Match Report 14/4/18 – Speaking of friendly fire…

“There are many ways to win, many ways to loose and the question of who is administering the pain?”

You can take it all for granted so easily when the sun is out at the Hirsch. It’s so early in the springtime that some trees still stand bare and the air is not yet specked with the feathery down of seeds wafting across the field. How lucky we were to have the day set fair again?

We met at the new time of 11:30am to set out the facilities, including the new Flicx. How would it play? The extra half hour was a boon and we were completely ready by midday. Ten minutes later we were playing, MIC having put themselves in.

This was the return fixture of last week’s thrashing at the hands of MIC. I must admit, I was confident that we could get an early win this time. The thought was bolstered by the fact that MIC had turned up with a couple of new guys to blood and although we were missing Messrs Wembridge (Who had decided to drive to the pre-season tour to Alicante, via every UNESCO site he could find en and not-en route) and Ayab (Who had a prior commitment to play a game resembling cricket but utilising a tennis ball. Fair enough, he had committed to this in February).

The opposition scorecard read, in order of appearance 2, 8, 62, 6, 3, 0, 11, 10, 9, 9 NO & 4. Byes 4, Leg Byes 3, Wides 26 and No Balls 4. Total 159 all out.

Ignoring the fact that these figures do not add up… this look a pretty respectable on-field effort by the MCC 1st XI. 26 wides is woeful by any standard. I mean, I’ve watched blind cricket and I can tell you that they would not bowl as many as 26 wides in 36.4 overs. But I have to accept that this is a work in progress and it takes time for people like Waqas and Imtiaz to learn the control they need to reduce them. Not that they were the only offenders, but they are my front line bowlers and I know that they (like me) want better.

What the book doesn’t show is the dropped catches. The top scorer was given at least two lives, maybe three and there were plenty more besides. By my reckoning, if all chances had been taken we would have rolled them out for 60. Maybe less?

Imtiaz and Jonty were the pick of the bowlers as both picked up wickets (2 & 3 respectively) at 2.1 and 3.5 an over. Run rate really matters when you want to control the show. There were wickets for Waqas Khan – 2, Craig Barrett – 1, and Varun Deshpande – 1, but all except Imti and Jonty went at the rate of a run a ball and that is damned expensive. It’s early season and we’re all groping around for accuracy, but in the end it is the bowlers task to provide it.

A good run out from Imtiaz was the eventual undoing of the MIC top scorer.

Still, we had done sufficient damage to the opposition to feel that we had the whip hand and a first win looked ultimately achievable.

Jonty and Rahul were the first to start dismantling the relatively meagre total. Rahul’s daughter was the only one happy to see him back so soon, she’d been watching from the boundary as he tickled one down leg to the keeper. An unwelcome duck for Dad.

Mahmoud Khan looked sprightly, but was cleaned up on 12. Skipper JD joined Jonty and just as the week before, Jonty looked in good form but picked out mid-off when he looked set, falling for 21. Varun joined his captain and the two pledged to see the side home. I was particularly watchful. The flicx was playing perfectly well and Varun, who has found his rhythm early in the year, was going great guns. I only needed to stay with him.

Just as the opposition’s heads were falling the captain miss timed a simple glance to leg and offered an easy leading edge to short cover. The score was now 92 for 4 off 18.

With just 68 needed from 22 overs and 6 wickets in hand, MCC were in the box seat but winning is a habit and so is losing. Desperate to break the spell of last season Collo set about batting the distance, but was probably the most unlucky of us when the drove a straight ball that any other player on the field would have got nowhere near. As it was Mid-off was up to the task of taking a great one handed catch on the sprint, close to the ground. Still, the benefits of playing along the ground are that this can’t happen!

Obaid played his first ball with a deft late cut and picked up 2. He continued to pick apart the field with ease but inexplicably charged down the wicket and was stumped when all we needed was calm. 133 for 6 off 24. Still plenty in the tank.

Imti, who has the chance to show me that he can bat and be an all-rounder was up next and he did his side the service of playing with a straight bat. Just staying in with Varun, (who was ticking along very nicely having collected his 50) would get us home. That’s exactly what Imti was doing when Varun played what is a signature pick-up shot off his legs. We all watched as it curved high in the air only to be pocketed half a yard in from the boundary. A good catch had ended a fine innings, but we were still not home. Varun gone for 57, the score 146 for 7 off 28.

Phil Bowes took an almighty swipe at his first ball. A dead straight Yorker that saw him back in the pavilion immediately. Do not pass go. Do not collect £200.

Waqas had the chance to play a winning knock with good friend Imtiaz, but having swiped and missed one that went through to the keeper, he continued to practice the shot outside the safety of the crease. The keeper was quick to take the opportunity and this lapse in concentration saw us record the second duck in succession. I mean, you can’t make this stuff up, you have to be there…

Enter Craig Barrett. Dependable, but forlorn. He had witnessed all this from the boundary whilst doing the scorebook. I don’t think he had expected to have to bat, nor by now did he want to. But then again, this was made for him. Ten needed from ten overs. Imtiaz was doing his bit, playing with a straight bat, picking up the extras and hitting the bad one. He just had to play his game…

Even a new flicx has a nasty ball in it. In fact, even a Test wicket does. The ball pitched. Continued to pitch and never actually left the pitch. The result was that Craig was hit on the boot completely adjacent. Miserable and about to walk, he was also stumped by the keeper for good measure. MCC beaten by three runs with four ducks on the score sheet.

This was death by a thousand cuts, most of them self-inflicted. Any one of the mistakes we made would have seen us win, what was in the end a very finely balanced game. Individually none of the mistakes we made was fatal, but the sum total was. If we want to find the winning habit, it starts with doing simple things well. Keeping a clear mind and being aware enough of the game to know the best tactic to apply. Every one of us.

M.O.M Varun Deshpande. 57 runs, but more notably for not being happy with his innings because he didn’t see us home. Perfect attitude Varun.

Match Report : Friendly vs CCB on 7th April

Warm and sunny Saturday afternoon greeted the MCC team which was visiting the new looking CCB on their new ground in Westpark. Jolliffe, Wembridge and Toke were told by a certain MIC player who they met Enroute to the playing field that they were mistaken and CCB played in some other part of Munich. Thankfully the address was correct and the MIC chap wasn’t. Not so thankfully we had only 8 players present at the ground. Sandhu, Shaikh and Michelles completed the touring party at 12.30 in time for the toss.

Captain Toke lost the toss and MCC was asked to showcase their batting strength. In the very first over Otmankhil tried to steal a non existent second run only to find himself heading back straight to the shed. Wembridge joined MCC debutant Deshpande for a nice partnership which steadied the MCC for the next 7 overs adding 22 valuable runs. Deshpande played a lovely on flick over the square leg to register first boundary for his side. Soon after he was dismissed trying a similar shot bowled by right arm fast bowler Anup. Jolliffe took a leaf out of Wembridge’s book and blocked all the deliveries successfully until he was bowled for 1. Debutant Shaikh from Paris was dismissed tried to play a cheeky flick for 1. Captain Toke looking to lead from the front was dismissed while trying to play spin on the back-foot for 3 runs only. Michahelles attempted another suicidal run and therefore departed leaving MCC at 60 odd runs after 20 overs at the drinks break. Rejuvenated Wembridge played nice aggressive shots to keep the scoreboard moving. He was very hard on Simran, the experienced CCB bowler, hitting him for a glorious six over covers and one over mid-off. Wembridge stitched a good partnership with patient Sandhu to take MCC past 100 given the total some respectability. Good support role was played by Hashimi and his friend Ahmed taking the score to a respectable 147 in 40 overs. Wembridge played a magnificent 79 runs followed by generous 34 wides from the CCB bowlers. All the other batsmen weren’t able to gauge the pitch and were just rusty as it was the first game of the season.

After the lunch break, MCC opened with bowlers Bhatia and Hashimi with the new bowl. Bhatia struck in his second over thanks to a great catch from Michahelles in the second slip. Ringer Ahmed bowled tight lines and swung the ball which was very commendable since he was playing his first hard ball game . Spinners Sandhu and Toke got 2 wickets each to create some jitters in the CCB dressing rooms. CCB highest scorer Tayyab survived a straight forward caught behind appeal of Toke however was run out later to give MCC a ray of hope. Batsman Samar and Shamshad ensured that no further damage is done and took CCB very close to the victory. Pace bowler Ahmed bowled well and broke the partnership which unfortunately was very late as CCB cruised their way to the total in the 26 over. 30 odd wide deliveries bowled by all the MCC bowlers helped the CCB cause in a great way.

It wasn’t the ideal season opener for MCC however areas requiring improvements were highlighted. Wembridge provided a template to all MCC batsmen on how to construct an inning in a 40 over game. Thankfully no catches were dropped which was another positive coming out of the game.

MCC lost the toss and batted first
Lost the game by 3 wickets
Man of the Match : Andrew Wembridge
Special Thanks to Doug Giles for helping with scoring.

Serendib’s Milan takes MCC to the slaughter (14 Apr 2018)

Serendib Cricket Club 299-10 (30 something overs) (P. Scott 3-47, H. Khanna 2-23) defeated MCC 255-8 (40.0 overs) (Serendib Extras 80, P. Toke 51, R. Ahmad 46)

MCC Man of the match: P. Toke

The sun was shining gloriously as MCC arrived at Serendib for an early season friendly. After some brief warm up exercises, application of plenty of sunscreen war paint, captain Praf marched out to the middle, hellbent on winning the toss and batting first. Unfortunately, the toss was lost and MCC was put in the field. Paul Scott opened the bowling with some very accurate good length deliveries. He may have lost a few yards over the years, but the accuracy was as good as ever. Kantor was the other opening bowler but had to leave the field after bowling two overs due to old age creeping in and giving him a bad back. Scott’s accurate bowling finally became the undoing of one of Serendib’s openers as the striker’s stumps were obliterated by a straight one. Having taken his first MCC wicket after 3 years the Englishman sent his replacement back to the non-existent changing rooms as the striker lofted one to Amit. In came Serendib’s Milan who, after getting his eye in, proceeded to smash the MCC bowlers all over the ground with many deliveries being dispatched to the adjacent football pitches, fortunately not injuring those enjoying a Saturday kickabout. While Milan continued his onslaught, Scott picked up his third at the other end with another straight one to splatter the bails over the loosely attached coconut matting on wooden boards makeshift wicket which resulted in the bowlers losing their footing on several occasions – fortunately without injury. Usman, Praf and Ruhel took a wicket each. Shashi managed to pick up a wicket as Douglas Giles took a diving catch to his left with cat-like agility – really an outstanding piece of work in the field by our Treasurer. President Khanna was tasked with some death bowling with his right arm disco promptly trapping his opponent lbw. Following some more peppering of the adjacent football pitches, Milan decided he had had enough of smashing boundaries and retired on 142 after a remarkable knock with some outstanding cricket shots – not just slogging to cow for 6. His replacement was runout and Hazzas right arm disco struck once again with a plumb LBW to end Serendibs innings on 299 runs.

Somewhat sore-necked from watching balls sailing out of the ground, the players tucked into some thoroughly deserved tees. With it being a small ground, the skipper was reasonably confident 300 runs could be chased or at least come close to it. With the sun still shining gloriously, Usman and Arun opened the batting for MCC. It only took four deliveries for Arun to score his first boundary. In general, the openers batted very sensibly, and all was looking very promising after 6 overs with the score on 47 for no wickets. In the seventh over, however, the settled batsman Arun Karthik was undone as he nicked one behind. In came Shashi, who decided to get his eye in with a couple of dot balls before dispatching one over the ropes. Usman batted on defiantly until a running between the wickets fumble resulted in him being run out. Ruhel then joined Shashi at the crease, who was going very nicely until Shashi missed a straight one which clattered into his pads – which was too plumb for the umpire to not give out. Captain Praf strolled to the crease who also got off the mark very quickly. The strikers batted beautifully putting on a magnificent partnership of 122 due to some quality stroke play and plenty of Serendib extras. Having reached 46, Ruhel decided that it was time for the lower order to get some batting practise and consequently retired. Amit came to the crease and was eager to do some quick running between the wickets, which became his undoing as he run himself out without facing a single delivery. Chairman Haz rocked up to the crease intent on giving it a good slog. Skipper Praf reached his fifty and unfortunately, not too long after, a quality innings which was a textbook captain’s knock came to an untimely end, as yet another run out ended the skipper’s innings prematurely. Michahelles joined the bat-swinging Khanna but was given LBW a few balls later. The Treasurer had a brief cameo of 2 runs thus bringing Jolliffe to the crease who was gifted two runs by virtue of Serendib overthrows. Jolliffe failed to get the last two deliveries of the innings away, unforgivably stranding the President on 22 not out.

All in all, it was a thoroughly enjoyable day of cricket. Yes, we may have lost, but we were outclassed by a quality batsman in the shape of Milan who quite frankly put on a batting exhibition which was a pleasure to watch. Had it not been for him MCC may well have won, since the next highest score for the Serendibbers was 25. After packing up and whishing those with family or other plans on a Saturday night a farewell, a trip to the Chinese tower followed to lick our wounds with the other MCC team. There was still plenty of thirst when the beer garden shut, therefore a trip to the keg rounded off a quality Saturday and to be honest, thanks to some stronger than anticipated gin and tonic, my memory stops there and therefore does the match report.

Arun Karthik, 22, caught, 2 overs, 47 runs, 0 wkts
Usman Sandhu, 9, run out, 4 overs, 36 runs, 1 wkt
Shashi Gaikwad, 21, LBW, 7 overs, 37 runs, 1 wkt
Ruhel Ahmad, 46, retired, 2 overs, 1 run, 1 wkt
Praf Toke, 51, run out, 4 overs, 48 runs, 1 wkt
Amit Bhalerao, 0, run out, 1 catch
Harit Khanna, 22*, 2 overs, 23 runs, 2 wkts
George Michahelles, 0, LBW, 1 catch
Douglas Giles, 2, caught, 1 catch
John Jolliffe, 2*
Paul Scott, DNB, 8 overs, 47 runs, 3 wkts
James Kantor, DNB, 2 overs, 21 runs, 0 wkts

MCC, 255 – 8 in 40.0 overs, lost to Serendib, 299- 10 in 30 something overs, by 44 runs

MCC MOM: P. Toke (With the 80 Serendib extras a close second)

J. D. Jolliffe

MIC vs MCC Friendly (08 Apr 2018)

Match Report MCC away to MIC 8/4/2018.

On a day set fair, all members of the team arrived well ahead of the game and began warming up. After a quick discussion with the opposition captain, whereby he revealed that he had more than eleven players, effectively a batting side and a bowling side, the toss was won by new captain JD who felt it prudent to bowl first (Yes Doug, I lied).

So it was that the first flakes of rust were thrown from the shoulders of veteran performer and returning player Paul Scott, who opened the bowling for MCC for the first time in over three years. Years which may have seen a decline in pace but by no means in accuracy. 8 overs, 1 maiden 23 runs 0 wickets and no wides I might add. A very reliable and commendable start to his reintegration!

Imtiaz Ahmad also started well, his 4 overs going for a meagre 14 runs. Accuracy was the request and accuracy was what both openers delivered. Only two wides were bowled in the first 8 overs. I say “only” (Of course, there should be no wides at all!), because in previous years wides and no-balls have been among the top contributors to the oppositions tally. This was a marked improvement and proof positive that we are capable of doing better.

Waqas replaced Imti and struck with his third ball, castling a perplexed Johnson with a perfect Yorker. He struck again two overs later with another beauty, rattling the poles of Sharda. 37 – 2 after 8.

Jonty Altmann picked up the 3rd in the 19th over and the 4th in the 21st (Ct Varun), but took some heavy fire in his 4th over and ended with figures of 4-0-24-2. Captain Deverill replaced him and frankly bowled like a drain, laughably collecting the wicket of his opposite number, caught off a woeful full-toss at midwicket by Paul Scott.

A second came the skipper’s way when he shocked the batsman by finally pitching one, the batter obligingly leaving it to rattle in to the stumps. 148 – 6 from 27 overs. It was all looking fairly even, especially considering the short boundaries at the MIC ground.

The real damage was done by a combination of effective, aggressive batting from Kashif who was finally run out by Abhijit on 98 and some pretty average fielding from some of us who either dropped him or simply did not manage to get to the ball when we should! So, room for improvement in the field. Otherwise we may well have kept the score well below the 250 all out that we did.

The magic moment in the field came when Hari Iyler, playing his first game for MCC and his first game in some years, full stop. Took a wicket in his only over, Ct Waqas. All in all, a good effort from a side that has room to improve.

I’ll be brief on the batting. Jonty opened with Doug Giles. Dougy departing for 2 just as he started to look settled. JD joined Jonty, as Jonty seemed to be finding his mojo, but after consecutive boundaries he inexplicably missed a straight one, which proved terminal. Jonty gone for 23 with just 7 overs bowled. The score on 28.

Imtiaz and JD kept the score ticking for the next ten overs. I was impressed to see Imtiaz trying to bat long. I believe he has the ability to be a good all-rounder for MCC and he made every effort to learn on the job until off-break bowler Manzua snuck one through bat and pad. Not bad Imti. Keep that mind-set going!

I had hoped to bat much longer with the incoming Phil Bowes, but holed out to a one-handed catch by Kashif at deep mid-off.
Phil was also castled by a beauty from Manzua. Phil undone whilst playing an uncharacteristic forward defensive. I appreciate it PB. We must learn to bat for much longer than we generally do!

Paul Scotts cameo was ended by a straight one and it was all looking a bit grim until Varun Deshpande knocked up a well-crafted 46. The knock of the day from an MCC player. Abhijit lasted one ball and Waqas left the newbie Hari stranded 0 not-out. MCC bowled out in 31 overs for 139.

Naturally, that’s not good enough, but this was the first game for most of us and the opposition were that much stronger. Those are the facts of it. We look forward to giving them a much harder run for their money at home this Saturday.

Notable performances:
P Bowes behind the stumps. Just one Bye in nearly 40 overs.

21 wides were bowled, but most of them by non-frontline bowlers. Very happy with reduction in wides from Waqas, Imti and others.

James Jabez fielded like a dynamo. Top effort.

To everyone for turning up on time and everyone paid their match fees. I notice these things!

MOM goes to Varun Deshpande for a good knock, for bowling to a plan and for also putting in a top effort in the field.

Well played All!

SCV knock up 346 in Esslingen am Neckar despite a Barrett ‘Michelle’ (08 Apr 2018)

Stuttgart Cricket Verein 346-10 (40.0 overs) (C. Barrett 5-63, J. Jolliffe 3-22) defeated MCC 121-9 (35.3 overs) (A. Wembridge 18, R. Bhat 15)

MCC Man of the match: Craig Barrett

  • Very early start at the Hirsch for a Sunday morning, with meeting time assigned to be 7:30am. The very-well disciplined Farid Otmankhail proved himself once again to be a real early-bird, heard to have arrived at 7:00am without so much as a hint of a hangover.
  • Vehicle 01 ‘Harrison’ commanded by John ‘Doc’ Jolliffe departed at 7:38am with Brooks, Mushtaq, Otmankhail and Wembridge aboard.
  • Vehicle 02 ‘Merciful Merc’ commanded by Captain Prafull Toke departed at 7:46am with Shaikh, Bhat and Mahmoud aboard.
  • Craig Barrett made his own way to the ground somehow whereas Usman Sandhu did not make his own way to the ground anyhow.
  • Anyway, a pit stop en route pepped up our spirits, with fast bowler Adrian Brooks making the most of the extensive selection on offer at an Aral along the way.
Adrian Brooks enjoys his Tankstellefrühstück as club photographer Farid Otmankhail watches on.
  • This really was a weekend tailor-made for cricket; a  glorious, cloud-free day without a hint of moisture on the field. Captain Praf decided it was perfect conditions to field and the MCC hit the middle after a brief warm-up; an eleventh player by the name of Shahir being kindly loaned to us by SCV. (Who was periodically replaced by a vertically challenged Afghani with an unbelievable rocket-arm.)
  • Opening bowler Mahmoud struck early with a dubious LBW but the next SCV wicket fell with the total on an unfortunate 152 runs, despite the other opener copping a beauty on the toe and hobbling off the ground retired hurt.
  • At least 3 edges inexplicably fell to ground between the keeper and first slip along the way, until Craig ‘Buster’ Barrett began his slaughter of the opposition batsman with a sky-high caught and bowled.
  • Captain Toke finally got the big breakthrough, bowling ‘Aravinda’ de Silva just short of his century, while all other MCC bowlers were pummled all over Baden-Wüttermberg. Barrett continued on his merry way with a catch by Praf, an LBW and two ‘bowleds’; a certain stumping to snag an ‘Irish Hattrick’ sadly failed to eventuate due to a keeping fumble.
  • With the score creeping over 300, Captain Toke reached for his never-before used secret chemical weapon in Doc Jolliffe who snagged TWO wickets – LBW and stumped –  in his very first over bowled in a cricket match.
  • Barrett kindly allowed Jolliffe the final scalp by bowling a considerably less-intense final over of his spell; the two Goras finishing with five and three wickets respectively when father-to-be Obaid swallowed a fly ball to mid-off off the final ball of the innings.
  • The battering on the field was only beaten by the four delicious pizza toppings kindly provided by SCV for the tea interval, washed down with a few Bavarian Helles carted across the border by the captain.
Ready to slam 350 with the finest selection of weapons, including the newly acquired Prafull Toke PREDATOR and Naveen Arunachalam NAVIGATOR
  • Obaid and Farid steeled themselves up to open against the vicious SCV attack, with a required run rate of 8.65 from the get-go.
  • Doc Jolliffe continued his winning form as an umpire this time by mishearing an edge that coincidentally registered 8.65 on the Richter scale in the meteorology headquarters of the striker’s native Kabul.
  • Obaid unfortunately went early, but had a near-man-of-the-match winning performance given his following lightening-fast skill development in scorekeeping accuracy.
A thoroughly encapsulated Obaid Mushtaq enjoying the sheer thrills of the run-chase as John Jolliffe gives him a break from the scorebook.
  • A promising partnership of 42 with Rahul ‘Daddy’ Bhat ended when Farid was eventually bowled after a respectable 36 ball innings.
  • Rahul elegantly guided the ball around, with three fours in his total of 15 before getting trapped out of his crease whereas Zeeshan and Mahmoud were only able to offer token resistance before both being caught out while still in single figures.
  • Praf was bowled for five after being tied down by some remarkably crafty spin bowling on the wooden-boards-with-thicker-matting-on-top pitch which REALLY got some grip.
  • A 31-run partnership between Wembridge and ‘Michelle’ was interrupted with the return of the opening bowler; the Australian unintentionally allowing one to squeeze through a gap between his bat and pad.
  • Brooks suffered a virtually-identical fate two balls later, allegedly by another seething off-cutter that must have also jagged a mile.
  • Barrett kindly accommodated the Doc’s desire to finish his innings undefeated (0* from 2), allowing everyone to polish off the last few beers before the 2.5 hour trip back home. Cricket the winner once again, but at least we got some well-deserved vitamin D after a long, dark winter.

Wendi-Meg Breward