Another glorious day greeted the MCC faithful on this lovely Saturday trip to Rosenheim. MCC II were in great spirits after winning an extraordinary game the week before against Schrobenhausen by 3 runs having posted just 51. Stand in Captain Barrett had toyed with the idea of making life easier for everyone and meeting up in various convenient locations, but eventually thought better of it and so it was that 8 x MCC’ers plus the umpire met at Harras Bahnhof for the hour long journey to Rosenheim. Arun, Pierre and Hazza travelling direct.
Thankfully the experienced head of Paul Scott had had the foresight to check the traffic, this being a glorious Saturday and prime hiking weather, and the decision was made to avoid the A8 entirely and take the scenic route, and what a route it was, winding through the beautiful Bayerische Countryside, passed onion domed churches, wooden cladded houses and rolling fields…. The author often wonders why he bothered moving to München…
After a slightly longer journey than anticipated, MCC arrived at Carl-Orf Strasse for the game only a few minutes before the scheduled start, however, as MCC were transporting the umpire, this was not a problem! The ground itself is in a nice setting, flanked on both sides by levees with walkways (the ground being set on a flood plain), trees and bushes and from the far side of the ground a fabulous view of the Alps can be seen. The only downside was the state of Rosenheim’s facilities which unfortunately were very basic. The author does not wish to be elitist or churlish, Rosenheim are a new team of mainly refugees, led by their amiable skipper Wais, but concerns were raised about the state in particular of the landing areas for the fast bowlers. The well-used coconut matting had large holes in the landing areas and threads with opening bowler Brooks declaring that he was going to bowl around the wicket so he didn’t break his ankle! After a brief discussion, the decision was made to fold the landing area underneath the rest of the pitch and nail it down, thus the bowlers would land on the dry grass and it would be much safer for all.
Useless tosser Barrett called “2” and down came “2”, “Oh crap, I’ve won the toss”, he thought. “I think we’ll have a bowl”. With the pitch looking unpredictable to say the least, the skipper thought that it might be best to see what a good score is and ask Rosenheim to have first digs.
The opening over was eventful, with the normally dependable Scott unable to find his lines early, 8 runs coming from it, including a four back over his head and 4 wides did not foresee what was about to come. Brooks, now content with the state of the landing areas, charged in for his first ball, and delivered one that the batsman swished at and missed. The second ball, again, swish and miss, but what’s this?! Keeper Khanna rolling the ball back towards the stumps and catching the batsman at least a foot outside of his crease! GONE! Rosenheim, 8/1. Fast bowler Brooks unsure whether to be happy or insulted that he had got a stumping to his name! Out came the next man and sure enough, swish and a miss… BOWLED! Two in two, MCC rampant! It was at this point that a couple of MCC players pointed out Brooks’ Ulster hattrick at Pfaffenhofen a few weeks ago “W,W,X,O,W” (note the X nestling straight into the hands of second slip (no exaggeration) and the O nearly taking the batsman’s head off), and told him to just bowl it straight. As the new man took his guard (even though there was no chalk), Brooks trudged back to his mark in trademark fashion, started his run up, gathered steam, exploded at the crease, swish, thud, “HOWZAAAAAAAT” finger up! GONE!! A hattrick! Rosenheim 8/3 after 10 balls… what a start! Brooks taking his place in MCC history by becoming the 9th man to take a hattrick, with it being the 10th MCC hattrick overall (Ian Finch taking two).
After such a fantastic start, skipper Barrett urged his players to stay focussed and he was rewarded with Scott finding his lines in the next over, yet again one of the Rosenheim batsmen dawdling outside his crease and Khanna rolling the ball onto the stumps (facepalm)… Keeper Khanna declaring that despite years of keeping wicket, he had literally never succeeded doing that before and here he had done it twice! On this occasion, former Minor Counties bowler Scott definitely appeared insulted to have a stumping to his name!!
Brooks and Scott continued to bowl venomously and despite some lower order resistance from Rosenheim, (Shankat 12 and Razi Saeed 16) they were all out for 72 after 14.5 overs. Brooks finishing with impressive figures of 7-0-34-6 and Scott with an almost as equally impressive 7.5-0-37-4.
The standard of batting amongst our Afghani friends really needs to improve, all of them can bowl, which is great to see and many of them can hit a ball hard and far, but defence is a skill that almost none of them have. Perhaps with a few more facilities and a bit of coaching, this will be a side of the game that they can improve. It is not fun for anyone having innings that last less than 15 overs and this was the second week in a row that MCC II had bowled a team out before the end of the opening spells.
Captain Barrett urged his players again to keep focus. MCC II have struggled to post totals this season and despite this, 73 was a very gettable target if they could keep calm, focussed and disciplined. With this in mind, Barrett strode out to the middle with Du Plessis to begin the chase.
The opening partnership unfortunately did not last long, du Plessis striking a full toss firmly at cover, who managed to hold onto it with his belly, Pierre very unhappy with himself, MCC 6/1 in the 4th over.
Karthik came to the middle and got off the mark with a huge six over deep mid-wicket from a full toss, but afterwards kept his calm and with Barrett his usual circumspect self, a partnership was beginning to build before Barrett inexplicably missed a straight ball that did nothing… 25/2.
Next to the crease was new boy Paul Busby, who played some classy shots in his well-constructed 12 before he too succumbed to the deadly straight ball, but not before Karthik was excellently caught and bowled for 13, suddenly MCC were 41/4 and nerves began to show.
Ali Khan lbw 0, Usman lbw 1, Davies bowled 1, MCC II were suddenly in serious trouble at 51/7 still 22 runs short of that gettable target. Chairman Khanna, fresh from his two quick thinking stumpings, who was the not out man, had requested to come in lower down in case this such eventuality arose. He was joined by Faraz and the two of them showing remarkable patience and resilience. Their steely determination got MCC to within 10 runs of the target before Khanna was given out lbw for 7 to a ball that he not only hit, but was missing leg by around a foot and probably going over the stumps. A poor decision.
Faraz was joined by Scott and it appeared Faraz had finally had enough of patience and resilience. Before Scott faced a ball, he launched a six over deep square leg and two balls later dispatched a one bounce four over mid-off for the winning runs! MCC had done it, a two wicket victory! It had taken 31.5 overs to reach that gettable target, but who cares, back to back wins and MCC were jubilant!
It was a strange game. All MCC batsmen looked capable of scoring runs, yet 8 wickets fell in the innings with not a single player reaching 15. Perhaps it was down to the pitch, perhaps it was down to some excellent bowling by Rosenheim? Special mentions for spinner Shawkat who finished with remarkable figures of 8-3-5-1 and captain Wais (8-0-23-4), it is difficult to pinpoint why so many wickets fell in the chase. The biggest thing that MCC can take from this game is the discipline and the application from the bastmen. Yes wickets were lost, but on an easier surface, and against less tight bowling there is no reason why this MCC side cannot post larger totals.
Match Summary – MCC (73/8) beat Rosenheim CC (72ao) by 2 wickets.
MCC Man of the Match – Adrian Brooks.
Champagne Moment – Adrian’s hattrick ball.
Thanks for Coming Award – Ali Khan.
Quote of the Day – “There’s no way I’m bowling over the wicket on this!” – Adrian Brooks.
Match in Numbers:
0 – Catches taken or dropped by MCC.
18 – Number of wickets to fall.
3 in 3 – Adrian’s hattrick.
14.5 – Overs it took to bowl Rosenheim out.
23 – Number of balls it took Faraz to get off the mark!