Pacific fall short in Wray thriller
Pacific v Village CC at Wray Crescent
Sun 11 Apr 2021 at 3pm
Lost by 23 runs
Friendly fixture

On a crisp Sunday, both Pacific and Village CC arrived to witness the next chapter of ‘Footballers vs Cricketers: the battle for Wray’. For some of the newer Pacificos, it was their first insight into what has become a hotly contested battle over ownership of Islington’s field of dreams. The latest edition saw a 2pm start extend to 2.30 and then 3pm ("2.30 probs gunna be 3pm mate,” shrugged the local attendee to a bemused Shaz). Following a lengthy delay which saw two net sessions, catching drills and a series of Sumeet sprints, both sides went to toss. Led by Rahul "my beard wax is from the states" Ravikrishan, Pacific won the toss, putting Village CC into bat in a game reduced to 25 overs. 

Kaleem had barely begun his opening spell when a moment of madness saw the opening bat run himself out, to the confusion of his team-mate and everyone on the pitch. Pacific’s promising start when skipper Rahul sent the opener back to face the chin music, courtesy of a great low catch from the energetic debutant keeper Michael McCann. However, the pendulum then begun to swing against Pacific. Sumeet, who had waited nearly two hours and undertaken a fair amount of warm-up, injured his ankle in a pothole at slip. That was his last intervention in the game, to be replaced by the watching Tom Gane. Village CC then put on a 103-run partnership, with left-hand bat Toby scoring a century, and skipper Ollie a 50, with a series of aggressive strokes around the ground. 

Rahul mixed up the bowling options, introducing Gane and Eppy, which saw a turnaround in fortunes. Ollie was removed courtesy of a catch at point by Basi (yours truly), while 5 and 6 were swiftly removed by Gane (courtesy of another McCann catch) and John Deighan. Village CC top scorer Toby was eventually removed for 109, courtesy of a great take in the deep by Gane, to the relief of Deighan. Deighan picked up one more wicket, with Village finishing on 247-7. The stage was set for LMS-style drama. 

And an LMS-style match they got. After some tidy bowling from… let’s call him "Bowler A", Amandeep was removed for a duck, leaving Kaleem to enter the arena. After an enormous six from Basi, and a positive start from Kaleem, began the drama. Bowler A bowled a slow outswinger, which Basi missed, hitting the ground. Village CC called for a wicket, circling Basi and urging him to walk. But Basi did not, leaving several insults fired in his direction. Basi and Kaleem did not falter, powering on to a 50-run partnership, courtesy of some boundaries and quick running between the wickets. A run-out was claimed, but neither Rahul, at square leg nor yours truly could tell. The final battle of Bowler vs Basi saw your commentator bruised by a bouncer, which was then followed by a smooth cover drive for four. "You cheating c***," shouted Bowler A, staring down Basi. And did Basi respond. Anticipating a bouncer, mixed with anger, saw Basi hook a legside six out of Wray and into the garden. One of the most satisfying moments in cricket so far – lifting my bat in response. 

Anyway, a good catch saw Basi depart for 44, leaving Pacific on 74-2. The slow Pitcher continued to run through the Pacific middle order, removing McCann (9) and Deighan (13). Kaleem and Kieran then put on a 60 run partnership, with Kaleem in particular in sublime nick and showing great eye, bringing up his first 50 of the season. A need to increase the run rate saw Kaleem pick up the pace, only for Kieran to be run out. Enter Tom Gane. Several beers down and with no kit to boot, Tom turned up the LMS style. Hitting a number of spectacular sixes and 4s, the highlight being a lofted "Sumeet-esque" six through the gap between the Wray netting. Tom’s superb cameo was ended courtesy of a clever run out by Pitcher, forcing him to depart on 41 off just 19 balls. Shaz came in for some last-over fun ("Play for your average!" cried Ben), but Pacific finished up on 224, 23 shy of Village’s total. 

Both sides congratulated each other on what was an entertaining Sunday. Putting the drama aside, a decent day’s cricket was had. "Sorry I called you a ****," said Bowler A to Basi. Whether he was sincere remains to be seen until next time! 

Match report by Jasbir Basi 

Footballers on Wray

Pacific in action

Village CC v Pacific
Toss won by Pacific
Village CC innings  R  M  B  4  6
Graham   run out Timbadia    0  2  4  0  0  
Bosh   c McCann b Ravikrishnan   6  16  10  0  1  
Ollie*   c Basi b Epstein   54  59  33  8  2  
Toby DM   c Gane b Deighan   109  84  58  18  2  
Abbs   c McCann b Gane   16  26  17  2  0  
Deano   b Deighan   2  0  3  0  0  
Bilal   not out    36  22  18  3  2  
Troja   c Epstein b Deighan   6  0  5  0  0  
Pitcher   not out    3  0  4  0  0  
 Extras (b 4, lb 5, w 4, nb 2) 15    
 TOTAL (25.0 Overs) 247    
 Fall of wickets: 
Bowling  O  M  R  W  
 Kaleem Luthra   4  0  31  0  
 Rahul Ravikrishnan   3  0  22  1  
 Phil Smith   2  0  26  0  
 Sharan Timbadia   3  0  31  0  
 Nick Epstein   5  0  58  1  
 Tom Gane   5  0  40  1  
 John Deighan   3  0  30  3  
Pacific innings  R  M  B  4  6
Jasbir Basi   c Pitcher b Pitcher   44  45  29  6  2  
Amandeep Dhir   b Bosh   0  6  7  0  0  
Kaleem Luthra   not out    79  97  58  13  0  
Mike McCann†   lbw b Pitcher   9  6  8  2  0  
John Deighan   b Pitcher   13  6  9  1  1  
Kieran McCarthey   run out Pitcher    17  0  19  4  0  
Tom Gane   run out    41  14  19  5  2  
Sharan Timbadia   not out    7  3  5  1  0  
Phil Smith   did not bat    0  0  0  0  0  
Nick Epstein   did not bat    0  0  0  0  0  
Rahul Ravikrishnan*   did not bat    0  0  0  0  0  
 Extras (b 0, lb 6, w 4, nb 4) 14    
 TOTAL (25.0 Overs) 224    
 Fall of wickets:  1-8 [Dhir] , 2-74 [Basi] , 3-89 [McCann] , 4-106 [Deighan] , 5-166 [McCarthey] , 6-214 [Gane]
Bowling  O  M  R  W  
 Thompson   5  0  15  0  
 Bosh   2  0  22  1  
 Bilal   5  0  54  0  
 Pitcher   5  0  41  3  
 Klavia   5  0  48  0  
 Troja   3  0  38  0