Tigerish Pacific earn their stripes
Pacific v Mayfield CC at Hazelwood Lane Sports Ground
Sun 13 Aug 2017 at 1pm
Won by 61 runs
Middlesex & Essex Invitation League

Pacific secured a third league victory of the season on Sunday at the Hazelwood Recreation with one of their more assured performances of 2017. Our 135 featured contributions right across the batting order and a 61-run victory, a sizeable margin on this pitch, was achieved in the early evening thanks to Stockton, Webley and the spin destroyer-in-chief Ahmed ‘A bomb’ Hussain. 

As ever, the pre-match talk centred around the state of this now legendary Palmers Green pitch, the MEIL’s equivalent of Sabina Park ’98, a track to induce night time terrors and dreams of losing teeth; a recreation ground which was anything but leisurely. To add even more intrigue,the pitch was furnished with an outfield which made Wray Crescent’s April turf look like a manicured lawn bowling green. 

So it was not without some trepidation that developing opening partnership Soden and Mullens went out to bat to see what demons were in store for them. Soon they realized that this would not be the Mayfield minefield of years previous. This strip was all grown up and less likely to act out like a surly teenager.

Nonetheless both were taxed by the hoop of opener Adnan Kureishi, who homed in on the pair’s toes from the outset. They just got their bat down on several occasions and when they located the leather, the long grass did its worst to spoil the glorious revolutions of the cherry. James looked technically accomplished, creaming Jain off the back foot through the cover ‘field’ before being bowled playing slightly across the line.

Mutz Siddiqui, Pacific’s ‘finisher’ in recent months, showed his flexibility by coming in at number 3. Once he’d worked out the conditions he started to play customary flicks and late deflections, twice sending the ball in to the midwicket area for twos. But on 11 Kureshi got the swing going and his stump was knocked back via his bat and pad.

Toby and Kieran looked to fortify, then released the shackles by taking Karl Cullen’s flighted offerings for regular singles and a couple of fours. Waqqas too offered a touch more room outside off for cuts and deviations behind square.  

Soon after drinks in the 24th over Kieran was sent back on a walk to the pavilion for a patient 19, Waqqas going wide on the crease to nibble his off stump as he played straight down the Bakerloo.

Mayfield celebrated but Pacific still had Moses, Webley, Stockton and Ilangovan to come, a box of delights which could hopefully take the game away from Mayfield, just as England’s feted middle/ late order have been doing all summer.

But the pitch now had other ideas, entering a phase of accelerated deterioration. Pacific’s batting power players came and went. Moses hit a couple of typical bullet fours before being bowled by Cullen, Webley’s languid swing of the bat sent the ball in a familiar soaring arc over the boundary for six, reminding us of the Dorset master’s illustrious collection of N4 works since 2005, his bat strokes like brushstrokes. He departed trying the same again to a full toss from the young offie Pooran.

Chasseaud (25) too reminded us of his very best form with an exquisite cover drive of perfect balance, proving true Stephen Richards’ adage that though knees may be temporary, class is permanent. He was out caught in the deep, but we'd upped the run rate, after which Stockton (19), Ilangovan (12) and Andrew Birley, who negotiated a hat trick ball from the young Nick Starck, helped Pacific to 135.

Tea was a treat, the highlights of which were moist banana cake and a lemon drizzle, courtesy of Ren Bhairo’s wife.  But there may have been a slight undercurrent of concern. Would the 135 be enough? Mayfield had chased down a similar total the year before…

Within the space of an opening spell from Stockton and Webley, our eleven took control of the day, displaying a consistent, focussed passion. As Open era tennis legend Jimmy Connors might have put it, the 'tiger juices' were flowing nicely, though perhaps with a less concentrated dilution ratio than the multi-slam champ used to serve.

Bhairo smashed a ball straight back at Stockton who held on nonchalantly in a manner similar to last year’s magical take v Black Rose. Webley, the ‘Dorset steam engine’ as dubbed by Mutz, used all his tricks, swinging the Morrant cherry into the right-handers, then rolling his fingers over and cutting it away. He dropped his paces and let the pitch do the talking as Mayfield’s batsman could barely get the ball off the cut strip; after ten overs they’d only got 8 on the board and the 135 looked an insurmountable, distant peak.

Stockton got a bit of life out of the surface, coaxing Salim into popping one up to Moses at short cover, whose enjoyment of another kind of oval space altogether on Saturday night left his reactions a touch dulled. The disco maestro dived forward and clung on to take a great catch low down.

Ravi Pooran and Asnad Kureshi stuck around for a time, Kureshi opting to eliminate the long grass by hitting big shots, while Pooran senior was focused on mere survival. Such had been his efforts in seeing off our seamers that the introduction of Ahmed threw him and he completely missed a loosener and heard the awful sound of timber dropping.

A succession of Mayfield bats now came and went, flummoxed by the revolutions of a spinner in the form of his bowling life. Passing the bat with a sharply spun leg break, deploying the ball like a heat seeking missile into the pads with the well-disguised googly, Ahmed took out captain and dangerman Starck, who found the secure hands of Stockton and long off. Webley got his rewards for a straight 12 over spell with the wickets of Starck junior and Jain, while Timbadia continued the good work with some hoop of his own with the old ball. After Pooran and Patel perished, Mayfield legend Cullen hung on with Kureshi, who now had nothing to lose.  But the latter was out for the best score of the day, a fine 44 looking to go big one time too many.  Soon Hussain could celebrate victory for his team and the personal glory of his first ever six wicket haul with the wicket of Cullen.

We enjoyed some drinks and the family vibe at Mayfield's club house afterwards - it was great to see the Webley fam and James Soden's girlfriend too. Olivia Webley is growing up fast into a lovely little girl and showed a keen appreciation for the hide and seek spot. There was talk of finding a more permanent home so that we can develop the collective spirit of the club further, so we look forward to our club meeting to discuss all these issues and more in early September.

Finally, thanks to David Starck and the Mayfield 11, who welcomed us to their club so hospitably. We look forward to more encounters in 2018! 

Pacific v Mayfield CC
Toss won by Mayfield CC
Pacific innings  R  M  B  4  6
James Soden   b Kureshi   4  0  0  1  0  
Kieran Mullens   b Waqqas   19  0  0  1  0  
Murtaza Siddiqui   b Kureshi   11  0  0  0  0  
Toby Chasseaud*   c Cow Corner b Jain   25  0  0  1  0  
George Moses   b Cullen   13  0  0  2  0  
Jon Webley   c ? b S Pooran   12  0  0  0  1  
Ben Stockton   c D Starck b N Starck   19  0  0  1  0  
Aravindan Ilangovan†   lbw b N Starck   12  0  0  1  0  
Andy Birley   c Short Cover b N Starck   3  0  0  0  0  
Sharan Timbadia   ? b N Starck   0  0  0  0  0  
Ahmed Hussain   not out    0  0  0  0  0  
 Extras (b 2, lb 1, w 12, nb 0) 15    
 TOTAL (45.0 Overs) 135    
 Fall of wickets:  1-7 , 2-29 , 3-54 , 4-80 , 5-81 , 6-112 , 7-119 , 8-132 , 9-132 , 10-135
Bowling  O  M  R  W  
 Kureshi   8  2  15  2  
 Imran   7  2  13  1  
 Waqqas   9  1  21  1  
 Cullan   10  0  42  2  
 Pooran   5  0  18  1  
 Starck   6  0  24  4  
Mayfield CC innings  R  M  B  4  6
Bhairo   c & b Stockton   0  0  0  0  0  
Salim   c Moses b Stockton   6  0  0  0  0  
R Pooran   b Hussain   4  0  0  0  0  
Kureshi   c Stockton b Hussain   44  0  0  0  0  
David Starck*†   c Stockton b Hussain   9  0  0  0  0  
N Starck   b Webley   0  0  0  0  0  
Jain   lbw b Webley   0  0  0  0  0  
S Pooran   b Hussain   0  0  0  0  0  
Sarj Patel   c Mullens b Hussain   4  0  0  0  0  
Cullen   c Chasseaud b Hussain   2  0  0  0  0  
Waqqas   not out    0  0  0  0  0  
 Fall of wickets: 
Bowling  O  M  R  W  
 Ben Stockton   8  4  10  2  
 Jon Webley   12  4  23  2  
 Ahmed Hussain   7.4  0  29  6  
 Sharan Timbadia   3  0  10  0  

Other matches:
 Minefield, Sun 22 May 2022, Hazelwood Lane Sports Ground, Lost by 4 wickets
 Covid can't take away happy memories of Mayfield, Sat 21 Aug 2021, Hazelwood Lane Sports Ground, Lost by 62 runs
 Sun 12 Jul 2020, Hazelwood Lane Sports Ground, Cancelled Mayfield Committee
 Sun 31 May 2020, Highgate CC, Cancelled Covid-19
 Eid Mubarak Forfeit, Sun 11 Aug 2019, Highgate CC, Won Forfeit
 Mayfield hang on after Sumeet’s fireworks , Sun 14 Jul 2019, Hazelwood Lane Sports Ground, Drawn
 Bing's Bish Bash Bosh not enough, Sun 12 Aug 2018, Hazelwood Lane Sports Ground, Lost by 3 wickets
 PCC fall short despite accumulating, good Sharma, Sun 13 May 2018, North Middlesex CC, Lost by 3 wickets
 Pacific batsmen wilt in the downpour at Ally Pally, Sun 14 May 2017, Racecourse Ground, Alexandra Palace, Lost by 47 runs
 Sizzled on spicy square, Sun 14 Aug 2016, Hazelwood Lane Sports Ground, Lost 2 wickets
 Drain pain, Sun 24 Apr 2016, Racecourse Ground, Alexandra Palace, Cancelled
 Mayfield Chandramoulied, Sun 16 Aug 2015, Hazelwood Lane Sports Ground, Won 46 runs
 Mayfield floored but deliver knockout punch, Sun 07 Jun 2015, Racecourse Ground, Alexandra Palace, Lost 18 runs
 Pacific soak up the Mayfield spice, Sun 17 Aug 2014, Hazelwood Lane Sports Ground, Drawn
 Sam sinks Mayfield's ship, Sun 08 Jun 2014, Racecourse Ground, Alexandra Palace, Won 5 wickets
 Resounding win keeps title hopes alive, Sun 18 Aug 2013, Hazelwood Lane Sports Ground, Won 10 wickets
 Mayfield make hay whilst the sun doesn't shine, Sun 09 Jun 2013, Racecourse Ground, Alexandra Palace, Lost 43 runs
 Glory in the sun, Sun 19 Aug 2012, Hazelwood Lane Sports Ground, Won by 3 wickets
 Plucky Pacific draw strength, Sun 10 Jun 2012, Broxbourne Sports Club, Drawn
 Seamers crush Mayfield to end barren run, Sun 14 Aug 2011, Hazelwood Lane Sports Ground, Won 7 wickets
 Smith superb but middle order bowled over, Sun 15 May 2011, Broxbourne Sports Club, Drawn