Fives squeeze home as PCC victory slips away
Pacific v Fives at Minchenden Association
Sun 22 Jul 2018 at 1pm
Lost by 2 wickets
Middlesex & Essex Invitation League

Pacific CC took to the road heading to Minchenden Association, home to the mighty Fives. The last encounter in June saw Pacific CC beaten by 8 wickets, so we were looking to represent the badge with pride and get one on them.

Pacific CC batted first on an hot, muggy day. The pitch, sponsored by James Soden’s shirt which read “Banana Life” from memory, was one of the most peculiar I’ve witnessed. It was shaped like a slip cradle – the middle of the pitch lower than both popping creases. Our openers, Sumeet and Kieran, soon found out what this meant - balls lifting from back of a length, homing in on the batsman’s hooter. This would happen once an over so if it hadn’t happened by ball four, you had a 50% chance of copping one. That said, both openers played with composure getting us off to a solid start playing out the new ball admirably. For all the aspiring cricketers who will read this at some point, the Fives’ opening bowlers showed great discipline hitting the right lines and lengths ensuring we had to work hard for our runs. Sumeet not only felt the wrath of the pitch, but also that of a discounted sandwich from an off license on the way to the match. With his stomach cramps put to the back of his mind, he showed some true northern grit to bat on over retiring hurt, deciding to open up his shoulders. Some of the swings were mighty and posed another risk that either the largest portion of ‘daz’ may not resolve.

Both openers eventually perished for the greater good of the team looking to take the attack to Fives. With a strong batting line up, there was plenty of ammunition to post a tasty total – Ireland fresh off his 60 odd the week before, Stockton and his log as well as Moses, who was presented with the ‘longest hitter in Norfolk’ award by his idol and mentor, Alan Partridge. The latter got off the mark on his second ball with an audacious shot over long on for six. Pacific CC were really taking it to Fives. Whilst most of our top order looked good getting starts, we were spluttering more than Sumeet by this point, heading from 90-0 to 150-6. A final wag of the tail ensured that we made it to 222, which we felt was around par given the wicket, but probably 20 runs short having started so well.

Well rested and nourished, Pacific returned to field of play. The first 20 minutes were as good as I’ve seen us play as a unit. Soden and Stockton making the new ball talk, backed up by some great fielding and topped off with plenty of verbal encouragement. Things were going well. We showed intensity. Things got even better when Soden hit his straps – back of a length, just outside off stump drawing a tentative poke from their opener (It’s not often we take wickets that you actually see on TV, but boy this was one). The edge was met by 2nd slip, Mutz, who dived like a Salmon to pouch it one handed low to the ground. Pacific have lift off.

The momentum and pressure was maintained for some time, but the 3rd wicket proved elusive. Ormesher and Ireland gave it their best with plenty beating the bat but neither managed to get the breakthrough. The closest we got was Ireland having three grabs at a sharp caught and bowled that ultimately hit the dust. Surely this game isn’t going to slip by? Then, drama. Hopefully the catalyst to get us moving forwards again. A run out straight from Brian Lara Cricket 1998. Their batsman toe ends it straight to cover and sets off like a hare. I’m not sure he actually got half way – suicidal cricket. 

The door was open and Stockton wasn’t going to let it shut. The call of the day was bringing on Sam Howes bowling his leggies. I’ve not seen him bowl this before and knowing it’s the hardest style to master this was going to go one of two ways. No fear needed. Great rhythm, flight and spin – key ingredients in a leg spinner’s armoury. He was rewarded very swiftly, beating the advancing batsman for Sumeet to whip the bails off. Another wicket we see on TV! Pacific needed that. Back comes Stockton once more with his tail up and gets four wickets in a fantastic spell; 2 bowled, a caught behind and a leading edge to Mutz at cover. Four plus one is five (quick maths) - his first five for of the season and Pacific’s second. The game is really in the balance now. Credit to Fives who showed great fight all the way through their batting line up. The final chapter was written by two of their batsman who did more than hold up the rear. They steadied the ship and then guided them ever closer to their target under pressure from Pacific throwing everything they had left at them, before reaching it with two wickets to spare and two overs in the bag.

All in all a great game with plenty of positives for Pacific CC. Plenty of starts with the bat, spells of dangerous bowling, along with flashes of top fielding. Momentum building.

Pacific v Fives
Toss won by Fives
Pacific innings  R  M  B  4  6
Sumeet Sharma†   b Sujan   52  83  62  5  0  
Kieran Mullens   c Long on b Sujan   32  80  59  4  0  
George Moses   c Long on b Suri   48  0  0  0  3  
Tom Ireland   b Ravi   4  0  0  0  0  
Murtaza Siddiqui   c Point b Ravi   2  0  0  0  0  
Ben Stockton*   Long on b Sujan   7  0  5  0  0  
Aroon Korgaonkar   b Suri   5  0  16  0  0  
John Ormesher   run out    42  0  41  5  0  
James Soden   c ? b Suri   7  0  0  1  0  
Sam Howes   b AJ   1  0  0  0  0  
Tim Garrett   not out    1  0  0  0  0  
 Extras (b 3, lb 7, w 6, nb 0) 16    
 TOTAL (44.5 Overs) 222    
 Fall of wickets: 
Bowling  O  M  R  W  
 Suri   12  3  35  3  
 Jay   3  0  16  0  
 Nikunj   4.4  0  23  0  
 Ravi   12  2  55  2  
 Sujan   12  1  74  3  
 AJ   2  0  10  1  
Fives innings  R  M  B  4  6
Krishna   c Mullens b Stockton   6  0  0  0  0  
Ravi   st Sharma b Howes   53  0  0  0  0  
Nikul   c Siddiqui b Soden   2  0  0  0  0  
Topi   run out Mullens    23  0  0  0  0  
Suri   c Sharma b Stockton   53  0  0  0  0  
Nikunj   b Stockton   10  0  0  0  0  
Ajay   b Stockton   4  0  0  0  0  
Norman   not out    25  0  0  0  0  
Suj   c Siddiqui b Stockton   4  0  0  0  0  
Colin   not out    5  0  0  0  0  
 Extras (b 13, lb 5, w 14, nb 3) 35    
 TOTAL (36.3 Overs) 223    
 Fall of wickets: 
Bowling  O  M  R  W  
 Ben Stockton   12  0  55  5  
 James Soden   3  0  23  1  
 John Ormesher   10  1  32  0  
 Tom Ireland   3.3  0  17  0  
 Aroon Korgaonkar   3  0  33  0  
 Sam Howes   5  0  45  1