The MCC Fürsten woke early Sunday, to grey skies and a miserable, cold looking forecast. The venue for the day was Haunstetten, on the outskirts of Augsburg. There was some travel ahead of us.
While we waited for Amol to arrive, after missing the earlier train, the sun broke through the clouds offering hope of a warmer, sunnier day than was expected. Hopes were quickly dashes as we sped west trying to make up for lost time, towards very dark and ominous looking clouds on the horizon.
Once the team had finally all arrived, either coming by train or car, the rain had still yet to falling and the toss was done quickly to ensure we give ourselves every chance to get some cricket in.
Captain Altmann called tails, as it never fails, but was proven wrong and was promptly sent into field. The ground was small, the size of soccer pitch with high fences all around. The decision was made that as the fence, behind the keeper was inside the 30 yard circle it would only be 2 runs even if it went 40meters over it which would happen a few times as the day went on.
Randy Sandy opened proceedings with a wicket first ball of the season. A rank full toss, that the batsman tried to clobber over the cover boundary, only to be snaffled by Argha in the deep. MCC’s spirits were high as the batsman departed for a Golden Goose, (see reference – https://procaffenation.com/know-different-kinds-ducks-cricket-find/) dismissed on the first ball of the season.
The other opener was now on strike and boy did he like playing on this pitch. Thwatting 17 off the remaining 5 balls of the over and sending the bowling of Randy over the road and into field on the offside boundary. The bowling wasn’t far off where it needed to be, but the bounce was true and Farhad trusted in his cover drive.
Sunny took the new ball for the second over of the match with score already on 17-1 and just like Randy took a wicket with his first ball, finding the edge with a beautiful bit of outswing and a perfectly placed delivery. Two batsman out, for first ball they faced and MCC were on a roll.
Farhad had other ideas. With no respect for any of the MCC bowlers he continued to smash the ball outside the playing arena, bringing up 6 after 6 and making the most of the incredibly short boundary’s square of the wicket. When his innings finally ended, thanks to a great caught and bowled by Mucca, off an extremely high, top edge, the score was 69-5 after just 4.5 overs.
The runs slowed a little after that, but it didn’t stop the Haunstetten batsman from swinging ball after ball. Captain Altmann brought himself on and picked up two in two, only just missing the hattrick as the ball flew off the inside edge just past leg stump into the back fence for 2.
A few costly dropped catches meant that their only player who tried not to hit ever ball into the school, backing onto the ground, managed to hit himself to 69no after 48balls. He dragged his team, along with their number 11 to a 59 run, last wicket stand. 183 All Out after 20 over.
You could look at the scorecard and think they timed their innings perfectly but missed chances meant the MCC were chasing at least 40 more runs than they would have hoped. The Fürstens were a little deflated heading into the break but knew given the size of the boundaries and the true bounce the pitch offered; they weren’t out of the fight yet.
Haunstetten had 3 wicket keepers in place, one with gloves on and two more in a back up role at fine third man and fine leg, as Cam and Mucca opened up the batting. They faced an unfamiliar barrage of short-pitched bowling at a decent pace. Hitting what they could and made the most of the wides that went rocketing into the fence behind the keepers, for 2.
Cam was the first to fall for 14 off 14 with the score on 29 after 3.5overs. MCC were still in the hunt. Mucca went an over later and with both openers gone the score was on 36. Nishant then joined Deep at the crease and the pair went about getting familiar with the unusually bouncy wicket. Just as he was starting to get going, Nishant fell for a well-made 29 at a run a ball.
The score was now 92-3 after 13.4 overs and MCC had to lift the run rate quickly. Altmann came and went without really troubling the scorers followed shortly thereafter by Deep who struggled a bit for timing using one of the new MCC sticks. The wickets continued to fall despite some desperate attempts to increase the run rate and MCC ended up 30 runs short with 1 wicket in hand.
Altmann won the toss and elected to send the fasting Haunstetteners back out into the field. After a longer than desired, 30min break, Mucca and Vishv strolled out to the middle and were looking to get after the bowling early.
Some more fast short stuff from the bowlers, pepper them both. Each of them wearing balls on the gloves or the body but they was a little less gusto in the bowling than in the first innings and the spells were being limited to one or two overs. The drizzle that had held off for most the day had also started to set in.
Vishv fell first, after swatting a few balls off his helmet into the fields next door, while slipping and sliding on the coconut matting. The score, 48 after 6.3 overs. Mucca was next to go. 94-2 after 11.3 overs. An ideal launching pad for the rest off the team.
Deep, playing his first matches for the MCC, showed his class. Growing in confidence as his innings went on, kept the runs ticking over. Everyone else came and went around him until he was finally dismissed on 64 off only 32 deliveries, as SUM 41 “In too DEEP” was blearing over the speaker on repeat. MCC finished the innings on 185-8 after 20 overs.
Sunny also playing his first league matches for the MCC, was handed the new ball and took a wicket in his first over. Haunstetten weren’t taking any chances when it came to run rate, kept swinging for the fences. After 5 overs they lost their second wicket thanks to some good bowling from Mucca with the score on 52.
Chairman Bowes then pouched and absolute ripper at point, diving full stretch, taking the ball horizontal with one hand. No one was more surprised than him when he landed and the ball was still firmly stuck in his mitt. The MCC boys streamed in from all angles to celebrate what was easily the catch of the day and likely the catch of the season. MCC were pumped!
The next to go was Farhad, the kamikaze hitter, who was lucky to get away with an edge earlier in the over, gone for 34 off 19. Haunstetten’s chances had all but evaporated with Farhad back in the shed and MCC made relatively light work of the rest, rolling through Haunstetten for 115 in the 13 overs. Deep and Mucca both finished with 3 wickets and the MCC had redeemed themselves.
It was lucky MCC rapped it up as quickly as we did because as soon the bags were packed the heavens started to open and the rain really started to fall. We walked away with 1 win and some confidence to know we can get job done.
Thanks for reading.