Mullens majestic
Pacific v Hadley Wood Green at Botany Bay Cricket Club
Sun 24 Jun 2018 at 1pm
Middlesex & Essex Invitation League

Pacific were delighted to be playing on Botany Bay's main pitch in the return fixture against Middlesex & Essex Invitation League opponents Hadley Wood Green, having beaten them just a few weeks earlier. Skipper Toby Chasseaud won the toss and decided to bat, with HWG having to toil in the heat while most of the PCC team could watch England v Panama in the clubhouse.

Paul Rajkumar and Kieran Mullens opened up watchfully against the swinging ball from Regan, who sported labradoodle-style curls, and Saif. They quickly learned to shelve the cut due to the inconsistent and sometimes exaggerated bounce outside off stump, particularly down the slope. Running well between the wickets, they saw off the openers, then looked to find their range against off and leg spinners in tandem.

After a drinks break, they upped the pace, increasing the run rate from 4 to 6 in the space of just 10 overs. Paul was starting to find his storied power and fluency. He showed his mettle against Steele, Josh and Ben Steele, son of Mike, and surged into the 90s. Regan Jnr, who has inherited his father's voluminous barnet and seam ability, bowled nice lines and lengths from that tricky child's trajectory.

Six short of his ton, Paul played across the line to a straight 'un. Umpire Sumant raised his finger correctly. Heart-break for our son of Sydney, who, on his home from home at Botany Bay, albeit Herts rather than Oz, had equalled his highest score for the PCC. The captain joined Kieran, and, displaying his unquenchable thirst for run scoring, played some sweet cover drives and rotating the strike with quick singles.

Kieran kept going, running hard and finding the angles. Tiring as he reached the 90s, he had a few nervous moments, but eventually pushed a ball into the covers to bring up his second ever century. 

The young folk of this HWG hybrid team who'd been in the sapping sun for 3hrs, disintegrated mentally in the final overs. Their rational minds were slaves to the emotional brain and a minority let themselves down with rather immature outbursts.

After a tea of pizza, egg mayo and ham sandwiches, melon, cake and samosas, the PCC took to the field, determined to secure the Hadley Wood Green double in 2018. Ahmed Hussain took the old ball and twirled it from the top end, bowling Jonny B with a good 'un round his legs. At the other end, Sumant Kumar was finding a lovely length with an appropriate pace on this pitch, giving batsmen a modicum more time to decide on a shot than they would have liked. He bowled captain Saif for a duck. Pacific were in business.

Meanwhile, HWG's Shah, who'd been the main protagonist of ire earlier, was now channeling his emotion healthily with a series of big hits. Paul Davis, patrolling much of the leg side boundary, showcased the best fielding arm at the PCC. Soden, fielding like a dream, took a nice catch at cover to dismiss their wickie after a full ball from Kumar. Then HWG went on the attack with Shah and Regan Senior. The pair struck the ball sweetly.

At drinks, wisps of straw gracefully floated down onto the Botany Bay pitch from pristine blue skies in scenes which lent the moment a filmic feel, like an emotive 80s baseball flick. Some speculated it had blown over from a local farm but others may have sensed something more numinous.

Pacific took the new ball and momentum swung back in our favour. George Moses bowled a heavy ball to dismiss Regan, caught behind square by Mullens. Mr Treasurer was on the money from the start; a fine spell of Timbadia swing magic saw Shah and Mizan bowled in quick succession.

HWG were six down and PCC could see cracks appearing in their opponents' armour as stalwart Nee was joined by Josh Steele at the crease. Nee will have seen a number of Botany Bay rearguards down the years. For several years from '11 to '14 survival had become their rather dull raison d'être. But on this day, credit is due as they refused to buckle. Nee, who's battled recent illness, showed light shines through the broken places. He gutsed it out as PCC threw everything they had in search of victory. He took one on the arm from Soden, who bowled a hostile late spell, and guided his young colleague Ben Steele through, the latter showing a polished defence to negate our attack.

It took a classic piece of cricket to break the partnership, Steele caught brilliantly at slip by Shaz off a perfect Ahmed legbreak. Josh was replaced by another Steele, 16-year-old brother Ben, who played two wonderful drives off Ahmed to take his team past 200.

A good day's cricket at a special ground ended in a winning draw for Pacific.

Stat of the day 

Rajkumar and Mullens' opening partnership of 190 is the 13th highest in Pacific history.

(Stat-to-come next weekend? Chasseaud has now passed the 500 runs in a season mark for the eighth time, which makes him only the third Pacific player to achieve this feat (is about to surpass 8,000 runs for the club). Of the current players, Sumeet has achived this twice, Mullens and Stockton once each – keep going all of you!


Pacific v Hadley Wood Green
Toss won by Pacific
Pacific innings  R  M  B  4  6
Paul Rajkumar   lbw b Regan G   94  0  91  11  2  
Kieran Mullens   not out    118  0  140  6  0  
Toby Chasseaud*   not out    46  0  33  3  1  
George Moses   did not bat    0  0  0  0  0  
Murtaza Siddiqui†   did not bat    0  0  0  0  0  
James Soden   did not bat    0  0  0  0  0  
Sumant Kumar   did not bat    0  0  0  0  0  
Paul Davis   did not bat    0  0  0  0  0  
Sharan Timbadia   did not bat    0  0  0  0  0  
Rafiq Ratta   did not bat    0  0  0  0  0  
Ahmed Hussain   did not bat    0  0  0  0  0  
 Extras (b 16, lb 6, w 5, nb 1) 28    
 TOTAL (45.0 Overs) 286    
 Fall of wickets:  1-190 [Rajkumar]
Bowling  O  M  R  W  
 Saif   10  2  34  0  
 Regan J   8  0  43  0  
 Shah   7  0  33  0  
 Mizan   7  0  57  0  
 B Steele   5  0  33  0  
 J Steele   3  0  23  0  
 Regan Jnr   3  0  26  1  
 ?   2  0  15  0  
Hadley Wood Green innings  R  M  B  4  6
Jonny B   b Hussain   5  0  0  0  0  
Shah   b Timbadia   75  0  0  0  0  
Saif   b Kumar    0  0  0  0  0  
Safi   c Soden b Kumar    17  0  0  0  0  
Regan   c Mullens b Moses   35  0  0  0  0  
Mizan   b Timbadia   4  0  0  0  0  
Nee   not out    22  0  0  0  0  
J Steele   c Timbadia b Hussain   13  0  0  0  0  
Ben Steele   not out    8  0  0  0  0  
M Steele   did not bat    0  0  0  0  0  
Regan Jnr   did not bat    0  0  0  0  0  
 Extras (b 11, lb 7, w 7, nb 2) 27    
 TOTAL (38.0 Overs) 201    
 Fall of wickets: 
Bowling  O  M  R  W  
 Ahmed Hussain   11  0  51  2  
 Sumant Kumar   8  1  30  2  
 Paul Davis   3  0  37  0  
 Rafiq Ratta   3  0  13  0  
 Toby Chasseaud   1  0  11  0  
 George Moses   3  0  23  1  
 Sharan Timbadia   6  2  19  2  
 James Soden   3  1  5  0  

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