Wash Rinsed in Barnet before Spaniard’s End
Pacific v Washington at Lyttleton Playing Fields (C127)
Sun 08 May 2022 at 12:30pm
Won 41 runs
Friendly fixture

In 1889, the social reformer, educationist and author Dame Henrietta Barnett and her activist husband Samuel acquired a weekend home at Spaniard's End in Hampstead. The philanthropic couple set about purchasing 80 hectares of nearby Hampstead Heath for the public (protecting it from development by Eton College) before, in 1904, establishing trusts which bought 243 acres of land along the newly opened Northern Line extension to Golders Green, later encompassing over 800 acres and becoming Hampstead Garden Suburb. With the aim of restricting unchecked urban sprawl, and inspired by the garden city urban planning movement of the era, HGS was originally conceived of as providing housing for a so-called ‘garden community’, in which all classes could live together in a light and airy environment, with beautifully designed housing and gardens in a verdant landscape. The eminent architectural historian Sir Nikolaus Pevsner describes it as "the most nearly perfect example of that English invention and speciality, the garden suburb".

Turning to the present day: the modern Hampstead Garden Suburb Trust was set up in 1968 "to do all things possible to maintain and preserve the character" of Hampstead Garden Suburb, although responsibility for Lyttelton Playing Fields, the venue for Sunday’s game, nowadays vests in Barnet Borough Council. As the BBC website attests, “Lyttelton Playing Field is home to 3 tennis courts. These can be booked for free. Other facilities available within the park include: Cricket.” A further dig around the web reveals that “In the summer there is a cricket pitch available for hire with a pavilion. It is extremely popular so you will need to ensure that you book early!”.

While it may be popular, unlike the tennis courts, the cricket pitch is not available for free. In fact, at £170 a pop, it is pretty far from bloody gratis. Imagine, then, our team's abject horror to receive an early pitch update from Shadwell-based all-rounder and structural engineer Colin Pollard, who having beaten a path to North-West London via bicycle informed us that “today’s wicket has a big hole in it on a length”. The second pitch was Colts length and unusable. There was no pavilion.

Dame Henrietta would surely have been turning in her grave, and the pre-match news became too much for the recently capped Mark Mehta, whom, on arrival in the Garden Suburb, spontaneously vomited over a manicured lawn before even making it to the ground.

This incident was curious indeed. Academic literature posits that “Exercise-associated gastrointestinal (GI) distress can negatively impact athletic performance and interfere with exercise training. Although there are a few universal underlying causes of GI distress, each symptom often has its own unique triggers and, therefore, its own prevention and management strategies. One of the most troubling GI symptoms an athlete can experience during training and competition is nausea/vomiting” (Wilson PB. 'I think I'm gonna hurl': A Narrative Review of the Causes of Nausea and Vomiting in SportSports (Basel). 2019;7(7):162).

While empirical data are inconclusive, the anecdotal evidence in this case suports the view that even the most accomplished, technically proficient opening batsman is vulnerable to being triggered by such an ominous pitch inspection; in future we might consider the preventative measure of not booking this ground. The circumstances of Mark's affliction were particularly unfortunate since he had been looking forward to marking his 28th birthday with a mature, authoritative innings, being so enthused by the prospect that he woke up early that morning at 2:50am to request a lift to the ground (at which time he was presumably also running through some pre-match drills).

Once the teams had eventually located the third pitch (not an easy task, given it was unrolled and barely distinguishable from the outfield), Washington unsurprisingly inserted us to bat. The scorecard tells you what you need to know. Sunday specialist Ben O’Connor put in a solid innings at the top of the order. He was the only one to do so, though, on an absolute shocker of a deck, which served up more gazundars than Brett Custard on a tour of Australia, and more poppers than, well, Brett on a tour of Amsterdam.

Things were looking bleak, before a recovery partnership of 70 between Riz and Rix helped us climb to a defendable 145, Riz batting within himself on the tricky wicket and performing a valuable mentoring role to bowling all-rounder Rix. We were also assisted by a dramatic psychological meltdown from Washington senior pro K Williams, who in his third over bowled 16 no balls (ooh matron!). This came after Williams had claimed three wickets in his first two overs, including the coveted scalp of Mehta C&B with a full toss, who got out playing, according to Rix, “one of the worst shots I have ever seen – like watching catching practice when you’re warming up and just trying to bat it back to someone”. Special commiserations must also go to Sam Farnham, who was out LBW to an absolute grubber first ball from Williams, despite Ahmed’s valiant attempts not to give the decision without prior lengthy verbal consultation with both the opposition and Farnham himself, before a consensus decision was reached.

Anyway, after a Bring Your Own Tea, the Wash were up next, and our bowlers ran through most of the team quite quickly. Mohan got 3, including some dangerous-looking subcontinental big hitters who paid insufficient heed to the treacherous greentop. Riz took a screamer at slip, while son Hishaam did well with the new ball. Effective spells of spin were spun by Hussain, Pollard and the rejuvenated Mehta. With all-time Pacific run machine legend T Chasseaud and eccentric sartorialist R Ravikrishnan now watching on and amusing themselves with a game of 'boundary bowls', Washington skipper Murrain dug in for a gritty innings. There were a few nervous moments in the field around the 30 over mark, as energy seemed to be sapped by the spring sun, if not the tedious spectacle of the game itself, before Riz managed to snaffle a couple to take us over the line. In the end it was a quite comfortable win, and a very different sort of match to the classic, high-scoring 2017 clash against Washington at North Middlesex CC.

Things took a turn for the surreal after the match, when a number of Pacific's XI drove back and forth, lost around the garden suburb, to an accompaniment of unsettling spoken-word folk music, before eventually holing up in the Spaniard's Inn (est. 1585) nestled in Hampstead Heath, the former Finchley tollgate and rumoured birthplace of highwayman Dick Turpin. A glance at our bill (pictured) demonstrates unequivocally that, whether a symptom of the cost of living crisis or not, daylight robbery persists there to this day. The Lynchian vibe was compounded by a truly bizarre interaction with a member of waiting staff whose brain appeared to occupy another dimension from the physical world, prompting the last men standing to retire to the N4 manor, and to safety. 

Spot the pitch

Birthday blues

Rahul has arrived

Daylight robbery

Pacific v Washington
Toss won by Washington
Pacific innings  R  M  B  4  6
Murtaza Siddiqui*†   b R. Creed   4  11  12  1  0  
Ben O'Connor   c M. Murrain b K. Williams   22  44  40  4  0  
Mohan Kumar Raja   b R. Creed   9  26  19  1  0  
Ben Burnham   b S. Collins   0  12  8  0  0  
Sam Farnham   lbw b K. Williams   0  1  1  0  0  
Hishaam Siddiqui   b S. Collins   13  15  14  2  0  
Mark Mehta   c K. Williams b K. Williams   0  4  1  0  0  
Rizwan Siddiqui   b S. Collins   43  69  48  5  2  
Harry Rix   b N. Sheikh   28  80  81  2  0  
Colin Pollard   c R. Creed b S. Collins   1  16  15  0  0  
Ahmed Hussain   not out    0  1  0  0  0  
 Extras (b 3, lb 0, w 7, nb 15) 25    
 TOTAL (37.1 Overs) 145    
 Fall of wickets:  1-10 [Siddiqui] , 2-38 [Kumar Raja] , 3-38 [O'Connor] , 4-38 [Farnham] , 5-42 [Burnham ] , 6-53 [Mehta] , 7-67 [Siddiqui] , 8-137 [Siddiqui] , 9-145 [Rix] , 10-145 [Pollard]
Bowling  O  M  R  W  
 H. Freeman   6  0  22  0  
 R. Creed   6  2  14  2  
 K. Williams   3  0  55  3  
 S. Collins   4.1  1  5  4  
 M. Murrain   8  1  20  0  
 R. Duggan   6  0  18  0  
 N. Sheikh   4  0  8  1  
Washington innings  R  M  B  4  6
C. Hatton   c Siddiqui b Kumar Raja   3  20  18  0  0  
S. Collins   lbw b Siddiqui   6  43  32  1  0  
I. Khan   b Kumar Raja   6  7  6  0  1  
N. Sheikh   st Siddiqui b Kumar Raja   4  4  4  1  0  
M. Malloy†   lbw b Pollard   20  42  33  4  0  
J. Wolfington   b Pollard   0  13  8  0  0  
H. Freeman   st Siddiqui b Hussain   1  15  11  0  0  
R. Duggan   c Kumar Raja b Mehta   10  25  24  1  0  
M. Murrain*   c Farnham b Siddiqui   22  59  61  0  1  
K. Williams   b Siddiqui   3  17  9  0  0  
R. Creed   not out    0  11  17  0  0  
 Extras (b 5, lb 3, w 17, nb 4) 29    
 TOTAL (36.2 Overs) 104    
 Fall of wickets:  1-15 [C. Hatton] , 2-24 [I. Khan] , 3-29 [N. Sheikh] , 4-37 [S. Collins] , 5-47 [J. Wolfington] , 6-62 [H. Freeman] , 7-62 [M. Malloy] , 8-80 [R. Duggan] , 9-88 [K. Williams] , 10-104 [M. Murrain]
Bowling  O  M  R  W  
 Harry Rix   2  0  9  0  
 Mohan Kumar Raja   7  0  25  3  
 Hishaam Siddiqui   5  1  12  1  
 Colin Pollard   6  3  10  2  
 Ahmed Hussain   4  0  16  1  
 Mark Mehta   7  0  16  1  
 Rizwan Siddiqui   5.2  2  8  2  

Other matches:
 Sat 19 Jun 2021, Hampstead Heath Extension, Cancelled Very wet pitch
 Virtually No Reply, Sun 19 Apr 2020, Wray Crescent, Cancelled Covid-19
 It’s a Wash-out, Sun 29 Sep 2019, Highgate CC, Cancelled - too wet
 Pacific feel the heat, Sun 01 Jul 2018, North Middlesex CC, Lost by 5 wickets
 The Skipton Factor, Sun 02 Jul 2017, North Middlesex CC, Won by 3 wickets
 Euro trashed, Sun 04 Oct 2015, Wray Crescent, Won by 8 wickets
 Sheldon rages against the dying of the light, Sat 06 Sep 2014, Wray Crescent, Lost 50 runs
 JR's 50 not enough to stop Wash cycle, Sat 07 Sep 2013, Wray Crescent, Lost
 Pacific white-Wash'd on a day to forget, Sat 08 Sep 2012, Wray Crescent, Lost 204 runs
 Toby and Harshdeep lead victory charge, Sat 03 Sep 2011, Wray Crescent, Won 28 Runs
 NM Development XI Reclaim Ground, Sun 07 Aug 2011, TBC (To Be Confirmed), Cancelled
 Sat 05 Jun 2010, Wray Crescent, Cancelled
 Hats Off To Lahri, Sun 23 Aug 2009, Wray Crescent, Won 89 runs
 Washout averted, Wash annihilated, Sun 06 Jul 2008, North Middlesex CC, Won 7 Wickets
 Wash Out Spares Wash Backlash, Sun 19 Aug 2007, Broxbourne Sports Club, Cancelled
 Iron Basket Full After Wash day, Sun 08 Jul 2007, North Middlesex CC, Lost 9 wickets
 Wash Pass Daz Test, Sun 23 Jul 2006, Gonville & Caius, Lost 3 wickets
 Diminishing Availabilities Leaves No option, Sun 14 May 2006, North Middlesex CC, Cancelled
 Washout In Cambridge, Sun 24 Jul 2005, Gonville & Caius, Drawn
 Brilliant Braden Mangles Wash!, Sun 15 May 2005, North Middlesex CC, Won 35 Runs
 Pete Picks Off Pacific!, Sun 12 Sep 2004, Broxbourne Sports Club, Lost by 20 Runs
 Wilkinson's Washington Woe!, Sun 16 May 2004, North Middlesex CC, Lost by 1 Run
 Sun 14 Sep 2003, Broxbourne Sports Club, Lost by 4 wkts
 Pacific Wash Away the Tears!, Sun 18 May 2003, North Middlesex CC, Won 6 Wickets
 Wilkinson Strangles Washington in Dramatic Draw, Sun 15 Sep 2002, Broxbourne Sports Club, Drawn
 Pacific Dreadful – Walker Disgraceful, Sun 19 May 2002, Alexandra Palace, Drawn
 Minnion seals it, Sun 09 Sep 2001, Away, Lost by 1 wkt
 Brave Jim sees Pacific home, Sun 10 Jun 2001, Broxbourne Sports Club, Won by 5 wkts
 Barnstorming Pacific put Washington to the Sword, Sun 10 Sep 2000, Dame Alice Owens, Won by 6 wkts
 Woods & Cragoe set up win for Wash, Sun 11 Jun 2000, Away, Lost by 5 wkts
 Demetri imposes as bowling dominates, Sun 09 May 1999, Alexandra Palace, Lost by 32 runs
 Wilkinson bats on..., Sun 02 Aug 1998, Queens College, Drawn
 Pitch unfit, Sat 18 Apr 1998, Tufnell Park, Cancelled
 Stapleford galvanises Pacific, Sun 20 Apr 1997, Tufnell Park, Drawn