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April 27, 2010

Eclectic tea the highlight

Chigwell vs Pacific at Wray Crescent, 25th April

In a game that had seen a relatively even contest during the home side's innings, Chigwell were, ultimately, well beaten by Pacific CC (see their match report) in what was still an enjoyable early season fixture against Rob Allum's `other lot' –
writes Frank Gough.


The day began with the unfortunate news that Charlie had joined Ahsan on the unavailable list for the match, which had the double impact of considerably weakening our batting and leaving us a man short for the match itself; Owen having managed to draft in the much appreciated services of his friend Clive in the absence of Ahsan, but Charlie's withdrawal coming too late for a replacement to be found. A touch of drizzle for the first time in several days lent these developments a portentous feel as we began our journey over to Hornsey.

Upon arrival, Rob Orange, skipper again in the absence of Rob Allum, lost the toss, but, having explained the brittle nature of our batting line up, requested that we be allowed to field first, a request to which the Pacific captain kindly agreed. We also shook hands on this being a timed match rather than fixed overs, although in this case I think that acquiescence rather than agreement on the part of the opposition might be a more appropriate way of putting it.

I opened the bowling at one end with Richard at the other. The combination of a lovely new cherry, a bit of moisture in the air and some decent bowling meant that life was tricky for the Pacific openers, with some prodigious swing and slightly variable bounce from the artificial pitch in evidence, eliciting a fair amount of playing and missing and the occasional edge that would not go to hand. After a couple of overs, the Pacific no.2 was beaten by some late in-swing and could only succeed in cannoning the ball into his stumps via an edge and his pad. I wore a large smile in the realisation that I had just equalled 50% of my 2009 haul of wickets in a somewhat shorter timescale. The no.3 was also dismissed quickly; chopping onto his stumps whilst attempting to cut a ball that was a shade too close to him for the shot.

At this stage, we were feeling in the ascendancy, although the sight of a purposeful looking 6'4" antipodean batsman striding to the crease did cause a certain degree of trepidation, quite rightly as it transpired. I was the first to suffer, one over disappearing for 17 with four consecutive boundaries being crashed to a variety of points on the field, with Rich then being clumped mercilessly for a four and a six. We then had a slice of luck; the six was so monstrous as to lose the ball, which had ceased to swing having absorbed the moisture from the outfield. The replacement, however, did swing; a fact that Rich exploited by bending one in to make an almighty mess of the brute's stumps to the relief of all concerned. A successful spell was rewarded with another wicket, lbw, as Rich profited from largely maintaining a full length; his final figures reading 9-0-47-2.


Enter Nick. Picking up from the previous week, he quickly settled into a rhythm; realising that the wicket was not offering much turn, Nick instead used flight and clever changes of pace to deceive the batsmen, with three of his eventual five victims either being bowled or stumped to full deliveries that caught them at the crease. The one exception was an excellent off-break that climbed and turned on its way through to Russell, who took a very good catch behind the stumps off the edge to claim the scalp of Pacific's no.6. Rob settled on keeping Nick on for a marathon spell, eventually returning the impressive figures of 16.2-1-46-5. At the other end, Rob took over from Rich, bowling tidily and picking up one wicket (8-1-21-1) before deferring to Dan and Brad for short spell prior to Nick closing the innings with a lower order heave finding the hands of Rich at mid off. In truth, Pacific had scored more than we would have liked, with 222 their final score as the game entered a slightly subdued phase, but c'est la vie.


After an eclectic tea – I cannot think of another way of describing a mix of frozen sandwiches, pimento stuffed olives, guacamole, onion rings, Milky Way bars and Jaffa cakes – we set out to chase down the total, with Dan and a psyched up (and, even by his standards, spectacularly hairy) Owen entering the fray. It was at this point that events went on the slide as Pacific turned the screw with an extremely disciplined bowling performance from their seamers. After a couple of pleasing leg side shots, Dan was the first to perish, lbw for 11. Rich then sauntered out for one his more outrageous displays, mixing attack with… well, attack. Nicks, edges, you name it; it was all happening, just not for very long, as everyone's favourite Lancastrian had his stumps splattered for 21. Nigel was the next to go, the victim of a full length inswinger that caught him on the crease for 0, with giving him out lbw or cheating horribly being the only options available to yours truly. Owen had, up till this point, being batting sensibly and began to free his arms with a 2 and a boundary being scored through backward point as he began to exert some authority. Sadly, he then tried to be a little too expansive and joined his long haired brethren back in the hutch for 13, his stumps cartwheeling merrily. Russell went quickly after, leaving the scoreboard showing a distinctly unhealthy 46 for 5.

Rob and Nick then joined forces, first stopping the rot and then suggesting the start of a rebuilding operation before Rob, trying to be positive, edged behind for 6. Clive did not last long against a spirited attack, which then brought Brad to the crease, striding out from the pavilion with belligerence and with his hair bouncing under his cap, neatly positioned on top. He was clearly in the mood to save the game as we entered the final twenty overs and, as darkness closed in, the number of overs dwindled and he and Nick looked increasingly confident, it began to look a real possibility. Sadly Nick, not wanting to stodge a drawer in a game that had been played in a good spirit up until that point, then missed a straight one and was comprehensively castled for a fighting 33. I came out as last man and could only last two balls before bowing to inevitability and an offcutter that was simply too good for me.

So, a loss, but a good workout before HWG come to Chigwell in the league next Sunday where we will be looking to start that season in positive fashion. It was just good to get back out there.

Full scorecard 

Allum of the Match: Nick, by default.

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