Captain: Jonathan Deverill
Maybe absence does make the heart grow fonder. But what makes it grow even fonder is an obscene comparison. Naturally, then, after several months of watching the replays of the re-runs of the highlights of a few simulated cricket games on Facebook, your author was very much looking forward to the resumption of honest-to-goodness post-match beers; and not scoring runs and dropping sitters leading up to that.
Cricket finally returned to our beloved Hirsch after our Chairman, Sexi Mäxi, argued and escalated the issue of ground contract up the hierarchy and got us access on Saturdays for some pwopah nawty cricket. This incident, for future references, will be named as the famous battle of Hirsch, 2020.
My copywriting colleague, Ms. Wendi-Meg, worked tirelessly the Friday before, donning a lawn mower, a roller and our darling Flicx spare tiles. While the rest of the members displayed majestic abilities to cover drive and getting bowled within a span of 2 balls during the nets, Ms. Wendi-Meg toiled on like a true hero, a hero we don’t deserve; but a hero we all need!
Our players were divided into MCC Black (captain O. Davies) and MCC Gold (captain J. Deverill). Gold won the toss and elected to bat first. A highly uneventful innings featuring a batting masterclass from M. Höck (52*), a fielding masterclass from D. Llewellyn and an imposing 49 from P. Bowes. He got run out while trying to sneak a single after having played the ball to the slip fielder on spin bowling. Gold managed a meagre 171 all out in 39.5 overs, an absolute joke in the modern age of slam whack ball games.
MCC Black opened the innings with S. Machado and your author, V. Bhatia. S. Machado, very keen on impressing everyone on his debut season, took an aggressive approach to the opening bowler, W. Khan. Attempting a big swing over mid-wicket, his inning lasting 1 ball as a result of losing his off-stump to an inswinging yorker. „Hard Luck!“, exclaimed all the T-10 enthusiasts.
MCC Black’s pairing of V. Bhatia and M. Khan took a very dim approach to a lethal spell from W. Khan and A. Sinha and managed a mere 15/1 after 10 overs. The pair had added 92 runs together in 26 overs when V. Bhatia
smashed one over the cuckoo’s nest was bowled for 26 by T. Clode. M. Khan brought up his 50 in the next overs, expertly supported by P. Toke, A. Karthik, D. Llewellyn and O. Davies. MCC Black chased down the target with 11 balls and 4 wickets to spare.
Festivities began, Augustiner Helles gulped, the scenes were garnished with the usual sights outside the Hirsch after a long and dark winter lasting till June this year. A special thanks to A. Wembridge to umpiring the whole (edit: 60 overs of the) game; and C. Barrett for ensuring plentiful of cold ones.
Quotes of the day:
„Yes, yes, yes!“, P. Bowes wanting a quick single when on 49.
„No, no, no!!“, P. Bowes after getting run-out a second later.
„Thats all folks“, me.
And so it was that twelve good men began to descend upon the marina at Bradford on Avon, in the west of England. Veith, brother Nick, Davids Llewellyn and Carr, Hazza, Scotty, Pierre, Arun, Naveen and I loaded up the two vessels we were to call home for the next four days, with cricket paraphernalia, breakfast foods and plenty of beer. Only Jonty and Wembo were missing from the start, their flights having arrived in London earlier that day. Both planned to catch up with us along the towpath of the canal later on.
Canal boating is a leisurely affair, according to the brochures. Chugging, as you do, at no more than 3 mph. Stopping to refuel at the cleverly spread out pubs along the way, a lock, maybe a swing bridge? Catching up on foot is easy.
Loaded, briefed on all things canal boat/safety related and raring to go, we split in to two crews and headed downstream to wards Bath. No sooner had we discovered that 19m long canal boats are a bastard to steer than we were confronted by the only lock on our journey. A whopping 4M drop height.
The MCC crews did a sterling job of getting through this first obstacle (With the help of volunteer canal enthusiasts who man the lock for fun… A special breed.). On exiting the lock we were rewarded by a far more alluring sight. Our first Pub.
Hungry and exhausted from our first 20 minutes not the water the unanimous decision was made to pull over for refreshments. This was when it all started to go horribly wrong…
A 62ft canal boat weighs roughly 20 tonnes and in the hands of beginners, has a mind of its own. Think “Elephant” and “China shop”.
The lead boat, named “Sacha” managed to dock next to some handily placed white bollards. “Taras” crew were not so fortunate to find a clear place and instead attempted to moor a 19m long craft in to a 14m long space. 20 tonnes of iron is not the most flexible of items, no matter how optimistic you are. An angry barge dweller was quick to spot the approaching danger as Veith attempted the undoable! This later resulted in phone call and an insurance claim.
In the meantime the pub had emptied and a sea of cameras were recording our every calamity. Things were only becalmed when a hulking great Yorkshireman came over and offered his helping hand. “What the F*@% do you call that!. That’s not a F*@%ing knot!” Etc. He was well in to his 70’s and lived on the river. He knew exactly what he was doing and eventually we ended up with Tara being lashed to the side of Sacha and cheers the amused onlookers.
Settling in to our first pints, my phone rang. It was the company we had hired the boats from. Apparently they had a report that we had moored on to the white bollards that are reserved for canal boats waiting to go through the locks. We had to move. Instantly.
No problem. Tara’s crew untied the ropes and as I stood on the deck of Sacha, watching Captain Veith drift away I said “Why haven’t you started the engine?” “I don’t have the key.” Came the reply! It transpired that Hazza had the key and Hazza was off shopping the village! The cameras were back out in force and the Yorkshireman, vocal.
The first game was due to start at 11:00 hrs on Friday. Both crews had managed to get their vessels far enough down stream before the 8pm curfew, which signals “No more travel on the canal”. This to allow people to settle down for the evening and get a good nights sleep. There are lots of little bylaws relating to the waterways, much like the great game itself.
The morning was celebrated with breakfast aboard Tara, with Tara’s crew cooking up a storm of beans, eggs, sausages, mushrooms, you name it. Everyone chipped it and there were kettles whistling as the morning mist was burnt off by the sun to reveal a beautiful summers day.
Both boats chugged on for an hour and moored up outside the The George Inn. From here it was a yomp across fields, a railway line and the river Avon to our first venue, Bathford CC.
Bathford’s ground is on a sloping field. The pavilion is on the high ground and from there everything falls away with the furthest boundary some six meters lower that the top. Midway, the square is more level though somewhat less level than Lords, let’s say! The strip is side on to the pavilion and from the veranda you can see across the valley and over to the famed Solsbury Hill.
Bathford Skipper, Martin made a convincing argument for MCC batting first in what was a 45 over match. Things started well with openers Karthik and Scott ticking along until Scotty fell in the 7th over, caught for 5 with the score on 19.
At the start of the tour a small ceremony had seen everyone select their tour shirt by pulling it blind from a box. Each shirt had a nautical name on the back and it was a Hogwarts type “The shirt will choose you” scenario. Naveen had serendipitously pulled out “The Navvy”. Now batting, he was having no trouble navigating the ball until one got through to the stumps and he was back in the pavilion, bowled for 8. MCC 24/2.
Wembo had hardly played all year and when he had, was fast developing a knack of running himself out! He reversed his fortunes by immediately running out the hapless Karthik instead. Arun had looked to be adapting to English conditions well, but was thwarted by a direct hit from one of the oldest fielders in the Bathford side. We later found that Mr Moggridge was no slouch at skittles. Arun-“But not fast enough” gone for 18. MCC 33/3 after 10.1 overs.
Nick De La Rey was surely the man to right the ship? The ball was meeting his bat nicely, when on a run-a-ball 8 he was cleaned up. MCC 44/4 after 12.4
Wembo was finding his mojo and although Deverill should have been caught without scoring, he too was starting to make use of his lives. Bathford, seeing the possibility of bowling out their visitors all too cheaply, kindly took their foot off the pedal. But maybe too soon?
The score had rattled on to 133 when Deverill was caught behind on 40. Only Paul Scott (Officiating at square leg) had heard the knick and the opposition keeper was bemused when the batsman had headed for the pavilion having informed him “You should appeal for that!”
Wembridge followed not long afterwards, claiming a hamstring was preventing him improving on his 51 Not Out.
Dave Carr and Harit Khanna pushed the score along at a fair lick. Hazza played some of the most cultured drives of the day and Dave matching his rate with some lusty shots of his own. A cracking partnership that ended with Hazza’s poles no longer being able to support the bails, due to impact. Hazza gone for 18, MCC 189\6 after 42.2 overs.
Veith jogged out, smote a couple and jogged back, stumped on 5. Pierre walloped two boundaries and was adjudged LBW on 8 and Dave Llewelyn punched a four of his own before 45 overs were done and the MCC scored 218/8 Dave Carr on a much celebrated 27 Not Out and Dave Llewelyn happy to be 4 Not Out.
Lunch was a deluxe affair. There was no way we could eat everything. We were utterly spoilt.
We waddled out to field with he strong August sun still beating. A fair totall had been set and both barrels were blazing with Paul Scott using seniority to take the preferred end from Pierre, who charged in from the other.
The heat was certainly on as both bowlers took wickets early BCC 3/2 after three overs. The pair kept up the barrage for 13 overs, at the end of which Bathford had managed 47/3.
If the batsman had sighed in relief when the ball was finally prized from Pierre’s hand, it was short lived as The Navigator piled in with two wickets in two overs. Veith achieving the same tally off four overs from Scotty’s end. MCC were well on top BCC 68/7 after 19.
Dave Carr was enjoying himself with the ball too. Barely a run was taken from his three overs and he picked up the prize wicket of the opposition skipper.
Nick De La Rey Foxed the #8 in to missing one he needed to hit and it was all over when Dave Llewelyn chalked up the last wicket with his first and only ball! BCC all out for 74, MCC romped home by 144 runs!
What followed was an evening to remember. Bathford provided plenty of entertainment, holding court over the days events and various drinking fines being awarded. There was a BBQ followed by skittles (A traditional west country pub game much like ten-pin-bowling, but better). MCC were totally out-gunned at skittles, but provided entertainment of their own when Paul Scott got everyone involved in a game of role-play, which required several people sitting in chairs, pretending to be a WW2 Lancaster bomber while others flew in-between them, depicting mechasmit fighters. Eventually Arun Karthik, who was playing the role of “Engine Number Three” caught fire and was put out using two buckets of water. Neither of which he saw coming.
Boisterous and rousing singing followed the skittles and it was well in to Saturday before the last of us fell headlong in to our bunks.
Saturday morning went much the same way as the previous one. There is something very bonding about cooking up breakfast. Especially when you are cooking one meal on two different boats! Pots, pans and plates migrated along the tow path between the two. Everyone fed, washed and fettled, we were ready to chug to the gleaming city of Bath. The day was ours to do as we pleased.
Bath is one of the more gentrified cities in England. Every building is built from the same oolitic limestone, known as Bath Stone. Georgian grandeur, layered over the once Roman city where the famous thermal baths are still flowing. The ancient Britons had been using the springs for bathing, long before the Romans brought their architecture to glorify them. Bath is a place of legends and myth.
Some of the party chose to spend the day investigating the City to the full, others chose to return to the boats sooner and start the long chug back upstream and moore the boats near the ground for the game on Sunday. Everyone reconvened at The Crossed Guns Inn for dinner, where we were joined by my son, Oliver as Paul Scott and Nick De La Rey were having to leave early the next day.
While sitting outside the pub the neighbouring table became occupied by none other than the huge Yorkshireman and his crew, all of whom fell about laughing when they saw us. “We haven’t stopped talking about you lot!”
Our evenings were basically spent in a boozy miasma onboard the boats, with various games being played. The favourite of which was a set of cards which demanded rapid, lucid responses and generally resulted in a great deal of swearing!
I can’t tell you just how lucky we were with the weather. It was the one uncontrollable element that could have turned this tour in to a miserable few days, trapped inside two large cans. As it was, it was glorious. Sunday was the best of them.
The boats were moored up, just along from the pub which sits to one side of the Avoncliff Aqueduct. This can only be described in pictures.
Crossing the aqueduct you follow a path that leads you up the hill, through a field and then on to an ancient trade path, used for millennia. These paths are characterised by being between two hedgerows or banks. They were once the commercial trade routes of the country, before horse and cart. Though many have gone for good, some like this one still exist. The steep walk in the footsteps of the ancients ends atop the hill, where a break in the wall leads you out in to the open field that becomes Winsley Cricket Ground.
There are many pretty grounds in England. Bathampton had told us that there were over 90 grounds within a 50 mile radius of them. Every village has a church, a pub and a cricket pitch. If there were a beauty contest among those 90 grounds, Winsley would be a finalist.
The ground is on the gentle dome that is the crown of the hill. The views from the top are of the lush and rolling hills of Somerset and Wiltshire and the tranquil valley where our boats quietly bobbed. The facilities included a clubhouse and bar, a permanent net, one mobile net and a ten pitch square that had seen plenty of use that summer. We were greeted by their full time groundsman.
Winsley are the champions of their league and put out many sides including several youth sides and next year they will have a Womens team too. Bathampton had told us we were likely to get a good stuffing!
The Winsley skipper informed us that they were a mixed bag of all of their sides and not to worry. They were probably more of a bowling side than batting. MCC won the toss and batted.
Tours are a true test of manly resilience (Raised eyebrow. Sergeant majors voice). Not only do we fly out at inconvenient times to secure the best prices, but we then force ourselves to remain awake until the wee small hours, whilst consuming volumes of local intoxications, only to trudge to our games while recovering and then expect to play our A game on the day. We are geniuses!
Father Pike and his son Pike junior opened the bowling for Winsley. Jonty and Arun opened for MCC. It is possible that both batsmen were seeing both sets of Pike arms come over at any given delivery and two balls leaving the hand, only to merge in to one as it neared. Whatever the malady, scoring from the bat looked tricky!
Father and son may have had a good night also, as they were keeping MCC supplied with the some handy extras.
Jonty lost his head and was caught for three off Father Pike. Pike Jnr. then bowled Arun around his legs for 5. Arun, unsure how this could have happened? MCC 21/2
Wembo and Deverill (Snr) were back in rescue mode, but this time in a more classical mode. The pitch was truer than the most faithful dog and the outfield ran just as fast. Both batsmen were able to play through the line and be rewarded.
The appearance of Winsley Club Chairman Nail Dougal unnerved Deverill, who hates a loopy slow bowling. He eventually lost his cool with delusions of smoteing the ball to the canal and was handsomely caught by the chairmans son on the boundary. Gone again on 40.
Wembo, meanwhile was playing within himself while scoring at a fair lick, much as the surface allowed. Only the occurrence of the same injury that had cut him so short at Bathampton prevented him from passing beyond his 53. Retired hurt, again.
The Navvy punched his way to 31 before being bowled. Oli (Deverill Jnr.) didn’t trouble the scorers. Meanwhile, Pierre Du Plessis had romped to 41 (ignominiously plundering sixes from one of the two young ladies playing fro WCC) and Hazza continued his good form with the bat, also Not Out at the end on 18. MCC had made 219 from 40 overs.
Tea was another splendid spread and also a chance to catch up with the Test score. England were well behind at the start of the fifth day at Headingly. Bowled out for just 67 in their first innings, the match was over before it had barely started. A chap called Ben Stokes had made a painfully slow fifty and was still there when Jack Leach joined him, last man standing with 73 still needed. Game over.
Deverill Snr and The Navvy got things underway with the ball. Winsley’s opening bat, being the league top scorer as well as the chairmans son took no time in plundering the gentle pace of Deverill Snr. A risk-free straight drive back over his head and then a Kevin Pietersen-esq shot off one knee over midwicket, thank you very much!
Nav was hitting perfect lines and lengths, essential on such a good deck. Eventually both bowlers got in to their stride and both struck, removing the openers clean bowled.
That signalled the end of their spells and Deverill Jnr took over from Pops and Dave Carr from Naveen. Dave was on fire! He was getting good turn from the otherwise very honest surface. Four balls in and the stumps were clattered!
Oli (Who does not play as much as he should) got in to rhythm and was bowling beautifully when he was taken off after just three overs. He got his wicket, pouched by a proud Dad at short midwicket. “Time to come off, son.”
Not everyone had got to bat and MCC were well on top. It was time to get everyone a game. Veith joined Carr and the two bowled well in harness. Dave collected his second, caught Wembo at gully. Jonty came on for his maiden spell of the tour and pouched two in his 5 overs.
Veith bowled so well, but somehow a wicket eluded him. Dave Llewelyn was brought on in the hope that he might repeat his trick of a wicket with one ball, but instead it took a little longer. He trapped the Winsley skipper plumb LBW, having made a cultured 63. The final wicket also went to Dave Llewelyn, WCC lights out on 156 after 33 overs.
MCC had achieved that rarest of things, a clean sweep on tour! Dave Carr joint man of the series, along with the Not Out Wembo.
We sat outside and enjoyed the setting of the sun, celebrating Englands remarkable success in the Test. Wembo, Hazza, Jonty and Carr talking about almost anything else.
The ancient path served to keep us on the straight and narrow all the way back to the waiting boats, where another game of “swearing in tandem” followed the customary tour votes and summaries.
Pizzas were ordered and then delivered by none other than one of the young ladies we had been playing against a few hours earlier. Whether it is fact or legend that she enquired as to which pizza was for Pierre before handing them over, we will never know? All I can say is that mine was fine!
The tour ended as it had begun. Sacha and Tara made it back up the lock and in to the marina, unscathed. Both were piloted as if by professionals, so good had the crews become at steering them.
Much thanks should go out to all those involved in the tour. It was an unusual concept and required everybody to pull their weight on and off the boats. It was a unique experience and I thank you for making it happen in such good spirits.
The greater thanks needs to go out to both Bathampton and Winsley Cricket Clubs, who were so welcoming. We couldn’t have picked two finer clubs to visit.
Freiburg Nomads CC vs Munich Cricket Club, Grumpy Cup Home Fixture, 40 Over Friendly, Saturday 17 Aug. 2019
Freiburg Nomads CC 205/7 (40 overs) (A. Wembridge 3-15, P. Thakur 2-31) defeated Munich CC 176 all out (37 overs) (J. Altmann 80, C. Barrett 35)
Man of the match: J. Altmann
Gallery 1: Freiburg Nomads CC back at the Hirsch frothing with confidence after their recent home victory, bringing a delightful spectator and picking up two stray Münchner en route (Picture: M. Zuckerberg)
Gallery 2: Captains Naveen Arunachalam and Craig Barrett ready to do battle to avoid (that) horrible head (Picture: M. Zuckerberg)
Gallery 3: Enjoying that lovely feel of real grass underfoot after the toss (Picture: M. Zuckerberg)
IN FREIBURG STEHT KEIN HOFBRÄUHAUS. Oder doch? It’s a moot point in any case as the Freiburg boys, still grinning from their win against the MCC touring team a few weeks earlier, were looking forward to a big Bavarian weekend for a chance to play in the English Gardens again like last year when that horrible Easter Island head thing was still a miserable grey. ‘Nav Man‘ Naveen Arunachalam had returned from England and the Englishmen there only to find himself facing off against yet another Englishman in Craig Barrett for the coin toss, of which your author is unsure exactly who won.
Anywho, Freiburg headed out to bat first represented by Messrs. Gangurde and Chemudupaty who put on an opening stance of 24 of which 12 were off Jonty Altmann’s impressive opening over with four wides and two fours. Our fellow with Holiday Dreadlocks did however manage to break through in the fifth over, with Gangurde being caught by Captain Craig. Nick Colling, opening from the other end, remained wicketless and the batting pair managed to reach 70 before the second wicket fell, caught Jonathan Deverill, bowled Maiwand Khan. (Who also managed an impressive four wides in his first over.)
JD and CB both suffered wicketless spells themselves, despite Deverill’s tight bowling earning him 2 maidens in a six over spell for a mere 14 runs. It was all left to Pratik Thakur for a breakthrough and break through he did, dismissing Batsmen 3 and 4 (bowled and caught Obaid Mushtaq respectively) to put the brakes on an inning starting to get out of control. The ‘Personal Trainer’ finished with 31 for 2 from his five overs.
Soon enough, another threat had presented itself rather fiercely as Nic de la Rey, perhaps-too-kindly loaned out to the Nomads for the day, had started to belt everyone around the Hirsch without the slightest hint of remorse. And rightly so! This included smashing yet another New Zealander in James Kantor around who bowled 2 overs for an unfortunately less than economic 19 runs.
Barrett tossed the ball to Wembridge who managed to bowl ‘The General’ with his very first ball as he chopped one on to his stumps. Parekh’s edge to Barrett at slip the next over gave the Australian his second wicket and, with his sights now firmly set on this-time-opposition-player Nav, (knowing very well just how much he despises shitty, slow bowling) was confident of picking up a third wicket. And this he did after a sort of dab shot fell in the safe hands of ‘Ohh Badd’ to give the fieldsman his second catch of the day; Nav departing with 26 from 15 deliveries.
Gallery 4: Collo fires one down from the Chinese Tower end to the ever-careful Arunachalam while Wembridge, bowling from the City end, appears to unintentionally impersonate a fruit machine
Freiburger A. Kovvali and former-Freiburger Vishv Bhatia wrapped up the innings for the Nomads undefeated despite the best efforts of Philip Bowes and Prafulla Toke who each rolled their arms over for an over; the team appearing to be reasonably pleased with their total of 205/7.
Fully aware that the dangerous Captain Sat Nav would be charging in to open the bowling, Captain Barrett inspected his troops and decided that Wembridge and Bowes would be the best candidates for a rip-snorting start. It was indeed all action from the get-go where the scorecard registers a Wembridge single off the first ball followed by a Bowes single two balls later. This would not usually be in any way remarkable save for an irregularity which lay with the fact that this Bowes’ single was actually an attempted two and his idiotic partner was run out at the bowlers’ end. ‘Rocket Arm’ Raviteja Chemudupaty and his bright red cap sizzled in a direct hit from mid-onish mid-wicket with such precision that Wembridge continued the run all the way to the showers without so much as a glance over the shoulder. LöL.
They say in every cloud there is a silver lining and in this case, it was a heavily dreadlocked lining who decided that today was going to be his day for a big score. Altmann established himself as the fortress of dependability as he anchored the crease with Bowes (b. Nav for 2), Ohh Badd (b. for 0), JD (Flicxd and smacked in the face, attended to by Dr Spieß, retiring hurt on 6*), Jabez (b. for 0) and Barrett (on 4 off roughly 45 balls when JA was eventually dismissed after a partnership of 55)
This wasn’t just a half-century, rather a HUGE half-century comprising 10 fours and 2 sixes off what appears to be only 70 or so balls. Needless to say, this was exactly the sort of middle-order strength the MCC needed to have any chance of exceeding 200. With but the cruelest of fates it was none other than usual-touring-teammate Nav who managed to finally remove Altmann on a grand total of eighty, just a few good hoicks away from a three-digit score. Well. There’s always next year.
Once Collo had been bowled for just five with the score on 124, JD appeared to have stopped bleeding and thus decided to join Barrett to see if they could knock off the 80 runs or so in the remaining 14 overs. Certainly doable, Craig started to up his runrate with the introduction of the odd two. Deverill added a further 13 to his 6* before being caught at mid-off. Maiwand knocked up a reasonable 9 from 15 balls and was bowled by Dev G bringing Pratik to the crease to accompany Barrett who had now collected two fours in his 35 from around an impressive 88 deliveries.
Eventually being bowled shortly thereafter by Aditya (yes, that was now seven MCC batsmen dismissed bowled), Toke and Thakur only managed to contribute one further single before Pratik was caught in a mixup and run out; Praf stranded on 0*. MCC had finished with 176 all out in the 36th over, just 29 runs short of victory.
After a brief awards ceremony, Captain Craig was returned that same bloody head he had thrown in the car that morning with a special appendage as gifted by Captain Nav, with both of these trophies now cementing their place in Munich for what will probably be a year.
Many thanks to Nav and his Freiburg Nomads for coming all that way for our third battle for ‘The Grumpy Cup’. We can’t wait for the follow up in 2020!
Gallery 6: MCC congratulate the Freiburg on winning the second encounter of the year, Captain Barrett lets it all hang out and club physician Dr. Franz Spieß supervises the prescription of a third Kiste of Augustine Helles (Pictures: M. Zuckerberg)
Munich Cricket Club vs CCB, 25 over Friendly, Saturday 10 Aug. 2019
Munich CC 192/8 (25 overs) (B. Fulton 50 ret., Mah. Khan 48) defeated CCB 99/9 (17.1 overs) (S. Pal Singh 3/13, B. Fulton 2/10)
Man of the match: B. Fulton
In stark contrast to with KC & his Band, it was pretty scrappy weather with a few players from both opposition and MCC alike a little hesitant to make the journey to the resplendent Hirschanger Sportanlage, if not at least to return some recently repaired club equipment to the sacred green storage cube
Gallery 1: MCC Kassenwart Veith Gattinger (not present at the match) resurrecting the club pop-up net
Our new pal Simrat Pal Singh was waiting at the railway station anticipating a cancellation notice. That was however never going to be the case with the rest of the team frothing at the mouth for a reason to get out of the house on a Saturday and have a hit.
Captain-of-the-day Obaid Mushtaq got right down to business, diligently setting up the ground and making the necessary phone calls to figure out where the hell all the CCB players were.
Gallery 2: Setting up the Flicx rain, hail or shine – regardless of whether or not players are waiting at an S-Bahn platform for the weather to improve
With a pocket of sunshine emerging (as it always does, every single time), a handful of CCBler appeared, as did Maxi Höck who agreed together with Maiwand Khan to represent the opposition for the day.
With an agreement to reduce the match to 35 overs (later 25 overs after subsequent interruptions due to rain) newcomer Ben Fulton combined with Phil Bowes for a majestic start; the two knocking up a solid 50 run opening partnership before Bowes was bowled trying to belt Maiwand for a second four.
The New Zealander continued to display his family talent, bringing up a near-chanceless half-century in style in the company of Mahmoud Khan before honourably retiring. After such a sparkling debut performance on the Hirschanger Flicx, we can only conclude that the NZ test selectors must have picked the wrong cousin for national duties.
Wembridge joined Mahmoud who was continuing to work the ball around with his usual style before finding himself stumped just short of his own half century, bringing Nic de la Rey to the wicket.
The Australian enjoyed the battle in slippery conditions against old arch nemesis Maxi Höck; the latter having the last laugh after a superb reflex caught-and-bowled off a lofted straight drive belted back to him with compound interest.
Both Obaid and ‘Personal Trainer’ Pratik Thakur came and went quickly while de la Rey continued, creeping once again over that twenty milestone before being snagged at slip. Doc Simrat and Usman Sandhu put together the last handful of runs to bring the MCC (themselves short of two batsmen) to a total of 192.
Gallery 3: Yet another delicious curry supplied by masterchef Obaid Mushtaq, evoking fond memories of his previous triumph in 2017
Those truly engulfed by the cricket virus and ready to hit the wicket no matter what the weather were rewarded with very satisfying nourishment at the tea break, with Obaid Mushtaq up all night preparing a fine chicken curry, accompanied by bread kindly supplied by Mahmoud Khan.
The tea break also offered a fascinating insight to traditional Bavarian culture and interaction, with recently-returned physician Franz Spieẞ enjoying what appears below to be a hearty laugh and raucous merriment with Helmut.
Gallery 4: Club physician Dr. Franz Spieẞ dynamically undertaking Bavarian-style negotiations with the Platzwart
After a few glasses of Sekt and some arm twisting, MCC headed out to the field accompanied by Spieẞ himself, bursting out of retirement after many years between innings.
Mahmoud and Pratik opened the bowling with all but one of the CCB openers really offering a token resistance. PT (phone home!) shattered the stumps of two victims while Simrat found himself on a hat-trick at one stage. He finished top of the list with three wickets; all caught by unfortunately anonymous fieldsmen according to the scorebook.
Usman picked up the slack, bowling two fellows himself with some excellent straight, accurate off-stump bowling. Even Spieẞ managed to roll his arm over for one over. He found himself landing the ball quite nicely after dusting out a few cobwebs with a few early “looseners”; impressive in any case for a septagenarian bursting back onto the scene after so many years in the shed. (An aborted catch-attempt at point was however attributed no longer having a valid health insurance policy.)
Gallery 5: Spieẞ finally breaking out of retirement after probably two decades or so to roll his arm over for the MCC in sandals
Also a bit rusty with the ball, Fulton nevertheless managed to snag two wickets for bugger-all as the match drew to a close and CCB limped to 99 for the lost of nine wickets; this concluding the day as Höck had already buggered off home without batting. (‘…give it up!’)
Although not the most fully-engaged match to have been played by the club in its 37 year history, full credit goes to Catering and Cricket Captain Obaid for organising and executing the events of the day; also not to be overlooked is his impressive captaincy record of 100% wins by an average of very nearly 100 runs.
Freiburg Nomads CC vs Munich Cricket Club, Grumpy Cup Away Fixture, 40 Over Friendly, Sunday 04 Aug 2019, Seeparkstadion, Freiburg im Breisgau
Munich CC 189/8 (40 overs) (O. Davies 42*, A. Wembridge 41) defeated by Freiburg Nomads CC 195/1 (28.1 overs) (N. Colling 1-34)
Man of the match: O. Davies
Munich Cricket Club was delighted to accept the invitation from former Münchner but-still-fully-committed-MCC-cricket-tourist Naveen Arunachalam to make our way over to his neck of the woods in Baden-Württemberg, where the smell of crepes wafts across the perilously close French border. Having been defeated on Bavarian soil the previous September (and thus remaining in possession of that horrible head anti-trophy), the Freiburg Nomads were only too keen to have the chance to get their own back on their turf.
To try and counter this hometown advantage, the MCC proudly nominated former Freiburger Vishv Bhatia as captain for the day to apply his valuable local knowledge and take charge against his old team. The knowledge was used particularly well in finding local accommodation during Schulferien as it turned out Nav wasn’t even around and his flat was empty. Allegedly in England doing some sort of training course, it wasn’t that he was simply trying to avoid us embarrassing him in his own hood as we first assumed. (Incidentally this worked out very nicely for him as he didn’t have to fork out for another visa for the Bath Tour later that month.)
So, with every hotel and hostel in the country booked out (and in neighbouring Frankreich), the MCC players unable to snag someone else’s empty bedroom decided to bust out whatever camping gear we could lay our hands on and try our luck in the forest.
Gallery 1: The determined tourists successfully circumvented the effects of Schulferien and consequential Unterkunftsmangel by uncovering a load of camping gear. (Pictures: W-M. Breward, MFP Records)
Nick Colling commandeered one vehicle for the big five hour drive with passengers Andrew Wembridge, Bhatia and Simrat Pal Singh while the ‘Cruise Brothers’ Veith Gattinger and Nic de la Rey made their way across as a family unit complete with their mother. Despite his best intentions, Phil Bowes’ voracious appetite for cricket after a week in La Manga was forced to remain unsated after a series of hassles with delayed flights and lost baggage resulted in a subsequent decision not to attend.
With the team looking in a bit of trouble to make the numbers, it was Adrian Brooks to the rescue after he apparently bumped into a bloke named Steve Salthouse in Munich somewhere. Even more fortunate was that ‘Stefan Salzhaus’ for whatever reason had some sort of campervan thus (seemingly) solving both transport and accommodation hurdles. Pierre du Plessis decided to travel by train from relatively nearby Heidelberg thus securing an eleventh man.
Indeed, although one may have thought taking all that camping gear would immediately solve all accommodation problems, that unfortunately wasn’t the case at all given the fines you can theoretically cop for Wildcampen and that all the decent camping grounds were, perhaps unsurprisingly, booked out. Salthouse and Brooks made enquiries at six totally ausgebuchte places before finally settling for one that appeared to be solely there for those too disorganised to book in advance. But this was of no consequence as the MCC made themselves very comfortable with a delectable impromptu lakeside dinner with the camping stoves and grills searing the garlic bread, sausages, wraps, a few ribs and Dr. Simrat’s prize-winning chicken masala cooked to perfection.
Gallery 2: Salthouse and Singh were the masterchefs in command of the dinner fit for kings (including Chester at the back there) am Tunisee as Captain Vishv Bhatia salutes the serenity. (Pictures: W-M. Breward)
Joining us for dinner and a few Hacker Pschorrs was the charming Freiburger Chester who had very kindly offered to accommodate ALL of us in his apartment should we really have been stuck without anywhere for the night. So, many thanks to him for such a considerate (and brave) offer. In any case, the one night for those under canvas resulted in nothing more than a teensy bit of neck stiffness for a few that had well and truly subsided by the time we’d had an invigorating butane-boosted breakfast of eggs, toast and tea.
The tourists made it to the Freiburg cricket ground bright and early to greet our hosts, most of whom were familiar faces from our previous encounter. We offered a hand where we could with a few sentimental memories being evoked when rolling out the Nomads’ Gen-1 Flicx. This old girl had certainly seen many a good match in her lifetime, boasting more holes than a Swiss cheese – incidentally only 135 km south from there. Lying flat on the astroturf football field, the bounce was quite low but despite imperfections the pitch played quite true, certainly truer than the MCC Gen-2 Flicx on water-logged, insufficiently rolled earth.
Gallery 4: Steve Salthouse kindly volunteers to make up the numbers for the MCC after Brooksy discovered him wafting randomly around Munich in a campervan. (Picture: W-M. Breward)
Captain Vish won the toss, elected to bat and threw Salthouse (who claimed to have not played in 20 years) and ‘the General’ de la Rey over his left shoulder to face the opening salvos. They put on an opening partnership of 20 before Old Salty was bowled in the sixth over. De la Rey unfortunately suffered the same fate the very next over after compiling 15 (including three nice fours), allowing Wembridge the opportunity to join the good Doctor at the crease.
A steadying 48-run partnership ensued with both Simrat and Andrew attempting to make the most of the short straight boundaries, especially that concrete lip on the edge of the running track that allowed for some highly amusing ball launching over the heads of both long-off and -on. Freiburger Deepak finally managed to dismiss the Singh on 19 after he skyed one straight up trying to work it away on the leg side. This was followed up by the bowler’s former teammate Captain VB being caught and bowled from a leading edge in an almost identical fashion a few overs later for a total of two.
Gallery 5: Seeparkstadion, Freiburg im Breisgau where a sun-smart Owen Davies prepares for what would be a shining, undefeated performance (Pictures: W-M. Breward)
With the MCC at 88/4 in the 23rd over, Owen Davies joined the Australian to begin what would be a fine innings; the Welshman making it clear from the start that he wasn’t going to to drive all the way to fecking Freiburg to bat for just 5 balls. He and Wembridge continued to work the ball around the field before the latter was caught at long on in the 28th over quite literally just one ball after announcing he would now ‘shift into third gear’. (Perhaps a fecked clutch?)
Accompanied briefly by Messrs. Colling and Gattinger, Davies continued on his merry way ticking over the singles with the odd boundary until the ‘drinks’ break was finally taken at 13:15. This happened to be a generic ‘everything’ break; drinks, tea and and drinks again all mashed into one. Turns out that the Freiburg boys were taking great care not to upset members of the local community after having been previously burnt by residents’ interpretation of the gesetzlich vorgeschriebene Mittagsruhe and subsequent fist-slamming by the authorities.
Freiburg’s provision of a huge delivery of delicious, very healthy looking pizzas went down a treat with the team enjoying the wonderful weather with a refreshing dip at the nearby Flückigersee. The General challenged Wembridge to the 1500 m Freestyle title around the lake and back which was flückig exhausting but equally as refreshing on such a lovely warm day – though they both returned gleichzeitig together so the result was in many ways a dead heat. (Geddit??)
Gallery 6: The lovely Flückigersee with Seepark Stadion in the foreground (Picture: N. Blau)
Resuming at 15:05, Gattinger was bowled shortly after for ten (including a ferocious flat six over mid-off) while Brooks and du Plessis accompanied Davies to the end of the forty overs; Owen seeing the team through to a decent target of 189 with an undefeated 42*.
With all accumulated break time already exhausted, Ravi and Vijay were out there facing the first ball within minutes, with Pierre and Brooksy opening the attack. Full credit is due to the Freiburg lads who displayed a mastery of skill and knowledge of their home ground, adapting their game appropriately to the shorter boundaries, quick outfield (and our less agile fieldsmen) to their advantage. With a decent handful of missed opportunities in the field from the MCC (excluding an edge in the direction of first slip that bounced at least two full feet in front of the always low-crouching slipper who then prevented a boundary with that swift foot twist) the opening bowlers remained wicketless, as did those leading the first change attack of Wembridge and pal Pal Singh.
The Freiburg scorecard shows ‘Pollock’ finally getting the first breakthrough, bowling Vijay to break the 100+ opening partnership, later determined to be his non-South African bro Nick ‘Colling’. Surviving a handful of further clangers in the field, in addition to a ball well-caught at long-on invalidated by the rubber-band-like rebound of a lanky frame against a steel boundary fence, Jamsteid continued on with Vijay, eventually hitting the winning runs in the 29th over despite further attempts from de la Rey, Salthouse and Gattinger to stem the flow with the ball.
Gallery 7: Keeping the scoreboard ticking over; the Freiburger who two weeks later would be immortalised as Elton John’s ‘Rocket Arm’. (Picture: W-M. Breward)
Captain Vishv graciously reclaimed the sacred anti-trophy in the post-match ceremony which had been judiciously painted by supporters of the Freiburg Nomads, no doubt expecting to get it straight back in the return fixture scheduled in Munich in the following weeks. (Spoiler alert: They didn’t)
Our heartiest thanks and congratulations to the Freiburg Nomads for the entertaining us and of course to Nick Colling and Steve Salthouse for carting everyone across the country and back. We look forward to giving the Freiburg boys a much better run for their money in our return-fixture in Munich in a few weeks’ time.
Gallery 8: Captain Vishv proudly accepting the return of that bloody horrible head-thing in good cheer before the lads cooled off with a delightful alternative to Augustiner Helles thanks to the Nomads. (Pictures: W-M. Breward)
Following the demise of match reporting, deemed so vital to the growth of the organisation, it seems only fitting that we finally publish one following the successful organisation of a social fixture.
‘Twas a glorious Saturday morning at the Hirschanger, upon which the sun beat its rays upon luscious green grasses where two of Munich’s oldest sporting (real sports) establishments met to do battle.
Before you read the remainder of this report it is worth noting that MCC are, apparently, the cricket team. The Roos, a group of uncouth, football playing Antipodeans deemed to have little to no cricketing ability. They also had a German chap called Eddie.
Winning the toss, captain for the day Craig, made the rather ludicrous assumption that our opposition, bolstered by the return of former Test legend, Rick McCosker, would not be able to hold their own for 30 overs and elected to bat first.
Figure 1 – The Hirschanger in all its splendour and glory with cricketers in whites!
Opening the batting were Messrs. Altmann and Bowes, the latter who upon seeing one ball bowled by Roo’s veteran Julian during the warm up, decided that wearing a helmet would greatly benefit his own wellbeing. A strong opening partnership consisting of 1’s, 2’s and even a 3 brought the MCC to 50/0 at 10 overs, before Rick McCosker was invited to thrown down a few meat pies and had Bowes caught at deep cover for 16. At 55/1 MCC were looking to build, however we had better ideas. M. Carr fell for a 3-ball duck, before Altmann holed out to Eddie, taking a catch in his first ever game of cricket, again, off M. McCosker for a well battled 37. There was a short interlude whilst the entire team piled on Eddie!
In went M. Barrett, who played the most sumptuous of cover drives, that would have put Ian Bell to shame. It really was glorious. He then edged a horrific wide one to the keeper a few balls later and went from looking like a true cricketer, to being just about village. M. Khan, Mai., played 4 fantastic cricket shots, scored a single before also losing his wicket, for a quick fire 17.
M. Kantor struck the MCC shot of the day, a mow to cow corner off McCosker for 6, and was holding steady, pumping runs and making up for M. Khanna, who decided that he didn’t like the shorter form of the game and in protest finished with 3* off 26 deliveries.
MCC finished with 127 from their 30 overs. Worth noting that the innings lasted 2 hours and 8 minutes – a solid 14.5 overs per hour.
Teas, provided by M. Barrett were very good. Bread rolls, cakes and I believe there was a curry provided by M. Carr.
Figure 2 – MCC and Munich Roos players enjoying their teas
Roos then came out to bat and what happened next nobody could believe. Their opener Jarrett, who hadn’t played for over 3 years took us to the cleaners. There were a few dropped catches (namely 3 from your truly). I don’t remember all the wickets, due to our half time frivolities. Wickets were taken by M. Cross (beautiful outswinger taken at 1st slip by M. Barrett), M. Bowes took a wicket (stumped), M. Carr appealed rather loudly for one that struck the batsman 9 foot outside his crease, however umpire Joel decided it would have hit the stumps and claimed him a wicket. At the other end Jarrett was in his own world and reached 70 before being bowled by M. Sandhu, a rank full toss that should have been hit into the Chinese Tower.
The Roos snuck over the line in the end and finished with 128/7 off 24 overs.
We finished the evening having drunk 6 crates of beer and took a wander down by the Isar where M. McCosker was found feeding the local swimmers with left over pieces of ham and chicken, before making our way to the Chinese Tower for a last beer.
A wonderful social occasion which we shall be repeating for years to come! Thanks to Jules, Hazza and Craig for the organisation!
Author: Phil Bowes