Aslan’s roar at leg-before
Pacific v Oakfield Parkonians CC at Oakfield Playing Fields
Sun 18 Aug 2019 at 1.30pm
Lost by 84 runs
Friendly fixture

This fixture was due to be played at North Middlesex CC but we were informed on Friday that that would not be possible due to the weather, so the game was instead switched to Oakfield Playing Fields, a venue we last visited in 2016, when Paul Rajkumar had top-scored in the Pacific innings with 34 in a match lost by six wickets. The Essex club was founded in 1902 and, more importantly for carless Pacificos, is located right next to Fairlop station. For me, it was the luxury of being able to play in my new “endz” a short hop of 10 minutes! Anyway, we arrived in dribs and drabs with all but McG arriving before kick off. The opposition, who put out five teams on a Saturday, did not look that threatening – kids aged 14 to 18 and a couple of 2nd XI players apparently. Club legend the Dorset destroyer Jon Webley got a late pass and offered his services to get us to a full team.

I won the toss and having been told by their captain that the game yesterday had resulted in 80 all out and 72 all out on the very same wicket I decided to bowl. 

Arsalan opened up with miserly figures but could not force a wicket. Keyana – or KiKi as his mate Archie likes to call him – decided to do his best to emulate our Jofra and send down a series of bumpers. We ended up getting the openers out and then came the one batter we couldn’t get out. Oh, nearly forgot number one bowler Tim got a wicket with his first ball. Unfortunately that was it for him and his spin partner Aroon. The Gun was in and anything loose was going. He made an effortless 50 and was only out in his 90s after Rahul bowled a gem of a spell which got him the big wicket and another. 

Oh, I forgot about McG. It wasn’t going to be his day. That morning when he woke up he was greeted with unforeseen rain. It was heavy and so began the normal WhatsApp debate of is it on or is it off. Anyway, at noon a decision was made and the game was on. So I guess he made his way courtesy of TFL which was going to let him down and he kindly informed us that he would be arriving late. He got himself on in the third over of play and we were 11 players. McG came on to bowl first change. Now anyone who knows McG knows he doesn’t do half measures. From the off his pace was high and he was troubling the batsmen. His first over was getting quicker and quicker. Then he overcooked it and ended up clutching his ankle before he could bowl that magical final ball of the set: he was down and out of the game. Hope it heals well mate. We were reduced to 10 and Vijay the opposition captain offered us a player – more about him later. 

Parkonians managed to make 221 on a wicket that misbehaved quite a lot with plenty of variable bounce. It was a good score and was going to take some getting. The tea was also a bonus – it was nice to sit down, watch a bit of the Ashes, enjoy a warm brew and some freshly cut sandwiches. 

Rob and Rahul opened the batting and saw off the first six overs from their opening bowler. When Rob fell he was replaced by Jon, who had only played a couple of games this season with little time in the middle. Nevertheless he started off with an imperious drive, continued with sumptuous shots and hit a huge straight maximum. Rahul was out next playing on after a gutsy 20 odd, and in went Arsalan, promoted to No 4 to give the innings a push on. 

Here comes the big mistake. Our replacement player was a young lad who had bowled three overs of left-arm pace. He had a solid action and bowled well for us. He was supposed to have played for them but some mix-up led to him not getting a game. Now he didn’t want to sit on the side and everyone else was watching the Ashes so he ended up umpiring. I did question it while sitting with scorer Tim in the lovely score box these big clubs have. Tim said yes maybe I should swap him. So I went out to umpire, the kid's face was devastated when I told him I was swapping with him as he had been enjoying himself bantering with his mates. He had already done 12 overs before I took over. Anyway, the soppy man I am felt sorry for him and when a wicket fell and I had to pad up he was standing there basically forcing me to let him umpire. To be fair there weren’t many up for it as the Test match had become very interesting. I know I am going on about this but the ensuing anger justifies the extra wordage! I missed the actual wicket but it went a bit like this I was told: The young leg-spinner, who was ripping it a mile, bowled, it pitched outside leg and hit Arsalan's pad and he was given out. Not happy was our kid Arsalan. He let off a barrage of abuse aimed at the umpire to Tim and I in the very cozy score box we had inhabited, which was the best way to deal with it as it was not within earshot of the youngster. Apparently there was more that happened when the LB was given but I was coming back from the bog and missed the actual wicket and so you’ll have to ask someone else. 

After this our third big hitter went in and Archie (KiKi's mate), who looks like he has got time at the crease and a big score just round the corner, was unfortunately caught behind to a thin edge. So it was left to Archie Village and myself. He hadn’t batted for 15 years till earlier this year. He had kept wicket for us and had done a fine job behind the stumps. I guessed he could bat. I put him in at 6 and I came in at 7. We had got the other side worried a bit for about five minutes, though actually it felt longer. The oppo had changed their tune and the game was on. We got a 50 partnership in just five overs with Village (33) down on one knee smashing fours through the leg side. I was running on everything and the ground was massive. We ended up running a few threes and I was completely shattered. Soon after, I played round a straight one and was bowled. 

We were all out some 10 runs later. Aroon was our other injury and was unable to bat. We were, however, able to catch the last few overs of the Test. It was a pleasure to skipper this team, and the signs are positive. We need to play together a few more times and I feel we will be a hard side to beat.

Oakfield Parkonians CC v Pacific
Toss won by Pacific
Oakfield Parkonians CC innings  R  M  B  4  6
Talha Raja   b Garrett   14  0  0  0  0  
Reuben Chandi   b Sapp   9  0  0  1  0  
Janagan Vijayanathan   c Sapp b Ravikrishnan   91  0  0  11  2  
Usman Rafiq   c & b Ravikrishnan   31  0  0  1  0  
Sujeev Suganthan   not out    32  0  0  2  0  
Matthew Holland   lbw b Syed   20  0  0  2  0  
Vijay Vijayanathan*   not out    8  0  0  0  0  
George Christian   did not bat    0  0  0  0  0  
Kaj Skandamoorthy   did not bat    0  0  0  0  0  
Rashmin Patel   did not bat    0  0  0  0  0  
Zubair Raja   did not bat    0  0  0  0  0  
 Extras (b 1, lb 2, w 9, nb 1) 13    
 TOTAL (0.0 Overs) 220-5    
 Fall of wickets: 
Bowling  O  M  R  W  
 Arsalan Syed   8  3  23  1  
 Keyana Sapp   8  0  49  1  
 James McGinnigle   0.5  0  1  0  
 Murtaza Siddiqui   0.1  0  1  0  
 Tim Garrett   7  0  43  1  
 Aroon Korgaonkar   6  0  48  0  
 Rahul Ravikrishnan   4  0  12  2  
 Charith Jatla   3  0  17  0  
 Jon Webley   3  0  27  0  
Pacific innings  R  M  B  4  6
Rahul Ravikrishnan   b Patel   22  57  47  0  0  
Rob Dinsey   b T Raja   4  23  17  0  0  
Jon Webley   b Vijay   36  51  29  3  1  
Arsalan Syed   lbw b Z Raja   2  6  4  0  0  
Archie Faulks   c wk b Z Raja   0  9  3  0  0  
Archie Village†   lbw b G Christian   33  0  26  5  0  
Murtaza Siddiqui*   b Christian   19  0  17  5  0  
Charith Jatla   b Christian   1  0  7  0  0  
Keyana Sapp   run out wk    3  0  4  0  0  
Tim Garrett   not out    0  0  1  0  0  
Aroon Korgaonkar   did not bat    0  0  0  0  0  
James McGinnigle   did not bat    0  0  0  0  0  
 Extras (b 3, lb 3, w 4, nb 1) 11    
 TOTAL (0.0 Overs) 136    
 Fall of wickets:  1-15 [Dinsey] , 2-69 [Ravikrishnan] , 3-72 [Syed] , 4-73 [Webley] , 5-74 [Faulks] , 6-126 [Siddiqui]
Bowling  O  M  R  W  
 M Holland   3  1  2  0  
 R Patel   8  0  33  1  
 T Raja   2  0  5  1  
 Z Raja   5  0  35  2  
 V Vijayanathan   2  0  9  1  
 K Skandamoorthy   4  0  28  0  
 G Christian   4  0  9  3