Top order struggles leave Pacific adrift
Pacific v Southbank CC at Dulwich Sports Ground  Sun 02 Sep 2018 at 1pm
Lost by 8 wickets
Friendly fixture

There are, perhaps, only a handful of city natives in Pacific’s ranks. It would seem – entirely anecdotally, of course – that most of the roster arrived in the capital having grown up in provincial towns or rural hamlets. That may go some way to explain the sense of ease by which Pacific relaxed into the setting of Dulwich Village on this surprisingly sultry September Sunday.

Upon arrival, a few Pacificos settled in the grand pavilion which looks out across the three cricket pitches. The familiar face of Jon Thornton welcomed them and sat them down in front of the big screen. George Moses was among of those found glued to the TV – his cheery demeanour as always a thin veneer atop a stinking hangover. 

Despite the vast expanse of south-of-the-river suburbia occupied by Dulwich Sports Ground, Rob Dinsey and Aroon Korgoankar both found themselves at the wrong venue. In anticipation of a mix-up, south London local Sam Howes had even confirmed the exact location of the day’s play that morning. It took a bewildering phone call between Korgoankar and part-time skipper, Ben Stockton, during which both claimed to be stood in the pavilion, until it dawned that the former had in fact gone to a nearby ground.

No bother, Korgoankar thought. After getting his bearings, he figured the correct venue was no more than a few minutes away as the crow flies. Not one for pathways and armed with an intimate knowledge of the UK’s right to roam policy, Korgoankar set about his direct route to the cricket, with Dinsey in tow. To his companion’s surprise, even property boundaries proved no match for Korgoankar, as he vaulted fences to reach the correct venue in double-quick time.

Stockton won the toss and chose to bat first. Aly Duncan and Aravindan Ilangovan opened up against right-arm paceman Ireland (no relation to Pacific’s Tom ‘Tropical’ Ireland). Mendelsohn proved tricky to get away from the other end, too, translating height into bounce and nipping the ball away off the pitch. Duncan (0) soon feathered one behind.

As it turns out, there was no need for Burnham to splash out on his recent coaching sessions, as Southbank CC’s Aussie, Dalton, was happy to give him a few pointers along the way. The traditional Burnham thank you of a few expletives reflected his gratitude for the free advice. Nonetheless, Burnham (2) missed a straight one shortly after and Ireland duly pegged back his off stump. Ilangovan (2) was next to go as he was triggered LBW by umpire Rob Dinsey. 7 for 3 soon became 10 for 4 as Moses (0) edged one to slip. 

Kieran Mullens and Stockton set about the process of rebuilding. Mullens (7) – convinced he’d figured out how to play on this pitch – sensibly refrained from slashing at anything wide outside off and waited for the bowler to stray straighter. He hadn’t anticipated the sneaky full toss, though. And to his annoyance, he spooned it back to the bowler.

However, he’d imparted his wisdom on Stockton before he departed and the skipper was able to continue to apply the Mullens Method. Korgoankar showed some of the killer form he’s been in with the bat this season, playing a sensible 14 that was worth many times that number given the situation. Korgoankar fell not long after drinks and Stockton (56) soon followed.

Pacific’s 8, 9, 10 and 11 of Howes (7), Dinsey (10), Jasbir Basi (0*) and Tony Tambyrajah (4) showed immense resilience to drag the team up to 112. Now scorer, Burnham delighted in some off the cuff statistical analysis, explaining which combination of Pacific’s top four each individual in the final four had out scored. The innings ended when Tambyrajah convinced the umpire he had in fact gloved a vicious bouncer to the keeper. Although he later admitted the thought of facing another may have been a factor in his willingness to walk.

Post-tea, the ominous sight of Thornton pulling on his pads made it clear that Pacific would have to bowl and field exceptionally to defend their meagre total. 

Howes opened up and immediately found some zip. We’d been warned of Thornton’s partner Siddique’s ability to score quickly, but Howes made short work of him. Siddique missed. Howes hit. Howes looked sure of taking a second, and the chance came no more than a few balls later. A nick behind. Dropped. The next over, the same again. Not long after, the same again!

From the other end, Korgoankar couldn’t make the breakthrough. Stockton came into the attack and claimed the wicket of van den Aardweg, who Howes should have had three times already. Unfortunately, those were the only wickets Pacific could claim before Southbank CC cruised to victory after 20 overs, Thornton ending with 64 not out.

As ever, the team stayed for a few drinks in the bar after the game. The sour-faced staff found the happy balance that comes with operating a bar in what is, after all, a village ground. They were just friendly enough to engage in some repartee with the regulars, but not so much as to persuade the interlopers from hanging around for too long.

Talk turned to work and [REDACTED] said that [REDACTED] had [REDACTED] to which he replied, “[REDACTED]”. Meanwhile, Burnham continued to test the patience of our designated driver, at one point sneaking off for a sportsman’s half while Ilangovan was in the toilet. Although he was also heading for north London, Dinsey, fearing recriminations for his earlier decision to trigger Ilangovan, opted for public transport instead. The day’s stand-in keeper was dismissed to go and think about what he’d done. And asked if he could upload the scorecard while he was at it.


Pacific v Southbank CC
Toss won by Pacific
Pacific innings Runs Mins Balls 4s 6s
  Aly Duncan c Nelson b Henderson  0  0  7  0  0  
  Aravindan Ilangovan lbw b Ireland  2  0  8  0  0  
  Ben Burnham b Ireland  2  0  11  0  0  
  Kieran Mullens c Ranjan b Ranjan  7  0  23  0  0  
  George Moses c Arnold b Henderson  0  0  2  0  0  
  Ben Stockton* c Arnold b Dalton  56  0  59  5  1  
  Aroon Korgaonkar lbw b Arnold  14  0  38  1  0  
  Sam Howes c van den Aardweg b Dalton  7  0  9  1  0  
  Rob Dinsey† b Dalton  10  0  10  1  0  
  Jasbir Basi not out  0  0  6  0  0  
  Tony Tambyrajah c Nelson b Mendelsohn  4  0  7  0  0  
 Extras (b 0, lb 5, w 5, nb 0) 10    
 TOTAL (39.3 Overs) 112    
 Fall of wickets:  1-1 [Duncan] , 2-4 [Burnham ] , 3-7 [Ilangovan] , 4-10 [Moses] , 5-24 [Mullens]
Bowling O M R W  
 Ireland 6 1 8 2  
 Mendelsohn 6.1 0 10 3  
 Ranjan 5 0 14 1  
 Miller 6 1 26 0  
 Dalton 8 1 20 3  
 Arnold 8 1 24 1  
Southbank CC innings Runs Mins Balls 4s 6s
  Jon Thornton* not out  64  0  0  11  0  
  N Siddique b Howes  1  0  0  0  0  
  J van den Aardweg c & b Stockton  24  0  0  4  0  
  W Arnold not out  16  0  0  2  0  
  P Nelson did not bat  0  0  0  0  0  
  Faraz did not bat  0  0  0  0  0  
  M Ireland did not bat  0  0  0  0  0  
  A Dalton did not bat  0  0  0  0  0  
  Z Mendelsohn did not bat  0  0  0  0  0  
  V Miller did not bat  0  0  0  0  0  
  Ranjan did not bat  0  0  0  0  0  
 Extras (b 2, lb 1, w 4, nb 2) 9    
 TOTAL (20.0 Overs) 114    
 Fall of wickets:  1-4 [Siddique] , 2-63 [van den Aardweg]
Bowling O M R W  
 Sam Howes 7 0 27 1  
 Aroon Korgaonkar 3 0 20 0  
 Ben Stockton 5 0 18 1  
 Jasbir Basi 1 0 18 0  
 Aravindan Ilangovan 2 1 9 0  
 Tony Tambyrajah 2 0 20 0  

Other matches:
 Sun 12 May 2019, Dulwich Sports Ground,