A pleasant late spring day with temperatures around 18°C and the complete Erlangen squad waiting outside the ground at 10 minutes to 12. The Flicx was already laid from the curtailed Friday practice and everything else was prepared in time for captain Ayub to win the toss, decide to field first and allow the match to begin at 12:35.
MCC opening bowlers Blades and Deverill were very tight and after 12 overs the score was 27 for 0 with only two boundary fours being hit. Blades had had a difficult caught and bowled chance in his spell. The first change bowlers Khan Waqas and Qureshi continued the trend and at 20 overs they were 53 for 0. The first wicket fell in the 23rd over, a superb stumping by Butt off Nielsen`s bowling. We have really missed the Viking celebrations when a wicket falls so keep it up Thomas. The wicket tally stayed the same with runs being carefully accumulated until captain Ayub struck twice in the 34th over making them 125 for 3 down. He got a third in his next over, one more in his 6th and a fifth in his seventh over. In between he had been party to a run out and Erlangen were all out for 165 in 39.3 overs. Butt had taken three superb stumpings, standing up to all our bowlers and their final score was definitely beatable.
After teas, provided for both teams by Mahmud Khan, MCC opened the batting with Sarma and Deverill. The first wicket fell with the score on 5, Deverill looping a catch from a poor ball and moving up in the duck race. Sarma stayed around for another 22 runs before he too hit a harmless ball straight to a fielder. Ayub and Butt steadied the ship but on the verge of the drinks break Ayub was out LBW to the Bavarian Lions bowler Vinay Dikshith which rather spoiled the half-way score. Khan Mahmud and Butt batted steadily until Butt went for 40, the highest score of the innings and the total now 94 for 4 down from 32 overs. Mahmud Khan fell with no more runs added, three runs later Wembridge bade everyone adieu and one run later Nielsen joined the duck race after an interesting shot. From 94 for 4 MCC were now 99 for 7 and the task was looking increasingly difficult. Waqas Khan hit a few lusty shots but departed in the 37th over with the score on 107. It was left to Altmann and Blades to bat out the remaining overs with no chance of getting the winning runs.
Bowes and Sestan had returned from the division II match against Kirchanschöring to regale us with their batting and bowling prowess at the Fräulein Grüneis watering hole before the party split for a Ruby Murray or a Thai and wine Chez Deverill.
A cloudy day with some sunny intervals at the Pak Orient ground in Hasenbergl. All MCC players arrived on time and were good little chaps because everyone brought their player passes along for the umpire to check. Pak Orient had one player coming late and, against all the laws of cricket and the DCB playing rules, the umpire allowed them to field a substitute for 45 minutes until the late player arrived. I protested vehemently but the umpire was adamant. When the player finally arrived the umpire said he could not bowl for 45 minutes, again against all the DCB rules. He made the situation worse by allowing a substitute player onto the field while one of the Pak Orient team, Waleed Basit went off to change his boots. (I have complained to the BCV Ligaleiter and the Umpirewart but, perhaps predictably, have not had a response).
Here is the relevant extract from the DCB playing rules.
2) Substitutions are only allowed if a player is injured or becomes sick during the game and the umpires believe the replacement is justified. In accordance with the Laws of Cricket, substitute players may not bat, bowl or keep wicket.
3) Substitutions must be entered on the Game Report Form before the start of the game.
So captain Ayub lost the toss and we were asked to field, POCC expecting a rain shortened match and it is advantageous to bat second. The outfield was rather long and unkempt making boundary hits along the ground very difficult but Thomas Butt and Mahmud Khan opened for us. Butt in particular batted aggressively but fell, caught in the 9th over, with the score on 36. Wembridge, fresh off the plane from China, replaced him and ran himself out to enter the duck race. The illegal substitute player was still fielding so perhaps, had the umpire done his job properly, we wouldn`t have lost these two wickets. Captain Ayub joined Khan Mahmud at the crease but ten runs later, Khan went for 22 to be replaced by Qureshi. A splendid partnership of 78 ensued with Qureshi tonking two fours and three sixes before being caught by boot-changer Basit, with the score on 126. Colling replaced him and played aggressively for 14 minutes during which time captain Ayub went having scored 33. Colling and Bhat put on 15 for the 6th wicket, Colling out caught going for a big one and made way for Bhamare with the score at 147 for 6 down. Bhat went with no change to the score and Otmankhil came and went for a golden one, with the score still on 147. In came Imtiaz Ahmed to face three balls without adding to the score and join the duck race so MCC were now 147 for 9 wickets down. Bhamare and Waqas Khan had a good 10th wicket partnership of 13 until Waqas skied one and MCC were all out for 166 in 35.3 overs. There had been a 23 minute rain break during the innings and we should have been restricted to 35 overs anyway although the umpire did not state this.
After tea was taken, MCC opened the bowling with Colling and Qureshi and Butt keeping wicket, which he did superbly throughout the innings, but in the first four overs 7 wide balls were delivered and POCC were 26 for one, Quereshi getting the splendidly named Sher Khan in his first over. Ayub replaced Colling and also got one in his first over so after five POCC were 29 for two down. Quereshi got his second in the eighth over leaving them on 40 for 3 down. Ayub and Waqas Khan were now bowling well together and in the 15th over, Waqas got his first wicket, boot-changer Basit caught by Wembridge and the score now 64 for four down. Unfortunately the heavens opened and after play was resumed the target was reduced to 141 from 35 overs meaning they had to score only 77 from 15 overs. In the 17th over Khan Mahmud got the first of his two wickets and a second in his next over. So after 18 overs they were 76 for six wickets down. The wicket count stayed the same until Waqas got his second in the 27th over with the score on 110. POCC captain Ali and Badsha were able to face everything MCC bowled at them and POCC finished up winners with the score on 142 for 7 wickets down after 33.2 overs. So a very exciting game was over and who knows what would have been had the umpire been up to the task.
On a glorious Sunday morning 12 players managed to find their way to Attaching utilising various modes of transportation – car, train and bike!
We arrived at the ground and found out we would be in the very well sheltered stadium, rather than the usual open fields, which had been kindly taken over by the circus crowd!
MCC lost the toss and were asked to field, a very odd decision based on the wet outfield and slow, low wicket..
Blades and Bowes opened the bowling with Blades bowling very straight and making it very difficult to hit him off the square. At the other end Bowes took 2 wickets from his first 2 balls, both bowled as the batsmen attempted horrible slog shots against the slow bowling. Bowes took his 3rd wicket in the 4th over leaving LSCC wallowing at 15-3.
Ankur replaced Blades after 2 overs and bowled some great lines and lengths before their opener decided that it was time to start having a swing.
He eventually succumbed to the bowling of Sestan, who, after pitching his first ball on his own big toe, managed to bowl a half tracker, which bounced 3 times down the leg side, only for Khanna to take off the bails and the batsman, stunned from the decision, was given out stumped!
Kapil Singh bowled some really good lengths without taking a wicket, but his two overs were very economic and he looks like a good player for the season ahead!
The Lufthansa collapse then began with Toke taking a very nice wicket. After Arshad had smashed a few, one directly over the perfectly placed Harvey Jackson in the deep, Khanna`s quicker ball removed his bails and ended the middle order stand. He followed this up with a wide, a leg side wide and then the straight one which bowled the clearly bemused batsman!
Blades then took his moment, coming back into the attack, with his first ball catching the outside edge of the bat and was amazingly taken by a superman like catch to Toke at gully, diving full stretch to his left to take a one handed wonder. I’m joking, it was a dolly but nevertheless brought up Tony Blades’ milestone of 400 wickets!! The very next ball he bowled another batsman before a great run out from Kotru brought the innings to an end at 105 all out.
Teas were provided by the kind people of the LSCC Pizza shop and carried graciously by Cross and Toke.
However, the rain came down just as we were about to go back out and having played 2 balls of the opener, we came off for 20 minutes for rain. Fortunately we were very well covered.
After the rain ceased we continued on with Mushtaq and Kotru opening and playing just brilliantly together. Kotru was just watching wides go past his legs and rotating the strike where possible for Mushtaq who was seeing it like a beach ball. He smashed the fast bowler over the covers for a glorious 4, before flicking a 6 off his legs in brilliant fashion. Further big hitting from Mushtaq brought us closer to the target, before Mushtaq departed after pulling a short ball in the air and ending the opening partnership of 65 (Mushtaq 36 off 27). Jackson hit a few beautiful shots before being properly welcomed into Munich cricket and getting bowled by a flix ball. Kotru`s innings also came to an end, before Toke and Khanna brought us within 5 of the total. Khanna then smoked the ball straight at the bowler before Bowes came in and finished off the game with a lusty blow.
Five of us went off to the beer garden for a Maß to discuss the state of the world and Buntys retirement U-turn before wondering down to Hasenbergl to watch the end of the 1’s game.
Glorious sunshine welcomed the MCC, smartly dressed in their new clothing, to their spiritual home at the Hirschanger. The opposition from Passau were all waiting outside the gate at 12 noon, hoping to repeat the thrashing they gave us last year.
Captain Barrett had decided at the Friday afternoon training that should he win the toss he would bowl first but, as often happens, he lost the toss and MCC were asked to bat. The game didn`t start until 12:35 as the designated umpire – the league umpiring coordinator – was late having been to a Sri Lankan party in the morning. The MCC openers, Khan Mahmud and Bhat looked pretty comfortable and put on 27 before Bhat fell in the sixth over to be replaced by Deverill. JP showed exactly how to build an innings scoring 1 from 10 balls, 3 from 20 and 5 off 30 but finished with 58 off 93, bowled in the 34th over. The second wicket put on 92 before Khan Mahmud went and the third between Toke and JD made26 before Toke left, much to the disappointment of his parents. Konchada narrowly avoided the duck race, Mushtaq made a useful 13 and poor Aneesh Kotru had a golden egg. Khan Waqas came next and blasted a fine 20 from 10 balls with a couple of huge sixes . Barrett strikingly upped his run rate over the game against MIC last week and scored 4 from 8 balls, MCC finishing up with 197 for 8 down from the allotted 40 overs,
Teas and Pimms were provided by JD and were very much appreciated by the visitors.
Khan Waqas and JD were MCC`s opening bowlers and Waqas took a wicket with the very first ball of the innings. He took a second wicket in the 7th over and they were 27 for 2 down. J D got his first in the 8th over with the score on 40 and his 2nd and 3rd in the 10th leaving them on 51 for 5. The next four wickets fell for only 11 runs but a reasonable partnership of 14 for the last wicket took them up to 76 all out in the 17th over.
The game finished early so there was plenty of time to enjoy the cool fresh from the fridge and the Pimms from JD.
On a fine April afternoon MCC 2nd XI brushed aside the previous days rains and met at the Hirschanger at 1200 (some earlier but the usual suspects Farid and Usman were late). The latter did however bring KFC and was therefore granted life.
Captain for the day Bowes won the toss and, much to the dismay of the opposition who were certain that we would bat, decided to bowl.
Bowling was opened with Bowes and Ankur, the former getting a wicket with his first ball. Ankur bowled some really good lines and lengths making it challenging for the batsmen to get him away on a slightly damp flix. Bowes from the other end was just throwing up some very straight pies and the wickets kept on falling.
At 10-3 we made a change to give everyone a go as we assumed the game would be over in 10 overs, however we were wrong!!
Sabir and Yazdan got themselves settled in and built a partnership of 90 before the former got pinned down by Adbul, beginning their mini collapse bringing them to 120-8, before Bowes and Ankur wrapped up the remaining 3 batsmen (12 a side) getting Pfaffenhofen to 159 ao from 26 overs.
During this the umpires, who seemingly enjoyed the Munich conditions, gave 5 LBW decisions during their innings (a courtesy we did not need to return!!)
Teas were provided by Aneesh and Usmans left over chicken.
Going out to bat we seemed rather optimistic we could chase this down without a sweat… Farid, Aneesh, Usman, Akmal, Toke , Ankur and Ben James all fell for 2 runs or fewer leaving MCC stranded on 10-7 after 7 overs….
Obaid and Bowes steadied the ship ever so slightly, both managing to face more than 10 balls before the former and the latter hit the ball straight to the men on the boundary.
Veith and Kantor played some interesting forehand shots and MCC were rolled for 63.
Wides top scored with 22.
All in all we had a good day out, even though we lost and a few of us hung around afterwards to empty the fridge.
Farid 2, 1 catch, 1 stumping
Kotru 1, 1 Catch
Ankur 2, 6-1-20-1, 1 Catch
Toke 0, 2-0-22-0
Ben James 0, 2-1-5-0
Bowes 3, 5-1-15-4
Abdul 2, 5-0-30-4, 1 catch
Kantor 7*, 2-0-18-0
Gattinger 4, 3-0-30-2
MCC, 63 for 11, lost to Pfaffenhofen, 159 for 11 by 96 runs
The first Division I league match of the season and MCC, resplendent in their fine new coloured kit, arrived at the Erasmus Grasser Gymnasium to face the might of MIC.
Nothing had changed there from last year, glass shards were still scattered all around the recreation area and ants swarmed everywhere. However, they no longer use a Flicxpitch but have reverted to coconut matting laid on some pressboard, hoping to compensate for some very large irregularities in the ground. Unfortunately the board stops just on a good length at one end so only one end is used for bowling.
Many of what would normally be considered as being in the first team squad were unavailable but others including the captain and vice-captain of MCC II helped to make up the eleven.
Captain Ayub duly lost the toss and MCC were asked to field, opening the bowling with Colling and Waqas Khan. For the first time in a long time the first ball bowled in anger in the league was not a wide so well done Nick Colling. The two openers kept it tight and had figures of 0 – 10 and 0 – 17 after four overs each. Maiwand Khan then made a determined effort to lead the wide boys in his first over but thereafter bowled beautifully, aided by Imtiaz, the other first change bowler. Barrett and Deverill were also miserly and after 20 overs MIC were 90 -1, Imtiaz getting an LBW. There should have been a run out of their opener who went on to score 91 – at least it looked like a run out from the scorer`s table. After the drinks break MCC got three runouts, dropped some five catches, displayed some fairly mediocre fielding, particularly returning the ball to the keeper – or not as often happened – and MIC finished on 239 for 9 after 40 overs, aided by 31 wides and 3 no-balls.
After the tea break MCC opened the batting with Butt and Altmann to face the bowling of Pfanni Pollisetty, the MIC captain and ex-MCC player. Altmann was in full indoor cricket mode and hared down the wicket having played a super shot straight to a fielder and was almost run out.
He was then bowled by a ball which stayed low having faced two balls only and the score on 12. Nineteen runs later, Butt fell having made an aggressive 17 runs, caught by Kashif, who gave a perfect demonstration of how to catch taking three during the afternoon.
Deverill was the next to fall with the score on 73 having been in a partnership of 42 with captain Ayub. At the drinks break MCC were 77 for 4 down and looking unlikely winners.
The score ticked over slowly, wickets fell also slowly but Barrett was determined to bat out the 40 overs and really annoy the opposition. Shouts from outside the boundary reminded them that the final position in the table was also determined by run-rate so stop bowling rubbish. In the 39th over their bowler responded by bowling two five run wide balls almost causing apoplexy. Waqas Khan was out caught on the last ball of the 40th over having been in a partnership of 24 with Barrett who faced 41 balls for his 7 runs, so one unusual target of batting out the 40 overs had been achieved.
Afterwards, Butt T.K. took us to a secret beer garden known only to him for a most enjoyable after match socialising as the Rosenhugel beer garden was closed.
Friday 8th April, the start of the very first MCC tour to Rome. Members were using various means of transport to get there, five crammed into a car, some were flying –one of them directly from China – but I chose to travel down by rail wanting to see the spectacular views. I had been on the train to and from Bologna several times back in the eighties when we played them in the Brenner Challenge, but always at night. Also driving down doesn`t really allow the scenery to be admired. The trip through the Alps was incredibly beautiful and for the first time I could appreciate the engineering marvels of the Brenner autobahn viewed from the train. It always amazes how spring is so much more advanced when descending into Italy. The trip from Bologna to Rome was a little disappointing as I had hoped to get some good views of the Appenines but it was a high speed train and ran mostly underground. The time to Rome was 110 minutes and the highest speed reached was 297 Km an hour. We arrived in Rome at around 1845 and a 12 euro taxi ride brought me to the hotel in Christopher Columbus Street.
On checking in at the hotel I established that Aranachalam had checked in earlier in the day but that a certain Jonas De Beer had also checked in claiming I had made his reservation and taking the one single room I had reserved. Who on earth could this be? Was it the rather fat Boer of Scottish descent with whom I had an altercation at the test match in Cape Town back in 2009 seeking revenge? No one else was expected to arrive until the four aviators turned up around midnight so I went to a Pizzeria for Pizza and Vino, watched a rugby match from Kiwi-land on TV and was about to retire around 11pm when a knock on the door revealed Jonas De Beer, disguised as Deverill. He had collected the room keys for the late arrivals as the entrance door closes at 10:30 pm and a special coded card is needed to open it. As it happens this was a load of cobblers because the door stayed open all night – more on this later.
The next morning seven of us gathered outside a small café for café latte grande and croissants costing all of €2.50 total per person and enjoyed the warm Roman sun.
Suddenly there appeared to be another bright sun rising in the west but on closer inspection it was seen to be Wembo, colourfully dressed as always, particularly the shades, lumbered with two cases having flown in to Rome directly from China.
We left the hotel in two taxis at around 10:45 having already crossed the Rubicon fully armed with bats and balls and ready to face the might of Rome. The trip took us past the famous Roman catacombs, along the Appian Way towards the racetrack in Capanelle. There was an incredible amount of Wisteria to admire – it seems to grow wild and in great profusion here, rather like the Buddlia in England- as well as the spectacular Stone Pines which are almost a trademark for Rome. The entrance gate is signposted and obviously a touring team`s selfie magnet and, after passing through, there is a 250 metre walk along a horse running track to the pavilion area.
Wembridge pulled out his portable ghetto blaster and graced everyone with Paverotti`s Nessun Dorma as well as Frank Sinatra`s “three coins in a fountain”. I imagine the hosts had heard it all before. There was an immigrants and refugees T20 tournament taking place when we arrived and we saw the final innings of the tournament and the subsequent presentation.
It is a very smart ground, surrounded by Stone Pines and they even have a boundary rope. On a hilltop in the distance one can see Castel Gandolfo where the pope has his summer residence and where our hosts used to play before they moved to Capanelle, possibly because of complaints from visiting teams of being disadvantaged by the local support.
Captain Ayub was awarded the toss and chose to field first against another Roman team, Stone Tower. As we unpacked our kit bag the German Cricket TV stickers were noticed and admired by the Romans who “watch it all the time and it is very good”. Kiwi Colling opened the bowling and, in true MCC tradition, the first ball was a wide. Aranachalam was the second new ball bowler and his first ball was a wide too, spoiling what would have been the only maiden in the match. In the fifth over with the score on 37 the first wicket fell, bowled by Colling. After six overs Bhat came on, determined to defend his wide boy prize and opened with a wide too, immediately followed by a wicket ball with the score on 45. Two runs later he got his second. Konchada was the second change bowler and the only one not to bowl any wides although there were a few boundary balls in his armoury. The fourth wicket partnership of 44 was their highest and they were all out for 147 in 19 overs.
Altmann and Deverill opened for MCC and really enjoyed themselves, Altmann finishing on 50 and Deverill on 56, both getting out when they started to go really big. Bowes and Toke saw the game out, Bowes facing 7 balls without a dot and Toke not out having faced a grand total of zero balls.
MCC, 148 for 2 in 15.5 overs beat Stone tower, 147 for 10 in 19 overs by 8 wickets
MCC MOM: Altmann
Before the second match against Capanelle over forties we were given lunch of some Italian pasta followed by some gorgeous Sri-Lankan style pasta. Meanwhile the trotting races were in full swing with strict instructions to stop playing cricket when the horses were near.
MCC chose to bat first and opened with Toke and Bowes, who left after making 16 with the score on 19, having wastefully had a dot ball to face this time. In came a very nervous Alagh not wanting to figure so prominently in the duck race this season. He made 14, part of a useful partnership of 37 with Toke. In came the infamous Jonas De Beer, he of diamond renown, to be run out by Toke without facing a ball having previously informed his partner that he was knackered after the first match so no quick singles. Toke was unmoved and began to sing “diamonds are forever” as Amin entered the fray. Konchada joined the duck race, Bhat scored 18 off 13 balls without a single dot and MCC finished with 142 for 9 down in 20 overs.
Altmann had suffered a damaged finger when he took a catch (not given) while keeping and required plentiful applicatons of Rescue Remedy to sooth the pain so gave up the gloves to Bowes. Colling and Arunachalam opened the bowling for MCC but were fairly tonked and replaced by Altmann and Ayub. The first wicket, a run out, occurred in the 5th over with the score on 57. Their opening bat, Khalif, a young Italian player, definitely not over forty, scored 53, no-one had a duck and they finished the game with seven down in the 19th over helped by the 26 wides bowled.
MCC, 142 for 9 in 20 overs, lost to Capanelle Over 40`s, 143 for 7 in 18.4 overs by 3 wickets.
MCC MOM: Ayub
It was now 18:30 and the plan was to return to the hotel, shower, then head downtown. However is seems impossible to get two taxis to come when you need them. The first one arrived on time leaving De Beer, Wembo, Amin and me to wait and wait for the second. Finally we gave up and De Beer ordered an Uber which was five minutes in the coming.
This meant that it was pretty late before we arrived down town in three taxis to a bar called public something or other discovered by Jonas the night before. The service was slow and relaxed to put it very politely but the waitress was rather voluptuous, particularly from behind, the front somewhat marred by the two pearl studs in her nostrils. After everyone else had received their chosen beverages she finally brought mine and made Colling`s ears really prick up by referring to it as a “rum and cock”. At around 22:30 we left but only after an Italian sat at the bar told me I reminded him of Sir Alex Ferguson which was meant to be a compliment. We headed for Fontani di Trevi to join the hordes of tourists taking selfies at the famous fountain then split to patronise two different restaurants, most of us returning to the hotel just after 1 am.
At the café latte grande the next morning Altmann and Bowes told us that they had entered into a conversation with some ladies of the night and were informed that our hotel was where they took their clients for thirty euros. This explained why the supposedly closed and locked entrance door in fact stayed open all night.
Leaving for the ground at around 11am, Diamond De Beer, still feeling guilty about nicking the single room kindly opened the front door of the taxi for me to sit alongside the 47 year old driver called Simone. The dark glasses took some 20 years of her age and we had an enthralling conversation accompanied by the gnashing of teeth from the rear seat. She was playing songs from her youth, the Spice Girls and Kate Bush.
This was the big one, the reason we crossed the Rubicon and we were asked to field first, opening the bowling with Colling and Konchada.
After bowling 2 overs Konchada was replaced by De Beer who took their first wicket in his first over with the score on 42. He got another in his second over with the score on 59. There followed a 33 run partnership before Bhat got a wicket with the score on 92, then a 36 run partnership broken by Amin with the score on 128. Arunachalam broke the subsequent 65 run partnership in the 28th over, Altmann took one in the 33rd over and Toke got the seventh in the 35th with the score on 219. Capanelle really went to town for the last five overs finishing on 280, helped by MCC bowling 38 wides.
MCC opened the batting with Aranachalam and Wembridge, whose voice was becoming more and more raw, through lack of sleep, jet lag and a probable cold coming on. Aranachalam was replaced in the second over by Diamond De Beer and they put on an excellent 52 run partnership seeing off Capanelle`s opening bowlers and keeping the scoreboard ticking over. Wembridge went for 20 in the 12th over to be replaced by Colling who seemed to be in top form, middling everything and finishing on a thirty Euro Rum and Cock 69. Bhat was again a big hitter, just making his 50 before being out in the 39th over. From the 34th over onwards the two scores were just about identical right up until the end of the 39th. Unfortunately for us they scored more from the last over, Da Costa, a 70 year old slow left arm bowler, took 3 for 45 in 8 overs and Capanelle finished worthy winners of a superb match.
We presented Capanelle with an MCC cap, as we had done for Stone Tower and received a special Capanelle ball in return. Their president, Alfonso, was one of the prime movers along with Simone Gambino back in the eighties when we formed the European Cricket Federation in my office as we could get no help from the TCCB then. Alfonso related the troubles that they had to go through to set up Italian Cricket and getting their magnificent ground in the middle of the race course.
MCC, 268 -8 in 40 overs lost to Capanelle, 280 for 7 in 40 overs by 12 runs.
(Unusually for MCC we batted the full 40 overs)
MCC: MOM: Colling
With the sun setting over the Stone Pines it was time to say goodbye to Capanelle and head for the two taxis of which only one arrived again. The famous five crammed into the car heading for Munich and Amin had caught a flight to Munich leaving seven of us to return to the hotel which four of us managed. The others gave up waiting for a taxi and took the train straight down town where we met in a superb restaurant serving magnificent vino.
At the café latte grande the next morning it was pleasant to watch the young Italian ladies who stopped there on their way to work. It appears that chic black leather bloussons are all the rage in Rome this season
So a wonderful tour with three very good and close games came to an end. Capanelle were very complimentary saying we were the first club from the mainland to visit them. They get teams from England and Ireland regularly but these are usually disappointed being used to playing on proper grass wickets with immaculate outfields. We on the other hand were very pleased with the ground and the wicket and are welcome to return.
I would start today’s report with a humorous wit, alas it is no further the day of the April fool and I shall therefore withdraw my previously thought comment. We began the day almost on time with 10/11 team members turning up on time. I shall not mention which member turned up late by name, but instead recount the tale of his innings in which he scored a 50, carried his bat and watched as his 10 other team mates once again failed to reach the seemingly unreachable 40 over mark. Please note that I do not have the scorebook and the report may be somewhat off. Captain Saki Kaskas (I shall let the avid reader research why this is funny) won the toss and decided we should have a bat. Choosing to open with Jontasaurus and Mahmud, they saw off part of the shine of the ball before Jonty fell to their opening bowler for 3. In at 3 was JD who built a partnership with Mucca of roughly 50 before he fell (run out) for an excellent 23. Muddi, Aneesh, Bowes, Toke (duck) all fell cheaply, before Colling came in a slapped a few, Nirmal did the same but both perished, new boy Jay and Saki were the last to fall leaving us with Mahmoud 57 not out, and wides 42 not out. Teas were provided by Praful including, humus, chicken, crisps and some donuts. Out we went to bowl and the game was almost over before it started. Colling (4-17) and debutant Jay (1-25) took 5 of the early wickets before erratic 2 over spells saw Muddi get 2 wickets, Saki got 2 and there was a run out somewhere in there. We bowled them out for 60. Not a lot of wides were bowled, I think about 10 in total, which is a significant improvement on this time last year where we bowled 54 wides against the Breakaways! Good day had by all including a curry at Sitar, guest appearance by Matt Parlour and Farid.
Editors Notes: The Breakaways fielded some 17 Players, not all at the same time, including three youngsters. Two of them, Elias and Levi, have transferred from MCC which will reduce the Brownie Points we get when applying for a license for div I next season. Their dress was sadly a portent of the future; ostensibly they were in their blue kit but at various times there were players in the field dressed all in blue, blue tops with black trousers and all in white. It all looked rather scrappy. Thankfully we have taken measures that should ensure that when we play in coloured kit, everyone will be dressed the same.
The MCC innings was scored by Barrett and Giles, allowing me the pleasure of actually watching a game and chatting to Aneesh`s cousin (Rajan Kotru`s son) who was in Munich for the weekend. There were many spectators making it an enjoyable family afternoon. Even Wolfgang Albert came along to see what his competition will be after he gets a hip replacement in May.
Cassandra’s Weather Outlook: Fair to sunny, with a bit of wind chill.
Saturday 25th March, 2017 will go down long in the memory of those who took part in MCC’s first game of the 2017 season. Many were taking part in their first March cricket match and an early start didn’t dampen the atmosphere, despite the chilly Easterly that was swirling around at Laim Bahnhof. Bowes appeared particularly excitable, with only Gattinger showing signs of “what are we doing playing cricket in this cold”. Punctuality was well observed from all bar the ‘pro’ for the day Amith Sarma, who’s tardiness was a welcome delay for Colling and Bowes, desperate to fuel themselves for the journey ahead with a coffee and a doughnut.
The touring party departed leaving Bowes and Colling to wait for the aforementioned Sarma and no sooner had the city limits of Landeshauptstadt München been breached then the sun appeared, never to leave for the rest of the day.
After an uneventful and painless 2 hour drive through the glorious Bayerisch and Schwäbisch countryside, we arrived at the outskirts of the pretty city of Esslingen-am-Neckar, where the picturesque Eberhard Bauer Stadion would be our home for the afternoon.
After a long walk to relieve his guts, Craig Barrett, captaining an MCC side for the first time and in fact captaining his first side for seven years, found out that nothing has changed in the intervening years, and he promptly called tails, and down came heads. MCC were inserted.
Barrett decided to take advantage of the power of being captain for the first time in such a long time and promptly announced that he would be opening the batting with Sarma, who had, by now, arrived.
A woeful opening over from Stuttgart, which included no fewer than 6 wides, was followed by some better lines which delighted Billy Blocker Barrett as he could showcase his textbook forward defensive in all its glory! Fortunately for MCC, Sarma was scoring freely at the other end. Barrett’s defence was finally breached in the 9th over with the score on 38 and he departed for a predictable 2 from 22 balls. Bowes declared “it was all about the partnership”.
Wembridge joined Sarma at the crease and MCC continued at a steady rate before Wembridge inexplicably smashed a waste high full toss to square leg to depart for 16, but not before Sarma had brought up a classy 50. At 77/2, MCC were sitting pretty and were aiming for a total close to, if not in excess of 180. Unfortunately Sarma fell soon after for a well-made 52 and it was up to Ayub and Arunachalam to rebuild. The rebuilding job lasted only a couple of overs before Ayub was dismissed for 5, and Bowes, fearing the turning ball, decided attack was the best form of defence. Unfortunately he didn’t quite get to the pitch, the ball went vertical and the duck race was on!
Deverill and Arunachalam put on 36 for the 6th wicket before Arunachalam departed for 12 in the 29th over, the score 125/6. Deverill continued to look in no trouble as Khan came and went for 3, before he was dismissed for 31 sweeping the spinner with the score on 150. Deverill claiming the ball unluckily deflected off bat, glove, box, pad and foot and trickling onto the stumps.
The last few wickets of Colling, Bhat, Gattinger and Waqas put on 11 runs for MCC to be bowled out for 161. The score was less than had been hoped for, but credit must be given for some tight bowling by Stuttgart, who used no fewer than 11 bowlers! However, all thought this was a defendable total.
After a spot of picnic lunch in the Schwäbisch sunshine, MCC started their defence of the total well. Opening pair Colling and Deverill were able to extract plenty of swing from the seamless white ball provided by Stuttgart. Their miserliness led to the first wicket falling in the 7th over with the score on about 20, the pressure telling and reward for Colling as the batsman was done all ends up with a classy away swinger rearranging his stumps. Deverill, unfortunately got no reward in his 4 over opening spell and was replaced by Waqas, who continued to keep it tight, again, with no reward. 5-1-15-0 an excellent return on opening day. At the other end, Barrett replaced Colling (5-1-12-1) and relieved the pressure by bowling some liquorice allsorts. Bhat swiftly replaced Barrett and last year’s wide-boys winner, low on confidence, started gingerly, but after some on field coaching by Deverill and some encouragement from all, he got his mojo back to claim 2/19 in a 4 over spell, including the key wickets of opener Hansh, lbw for 46 and Javeen, bowled for 13. Between those wickets, there was a fabulous piece of fielding by Mudussir to run out Haneesh without troubling the scorers. At drinks Stuttgart were 95/4 and despite all in the MCC team agreeing a couple of quick wickets could break the back of the chase, captain Barrett declared it was “time to throw the ball around”.
As the sun dipped below the hills and the air became increasingly cooler, MCC continued to stick at their task with their heads held high and smiles on their faces, and with the ball thrown to a number of bowlers in order for them to gain match practice, Stuttgart’s numbers 5 and 6 knocked off the remaining runs without much fuss to claim a 6 wicket victory in the 31st over.
In the end, the result was insignificant. An excellent day out, in lovely surroundings and almost all got some good, early season practice which will hold them in good stead for the season ahead.
All in all an encouraging start to the season for MCC, a few players already showing early season form and plenty for the captains to think about. A special thank you to our opposition Stuttgart for the invite, playing hard and fair and making it a pleasure to play against them.
MCC Man of the Match – Amith Sarma for his elegant 52.
Champagne Moment – Mudussir Ayub direct hit run out.
Thanks for Coming Award (TFC Award) – Phil Bowes for kicking off the duck race.
Over the weekend of 25th/26th March the MCC six-a-side squad consisting of Jonty Altmann, Mudassir Ayub, Phil Bowes, Thomas Butt, Nick Colling, James Kantor and Mahmud Khan won the coveted plate, beating the Saxon Warriors in the preliminary round, then winning against Bautzen, Prague and USB Chemnitz on the way to the final against the Berlin Foxes who had actually stuffed MCC in the very first match of the preliminary round. In the final Berlin Foxes were 73 for 5 down in their allotted 10 overs. MCC responded with 76 for four down on the penultimate ball of the match.
Thanks to team manager and club treasurer Doug Giles for posting regular updates of MCC`s Progress.