Having persuaded Hobbs at the Chinese Tower Biergarten on Saturday night to join the squad as we were one short, we assembled outside Starbuck`s at 0850 on Sunday morning for the 0904 train to Erlangen via Nuremburg. At least ten of us did as Ferguson had rang in at 0630 to advise he had been called in to work and couldn`t travel. Tattu simply did not appear nor did he advise that he wouldn`t be attending which certainly makes the culling of the Zuoz party a great deal easier.
After the usual complaints of bad planning and why did we have to wait for almost an hour for the connection in Nuremburg we arrived safe and sound at the main station in Erlangen. From there we took a bus – the wrong one – to Erlangen Bruck and had a 20 minute walk to the ground at a location with which we were only vaguely familiar. Blades foolishly insisted we follow a sign to FSV Parkplatz rather than continue on the main road towards what looked like the club buildings. Fortunately for him it lead us directly to the playing area and we had a very pleasant surprise. The playing field was at least two football fields in size, it was hard and a new Flicx was laid on it. There are two other football grounds on the same site, one was not being used but there was a girls match taking place on the other and we had to wait until this was finished before we could start, not wanting to injure any of the kids or spectators.
Captain Weston duly lost the toss and somewhat surprisingly Erlangen decided to field and the MCC innings began at 1355 with Weston and Wright opening what had been agreed as a 30 over innings. The bowling was very good and the pitch even better allowing shots virtually unknown at the Hirschanger to be played – cuts, pulls and hooks. The openers put on 103 before Wright fell five runs short of his 50 in the 13th over after hitting six fours and two sixes. Weston went for 38 shortly afterwards as did Embleton, Rabbani and Algar, Rabbani playing a glorious shot to deep backward point but straight down a fielders throat. Goldsack and Shankarappa put on 31 for the sixth wicket before Shankarappa went for 14 in the 26th over. Hobbs replaced him and went for seven in the 29th over after a stand of 14 for the seventh wicket. Goldsack finally fell for 27 in the 30th over leaving Blades on 0* and the innings closed as we had only nine players.
FSV were very apologetic that they had no tea for us but hoped in the future to get some power outlets on some new lamp standards to allow a cuppa to be brewed.
Rather than take the offered opposition fielders MCC chose to field with only nine players and all the bowlers enjoyed the hard, true, pitch. It was very unforgiving and byes and wides easily ran away to the boundary making life difficult for keeper Weston who was standing up to help compensate for the missing two fielders. Opening bowlers Blades and Rabbani were quickly amongst them and FSV were two down for 20 in the fourth over. A South African, Wynand, came in at number three. He comes from Pretoria and batted like a Praetorian guard in true Jacques Kallis fashion staying in until he fell in the 18th over having made 14 off 38 balls in 65 minutes and leaving FSV on 101 for 4. Hussein (25), Sanjay (36) and Sakit (17) were the main scorers after Wynand`s departure, all three being stumped very ably by Weston off Goldsack, Hobbs and Blades respectively. Their number 11, Vishnu had attended a few of our Friday practise sessions last year before moving to Nuremburg to study and was probably a little surprised by the celebration when Blades got his partner out stumped, not realising that we had not only won the match but that it was Blades`s 250th wicket for the club. FSV then were all out for 173 in 29 overs, the nine MCC fielders having excelled themselves chasing everything that moved.
The opposition could not have been more friendly and it was a pleasure to play them – as someone remarked they have not been spoiled by exposure to Munich cricket. They are hoping to play in the BCV league next season and from our point of view will be very welcome.
The trip home began with a half hour wait at the bus stop which was rather pleasant in the warm summer evening, then a 10 minute ride to the station and another half an hour wait for the train to Nuremburg with yet another 50 minute wait for the connection to Munich. However the waiting times were long enough to allow us to stock up on cool fresh for the long ride home.
Weston, 38, LBW, 3 stumpings
Wright, 45, caught, 4 overs, 0 mdns, 32 runs, 1 wkt
Embleton, 4, caught, 1 catch
Rabbani, 10, caught, 4 overs, 0 mdns, 18 runs, 1 wkt, 1 catch
Algar, 0, bowled, 1 over, 0 mdns, 6 runs, 1 wkt, 1 catch
Goldsack, 27, bowled, 6 overs, 1 mdn, 30 runs, 3 wkts
Shankarappa, 14, LBW, 6 overs, 0 mdns, 47 runs, 0 wkts
Hobbs, 7, bowled, 3 overs, 0 mdns, 13 runs, 1 wkt
Blades, 0*, 5 overs, 1 mdn, 22 runs, 2 wkts
MCC, 183 for 7 in 30 overs, beat FSV Erlangen, 173 for 10 in 29 overs by 10 runs.
MCC MOM Goldsack