The semi-finals of the Regionalliga T20 and having recently beaten Passau in the league the Bumblebees travelled hopefully to Passau, some on the train with the captain keeping a somewhat aloof profile and travelling alone by car. This haughty attitude was somewhat mitigated as he did take the kit along with him. Two Bayern tickets for the Bob were used to the full although the writer just made it as the door closed and the train departed from platform 25. All the other MCC tourists seemed to have chosen seats next to attractive young ladies leaving me at the end of the carriage with a more mature lady. She had the most attractive laugh though which she used to the full watching Sestan`s antics trying to disembark at every stop to have a quick drag on a cigarette. Even an unscheduled stop, caused by a faulty level crossing, didn`t stop his attempts and it was painful to watch him pleading with the driver to be let out. After a relaxing two hour journey we arrived in Passau where we hung around for some 20 minutes waiting for the arrival or at least news from Maiwand Khan who should have been travelling down alone from Wald Kraiburg. No news and no Maiwand so we took taxis to the ground on the heights above the three-river city.
Captain Cassandra, complete with the kit, duly lost the toss and MCC were asked to bat, opening with an alliteration in “B”, Bowes and Blades. Bowes had one scoring shot, a six, but departed with the score on 11 to be replaced by Wembridge. Eleven runs later Blades was caught behind and made way for Bhatia. A useful partnership of 21 runs ensued before Wembrdge went, LBW for 19, the highest score of the innings and the first of three LBWs, Bhatia being the second and Goit the third while he joined the duck race. Maroofkhel hit a very useful 15, including a four and a mighty six off a no-ball. Number six, Singh was the seventh wicket to fall, run out for 13, batting with the captain after 19.4 overs. Giles came in and sacrificed himself on the very last ball of the innings, run out without facing a ball. There had been a rain break during the innings and although the sky looked threatening there was no further rain during the play.
After the tea break MCC opened their attack with Blades and Wembridge, Blades getting his first of two wickets on his fourth ball with the score on 2. In his second over he got a great one for the stats, a caught and bowled, while Wembridge got one in his second over leaving them 3 down for 13 runs after four overs. Thereafter the Passau ship was steadied and it was 34 runs later before the next wicket fell, a superb catch at long-off by captain Craig off Goit`s bowling. Two runs later Goit got his second and at 49 for five down we were looking forward to a victory. There was an inexplicable break after the fifth wicket fell, everyone leaving the field because of Ramadan. As there were only two batsmen of that ilk and they had been at the crease for only a couple of minutes this seemed to be somewhat excessive. Whatever they did during the break must have inspired them for the two batsmen played in a most assured style afterwards. There was a rather embarrassing incident, brought about again by having the batting team provide the square leg umpire. A believed stumping was given not-out causing an unnecessary reaction from the MCC keeper – from the scorer`s table it did not appear as if the batsman had moved his foot – and veteran Blades stepped in to cool down the emotions. Passau knocked off the required runs easily, winning with a mighty six after 16.3 overs.
Afterwards the team retired to the Wirtsthaus just down the road with a magnificent panoramic view of the city. Lord and the colourful Lady Wembridge (who had run out of red varnish for her toenails and so used blue on some of them) decided to walk back to the station in their flip-flops, or thongs to the uninitiated, and I decided to join them as it was, apparently, only a 28 minute stroll. Some 45 minutes later, still 600 metres from the station and three minutes before departure we took a taxi who made a Bullitt-like trip to the station and dropped us off on the other side to the waiting train. Lord Wembridge ran ahead and held open the carriage door, at the same time pleading with the driver not to leave yet. So for the second time that day I staggered through the door as it closed and the train started. The return trip was notable for some of the most excruciating jokes you are ever likely not to wish to hear.
+Bowes, 6, caught,
Blades, 4, caught, 4 overs, 0 mdns, 13 runs, 2 wkts, 1 catch
Wembridge, 19, LBW, 4 overs, 0 mdns, 19 runs, 1 wkt
Bhatia, 13, LBW,
Goit, 0, LBW, 2 overs, 0 Mdns, 14 runs, 2 wkts
Singh, 13, run out,
*Barrett, 8*, 3.3 overs, 0 mdns, 26 runs, 0 wkts, 1 catch
Giles, 0, run out
Sestan, DNB, 1 over, 0 mdns, 7 runs, 0 wkrs
Kahn Maiwand, DNA, (did not arrive)
MCC, 93 – 8 in 20 overs, lost to Passau, 95 -. 5 in 16.3 overs by 5 wickets
MCC: MOM: Blades