Heroism amid the chaos
Pacific v Nomads at Crouch End Playing Fields  Sat 15 Sep 2018 at 12.30pm
Lost by 2 wickets
Friendly fixture

The build-up to this match was somewhat chaotic. We'd originally been due to play Cairns Fudge at Wray Crescent. When they informed us on Monday that they were unable to get eleven players, Rizwan kindly offered to get some Renegades together. Then it transpired that Crouch End CC were unable to raise a side against Nomads CC, so we ended up playing Nomads at Crouch End CC. Are you with me so far?

We had a decent eleven but things were looking ominous at the stroke of midnight on Friday when James Soden posted pictures of characterful Pacific newcomer Glen Leeson drinking shots. "Left arm warmed up," quipped Leeson in the WhatsApp group.

The next message we received from him, at 6.45am (presumably when he got home), was not so amusing, except to John Ormesher, who would not have to suffer the consequences. "Hi guys. I got ruined last night and can’t play. I’m in bits. Sorry to drop you in it. Can you get a replacement?" Alas, it turned out, we could not.

Matters were made worse when, at 10.12am, the youthful Ramiz Khan sent the message: "I have been quite ill the whole day as well. Sorry."

And so we were nine.

Thankfully, upon turning up at the scenic ground, Chasseaud won the toss and elected to bat, which was very fortunate indeed because Shaz only turned up five overs after the start of the match.

Mark Woodland and Sam Howes opened the batting. It was a promising partnership, with Howes growing in confidence every innings he plays, and Woodland striking 18 off 20 balls against some testing bowling before being bowled. 

This dismissal brought skipper Chasseaud, armed with a new Salix after splitting his old favourite during his innings against Chigwell the previous Sunday, to the crease. It has been said that cricket is an individual game masquerading as a team sport but Toby perhaps took the individual aspect a bit too far in his quest to make the 14 runs required to reach his Pacific "first-class" thousand for the season. 

True, the opening bowlers were both pretty sharp and the ball was sometimes shooting through perilously low at the pavilion end. But surely when a couple of pie-chuckers came on first change the Pacific skipper would open up? He did indeed play a nice back-foot drive for four but then followed it up with a most resolute forward defensive shot to a ball that was probably only travelling at 30 miles an hour.

At the other end, Ben Stockton had no such inhibitions, smashing a ball over square leg for a big six, which was never found despite the wicketkeeper insisting on holding up play to fetch a stepladder from the pavilion.

Stocko must have had enough of watching Chasseaud because, a couple of overs later, he clipped one to square leg and called for a second run only to hesitate mid-pitch, causing Chasseaud to hesitate and be run out by half a metre from a cruelly accurate throw to the bowler's end. It was a shame in that he would surely have accelerated after scoring the further three runs required for his personal landmark. Still, he probably wouldn't have scored as quickly as the dangerous Rizwan Siddiqui, who replaced him at the crease. Stockton and Siddiqui set about giving the slow bowlers what they deserved and both raced to their half centuries, with a few more lost balls along the way. 

Stockton fell to a horrible heave across the line and, when the slow bowlers were replaced by the openers, it was a different game. Both Rob Allum (does he only score runs against Pacific?) and Rob Dinsey laboured for ducks against the sharp bowling.

At one point during their rasonably productive partnership, Siddiqui was heard to say to Dinsey: "Look where you've ended up! Stop backing away – he's not Waqar Younis." To which Dinsey, jovial as ever, replied: "Yes, but I'm not Mark Waugh."

The left-handed Umrish Pandya's innings was one for the purists. He'd leave beautifully outside the off stump, draw the bowler straighter, and then clip the ball for four off his legs or his hip. So it was a shame when he was run out.

When Timbadia was bowled for one, last-minute arrival Zahid Ali faced a couple of balls in the middle before his cousin cruelly declared on him, having already brought up his first ever Pacific century an over or two earlier. Zee is yet to score a run in his three Pacific matches this season but his dedication to the team cause must be recognised and he did well to finish this innings not out, though he wasn't the slightest bit happy with Siddiqui for walking off before he could face his third delivery, which surely he would have hit for six, the way he had been connecting in the nets. Still, Siddiqui could smell the aroma of curry coming from the pavilion and nothing – not even the chance to surpass his brother's 124 – was going to stop him getting to the front of the queue.

In hindsight, another over might have made all the difference to the result of the match, but we had a decent enough total so declaring seemed the right thing to do.

Given the late pull-outs, we were always going to struggle in the field, but at least we had the morale-boosting Zee as a tenth man for the first hour. It was thought that Mutz might turn up later, but, alas, a lift was unavailable, and it was not to be.

Yadav came out of the blocks quickly, batting with aggression until he played a shot too many. Chasseaud moved himself to long-ish-on and was rewarded with a skyer the very next ball, which required quite some backpeddling to take with a dive a metre or two within the boundary. Given the reaction from the field, it must have been quite a catch, though spoilsport Siddiqui said he should have been closer to the boundary in the first place. His second catch was also decent, snaffling a loopy one over the covers to dismiss their left-hander. His third catch, at cover to a righthander, was a little less convincing as he lost his footing. But still, when drinks were taken, three wickets had fallen and they were all caught Chasseaud, so he was going at least some way to make up for his boring batting.

Then more breakthroughs came. Ayaz was run out when Allum managed to get a finger on a low straight drive off his own bowling. Siddiqui aimed straight and fast to claim two LBWs and a bowled.

Stockton, having opened the bowling, came back for a second spell down the hill, delving deep into his energy reserves. He created the chance of a third catch to cover but this time Chasseaud, moving low to his left a bit too slowly, was unable to hang on, his exertions having caught up with him as he'd had to continually run from one side of the wicket to the other with another left-handed batsman at the crease.

There had been a few other misfields, and rather a lot of byes, but no fault could be laid on any of the 8.9 Pacificos who had been there from start to finish as Nomads crept over the line with two wickets to spare. They, and the zestful Zee, had done the club proud.

Pacific v Nomads
Toss won by Pacific
Pacific innings Runs Mins Balls 4s 6s
  Mark Woodland b Yadav  18  16  20  3  0  
  Sam Howes b Ayaz  11  36  27  1  0  
  Toby Chasseaud* run out Page  11  46  29  1  0  
  Ben Stockton b Suraj  55  66  50  7  3  
  Rizwan Siddiqui not out  109  119  72  16  4  
  Rob Allum b Yadav  0  13  12  0  0  
  Rob Dinsey† b Yadav  0  22  22  0  0  
  Umrish Pandya run out Marshall  11  26  24  1  0  
  Sharan Timbadia b Ayaz  1  13  9  0  0  
  Zahid Ali not out  0  0  2  0  0  
 Extras (b 9, lb 4, w 4, nb 3) 20    
 TOTAL (45.0 Overs) 236    
 Fall of wickets:  1-23 [Woodland] , 2-34 [Howes] , 3-56 [Chasseaud] , 4-146 [Stockton] , 5-150 [Allum] , 6-173 [Dinsey] , 7-201 [Pandya] , 8-220 [Timbadia]
Bowling O M R W  
 Yadav 14 2 43 3  
 Ayaz 8 2 20 2  
 Marshall 5 0 38 0  
 Page 4 0 37 0  
 Vithlani 9 2 45 1  
 Kothari 2 0 9 0  
 O Gorman 3 0 27 0  
Nomads innings Runs Mins Balls 4s 6s
  N Jamad c Chasseaud b Stockton  15  0  0  1  0  
  V Yadav c Chasseaud b Timbadia  20  0  0  3  1  
  S Hussain c Chasseaud b Stockton  22  0  0  4  0  
  J O Gorman c Stockton b Allum  32  0  0  6  0  
  O Ayaz run out Allum  35  0  0  5  0  
  K Alexander† lbw b Siddiqui  6  0  0  1  0  
  S Vithlani lbw b Siddiqui  31  0  0  3  0  
  A Kothari b Siddiqui  10  0  0  0  0  
  C Page not out  11  0  0  1  0  
  A Marshall not out  10  0  0  2  0  
  Michael Blumberg* did not bat  0  0  0  0  0  
 Extras (b 30, lb 3, w 10, nb 2) 45    
 TOTAL (40.0 Overs) 237    
 Fall of wickets:  1-25 [Yadav] , 2-72 [Jamad] , 3-72 [Hussain] , 4-147 [Ayaz] , 5-147 [O Gorman] , 6-169 [Alexander] , 7-190 [Kothari] , 8-220 [Vithlani]
Bowling O M R W  
 Ben Stockton 15 0 67 2  
 Sharan Timbadia 5 0 31 0  
 Sam Howes 4 0 32 0  
 Umrish Pandya 4 0 38 0  
 Rob Allum 5 1 13 1  
 Rizwan Siddiqui 7 1 25 3