Sublime Sharma humbles hubristic Hadley Wood Green
Pacific v Hadley Wood Green at Botany Bay CC
Sun 30 May 2021 at 1pm
Won by 5 wickets
Friendly fixture

Talk no more so very proudly, let not arrogance come from your mouth (1 Samuel 2:3)

Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall (Proverbs 16:18) 

Everyone who is arrogant in heart is an abomination to the Lord; be assured, he will not go unpunished (Proverbs 16:5)

For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted (Luke 14:11)

The haughty looks of man shall be brought low, and the lofty pride of men shall be humbled, and Sumeet Sharma alone will be exalted in that day (Isaiah 2:11)

And so it came to pass. God created each stroke clean and true, across each blade of Enfield grass. God created each four, each six, each scuffed single and each dropped catch. God created Sumeet's century. And God saw that it was good.


Now: from the sacred to the profane. Pacific CC were joined on a roasting bank holiday Sunday by the enigmatic, talismanic Mr Brett Custard as well as newcomer Adam Bray. While remote and only accessible by car (prompting Captain Mutz to describe the Pacific XI as our "away side"), the Botany Bay Green Belt ground is unquestionably one of the most picturesque grounds on which we play. The setting was simply glorious. The team arrived on time. We had the luxury of a (six-max) changing room for what feels like the first time in years. Pacific spin legend Ahmed Hussain was heard to remark "I never miss this fixture". A couple of us took photos.

TikTok content creator and part-time captain/selector/husband/colleague @MySide35 won the toss and elected to bowl first. Brett and new(ish) man Harry Rix put in tidy opening spells, each attaining enviable wobble with the new nut and between them managing to remove the openers fairly cheaply.  HWG's (actual) captain Saif had looked in control and set to notch a big score, before attempting to pull Ahmed to the leg-side boundary only to be thwarted by the abundant energy of Custard at deep square leg, who rolled back the years to take the catch of the match at pace.

The PCC looked in a strong position at drinks, having restricted HWG to 56/4. There was talk of making a game of it by introducing some of our second-string bowlers, but that was never a meaningful notion given our strength in depth on the day. HWG had some bright moments as biffing danger man Sha (54) and Mr J R Steele (37) dragged them to 170. Joe Deighan was metronomic and deserved more for his 7-0-25-0, and Ahmed and Reny picked up a few wickets each, the pick of which was a Hussain wrongun' (arguably a long hop) described by (I think) Rix as "beautiful" and by Hussain himself as "filth".

Basi and Burnham went out to open that batting. Jas struck a delightful four off his legs over the square leg boundary with what has become one of his trademark shots, losing the (moving) new ball in a ditch in the process. Unfortunately, he was removed before his time by HWG paceman Salman, offering up an uppish drive to mid-off. Sharma came to the crease, playing through a serious injury sustained in a Wray Crescent crater in the close season. Whether inspired by a new found sense of responsibility in the opening berth, or a Saturday spent at the garden centre and in Friern Barnet Retail Park rather than the pub, Burnham played a relatively responsible innings of 33 off 43 before swiping at a straight one.

By this point, we looked all but home and dry, with Salman negated and the change bowlers on. A mini-collapse ensued, however, including "long ducks" for both Bray and 2020 Player of the Season John Deighan. Reny also perished before his time, perhaps falling on his sword in his zeal to push the scoreboard on. At 101-5 after 25 overs, it seemed that HWG might be in with a shot. When queried on the boundary as to why the captain did not bring him back on, HWG opener Salman declared himself to be the captain, before declaring all of Pacific's batsmen to be "shit" apart from Sumeet. He may have been correct on the latter point, but the former was almost certainly a lie, as he was dispatched to cow corner by his on-field liege the very next ball.

With Pacific looking ever so slightly shaky, in came that man Custard. Brett played a selfless supporting role before the now-familar Sharmageddon rained down. Sumeet went up through the gears to take us over the line. Needing four to win, Sumeet refused a single before striking the winning runs with a boundary, to jubilation all around.

These friendly games really make a nice change from the NELCL fixtures on Hackney council grounds with no pavilion, and had it not been for driving duties it seems sure that the Botany Bay Bar would have seen more than moderate use. As it was, we laboured to see off Sumeet's jug. The highlight of the day came as one of HWG's veteran pros, turning away from us towards the car part after his pint, announced "we'll beat you [in the MEIL] next week!" before getting tangled up in his bag and flying Superman-style onto the grass. Fortunately, the veteran appeared unscathed and we look forward to resuming our friendly rivalry at Highgate CC next week in the MEIL. As for next week's result: well, we'll have to see, won't we?

Hadley Wood Green v Pacific
Toss won by Pacific
Hadley Wood Green innings  R  M  B  4  6
Shipon†   lbw b Custard   8  0  4  1  0  
Bilal   c Deighan b Rix   10  0  5  1  0  
Saif*   c Custard b Hussain   27  0  30  4  1  
Jon B   b Hussain   1  0  10  0  0  
Sha   run out Siddiqui    54  0  60  7  0  
Sharin   c Bray b Hussain   8  0  20  1  0  
J R Steele   b Custard   37  0  30  4  2  
Mike S   st Siddiqui b Ponnamkunnath   2  0  4  0  0  
Rana   st Siddiqui b Ponnamkunnath   0  0  2  0  0  
Salman   not out    5  0  4  0  0  
Tahidul   not out    0  0  0  0  0  
 Extras (b 0, lb 2, w 14, nb 2) 18    
 TOTAL (40.0 Overs) 170    
 Fall of wickets:  1-12 [Shipon] , 2-40 [Bilal] , 3-53 [Saif] , 4-54 [Jon B] , 5-82 [Sharin] , 6-148 [J R Steele] , 7-151 [Mike S] , 8-158 [Rana] , 9-170 [Sha]
Bowling  O  M  R  W  
 Harry Rix   8  1  24  1  
 Brett Custard   8  0  25  2  
 Joe Deighan   7  0  25  0  
 Ahmed Hussain   8  0  48  3  
 Randheer Ponnamkunnath   8  0  43  2  
 Sumeet Sharma   1  0  7  0  
Pacific innings  R  M  B  4  6
Jasbir Basi   c Sub b Salman   9  0  13  1  0  
Ben Burnham   b Shajib   33  0  43  6  0  
Sumeet Sharma   not out    100  0  64  11  3  
John Deighan   b Saif   0  0  10  0  0  
Adam Bray   b Saif   0  0  14  0  0  
Randheer Ponnamkunnath   b Bilal   5  0  6  1  0  
Brett Custard   not out    10  0  23  2  0  
Murtaza Siddiqui*†   did not bat    0  0  0  0  0  
Harry Rix   did not bat    0  0  0  0  0  
Joe Deighan   did not bat    0  0  0  0  0  
Ahmed Hussain   did not bat    0  0  0  0  0  
 Extras (b 10, lb 0, w 4, nb 0) 14    
 TOTAL (34.5 Overs) 171    
 Fall of wickets:  1-21 [Basi] , 2-78 [Burnham ] , 3-85 [Deighan] , 4-96 [Bray] , 5-101 [Ponnamkunnath]
Bowling  O  M  R  W  
 Salman   7  1  39  1  
 Tahidul   6  0  30  0  
 Rana   2  0  8  0  
 Shajib   3  0  11  1  
 Saif   8  1  30  2  
 Bilal   7  0  26  1  
 Sha   1.5  0  21  0  

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