Erlangen vs MCC Friendly (26 May 2018)

Match Report: MCC away to Erlangen.

“I wish I could have batted longer.” Complained Sumeet after the game. I think we’ve all had that feeling?! Nobody goes out to bat hoping to return too soon, do they?

Erlangen is a long way to go and it would be a travesty to make the three to four hour round trip, if you’re not going to put in your best performance. The drive began from the meeting point at Nordfriedhof Ubahn station at roughly 10am ish, with Sumeet and myself as designated drivers. Barrett and Dube had made their own tracks, leaving Mudi, Waqas, Ali and Shashi in my motor and Wembo, Ivan, Zeeshan in with Sumeet. So it was that the intrepid eleven converged on the ground just before the midday start time. Much of the talk in my car centred on how much better it was when a side plays as a unit, supporting one another and recognising that there is a greater purpose outside of your own individual performance and desires. Deep man! Waqas was playing it cool, just soaking it all up. Not a word.

I got my wish and lost the toss, something I would advocate to any aspiring captain. We were kindly asked to take the field on a balmy summers day. Waqas took the new ball and began with a very well-directed maiden. I will state now, this guy is going from strength to strength and I’m impressed by his efforts to tidy up and get rid of the extras. He’s a pleasure to watch and it’s all going the right way.

He was joined by Mudi at the other end, the two fielding at short cover for each other between overs. They worked well in unison, Waqas’ extra pace and accuracy kept the batsmen honest allowing Mudi to experiment with changes of direction and pace. It was all well backed up in the field with good stops helping limit the runs. Erlangen is a notoriously high scoring ground as the track is billiard table flat and the boundaries short. After ten overs the board read 40 without loss. Who would crack first?

The answer came in the eleventh over as their #2 drove uppishly and was caught by Mudi at short cover off the bowling of Waqas. The early pressure rewarded. Reward came again within a few balls as the new batsman cut a wide one in to the open mitt of Andrew Wembridge. I’ll take some time to try and describe this more accurately for you, in the hope that I will spare you having to listen to Wembo going on about it relentlessly…

There was less than 0.1 of a second between the bat and the catch. It took the batsman 10 seconds to realise that he was out and not 4 runs the better off. You know that stuff kids get given by mischievous aunts and uncles, heaping distress on the parents? It’s a kind of snotty goo that you can roll in to a ball, throw at a wall and it just “THWAP!” sticks. That was Wembo’s catch. His left arm shot out and the ball ceased to travel. It was that simple and improbable. Great viewing!

Wembo took on the duties from Mudi in the twelfth over, while Waqas bowled out at the other end. Wembo struck in his third and eighth, catches being pouched by Mudi and a salmon-like Craig (What can I say, the man turns pink in moonlight!) a good one handed effort being taken at midwicket by Craig and a skier to Mudi at cover.

Mudi had finished his last three overs while the ball was still relatively new after Waqas was done. Although he finished wicketless, he bowled well and the batsmen were beginning to live dangerously in pursuit of runs. The stage was set for Aditya and Shashi with some top-draw spin required. They both delivered, Aditya befuddling the remaining opener, well stumped by Ali Khan. Wembo ran in from the boundary to hold on to a good catch, removing the dangerous #5 and Aditya was looking at a possible hat-trick. So close, but not to be.

Meanwhile Shashi was collecting wickets cheaply, removing #7 caught off a flashing edge by Sumeet at first slip. Aditya followed up by clean-bowling #8. Calamity in the field saw #9 run out, taking a dodgy second run after an overthrow, Sumeet keeping his cool to throw the ball neatly to Aditya who removed the bails at the bowlers end. Good work.

Shashi closed the first act when Waqas pouched #11 with a low diving effort at short midwicket. A cogent display from a cohesive MCC side. Erlangen surprised to be dismissed in 34 overs for 141. In summary; splendid accurate bowling supported by excellent fielding (Including 7 catches, 1 stumping and a run out).

Everybody, including Erlangen knew that this was a below-par score. Even so, you take nothing for granted. Looking at our line-up, there were any number of combinations that would work as a batting order, but there was one man who was made for this type of job. Craig donned the pads accompanied by Zeeshan. A quiet start was aided by poor direction, the wides keeping us up with the required run-rate. Then Messer’s Barrett and Shaikh started to connect and the hunt was on.

The partnership was worth 64 when Zeeshan missed a straight one, gone for 25. Zee, suffering from too much bat love. I think he’d have scored another 15 if he would accept that his bat retired last season. Time for a new one? I joined Craig briefly, stupidly running myself out on the best batting track you’ll find on the circuit! 67 for 2 after 16.

Ali and Craig partnered up and were ticking along at a more than healthy rate, Ali finding the rope regularly until he holed out for 26. 110 for 3 after 25. It was all looking plain sailing. No need for a wobble! And so it was that Sumeet took a considered and steady approach along with Craig, the two seeing us home in the 32nd over. Barrett finishing on an unbeaten 43 and Sumeet not out on 17, wishing he could have batted longer.

Well he couldn’t. We had to race home, dump the cars and neck a few victory beers! My god they taste good! When are we having the next one, I’ve got a taste for it!???

It was a splendid performance from the team as a whole. Erlangen had some of their star players missing this is true, but the side we faced was no poor squad and we beat them well. We will never know how much closer it might have been? But I can tell you this, when we play like that lads we’re a hard side to beat.

Bowling: (Overs, maidens, runs, wickets)
Waqas 8/2/19/2 (How cool is that?)
Mudi 8/0/38/0 (No wickets but good support)
Wembo 8/0/40/2 (not so part-time after all?)
Aditya 6/0/19/3 (“There is only one…”! Top bowling)
Shashi 3.4/0/9/2 (On that track!? Good work.)

Catches: Wembo 2, Mudi 2, Craig 1, Sumeet 1, Waqas 1.
Runs: Craig 43 N.O. Zeeshan 25, Deverill a lonely 1, Ali 26, Sumeet 17 N.O.

MOM? Honours shared between C Barrett with the bat, Waqas Khan and Aditya with the ball and Andrew Wembridge in the field. Since there can only be one MOM, I’ll have Craig bask in the moment. Cometh the hour, cometh the man.

Well done ALL.

Tegernsee CC vs MCC Friendly (20 May 2018)

With a pretty rough forecast for the day slowly improving, an optimistic bunch arrived at Hauptbahnhof at 9.45am sharp for the 10.04am journey to Tegernsee.

Only half an hour earlier, Craig Barrett had been informed by Captain Deverill, aka „J glass knee D“ that his glass knee had shattered once again and that it would therefore be prudent for him to rest this one out with his replacement, our resident South African Ivan Bekker. He probably was the only one who actually checked the weather forecast…Barrett, already at Moosach Bahnhof, was totally unprepared for this news, and thought to himself, “Ok, I hope Wembo has a ball…”

The motley crew of players and spectators, one or two nursing a hangover were in good spirits. With 3 x Bayern tickets purchased and the debate over who’s name would go on which, a plan was hatched to wind Faf up something rotten after he had declared that he had said “9 times” the day before that he would be catching the train from Donnersbergerbrücke and NOT Hauptbahnhof.

Faf duly embarked on the train on the wrong carriage much to the concern/amusement of the travelling party as we did not know whether he had actually made the train or not. A quick call from Wembo confirmed he had and at Harras, Faf proceeded to run down the platform towards the correct carriage. The group, expertly convincing him that we thought he was buying his own ticket at Donnersbergerbrücke, managed to keep it up for a few minutes before finally admitting it was a complete wind up! Poor Faf!

After a spot of train cricket and plenty of further banter, the crew arrived in Tegernsee and were greeted with glorious sunshine for the 15 minute walk to the ground.
After a little confusion about the address given on the facebook page, the other two MCC members arriving by car made it to the ground just in time for the toss.

Cpt „I had this dumped on me at half past nine this morning” Barrett (who describes himself as a „useless tosser“) not surprisingly lost the toss and MCC were fielding.
The weather was holding and the scenery was quite dramatic with some thick clouds still hanging in the valleys covering the mountains tops.
Keeping true to form we discovered that we actually did not have a new ball..

Nevertheless the play soon started with Faf opening the bowling. The openers for Tegernsee much to the frustration of the rest of their team started with a more orthodox approach to cricket.
Albert was dismissed for 3 runs in the 8th over after a great catch from Wembo at short cover and the replacement batsman had had enough of the orthodox style and went sledging from ball one. He hardly connected and was lucky to be neither bowled nor given LBW. After riding his luck more than once, he was finally run out by John Jolliffe in the 21st over.

At this point MCC felt quite confident. The bowling had been good, with Faf (6-1-16-1) and Collo (5-0-10-0) keeping it tight and Veith (4-1-18-0) bowling maidens.
Unfortunately we had only taken two wickets so far and it was time for the wide boys to bowl their spell. Bachstädter was the final wicket of the day caught by Bhat off Barrett for an excellent 64.

After 30 overs Tegersee were 207/3 (32 extras)

In a tactical ploy to makes us drunk and satisfied the barbecue was brought forward from after the game to tea.

Wembo and Faf seemed to be unfazed by this when they were sent out to the crease to open. Cpt. „I had this dumped on me at half past nine this morning“ Barrett gave specific instructions to be sensible but aggressive. He had been assured that Faf could really hit the ball…how wrong this would prove to be…

Wembo soon got his eye in and started scoring boundaries in his usual style. Faf not quite so. Never really looking comfortable he contributed 0 runs to the 50 partnership. By the time Wembo was caught and dismissed in the 11 over, these numbers had improved and from their 64 run partnership he contributed 7 runs. 22 runs being extras.
(With 46 runs the 12th man Extras was actually the top scorer on the day)

James Jabez who arrived to support the MCC, was in charge of the off field entertainment better known as the blood bath when he decided to toss a shot put to Collow, who whilst trying to catch it, lost a whole nail in the process. As Clint Eastwood said in Dirty Harry: This is a shot put, the most powerful ball in the world and it will take your nail clean off…

Rahul Bhat coming in at Number 3 played sensibly and aggressively top scoring for the MCC with 45. (3×4 / 3×6) before being clean bowled.

Tegernsee were appealing for every ball that hit the pads, but all umpires were unmoved. This led to the comical episode that Phil who was umpiring from square leg and also filming for the live feed on facebook, found himself surrounded by the Tegernsee players demanding to see the video replay.
Maybe a check of Law 36 would have been more prudent.

Faf was finally run out on 18, MCC being 111/2 at this point. Still with a fighting chance, even though our run rate was lacking a bit.
Arun took on the fight scoring 20 before being caught.
Phil being next in told John: „to get ready this will not last long…I’m sledging from ball one“ and after being bowled with the second ball he proved just that.

This marked the beginning of the famous MCC batting collapse. John came and went as did Ivan who sliced one to point. Next up was Veith who also joined the duck race. Cpt. Barrett steadied the ship and even though we lost we were spared the ignominy of being bowled out.

MCC fall of wickets 64/111/147/147/148/155/157/166

MCC 169/8 (46 extras) after 30 overs

All in all a good day out, discounting Collow‘s little finger of course, and as always Cricket was the winner…

MCC MOM : Rahul Bhat


Click here to view the article published in dem Münchner Merkur (21 May 2018)

MCC Gold vs MCC Black Intraclub Friendly (19 May 2018)

*Disclaimer – All persons named in this report are fictional, any resemblance to living persons is purely coincidental.

The day started fine for the latest instalment of the MCC Super Series as MCC Black lined up against MCC Gold for the “Red Bull Tin Can” and for the first time in the history of MCC it appeared that all players were at the Hirsch within 15 minutes of the scheduled meet time. All members worked hard and quickly to set up the ground, before the captains Derevill and Wambridge took a few minutes to split the personnel into two even teams. A roll call was made to ensure all were present and correct. “Cillong!” “here”,”Bazrett”, “present”, “My wand”….. “My wand”…. Inevitably, we were not all present, and it meant that MCC Gold were down to 10 men.

MCC Gold won the toss and Derevill elected to bat in perfect batting conditions allowing openers Ohmybad and Mukka to wander out to the middle for the expected run fest. MCC Black skipper Wambridge threw the new ball to Woqos, who promptly swung the ball back in to remove Ohmybad’s middle stump with the second ball of the day! Disconsolate, inconsolable, Ohmybad trudged back to the pavilion a broken man.

The new batsman Sue Meat joined Mukka and the pair added only 11 before Woqos slanted the ball across Mukka (7), who’s booming drive could only find a thick outside edge. The ball flew at lightning speed to the outstretched arms of Wambridge at gully, who managed to claim a fabulous catch at the 6th attempt.
Slashy joined Sue Meat for a brief partnership before Woqos picked up his and MCC Black’s third wicket. Sue Meat thought his miscued drive had chipped just over Zedshan at short mid wicket-on. However, Zedshan had other ideas, as MCC Black took another terrific catch, this time a one handed back tracker. Sue Meat out for 14 and MCC Gold 25/3 in the 7th over.

Woqos ended his excellent opening spell of 5-1-12-3 and the unfortunate Crooks at the other end also returning very respectable figures of 5-0-20-0, when Wambridge decided to slow the pace down with the introduction of Cillong and Bazrett. Run scoring remained difficult with Bazrett picking up the wickets of Clowes (8) and Boris (duck) either side of a sharp run out from Varoon, a direct hit to remove South African captain Francois du Plessis for just 4.

With MCC Gold reeling at 61/6, Wambridge began to think that perhaps this wasn’t the run fest we all thought it would be so turned to Welsh newcomer, Dafydd Llewellyn to try and allow MCC gold to increase their score. Dafydd was having none of it, as first ball after drinks, he dismissed the opposing captain Derevill for just a couple. His firmly struck uppish drive was well taken by Zedshan at short cover, 66/7.

Slashy, who had been going along quite nicely at the other end, was joined by MCC’s other Welshman, Euan. The pair putting on an excellent 44 run partnership to take MCC Gold to 110, before Slashy finally played a false shot to be bowled by Varoon for 37. An excellent knock in tough circumstances.
Due to My Wand missing in action, another newcomer to MCC, Raul was the last man to come to the crease, he struck a glorious 4 through extra cover, before calling a suicidal single to Varoon to leave Euan 9 not out and the MCC Gold innings ended on 117/9.

MCC Black were confident of chasing the runs down, and Wambridge decided to open the batting with the steady hands of Bazrett and the punchy ones of Mohamed Ali. Unfortunately MCC Gold had other ideas, and Mohamed Ali punched one straight to square leg, to be dismissed for a blob off Francois du Plessis. Bazrett was joined by the classy Varoon and the pair put on a circumspect 14 runs before Bazrett was finally put out of his misery, missing a straight one from Mukka for a 23 ball 1. Francois du Plessis (8-2-18-1) and Mukka’s (8-2-10-2) opening spells were outstanding and when Francois was replaced by Slashy, MCC Black were 31/3. Mukka having removed Varoon for 12 with the day’s theme continuing as Raul, claimed another excellent catch.

Sandy Who and Zedshan continued the crawl until Zedshan was removed for 6, lbw off Slashy and Sandy Who (12), also lbw to Slashy. MCC Black 55/5 and the target of 118 looking a long way away. With Cillong and Farfaz at the crease, MCC Black, started to make inroads into the target. Farfaz dismissed for 9, caught Sue Meat bowled Slashy either side of which, Cillong looked especially comfortable in an uncharacteristic steady innings before Euan got the ball to slide through a big expansive drive. Cillong dismissed for 20 which would turn out to be MCC Black’s top score.

Wambridge was joined by Dafydd and the pair adding 10 before Wambridge inexplicably toed a waste high full toss off Clowes straight up in the air, the cry of “NOOOOOOOOOO!!!” could be heard at the Allianz Arena and opposing captain Derevill nervously held the catch at mid-wicket. Clowes couldn’t believe his luck, meaning MCC Black were all but beaten as the luckless Crooks joined Dafydd hoping to end his streak of 3 consecutive ducks. It wasn’t to be, Crooks lbw to Euan for his 4th consecutive duck of 2018, MCC Black all out 95/9, MCC Gold win by 22 runs.

Match Summary – MCC Gold (117/9) beat MCC Black (95/9) by 22 runs.
MCC Man of the Match – Everybody.
Author’s Man of the Match – Slashy.
Champagne Moment – Zedshan’s one handed backtracking catch to dismiss Sue Meat.
Thanks for Coming Award – Ohmybad.
Quote of the Day – “NOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!” (Wambridge).

Match in Numbers:
1 – Catches dropped.
18 – Number of wickets to fall.
44 – Highest partnership of the match (Slashy and Euan).
2 – MCC Debutants.
10 – runs conceded in 8 overs by Mukka.

CCB vs MCC 1st XI League (12 May 2018)

Second league game of season brought MCC 1st XI to the slippery, unstable wicket of CCB in West Park. After dealing with a parking hussle finally MCC players arrived on time to start the match. Skipper Wembo was all pumped up and enthusiastic and went for the toss just to lose it and MCC were asked to field.

CCB were very strong and knowledgeable of their home ground and conditions, keeping their footing and clearing the boundary line well. Their centurion was unfortunately dropped several times during his innings.

MCC made a slow start to the good opening bowling, struggling to adjust to the slippery coconut matting, which was eventually rectified by sliding a piece of astroturf between the matting and the boards. Sadly, this was already after our first two wickets fell trapped on the crease LBW.

Solid run scoring followed from Mahmoud, Mudussir and Deshpande as well as du Plessis who got MCC over the 200 run mark with one particularly aggressive over of 28.

MCC stats:
1. Ali Khan, 12, LBW, 1 catch, 1 combined Runout with Waqas, 2 catch chances
2. A. Wembridge, 26, LBW, 4 overs, 48 runs, 2 wkts, 1 catch, 1 Wide
3. Mahmood, 51, Caught, 8 overs, 60 runs, 2 wkt, 1 Wide
4. M. Ayub, 31, Caught, 4 overs, 20 runs, 4 Wides, 1 No ball
5. V. Deshpande, 23, LBW, 1 catch chance
6. Obaid, 0, Run Out, 1 catch
7. Shashi G., 0, Caught, 1 catch chance
8. Aditya D. , 0, Bowled, 5 overs, 52 runs, 2 wkt, 4 Wides
9. Du Plessis, 45*, Not Out, 8 overs, 43 runs, 2 wkts, 7 Wides
10. Imtiaz, 0, Bowled, 4 overs, 13 runs, 1 No Ball
11. Waqas, 5, Bowled, 6 overs, 48 runs, 1 combined Runout with Khan, 4 Wides, 3 No Balls

MCC, 225 All Out in 39.2 overs, lost to CCB, 279/9 in 40.0 overs, by 54 runs
MCC extras: 31 (5NB, 20 Wides, 3 Byes, 3 LegByes)
MCC MOM: P. Du Plessis


CCB too strong for MCC Friendly XII (05 May 2018)

CCB beat MCC XII by 6 wickets

On a sunny Saturday morning, an MCC friendly bunch of 12 made the trip to face Cricket Club of Bayern Munich (CCB) who are based near West Park. The proposed start time of the game was 11am with the majority of the MCC members turning up close to the 10:30 meet time (Notably Sandhu being the first). When Hazza (skipper for the day) finally arrived, the coin was flipped, toss lost and MCC were put into bat. The actual start time was closer to 11:30 following delayed pitch building work, a vigorous warm up session and CCB taking to the field without realizing they didn’t own a ball.

Amit and Faraz opened the batting and it didn’t take long before the first wicket; Amit out for a duck with a contentious LBW on the 3rd ball. Faraz’s wicket soon followed through some superman-esque style slip catching off the edge of his bat. This brought to the crease Shashi who was the next wicket to fall for 2 runs after being caught at mid-on. The partnership between Shashi and Zeshan brought 27 runs from 5 overs to increase the run rate. Iyer was the next man in and out; bowled for 1 run. Zeshan then was the next wicket after playing well for 24 runs and was also bowled.

This was the start of a batting collapse which saw 5 wickets just yield 18 runs leaving MCC on 76-9 off 21 overs. The wickets were of Sumeet (LBW for 7), Bhamare (Bowled for 6), Giles (Stumped off a forward defensive for 3) and Joliffe (Caught at cover for 0). The 10th wicket partnership of Khanna and Sandhu was perhaps the surprise of the day and it lasted for 19 overs, more than doubling MCCs score with 88 runs added. Both batted resolutely, valuing their wicket and it was unfortunate that Sandhu’s wicket (Caught for 21) in the last over brought an end to what some say may be a record 10th wicket stand for MCC. Unfortunately, there wasn’t to be any more runs added to the total when 12th man Brooks left his skipper stranded on 44 after he was bowled without troubling the scorers. MCC ended up with a respectable 162.

Following a 20 minute break for teas, Giles led out 11 of the 12 to field with Khanna taking up scoring duties following his long stint in the middle. Brooks and Bhamare opened the bowling and some tight lines and pace kept the pressure on. At the end of Bhamare’s spell in the 10th over, CCB were restricted to 39 for the loss of 3 wickets. A wicket each for Brooks and Bhamare and some magic work in the field by Faraz resulting in a direct hit run-out.

Unfortunately, there wasn’t to be another wicket until the 29th over. Spells from Farhaz, Shashi, Zeeshan and Sumeet tried hard to break the partnership between Amit and Anup. They added c.100 runs to the board before Amit was caught in the deep from Sumeet’s bowling for a brilliant 69. No more wickets were to fall and Sandhu was hit for a maximum which sealed victory for CCB, Anup finishing on 45 not out.

MCC Batting
Bhalerao – 0
Ahmed – 3
Shaikh – 24
Gaikwad – 2
Iyer – 1
Sumeet – 7
Bhamare – 6
Giles – 3
Joliffe – 0
Khanna (c) – 44*
Sandhu – 21
Brooks – 0

MCC Bowling
Brooks – 1-31 off 8
Bhamare – 1-17 off 5
Ahmed – 0-30 off 6
Gaikwad 0-17 off 4
Shaikh 0-35 off 4
Sumeet 1-25 off 4
Sandhu 0-8 off 1

(Adrian Brooks)

A close loss for MCC 1st XI in their first league match of 2018 (05 May 2018)

MCC 1st XI 147-10 (37.4 overs) (M. Hoeck 23, Mah. Khan 21) defeated by Ernsgaden CC 148-8 (29.0 overs) (W. Khan 4-45, A. Dube 2-29)
MCC Man of the match: Waqas Khan

♫ “There is a house in New Orleans
They call the Rising Sun
And it’s been the ruin of many a poor boy
And God I know I’m one” ♫

Conventional wisdom suggests that “The Animals” were referring to a well-frequented brothel in Lousiana all the way back then in 1964, although they could very well have been singing about playing cricket on a lively wicket that pops up as often as it skids flat. Simply consider that (quite plausibly) the lyrics “house” and “New Orleans” were muddled up with “Flicx pitch” and “the English gardens” respectively, and you will doubtlessly feel an incorrigible urge to don a grey jacket and black necktie with your MCC coloured kit, comb your hair like a mushroom and break out into song.

The Animals wearing the 1964 version of MCC coloured playing kit, including necktie.
(Picture: youtube)

Fast-forwarding some sixty-odd years and Bavarian league cricket was finally back. BCV law and order was off to a flying start when the umpire explicitly forbade smoking or drinking within the confines of the Sportanlage and dutifuly proceeded to inspect our still-as-yet-unissued Spielerpässe. Never mind; any form of Ausweiss seemed to suffice in this case. Toss won and full of beans, Captain Jon Deverill elected to bat and headed out to the said Flicx with Andrew Wembridge for the kickoff. The Ernsgaden opening bowling strategy seemed to centre around cleverly placing a short-fine leg and bowling short balls down the leg side, where Wembridge narrowly avoided being caught with his first scoring shot.

♫ “My mother was a tailor
She sewed my new blue jeans
My father was a gamblin’ man
Down in New Orleans” ♫

Deverill fly-swatted a rank shortball outside off and was easily caught at point. Beginning his walk back to our non-existent pavillion, the umpire kindly informed him that he wasn’t out, as any ball bouncing over shoulder height was in fact a no ball. Sure, whatever, JD didn’t complain. At the time. Anyway, today’s new no ball rules apparently also decreed that we couldn’t run on this particular no-ball, and the openers were sent back to their respective ends.

A handful of runs (mainly wides) later, Wembridge was caught at fly slip off the shoulder of his bat to a ball which unfortunately failed to skid. The crowd were delighted to see unseren bayerischen Löwe Maximillian Hoeck back out at the crease and were even more delighted when he was dropped by the cover fieldsman before scoring a run.

Being caught in that nasty legside trap itself, the captain was replaced shortly thereafter by “Vroom Vroom” Varun Deshpande, who was trapped LBW for a duck after expecting the ball to actually bounce. Jonty Altmann and “Ding dong” Maxwell put on a very reasonable 25 run partnership, before one of Max’ lusty blows found itself stuck safely in opposition hands. He had hit five fours in his top-scoring knock of 23.

♫ ”Now the only thing a gambler needs
Is a suitcase and trunk
And the only time he’ll be satisfied
Is when he’s all drunk” ♫

Mudussir Ayub joined his dreadlocked pal and managed to get off the mark when four leg byes down leg side were kindly not signaled by the umpire. Unfortunately, the kindness ended there as two balls later a clearly disdainful interpretation of law 36 rendered the talented Pakistani in disbelief as he trudged back off the field.

Recently-arrived Sarth Efrican Ivan Bekker indicating how many wickets had fallen as per the umpire’s new human scoreboard initiative. (Picture: A. Wembridge)

Mahmoud Khan showed us how to play cricket yet again as he and Altmann toughed out a disciplined 40 run partnership in exactly the style of batting required to settle a shaky innings. In the 30th over, he finally fell for 23 with the total on 107. Ali Khan’s disciplined innings was also well-noted. He and Altmann put on 27 before the nuggety left-hander was caught.

Jonty, having collected 15 runs at this point but obviously distraught at losing Ali, decided to go out the very next ball. MCC league debutants Aditya Dube and Pierre du Plessis put on a couple of runs but were each dismissed trying to get the ball away at all costs in the dying overs. Waqas remained 1* and MCC were dismissed for 147 having batted 37.4 overs. Okay. Not our greatest score, but the team are still ironing out (so to speak) a few wrinkles (in the new pitch) and it would have been difficult to say that anyone batted irresponsibly. Defendable? Sure. Bring ’em on.

♫ “Oh mother tell your children
Not to do what I have done
Spend your lives in sin and misery
In the House of the Rising Sun” ♫

Waqas opened the bowling from the city end with a loosening but bouncy over really getting some kick out of the pitch. The EGCC batsmen made it very clear that conventional opening batsman they were not. The bowler took advantage of this and struck in his second over, splattering ‘EGCC Usman’s’ wickets with a fuller ball. Pierre struck with the very next ball, where a slash found a thick edge to a perfectly positioned (!) fly slip, who swallowed it promptly. The fieldsman? Our very own Waqas Khan, being involved in back-to-back wickets.

So vicious was the combination of improperly stretched, new Flicx pitch and Waqas that batsman ‘03’ (in both number and batting position) hobbled off the ground after copping a crippling blow to the elbow. Ernsgaden seemed to have adjusted to both left-arm inswingers despite the injury, though a fumbled edge behind the stumps and the fumbled certain-runout of the non-striker at the other end did unfortunately contribute to the lack of wickets.

Mudussir Ayub was handed the ball and delivered a wide with his first. Resisting the urge let this dishearten him, he bowled the bloke the next ball. Maxi Hoeck came on for a trundle too but with limited success, being dragged after a rather sombre 18-runs from his second over. Aditya ‘Doobie’ Dube came on and struck in his first MCC league over, with Varun swallowing a wayward prod to cover. Waqas was reintroduced to the attack and bowled a very nice maiden; clever captain JD noticing that the injured batsman had returned and was shitting himself at the prospect of facing the thunderbolt Pakistani again.

♫ “Well, I got one foot on the platform
The other foot on the train
I’m goin’ back to New Orleans
To wear that ball and chain” ♫

The game still very much in the balance, Waqas bowled yet another bloke but the EGCC had seemingly changed their batting strategy to that of picking off slightly skew balls, rather than simply windmilling at every ball. Ali Lodhi Khan, wicket-keeping with masterful agility and conceding a mere 5 byes for the match, not to mentioned preventing 5-wides on more than one occasion, took a nice catch off the gloves from his namesake (the Khan part, not the Lodhi part), followed by another one off the same namesake but this time a short, rank, legside hurl. Four wickets for Waqas, who, credit to him, barely celebrated that wicket after conceding himself that it was a shit ball.

Not many runs to play with but living dangerously with only three wickets in hand, the feeble EGCC number nine (or shirt number 04) was trapped by Aditya LBW after he not only failed to play a shot, but failed to do anything beside hop on the spot. The tension rises another notch. Next ball. Aditya to the new batsman, who swatted it precisely to the chest of a perfectly positioned Wembridge at cow corner, who inexplicably dropped it. Murmurs resembling something like ‘he’s just dropped the World Cup’ resonated throughout the field from a few well-wishing team mates as well as the Twos who were excitedly cheering us on from the boundary, having returned from their smoky (vapey?) battle against CCB. C’est la vie. At least the beer was cold, as can be attested by Ivan Bekker, a South African whose extraordinary kindess had him ploughing through the scorebook for most of the afternoon, for which we are very grateful. Welcome aboard for the summer, boet.

Anyway, without much more of interest, EGCC made it over the line and the MCC sadly missed out on that first big league win of the season that we could all but taste. What was evident was a tight-knit team made their way off the field together without any remote feeling of despair – in fact, quite the contrary – a team who could feel that they were on the rise.

♫ “Well, there is a Flicx pitch in the English gardens
They call the Rising Sun
And it’s been the ruin of many a poor boy
And God I know I’m one” ♫

Enjoying a curry with the usual suspects after the match. Not pictured: oddly enough, any form of curry. (Picture: The waiter at Sitar c/o I. Bekker.)

Wendi-Meg Breward