Cross my bat and hope to tie
Pacific v Crossbats at Wray Crescent
Sat 26 Sep 2020 at 12:30pm
Friendly fixture

A cold Saturday in Finsbury Park with drizzle, damp, and mildew greeting Pacific as they arrived at Wray. And that was only the state of the bathrooms at Wray.


However, out of the darkness and gloom arose hope - catching practice and fielding drills prior to the toss. Like a Comet named Hailey or a moon that is blue in colour, it was indeed a rare event but nevertheless it warmed the hearts and hands of those present as leather slapped epidermis and led to broken blood vessels as it was discovered there is a reason Pacific and fielding drills go together like a Wuhan wet market and Dettol.


On what seemed like quite a green top unsurprisingly as the wicket is still synthetic despite the best efforts of footballers and local gangs, the opposition elected to bat. Pacific had depth of numbers in the bowling ranks and depth of misery in the batting ranks so this was a good outcome.


Crossbats’ openers started with intent and pith - much like Professor Van Tam explaining to the nation that it should not go out for bevvies as much as it does. They cut, pulled and jousted - and that was only them marking out the guards. However, they did give opportunities in their quest for quick runs. Your humble writer as keeper balefully put down 2 chances behind the stumps - one a cracking delivery from Captain Soden's first over that was such a sitter that it got numb because it had sat for so long from sitting as a sitter. A few chances were squandered which cost us dearly - dropped catches and the cold weather made for groans and grumbles. The bowlers at times were a little off the mark but for the most part were simply put away by talented batsmen. Ed struggled to back up his monster Michelle Pfeiffer from the week before as he slipped and tripped on the damp Wray outfield and couldn’t quite get his run up right,  Soden and Kaleem were particularly unlucky as they were dispatched to all parts of the ground but were by far also the most threatening with the ball. Shout out to Soden however for a great grab on the boundary to dismiss the highest scorer of Kaleem’s bowling.  Great bowling by Keyana and PBD too to keep things tight when the opposition was otherwise scoring freely.  Crossbats amassed 235 off their 35 overs leaving Pacific with a tricky case at 6.71 an over. 


Lunch was a subdued affair as it was felt that with our batting stocks resembling the nations stocks of reagent required for COVID testing, a victory looked unlikely. Messrs Rajkumar and ColPol walked out in what was now heavy drizzle - even the usual Finsbury Park residents who grace the atmosphere with the sweet smell of illicit activity had decided to call it a day. The first ball was guided away for a boundary which set the course for the opening partnership. The 50 partnership came off 7 overs with Colin having contributed 11 before being bowled through the gate.


Next man is was JD - the hope for the team rested upon his broad bat and shoulders. However, he was skittled by an absolute corker that pitched on off and hit a jadded edge that would have made Alanis Morrisette claim isn't it ironic.  An average destroying duck off 10 balls.


Next came in Joe D - and he looked as cavalier and supercilious as a fresher in Scotland in their first week at halls.  He cross batted the opposition to all parts.  Ironic as the opposition was called Crossbats.  But as Alanis also said, you oughta know.  However, he was snaffled by an absolute worldie caught and bowled as the bowler in his follow up plucked the ball like Isaac Newton grabbing an apple and saying Eureka, I’ve discovered electricity by flying a kite in a storm [science was never my strong point]. 


Out strode out Kaleem and he parried and prodded well to get to the 20 over mark with Paul with the latter on about 60 odd.  During the half way mark, Skipper Soden gave a quick inatructikn to ths antipodean antimony err antifa - don't get out. To which your scribe and pen nodded. Soden has always been known for his eloquence.  This was not one of those occasions.  Mutz safely left the batsmen with these parting words - "get the target under 100 and I'lll do the rest” -  with the confidence of Donald Trump dosed up the eyeballs on Dexamethasone, Remdesivir and Regeneron.


At this stage, Pacific needed approx 9 an over and things looked a bit tight to say the least. Then on came to bowl the opening batsman for the oppo who had scored all their runs.  And I can tell you my dear readers then he spun the ball this way, he spun the ball that way, and the batsmen subsequently went any which way other than the highway. In short he was really good.  His first over was a maiden in which every ball I thought was a leg spinner was a wrong un and every ball I thought was a wrong un was… well the wrong one.  The next over he collected Kaleem and now we were in a fair bit of strife as Mutz came in.  As Kumar Sangakarra famously said of Shaun Pollock, the weight of expectation were on his shoulders.  Sadly it was not to be as Mutz knocked a run to a fielder and yours truly stood as still as time itself when on 23 June 2016 the south of the UK realised that the north existed and that there are people who somehow have been given the right to vote in democratic elections.  Mutz was stranded by a good furlong or potentially a Greek stadia and his parting words to do the rest with the target under 100 were left as harmonic as David Cameron’s whistle as he announced his resignation.


At that point, yours truly realised that he had better make up for those 2 dropped catches and running out Mutz.  On came on Snowball to bowl.  No, that is not the name of Lisa Simpson’s cat or subsequent cat but a medium paced bowler.  Like Lisa Simpsons’ cat, he was put down with great gusto as he disappeared for 28 off his over - with 5 4s and a 6.  That brought up your faithful writer’s 100 which I barely acknowledged as the only thing on my mind was the target and the thought of doing all this work for naught if we didn’t get to the finish line.  On bowled on the opening batsman Avishek - having twirled and twisted and twanged through Kaleem and Rafiq - the latter being very unfortunate to get a first ball duck - I was now in a psychotic mantra state saying to myself and the keeper- “fight, fight, fight.  Don’t get out to this guy.”  After boshing him for a 6, I forgot to fight any longer despite Ed’s encouragement and was trapped LBW by a ball that was as plumb as a ball-sized plum.  I retired back to the change room / condemned building.  Maiden ton for Pacific after 5 years and after I think 20 50s including mid-week fixtures.  But we were still 30 short at that stage with 30 balls left and thus I was as disjointed and discombobulated as Theresa May’s dance at the Conservative conference of 2017.


The twisting turning serpent that is the spinner from Crossbats ripped through Soden.  Things looked bleaker than the weather.


Alas, the dark knights rise when the night is darkest.  Ed and Keyana came out and dispatched the ball to all parts even having the temerity to dispatch Avishek to the boundary with disdain and dismissal.  The latter which cannot have been said for the rest of us who had succumbed to his wily spin. These two had got us to the finish line.  7 off the last over needed.  Snowball was back to bowl - just like Snowball the cat he had been resurrected.  2nd ball was hit for 4.  Only 3 needed off 4.  Two dot balls made things interesting though. 3 off 2… Ed and Keyana pinch a single.  Last call - 2 to win, 1 to tie, 0 for an agonising loss.  In the dark and dreariness that had now descended on the ground with every spectator unable to see, let alone the batsmen, Ed squeezed the ball out for a single which was fielded preventing the 2nd.  A tie!!! After 70 overs of back and forth and arm wrestle, both teams could not be separated.  Which all agreed was the best outcome.


Special mention to Raf in the outfield for a stellar effort being a ball magnet despite not getting a great chance with the bat and not getting a bowl.  A great day for cricket all round.  Not the result we wanted but avoided the result we didn’t want so resulted in a result. 

Rajku scored 117

Crossbats v Pacific
Toss won by Crossbats
Crossbats innings  R  M  B  4  6
Avishek   c Soden b Luthra   91  0  0  0  0  
G Winch   c Deighan b Deighan   73  0  0  0  0  
Rash   not out    35  0  0  0  0  
Paul   not out    12  0  0  0  0  
 Extras (b 12, lb 1, w 8, nb 0) 21    
 TOTAL (35.0 Overs) 235-2    
 Fall of wickets:  1-165 [Avishek] , 2-195 [Winch]
Bowling  O  M  R  W  
 Keyana Sapp   7  0  28  0  
 Ed Hart   7  1  41  0  
 Paul Davis   7  0  34  0  
 James Soden   6  0  55  0  
 Kaleem Luthra   5  0  51  1  
 Joe Deighan   3  0  23  1  
Pacific innings  R  M  B  4  6
Paul Rajkumar†   lbw b Avishek   117  0  78  18  3  
Colin Pollard   b Vijay   13  0  17  2  0  
John Deighan   b Humphrey   0  0  10  0  0  
Joe Deighan   c & b Vijay   27  0  32  4  0  
Kaleem Luthra   lbw b Avishek   9  0  7  2  0  
Rafiq Ratta   st keeper b Avishek   0  0  1  0  0  
Murtaza Siddiqui   run out ?    9  0  16  1  0  
Ed Hart   not out    22  0  14  4  0  
James Soden*   b Avishek   0  0  2  0  0  
Keyana Sapp   not out    19  0  12  1  0  
Paul Davis   did not bat    0  0  0  0  0  
 Extras (b 7, lb 2, w 8, nb 2) 19    
 TOTAL (35.0 Overs) 235-8    
 Fall of wickets:  1-51 [Pollard] , 2-59 [Deighan] , 3-118 [Deighan] , 4-132 [Luthra] , 5-132 [Ratta] , 6-161 [Siddiqui] , 7-207 [Rajkumar] , 8-207 [Soden]
Bowling  O  M  R  W  
 Gumdle   3  0  26  0  
 Humphrey   7  0  38  1  
 Vijay   7  0  33  2  
 Logan   5  0  38  0  
 Avishek   7  1  30  4  
 Snowball   3  0  31  0  
 Anir   3  0  27  0  

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