48 days of hurt never stopped us dreaming
Pacific v Strongroom CC at Highgate Wood
Sat 28 Jul 2018 at 1.30pm
Won by 5 wickets
Friendly fixture

48 days. 1152 hours. 69,120 minutes. Most of June and July and have been largely unfruitful for PCC. The team has toiled tirelessly in the heat of a sweltering summer but the drought has extended to Pacific's record. Sumeet Sharma's storming 139* that sent PCC to its last win on June 10 now seems like a hazy mirage flickering on the horizon of our memory. But after the rains replenished the baked earth at Highgate Woods on Saturday, once again Pacific sipped the sweet taste of victory.

They say the smell of the air after a storm is caused by a chemical released by dead soil bacteria. The theory goes that humans are hypersensitive to it, as in our evolutionary past it helped us seek out water. But as a strong Pacific lineup arrived at the ground after an overnight deluge, it was positivity that was permeating the north London air.

It's testament to the club that this optimism has survived despite our recent run of results. Among the losses (and one draw) of the previous 48 days, we've seen exceptional individual and team performances, taking games to the wire in the hunt for that elusive victory. On Saturday the team were further buoyed by the news of a 9lb 12oz addition to the Pacific roster. The name O. Webly now seems destined to one day be engraved on the Player of the Season shield, whether awarded to Olivia or her days-old younger brother Otis.

James McGinnigle and Shaz Timbadia opened up against a Strongroom team with a few familiar faces. None more familiar than that of Paul Davis and Jim Davies, the two Pacificos drafted in to prop up an opposition who were short a couple of players. McGinnigle, bowling his uncompromising pace, made the first breakthrough after snaffling a returning ball that found the leading edge of Strongroom opener Fahim (7). Timbadia soon dismissed his partner. It was one lofty shot too many by Siddal, who picked out Stockton at waiting under a high ball at mid-on.

After the early wickets, batsmen numbers three and four, Mohammed and Vinay, steadied the Strongroom ship. James Soden - replacing Timbadia - finally broke the deadlock, with a little help from a sharp gully catch by Mutz Siddiqui to remove Mohammed (37). Davies (1) came out swinging, but Soden dropped back of a length and a skyer was soon comfortably nestled in Sharma's gloves. Vinay (23) had batted well but looked uncomfortable on a pitch that had started to pop and pea-roll as it dried out. It was a rank long hop from Stockton that finally did it for him, though. The ball was so slow and short it was on its way down by the time it reached Vinay, but it somehow found the top edge and Sharma made no mistake behind the stumps.

Strongroom took drinks on 99 for 4. The first ball at the restart barely got above ankle height, crashing into skipper Grant's leg stump to take them to 5 down. Garrett's offspin was on song, as he claimed 2 wickets in his five over spell, including a dangerous looking Rajeev. Ormesher and Garrett made short work of the tail to keep Strongroom to 131, and took 2 wickets in just 1.3 overs, as Pacific cleaned up Strongroom in under 30 overs. The performance was only marred by a Soden dropped catch, which, as Ormesher had promised to buy everyone a pint if we held our chances, was likely the most devastating result of the past 48 days.

Toby Chasseaud (18) and Ben Burnham (9) strode out to begin Pacific's run chase, eagerly watched by Pacific legend James 'Nuggsy' Gleadow. Both made positive starts on a pitch that was looking increasingly difficult to bat on, but Strongroom skipper and opening bowler Grant eventually removed them both.

By all accounts Burnham was on the receiving end of an off-cutter that pitched a good yard outside off stick and took the bail off the top of leg. It was a second blow to the post-game pub trip, as Burnham was another embroiled in a 'pints-all-round' bet. The stipulations were that he must hit usual teammate, today opposition bowler, Davis, for a boundary the first ball he faces. Alas, given Burnham's dismissal, the two never met at the crease.

Sharma and Tom Ireland now went about chipping away at the 132-run target. But after a mix-up in the middle - the second between the pair in recent memory - Ireland (6) helplessly watched the ball thrown over his shoulder and the keeper whip the off bails. At least on this occasion Ireland managed to stay on his feet, avoiding a re-run of the embarrassing moment he suffered against Fives at Highgate CC, in which he found himself stranded on his arse and run out just as his girlfriend arrived to watch him bat.

Ormesher was the new man in and looked largely untroubled amid the balls popping up off a length. But it was an uncharacteristic miss of a straight one that eventually sent him packing for 15. Sharma (37) batted exceptionally but fell victim to the sort of quick glove work that he so often delivers himself.

With about 40 runs left to score at drinks and 5 wickets remaining, Pacific were cautious about celebrating prematurely - they had scored fewer runs and had lost more wickets than Strongroom had at this point of their innings. Alas, they shouldn't have been so worried. Less than 5 overs later, Siddiqui (7*) and Stockton (30*) steered Pacific to a well-deserved 5-wicket victory, their first weekend win for 48 days, 1152 hours, or 69,120 minutes.


Strongroom CC v Pacific
Strongroom CC innings  R  M  B  4  6
Siddal   c Stockton b Timbadia   11  0  7  2  0  
Fahim   c & b McGinnigle   7  0  7  1  0  
Mohammed   c Siddiqui b Soden   37  0  30  5  0  
Vinay   c Sharma b Stockton   23  0  37  4  0  
Jim Davies   c Sharma b Soden   1  0  7  0  0  
Grant*   b Stockton   5  0  5  1  0  
Robinson   c Sharma b Ormesher   11  0  22  1  0  
Rajeev   st Sharma b Garrett   16  0  16  3  0  
Paul Davis   not out    0  0  4  0  0  
Wilson   c Chasseaud b Garrett   0  0  3  0  0  
Marriot   b Ormesher   0  0  3  0  0  
 Extras (b 4, lb 1, w 13, nb 2) 20    
 TOTAL (30.0 Overs) 131    
 Fall of wickets: 
Bowling  O  M  R  W  
 James McGinnigle   6  2  16  1  
 Sharan Timbadia   5  0  29  1  
 James Soden   5  0  19  2  
 Ben Stockton   8  2  19  2  
 Tim Garrett   5  0  24  2  
 John Ormesher   1.3  1  0  2  
Pacific innings  R  M  B  4  6
Toby Chasseaud   c Fahim b Grant   18  0  22  4  0  
Ben Burnham   b Grant   9  0  15  1  0  
Sumeet Sharma†   st b Davis   37  0  52  6  0  
Tom Ireland   run out Grant    6  0  9  1  0  
John Ormesher   b Mohamed   15  0  16  3  0  
Murtaza Siddiqui   not out    7  0  17  0  0  
Ben Stockton*   not out    30  0  18  6  0  
James Soden   did not bat    0  0  0  0  0  
Tim Garrett   did not bat    0  0  0  0  0  
Sharan Timbadia   did not bat    0  0  0  0  0  
James McGinnigle   did not bat    0  0  0  0  0  
 Extras (b 2, lb 4, w 1, nb 1) 8    
 TOTAL (24.3 Overs) 133    
 Fall of wickets: 
Bowling  O  M  R  W  
 Grant   5.3  1  19  2  
 Mohamed   8  0  48  1  
 Vinay   4  0  18  1  
 Rajeev   3  0  18  0  
 Davis   3  0  10  1  
 Robinson   1  0  12  0  

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