Having come a very close second to an MCC team the weekend previously, Pfaffenhofen CC were keen to learn more about their opponents before the league fixture at the Hirsch the following weekend. So it was that eleven of us made the short trip to see what we could learn in exchange?
If you read Craigs’ report of the first game, you’ll know that the Pfaffenhofen ground is a curious mixture of pain and pleasure, being framed on two sides by very pretty arable land and the river Ilm. Whilst on the north/south sides it is squeezed between a train track and the autobahn.
Since sixes would potentially disrupt traffic (And more importantly, lead to a hold up in play…) from the Autobahn end, all bowling is conducted from the freight train end. Such is cricket in Germany.
I was greeted by the amenable opposition captain, who is named in our scorebook as “21”. 21 lost the toss and MCC took to the field in the hope of early wickets.
21 opened the batting with the curiously named “=” (according to the book). Both 21 and = looked perfectly proficient with the bat, but the partnership ended in the 5th over when Waqas Khan had 21 caught down the leg by keeper, Sumeet. 31 from 5, 21 gone for 21, = 9.
The equally competent Sabir walked to the crease, only to watch Adrian Brooks (who only moments before had been described as “The unluckiest bowler alive” by Craig Barrett), take three wickets in the very next over. = caught Aditya at cover, Mosin well caught by Craig at slip the next ball and (after a wide and a no-ball (massive jug-avoidance from Adrian)) the third legal delivery was snaffled by myself at gully. Deaser trudging off for nought. Suddenly the game was looking all too easy. 38 for 4 in the 6th over.
Needless to say, it was time to get rid of Waqas and Adrian and give some other people a go. Pierre Du Plessis replaced the left-arm-over of Waqas with his own variation of the same and Imtiaz Ahmad doing the same for Adrians right-arm-over.
Sabir galvanised, playing some delightful shots and instilling some metal in to the efforts of his team mate, Qiariq.
Pierre bowled an unusually stiff looking spell of three overs for eleven, without taking a wicket. He bowled well but on this day he had all the rhythm of a fucked clock. He was still unlucky to finish wicketless on the day.
Sabir was the next to fall, having made a fluent and determined looking 23. Imti got one to rear sharply, hitting the shoulder of the bat and looping to a grateful “Moi” at a sort of not-very-deep fly slip. 65 for 5 from 12.
The changes were rung again and Aditya stepped in for Imti and Craig for Pierre. Craig had the try-hard Qairiq caught Sumeet to a ball that popped and looped over the head of the keeper, Sumeet turning and diving to pick up the catch.
Aditya, (never to be left out) took three in short succession Pierre taking a good catch in the deep and the other two clean bowled. Adi is a pleasure to watch and a fine example to all spin bowlers for flight and control.
Craig suffered a little in his second over, getting tonked for three sixes by Jamsed, who was making a last ditched effort to rectify a disappointing scoreboard. Craig and Aditya were replaced by Mahmoud and Shashi. It was Shashi who closed proceedings, beating the rampant Jamsed by taking more pace off and luring Jamsed in to a mistake. Jamsed caught by Aditya at cover, but not before he’d top-scored on 39 and taken the score to an almost respectable 124 all out. Pfaffenhofen used just 20.1 of the 40 overs on offer.
A good effort by MCC in the field, but 21 extras in less than 21 overs is poor. So as much as we did well, there are still areas to be tidied up if we want to compete at a higher level? You know who you are!
The plan had been to bowl them out for as little as possible, knock them off and get back to the Hirsch to watch the ladies tournament that was being hosted there. So far the plan was going well, but could we bat sensibly and knock off the runs, avoiding the crazy collapses so characteristic of yesteryear?
Craig Barrett, having proven himself so adept at being unflappable at the top of the order showed Aditya Dube the way to the middle as the chase began.
Adi hasn’t had the chance to show us what he can do with the bat this year, but anyone who’s seen him will recognise that he’s no mug with one. He looked comfortable until he played a full ball of the back foot and chopped it on. Gone for two in the second over. 9-1 from 2.
The Pfaffenhofen opening attack got in to their stride for a few overs and it was certainly not easy going for Craig and Macca. Both stuck to their guns and valued their wickets highly, quite rightly so. Craig looked the more fluent of the two until Macca timed a ball through forward point and suddenly the picture started to change. MCC were taking the game away.
By drinks we were 75 for 1 off 20. When play resumed Craig Played 5 balls like he hadn’t picked up a bat for several years and was bowled on the sixth ball of the over. He walked to the boundary saying “I don’t know what happened there!?” Indeed, it was a bit odd, but he’d done a good job for his side.
Sumeet had been itching to get a bat, but had made the mistake of nodding off a bit before he was rudely awaken to take to the crease. The bowling really wasn’t bad at all and a swift Yorker had him back with us in no time, just one to his name. Shashi and Macca had 47 to knock off in 18 overs. We weren’t concerned.
With the score on 93 and his innings nearing what would have been a fine fifty, Macca called for an improbable second run and ran himself out on 43. Bloody annoying I should think!? A fantastic knock that glued the innings, just as we wanted him to. Such as shame that it wasn’t the Not Out it deserved to be.
Still, Pierre was keen to put bat to ball and in complete contrast to his bowling, his timing was metronomically perfect. Before we knew where we were, Shashi (also looking unfazed) and Pierre had us on the brink of victory.
Now this is where I have to make a point as captain…. With only one to win and with Adrian waiting to bat next (having scored three ducks in succession), what we didn’t need was anyone to try and blatt the ball to the moon. Both batsmen did try to do just that and both batsmen were lucky to get away with it, until Shashi didn’t.
We knew we were due to play these guys in the league the very next weekend. This was a time to know what was best for the team. There is nothing wrong with being clinical.
Shashi got himself clean bowled by the ever testing Tarik (Who I guess is Qairiq in the batting line-up?) for a previously-untroubled 11. Why?!
And so poor old Adrian had to make his way to the crease for the fourth time this season, still on naught…. It can’t have been the best feeling in the world, but like all good stories and massages, it had a happy ending. Adrian clipped the ball to leg to break the evil spell and take the winning run!
So we completed the plan, did our handshakes and got back to the Hirsch to sink a couple of beers while the girls played.
The match in figures:
Bowling – Overs, runs, wickets, extras.
Catches: Aditya 2, JD 2, Craig 1, Shashi 1, Pierre 1, Sumeet 2
Batting: Craig 24, Aditya 2, Macca 43, Sumeet 1, Shashi 11, Pierre 8 Not Out, Adrian 1 Not Out (Proud of you son!)
Man of the Match: Adrian for a devastating over, breaking the spell and doing nothing wrong.
Well done fellas. Another good win and the roll continues. Do take on-board what I say about the extras and how to close the innings off. We are doing far better as a team, but we must be mindful of the fact that we will be tested in the season and these are the moments we should recognise for what they are – places to be improved upon.
Our catching is much better, as is our general standard of fielding. People are on-the-whole batting like they value their wickets more and they understand what is required from them for the best of the team.
Key bowlers are tidying up their acts and anyone wanting to play first team cricket in the league needs to do the same.
We are getting hard to beat and we have strength in depth on many counts, but we should not be complacent. There’s a lot of competition for places and that is a healthy thing. Keep it that way and help motivate each other to do better. Don’t back-bite, support. You’re strongest that way.
Well, I’m stuck here in the USA for the next two weekends. Trust me, I know where I’d rather be. Make it worth the pain for me lads. You have the power to cheer me up! Send me regular updates from the matches and make sure the last one is a picture of you all enjoying a win!
Good luck and enjoy yourselves!