The bells of st Clements, they toll for thee
Pacific v St Clements CC at Valentines Park, Ilford
Sat 26 May 2018 at 12.30pm
Lost by 19 runs
Friendly fixture

The inaugural fixture v St Clements last year laid to rest Pete's vision of our gracing a former county ground mere hours after it had arisen: this time we armed with the foreknowledge that we'd have to trudge longingly past the immaculate Ilford Cricket Club ground to the slightly less salubrious Valentines Park Council Pitch (dusty pitch on a sizeable slope; 'pavilion' a bunker that the Stasi would have deemed a touch too brutalist). On the plus side, we schlepped in on a broiling hot day knowing that the opposition were a hospitable bunch who'd give us an excellent game.

We were a touch light, to be honest, with Aroon hobbled by a football injury and dropouts leading to the ever-enthusiastic Zi getting an emergency recall, a year after he made his debut at the very same ground in similar circumstances. That we made a decent fist of it was down to a well-paced ton by John Ormesher, a four-fer from Sam 'the Howitzer' Howes, and a late-order blitz by Paul Rajkumar that fell agonisingly short.

St Clements won the toss and batted, and were restricted by an excellent spell from Ormesher, who beat the bat regularly and did everything but take a wicket. Spurning his leggies, the irrepressible Howes generated good pace charging up the hill, and armed with the new ball, induced a drag-on with a lifting outswinger before boomeranging one the other way through another befuddled batsman.

Unfortunately a shortage of seamers and a very short square boundary down the hill meant that we were always likely to struggle from one end with our spinners. As a series of white-feathered bowlers utterly failed to meet his eye, skipper Chasseaud sportingly put himself in the firing line, only to see a far-from-disastrous loosener smacked over the short legside boundary for six. Two overs later poor Prasanna was confronted with precisely the conditions for not making your debut as a rusty leggie. Hussain was very lucky to have dodged this particular bullet, an indifferent start getting rather less punishment than it deserved owing to the long grass and even longer legside boundary at the other end. Eventually he strayed onto a length and managed to pick one up with a loopy one that dipped under a cross-bat heave.

Harry Holmes got some good bounce with his off-breaks, and picked up a brace (including an implausible second catch in two games for Ahmed, and a skier which Toby brilliantly held only for his momentum to carry him over the boundary), but we probably should have kept them away from the short boundary during the death overs and forced them to hit singles through the vast Savanna on the opposite side. Final bowling highlight - a rare outing for Mutz the Seamer!

Kudos to the opposition for providing tea when almost all of them are observing Ramadan and unable to partake themselves. Duly fortified, we opened up with Aly and Harry. Aly looked in confident touch, only to fall to the only one of the many shooters that day to pitch straight. Harry, one exquisite flick off his toes apart, kept fairly cautious company while John scored more freely at the other end, then perished trying to up the rate, but not before hitting his first six in any cricket. John passed fifty, and Toby was just calmly playing himself in when an offbreak spat off the pitch from around the wicket and was caught off a thin edge. As the run-rate climbed, Rajkumar made a heroic effort to keep us on track with a mighty six over long off, another that was skied and shelled just inside the long on boundary, and a spectular clean hit that cleared the pavilion, the brook and the trees at midwicket.

With the target within sight, we were thwarted by a brave and canny bit of death bowling by their left-arm spinner, who somehow managed 2-8 off the last three death overs. Realising that we were targeting the short legside boundary, he speared it in a foot outside off stump so effectively that we played and missed or toe-ended pretty much everything. We should probably have settled for twos through the offside, but then hindsight is a wonderful thing.

The other bright spot, albeit farcical, was John initially being told he'd been out for 99, then getting 'seasonally adjusted' up to a ton when the scores were totted up carefully. Some shameless peer pressure had him generously supplying a jug fund to those off to the pub, despite not turning up to imbibe in person. Since there has been at least one Extraordinary General Meeting in the club's history to settle a scorebook dispute and retrospectively award a ton, one hopes that John will not be clamouring for an appeal hearing and the return of the beer money. Those who made it to the pub were further cheered by the Champions League final and the knowledge that no woe that had ever befallen them on a sports field was quite as embarrassing as Karius's brace of howlers.


St Clements CC v Pacific
Toss won by St Clements CC
St Clements CC innings  R  M  B  4  6
Afghan   b Howes   4  0  0  0  0  
Stacey   b Howes   2  0  0  0  0  
Aslan   b Howes   95  0  0  0  0  
Paved   b Hussain   38  0  0  0  0  
Javad   b Siddiqui   23  0  0  0  0  
Salman   lbw b Howes   3  0  0  0  0  
Asad   lbw b Siddiqui   9  0  0  0  0  
Nadeem   c Hussain b Holmes   31  0  0  0  0  
Ali   not out    5  0  0  0  0  
Adnan   c Siddiqui b Holmes   0  0  0  0  0  
Wagus   did not bat    0  0  0  0  0  
 Extras (b 7, lb 0, w 11, nb 3) 21    
 TOTAL (40.0 Overs) 225    
 Fall of wickets: 
Bowling  O  M  R  W  
 John Ormesher   8  3  16  0  
 Sam Howes   8  0  24  4  
 Murtaza Siddiqui   5  0  39  2  
 Ahmed Hussain   8  0  37  1  
 Toby Chasseaud   2  0  18  0  
 Prassana Gnanaraj   3  0  33  0  
 Harry Holmes   6  0  55  2  
Pacific innings  R  M  B  4  6
Aly Duncan   b Shah, Asad   4  0  7  0  0  
Harry Holmes   b Shah, Asad   22  0  53  2  1  
John Ormesher   b Afghan   100  0  109  13  1  
Toby Chasseaud*   c Wicket Keeper b Nadeem   3  0  13  0  0  
Paul Rajkumar†   b Afghan   42  0  27  4  3  
Murtaza Siddiqui   not out    3  0  5  0  0  
Sam Howes   not out    2  0  3  0  0  
Prassana Gnanaraj   did not bat    0  0  0  0  0  
Zahid Ali   did not bat    0  0  0  0  0  
Ahmed Hussain   did not bat    0  0  0  0  0  
Aroon Korgaonkar   did not bat    0  0  0  0  0  
 Extras (b 8, lb 4, w 12, nb 1) 25    
 TOTAL (40.0 Overs) 206    
 Fall of wickets:  1-4 [Duncan] , 2-104 [Holmes]
Bowling  O  M  R  W  
 Shah, Asad   8  1  23  2  
 Adnan   8  0  45  0  
 Ali   8  1  50  0  
 Afghan   3  0  8  2  
 Salman   3  0  16  0  
 Nadeem   6  0  37  1  
 Aslan   4  0  14  0