paul Davis   b Suraj   3  0  6  0  0  
Rafiq Ratta   not out    1  0  3  0  0  
Tim Garrett   did not bat    0  0  0  0  0  
 Extras (b 1, lb 0, w 3, nb 1) 5    
 TOTAL (30.0 Overs) 181    
 Fall of wickets:  1-16 [Siddiqui] , 2-18 [Woodland] , 3-139 [Chasseaud] , 4-140 [Burnham ] , 5-168 [Rajkumar] , 6-175 [Davis]
Bowling  O  M  R  W  
 Sujay   6  0  22  1  
 Khalid   6  0  30  0  
 Sanjay   6  0  52  0  
 Rizwan Siddiqui   6  0  30  0  
 Suraj   3  0  30  2  
 Abdul   3  0  16  2  
Old Grammarians innings  R  M  B  4  6
Suraj   c Burnham b Davis   1  0  5  0  0  
Jon Thornton   c Chasseaud b Rajkumar   46  0  66  4  1  
Abdul†   c Siddiqui b Stockton   1  0  5  0  0  
Sanjay   c Chasseaud b Davis   4  0  11  1  0  
Khalid*   c Garrett b Ratta   28  0  36  6  0  
Rizwan Siddiqui   c Stockton b Garrett   53  0  40  3  4  
Sujay   c Rajkumar b Garrett   24  0  18  1  1  
 Extras (b 1, lb 0, w 9, nb 5) 15    
 TOTAL (29.3 Overs) 172    
 Fall of wickets:  1-2 [Suraj] , 2-4 [Abdul] , 3-10 [Sanjay] , 4-53 [Khalid] , 6-146 [R. Siddiqui] , 6-151 [Thornton] , 7-172 [Sujay]
Bowling  O  M  R  W  
 Ben Stockton   6  2  12  1  
 Paul Davis   6  0  31  2  
 Rafiq Ratta   6  1  20  1  
 Paul Rajkumar   6  0  54  1  
 Tim Garrett   5.3  0  54  2