Narrow defeat for Pacific despite Mohan heroics
Pacific v Winchmore Hill at Paulin Ground, Winchmore Hill CC
Sun 17 Apr 2022 at 12 noon
Lost by 1 wicket
Friendly fixture

In captaincy, as in cricket, as in life, it is Better To Be Lucky Than Good, as the saying goes. But at least one of the two really helps, as captain Hussain found to his cost as he contrived to lose a match having had the opposition 8 down for 100 odd in pursuit of 177. In fairness, this is the sort of ambush that friendly cricket can occasionally inflict on the unwary skippe  (see for one of the definitive examples, when the opposition 1st XI captain missed almost the entirety of a tour game attending the funeral of a club stalwart, then rocked up in trackies to win the match from no XI). In a league game, if numbers 1 to 8 have not caused you much trouble, you can have a fair idea that the remaining blokes are going to be fairly rubbish. In a friendly, batting orders get rearranged with no hopers pushed up to give them at least a sporting chance of a game, leaving unexpected big beasts lurking lower down.

And so it proved, as one or two dodgy techniques and a hotheaded youth were swept aside with ease only for a 2nd XI bowler, revelling in a rare opportunity to wield the williow, was ably supported by a couple of wily old lags. Despite a clatter of wickets, they had had a fast start against new ball spells that just leaked that one boundary an over in amongst the good balls. Having been well ahead of the rate, we found ourselves unable to restrict them and unable to grab the key wicket.

Earlier, a wholehearted batting display built around Mohans masterly 88no got us to a handy, if not overwhelming score. Doped to his eyeballs on sugary childrens breakfast cereal, a tripping Mark Woodland continued his scintillating start to the season with an aggressive 28. He threw the bat at anything pitched up and had the brisk, but rather highly strung youth opening the bowling chuntering to himself as a series of fours were walloped down the ground. Ringer Daniel Humphrey was rather more circumspect at the other end. Essentially batting from memory in his first outing of the season, he took a while to get going before suddenly unfurling a series of straight drives. Mohan also started very carefully, when a rare failure for John Deighan left the South Indian maestro as the remaining gun bat and needing to see the innings through. Lent belligerent support by Burnham and Mutz, he accelerated beautifully, with a series of fours and two sixes, one of which was a memorable welly high over long on that did little to calm down the hotheaded teenage bowler.

In reply, we found ourselves up against a couple of the type of veteran who have a limited repertoire but know exactly what they are doing with their range of shots. Both Howes and Joe Deighan bowled well but like moths to a flame just couldnt get rid of the one short wide ball an over that the openers ruthlessly put away every time. Once the openers had been dislodged, however, we found the going rather easier as we ran through the suspiciously rejigged middle order batting. But with the opening bowlers resting the skipper was confronted with the problem of four spinners who all needed to bowl from the same end to avoid a very short legside boundary.

A couple of fielding moments that can only be described as Pacificesque proved crucial: on each occasion a catch looped up in the infield, two or more people converged, hesitated, looked at one another, did a brief hokey cokey, then watched as the ball plopped to earth. Jack Mendel was the unfortunate victim of the critical drop of matchwinner Sobers, but did at least provide the champagne moment: a just about legal full toss that the aforementioned Angry Young Man ducked only for it to loop gently over his backside and land on top of the stumps.

With us starting to panic having long held the match in the bag. a screamer at gully by Ben Burnham saw off the opposition skipper and made us believe again. Alas, it was not to be, as the last two wily old pros proved unbudgeable and the no 6 uncontainable.

Pacific v Winchmore Hill
Toss won by Pacific
Pacific innings  R  M  B  4  6
Mark Woodland   b Ahmed   28  31  39  5  0  
Daniel Humphrey   c E Sobers b Lane   20  70  52  1  0  
Mohan Kumar Raja   not out    88  117  93  9  2  
John Deighan   c Ward b Webster   4  17  18  0  0  
Ben Burnham   c Ganeshalingham b Lloyd-Barnes   19  35  27  1  0  
Murtaza Siddiqui†   c Parr b Lloyd-Barnes   3  19  11  0  0  
Nick Epstein   not out    1  4  3  0  0  
Joe Deighan   did not bat    0  0  0  0  0  
Jack Mendel   did not bat    0  0  0  0  0  
Sam Howes   did not bat    0  0  0  0  0  
Ahmed Hussain*   did not bat    0  0  0  0  0  
 Extras (b 2, lb 3, w 5, nb 3) 13    
 TOTAL (40.0 Overs) 176    
 Fall of wickets:  1-32 [Woodland] , 2-73 [Humphrey] , 3-86 [Deighan] , 4-141 [Burnham ] , 6-168 [Siddiqui]
Bowling  O  M  R  W  
 C Lloyd-Barnes   8  0  35  2  
 I Ahmed   8  2  31  1  
 J Lane   8  0  25  1  
 M Webster   8  1  28  1  
 R Sobers   6  0  33  0  
 A Caneshailingham   2  0  19  0  
Winchmore Hill innings  R  M  B  4  6
A Ward   c Siddiqui b Howes   16  25  20  3  0  
P Calder   lbw b Deighan   20  41  26  4  0  
A Ganeshalingham   lbw b Howes   3  9  7  0  0  
E Sobers   c Siddiqui b Howes   9  13  10  1  0  
T Ellis   c Kumar Raja b Deighan   13  32  24  1  0  
R Sobers   not out    64  104  61  7  0  
J Lane   b Epstein   4  4  4  1  0  
I Ahmed   lbw b Deighan   0  4  0  0  0  
C Lloyd-Barnes   b Mendel   9  12  12  1  0  
M Webster*   c Burnham b Howes   15  32  20  1  1  
P Parr†   not out    7  11  17  1  0  
 Extras (b 0, lb 1, w 13, nb 3) 17    
 TOTAL (33.5 Overs) 177    
 Fall of wickets:  1-36 [Ward] , 2-43 [Caneshailingham] , 3-47 [Calder] , 4-59 [E Sobers] , 5-88 [Ellis] , 6-93 [Lane] , 7-95 [Ahmed] , 8-110 [Lloyd-Barnes] , 9-156 [Webster]
Bowling  O  M  R  W  
 Sam Howes   8  1  48  4  
 Joe Deighan   6  0  25  1  
 John Deighan   6  0  21  2  
 Nick Epstein   3  0  20  1  
 Jack Mendel   4  0  24  1  
 Ahmed Hussain   3  0  21  0  
 Mohan Kumar Raja   3.5  0  17  0