The future of cricket? Lufthansa away (15 Jul 2018)


All sports, like the evolution of species, must progress. But what does that mean? What is progressive and what is considered regressive? Here we are considering this year’s change of impetus from hardball cricket to the Deutsche Cricket Bund’s (DCB) new preference for tennis ball cricket, with its many tournaments.

I’ve played cricket in Germany for three seasons now and in such a short time I have witnessed the dumbing down of cricket in successive seasons. In my first year we played in whites and used a red ball. This was true for both league games and friendlies, of which there were many.

In the second year the league introduced coloured kits for league sides and the white ball. Why? Actually, I have no idea. Much of the recent proliferation of cricket in the country has been due to the influx of immigrants and especially refugees from Afghanistan/Pakistan. These people don’t typically have money to spare and buying special kits costs more. When whites were the order of the day a trip to the second-hand shop would yield all you needed for just a few euro. Now you can’t play for a side unless you are wearing the club kit. You have to shell out €80.

You could argue that it makes it easier to explain the game to someone who has never seen it? “The red team is playing the blue team.” But if “The two guys holding the bats are playing against the rest.” Is too hard to grasp, then there is a high chance that you will never get to a point where you can explain the LBW law to that person. Cricket was never meant to be a game for a brain limited to the rules of football.

I don’t have any particular beef with football itself, but 80% of the rules are contained within its very name. Cognitive agility is not an enormous prerequisite for understanding what’s going on. There is living proof of this, everywhere.

A white ball is not a stained leather, whereas the red ball is. White leather requires so much processing that the chosen way to manufacture is to use lacquer. What you hold in your hand at the start of the first over is a perfectly covered, shiny white orb. What you get back after the third ball is a white object with an already ruptured surface that cannot be massaged a back to a sheen.

Is the white ball a progressive move? Some say that you can see it better, but then there have been numerous instances of a fielder losing it against a cloudy background. So you give what you take here.

Now in my third season we have the introduction of wooden pitches (consisting of chipboard and some form of matting) and the German Cricket Boards desire to push tennis ball cricket.

It is heart breaking to see the corruption of cricket in this way. I know that playing cricket with a tennis ball is fun. We spent hours playing it in the garden when I was a child. But we knew this was the precursor to the “real thing”. We couldn’t wait to test our mettle with the hard ball, learn the realities of the men’s game and find our feet in the real heart of the sport. Besides, our parents wouldn’t let us use a hard ball so close to their prized possessions: Car, house, siblings…

For the hardball game to already have descended in to pyjama cricket, using an inferior white ball, on wooden (WOODEN!?) surfaces is woeful. Now we have the spectacle of grown men playing the game with a tennis ball.

Tournaments are being arranged weekly and invited sides have to pay to enter. Why? You tell me? This was a highly competitive sport, played socially with the understanding that your hospitality would be reciprocated during the season. No money changed hands. Now it is near impossible to find a Sunday opposition willing to play, because they all want to run a tennis ball tournament to raise money. The one thing we are told people don’t have!

So to put the question of “Progressive or regressive?” to the test, I have taken a few other activities and used the same philosophy to see how they would catch on?

The first is a game that I call “Not-snooker”. For this you require a standard snooker table, cues and chalk. The only thing you need to substitute are the usual balls for appropriately coloured ping pong balls.

The resulting game is peculiarly infuriating.

Not entirely satisfied with the outcome, I moved on to the exalted game of football. As we know the use of opposing kit colours are already in use, but I sought to simplify this further for cats, dogs, mice, rats and rabbits. All of whom have poor colour vision.

“Creepy-crawly-football” involves far less fouling/diving than regular football as one side is required to move as if stalking a deer, whilst the other side is restricted to crawling. The balance is evened out at half time when both sides switch postures. Anyone on the creepy side caught moving at a rate deemed faster than a stalk gives away a free kick to the crawlers.

This proved to be a highly watchable game, though ninety minutes was eventually testing. On the plus side, no injuries were sustained and a similar number of goals scored to that of the original format.

Lastly I abandoned ball games. Snooker had failed and replacing a football with something more toy-like had been hard to conceive of. So I turned to track and field, most specifically javelin. Surely here was a sport that would benefit from the helpful hand of misguided reverence?
And so I invented “Shuttlecock-in”, whereby contestants sprint towards the fault line and hurl a shuttlecock as far as they can. Technique is everything in “Shuttlecock-in”.

The timing of the release and the speed of the approach matter, as does wind direction. It is very important we found, not to have a headwind.
Not only does “shuttlecock-in” work as a dumbed-down sport, but it is safer, open to a far wider audience than Javelin and has the added benefit of not having to walk very far to retrieve your projectile.

Struck by the apparent success of “Shuttlecock-in” I put forward the idea to the Olympic committee, who rejected it out of hand.
Back to the drawing board.

The Match Report:

Given this background, we were very pleased to receive an invitation from Lufthansa CC to play a rare Sunday friendly at their ground.
A very welcoming Uday greeted us as we arrived and the rest of the team were all smiles and keen to get some hardball cricket in.

This Lufthansa side had a mixture of nationalities including a couple of Englishmen, Afghans and Pakistanis. It was a pleasure to register as I can only think of Erlangen where this also happens outside of the fabulously multi-cultural MCC.

Lufthansa won the toss and elected to bat. There was much activity during the setting up of the wooden track and when we paced it out, it was two yards short. Plenty of jiggery-pokery ensued and eventually we were underway.

Since we were bowling from one end only, I decided to bowl three bowlers in unison, an idea I’d been tinkering with throughout the season. The benefits are:
• More difficult for the batsman to settle in against any bowler.
• A longer rest between overs for the bowler without cooling down too much.
• A captain can see who his better options are on the day without having to interrupt another bowler’s spell to find out?
• I does cause quite a nice natural rotation in the field for the bowlers after an over. Keeps their mind agile, you hope!?
The down side could be:
• A bowler might not feel he finds his rhythm so easily, due to the longer wait between overs.

Waqas opened up alongside Macca and Adrian Brooks. Waqas and Macca have been doing sterling work as an opening pair for me in the first team and Adrian was hot off the back of a hatrick the day before.

Waqas finished with figures of 3 overs, 2 maidens, 4 runs, 0 wickets. Macca – 3,1,8,0 and Adrian a remarkable 3, 0, 38,3!!!
The rest of the bowling was quite horrific, but everybody got a go. This is what friendlies are for, after all. Not everybody can make it to training and not everybody gets a game in the league. Sunday friendlies are where we all get to bond with other club members and everyone gets a go. It has to be said though that there were a lot of people who struggled to hit a 2.5m wide board, let alone get the ball on the off side of the stumps. The resulting extras were quite crippling. 41 in all. Nearly double what their top scorers achieved.

This was a 30/30 match as France were about to thrash Croatia in the kick-ball world cup final (France were in Blue and Croatia Red, for anyone still wondering?) and people wanted to get back to watch it.

Lufthansa finished on 121 – 9 after their 30. It is a small ground and there was batting power in our team, so although they had got far more than we would have wished, we felt we had the guns to match it.

Unfortunately those guns included myself, Macca and Sumeet, all of whom were struggling for form at the time. Never-the-less, this is again what Sunday friendlies are for and so Sumeet and I walked as confidently as possible to the crease to dismantle the 121.

I returned, quite bemused at having been bowled by a ball that had pitched very wide on the board. I had gone to cut it and lost my off peg. What the hell was I doing cutting a ball that was on the stumps?

Pierre faired one run better than me, returning bowled for two. Things weren’t really panning out. The bowling was accurate but not very challenging, yet two of us had been cleaned up and Sumeet was clearly finding it hard going too.

James Kantor made everything look much easier and a couple of lovely drives that he’s been practicing in the nets came off, but then with the run rate escalating he resorted to a heave across the line which let the ball through. Jabez returned for 3.

Macca has been in sparkling form from the start of the season, with bat, ball and in the field. The previous two innings he’s had a couple of low ones and this resulted in a dented confidence. It doesn’t take much sometimes, but here was a rescue mission that Macca has saved us from before. Right man, right moment.

Not this time. Macca gone, bowled by another innocuous ball for 0 (“What is going on here!?”)

I’d showered, packed my bag and was ready to umpire so Maxi Hoeck and I walked to the middle together. I took my place at the bowlers end and watched as the next few balls were bowled.

I don’t bowl these days, but if I had, I would have immediately noticed that the stumps were about half a meter out of alignment… Not one of my bowlers had mentioned this and it did start to explain a lot of what had happened up to this point during the day!

In order to hit the stumps at the batting end, the ball had to hit the batting board about where the wide mark would be if you moved it down the pitch for a good length delivery.

No wonder that our blower’s had spayed the ball everywhere. No wonder that balls that looked wide of the stumps were cleaning up. The basic geometry of the pitch was screwed!

Too late to change anything, I was forced to stand there and watch events unfold, muted.

It was a pleasure to share umpiring duties with Des Bradley. He virtually skipped past me as we swapped positions each over. Both of us wanting to get the game over before the large, looming black clouds that were threatening in the ever-decreasing distance came to visit.

Maxi (as he often does) took a little time to assess the situation before he began hitting the ball cleanly. He does pace an innings well and tends to keep things simple, avoiding clever little dab shots that result in so many wickets. He favours a classic off drive and punishing leg-side lofts. It was paying off.

Sumeet took his lead from Maxi and also starting to tick. A partnership was developing just as Sumeet was caught for a hard earned 26. The score was on 64, but the over the wicket occurred in has not been recorded. I should think it was around the 20 mark?

Waqas was in up the order from his ritual #11 spot and happy to inject some pace in to the run scoring. His first ball disappeared for 4 shortly he too disappeared to unstrap his pads, bowled by a ball that did nothing except come in at an angle that would be impossible to bowl anywhere else.

Big boned Brooksy joined Maxi and a lovely shot that would have yielded an easy two resulted instead in Adrian being run out by a couple of yards as Max and he calamitously collided mid-run. Both parties guilty of ball watching.

The descent continued when Rahul Dave was bowled by a wide ball, without scoring. Shashi was run out as was Usman, Max left stranded on 40.

He may have got us close enough to cross the line had he had partners to do it with, but alas we had all succumbed and had nothing left to look forward to than watch a game of football. MCC all out for 108.

We all trundled off in our different directions. The rain did indeed come, Rahul Dave, Maxi and I watching the WCF in the beer garden under the leaky protection of a tree. There was a family of three from France watching, who quickly identified themselves when they were the only table to cheer and clap the first goal of the match. Clearly Germans like Croatians more than the French…

Once the game ended, Max, Rahul and I bought them a celebratory bottle of wine and a very pleasant evening was spent talking all things other than sport.

MOM – Maxi Hoeck for saving our blushes.

More Friendlies please Craig Barrett! I know it’s an uphill task and you are doing your best, but Cricket needs you!!!!


Rosenheim CC v MCC II – (14 Jul 2018)

Another glorious day greeted the MCC faithful on this lovely Saturday trip to Rosenheim. MCC II were in great spirits after winning an extraordinary game the week before against Schrobenhausen by 3 runs having posted just 51. Stand in Captain Barrett had toyed with the idea of making life easier for everyone and meeting up in various convenient locations, but eventually thought better of it and so it was that 8 x MCC’ers plus the umpire met at Harras Bahnhof for the hour long journey to Rosenheim. Arun, Pierre and Hazza travelling direct.
Thankfully the experienced head of Paul Scott had had the foresight to check the traffic, this being a glorious Saturday and prime hiking weather, and the decision was made to avoid the A8 entirely and take the scenic route, and what a route it was, winding through the beautiful Bayerische Countryside, passed onion domed churches, wooden cladded houses and rolling fields…. The author often wonders why he bothered moving to München…
After a slightly longer journey than anticipated, MCC arrived at Carl-Orf Strasse for the game only a few minutes before the scheduled start, however, as MCC were transporting the umpire, this was not a problem! The ground itself is in a nice setting, flanked on both sides by levees with walkways (the ground being set on a flood plain), trees and bushes and from the far side of the ground a fabulous view of the Alps can be seen. The only downside was the state of Rosenheim’s facilities which unfortunately were very basic. The author does not wish to be elitist or churlish, Rosenheim are a new team of mainly refugees, led by their amiable skipper Wais, but concerns were raised about the state in particular of the landing areas for the fast bowlers. The well-used coconut matting had large holes in the landing areas and threads with opening bowler Brooks declaring that he was going to bowl around the wicket so he didn’t break his ankle! After a brief discussion, the decision was made to fold the landing area underneath the rest of the pitch and nail it down, thus the bowlers would land on the dry grass and it would be much safer for all.
Useless tosser Barrett called “2” and down came “2”, “Oh crap, I’ve won the toss”, he thought. “I think we’ll have a bowl”. With the pitch looking unpredictable to say the least, the skipper thought that it might be best to see what a good score is and ask Rosenheim to have first digs.
The opening over was eventful, with the normally dependable Scott unable to find his lines early, 8 runs coming from it, including a four back over his head and 4 wides did not foresee what was about to come. Brooks, now content with the state of the landing areas, charged in for his first ball, and delivered one that the batsman swished at and missed. The second ball, again, swish and miss, but what’s this?! Keeper Khanna rolling the ball back towards the stumps and catching the batsman at least a foot outside of his crease! GONE! Rosenheim, 8/1. Fast bowler Brooks unsure whether to be happy or insulted that he had got a stumping to his name! Out came the next man and sure enough, swish and a miss… BOWLED! Two in two, MCC rampant! It was at this point that a couple of MCC players pointed out Brooks’ Ulster hattrick at Pfaffenhofen a few weeks ago “W,W,X,O,W” (note the X nestling straight into the hands of second slip (no exaggeration) and the O nearly taking the batsman’s head off), and told him to just bowl it straight. As the new man took his guard (even though there was no chalk), Brooks trudged back to his mark in trademark fashion, started his run up, gathered steam, exploded at the crease, swish, thud, “HOWZAAAAAAAT” finger up! GONE!! A hattrick! Rosenheim 8/3 after 10 balls… what a start! Brooks taking his place in MCC history by becoming the 9th man to take a hattrick, with it being the 10th MCC hattrick overall (Ian Finch taking two).
After such a fantastic start, skipper Barrett urged his players to stay focussed and he was rewarded with Scott finding his lines in the next over, yet again one of the Rosenheim batsmen dawdling outside his crease and Khanna rolling the ball onto the stumps (facepalm)… Keeper Khanna declaring that despite years of keeping wicket, he had literally never succeeded doing that before and here he had done it twice! On this occasion, former Minor Counties bowler Scott definitely appeared insulted to have a stumping to his name!!
Brooks and Scott continued to bowl venomously and despite some lower order resistance from Rosenheim, (Shankat 12 and Razi Saeed 16) they were all out for 72 after 14.5 overs. Brooks finishing with impressive figures of 7-0-34-6 and Scott with an almost as equally impressive 7.5-0-37-4.
The standard of batting amongst our Afghani friends really needs to improve, all of them can bowl, which is great to see and many of them can hit a ball hard and far, but defence is a skill that almost none of them have. Perhaps with a few more facilities and a bit of coaching, this will be a side of the game that they can improve. It is not fun for anyone having innings that last less than 15 overs and this was the second week in a row that MCC II had bowled a team out before the end of the opening spells.
Captain Barrett urged his players again to keep focus. MCC II have struggled to post totals this season and despite this, 73 was a very gettable target if they could keep calm, focussed and disciplined. With this in mind, Barrett strode out to the middle with Du Plessis to begin the chase.
The opening partnership unfortunately did not last long, du Plessis striking a full toss firmly at cover, who managed to hold onto it with his belly, Pierre very unhappy with himself, MCC 6/1 in the 4th over.
Karthik came to the middle and got off the mark with a huge six over deep mid-wicket from a full toss, but afterwards kept his calm and with Barrett his usual circumspect self, a partnership was beginning to build before Barrett inexplicably missed a straight ball that did nothing… 25/2.
Next to the crease was new boy Paul Busby, who played some classy shots in his well-constructed 12 before he too succumbed to the deadly straight ball, but not before Karthik was excellently caught and bowled for 13, suddenly MCC were 41/4 and nerves began to show.
Ali Khan lbw 0, Usman lbw 1, Davies bowled 1, MCC II were suddenly in serious trouble at 51/7 still 22 runs short of that gettable target. Chairman Khanna, fresh from his two quick thinking stumpings, who was the not out man, had requested to come in lower down in case this such eventuality arose. He was joined by Faraz and the two of them showing remarkable patience and resilience. Their steely determination got MCC to within 10 runs of the target before Khanna was given out lbw for 7 to a ball that he not only hit, but was missing leg by around a foot and probably going over the stumps. A poor decision.
Faraz was joined by Scott and it appeared Faraz had finally had enough of patience and resilience. Before Scott faced a ball, he launched a six over deep square leg and two balls later dispatched a one bounce four over mid-off for the winning runs! MCC had done it, a two wicket victory! It had taken 31.5 overs to reach that gettable target, but who cares, back to back wins and MCC were jubilant!
It was a strange game. All MCC batsmen looked capable of scoring runs, yet 8 wickets fell in the innings with not a single player reaching 15. Perhaps it was down to the pitch, perhaps it was down to some excellent bowling by Rosenheim? Special mentions for spinner Shawkat who finished with remarkable figures of 8-3-5-1 and captain Wais (8-0-23-4), it is difficult to pinpoint why so many wickets fell in the chase. The biggest thing that MCC can take from this game is the discipline and the application from the bastmen. Yes wickets were lost, but on an easier surface, and against less tight bowling there is no reason why this MCC side cannot post larger totals.

Match Summary – MCC (73/8) beat Rosenheim CC (72ao) by 2 wickets.

MCC Man of the Match – Adrian Brooks.
Champagne Moment – Adrian’s hattrick ball.
Thanks for Coming Award – Ali Khan.
Quote of the Day – “There’s no way I’m bowling over the wicket on this!” – Adrian Brooks.

Match in Numbers:
0 – Catches taken or dropped by MCC.
18 – Number of wickets to fall.
3 in 3 – Adrian’s hattrick.
14.5 – Overs it took to bowl Rosenheim out.
23 – Number of balls it took Faraz to get off the mark!


MCC II draws first blood in the Verbandsliga (07 Jul 2018)

Match Report- MCC II vs Mühlried CC in Verbandsliga
On a sunny Saturday MCC was looking to set the record straight after suffering two consecutive losses in the previous game. The visitors arrived on time albeit with 2 players short. Yet another delay from Zazai Khan meant MCC was short by one player at the start of the game. This situation remained unchanged till the end of the game as Zazai Khan wasn’t allowed to take part in the game due to his 75 min delayed appearance. Member John aka Doc had kindly offered to score the game which was appreciated by all the team members.
MCC won the toss and elected to bat. Openers Obaid and Ali opener their account with crisply hit boundaries relaxing some initial nerves in the dug out. However this sense of security was short-lived as both of them returned to the shed given out LBW. Rahul continued his good form from his previous outing in Tegernsee and hit two lovely boundaries to bring the score to 26 for 2. Rahul tried one shot to many against an innocuous looking off spinner and was held out at long off to a very good catch. Southpaw Arun looked set for his brief innings before giving the bowler the easies caught and bowled chance. Captain Prafull Toke joined MCC debutant Paul busby and decided to play a very ugly shot to get out for his third consecutive duck leaving MCC tattering at 30-5. Ankur Bhatia and Paul tried to arrest the fall of wickets for a while before ending up in a horrible mixup. Following batsman Owen,Faraz dint score much are MCC ended up scoring 51 in 16 overs. Batting has been achilles heel for the MCC II however this batting performance was a new low and left everyone a bit dumbstruck.
With small total to defend and vulnerable opposition batting line ( who by the way managed 43 runs in their previous fixture) MCC went on full attack mode. MCC experienced opener Paul Scott conceded 10 runs in the first over and thereby made the target loose even smaller. Faraz bowling from the other end got the first breakthrough when Ankur completed a nice catch in the gully region. Opener Siddique smashed third consecutive boundaries of Paul Scott’s third over. batsman was dismissed one last bowl giving MCC some hope. Faraz struck once again in the next over getting the nervous Samilullah for a paltry 2 runs. Taken for some runs in the first two overs, Paul Scott returned with vengeance to get two wickets in two deliveries, both the batsmen bowled for 0. Score was 44for 5 and MCC needed another 3 wickets. Debutant Paul Busby was handed the ball for his wicket to wicket bowling and he immediately responded with one wicket bringing the score to 47 for 6. Actually Paul was unlucky not to get another wicket as the umpire turn downed the most plum LBW one would ever see. Opposition captain Rahimi went for big shot and was dismissed for 10 once again by Paul with score on 48. Mühlried CC needed one shot to get over the line. Batsman Rehman went for the glory only to be caught by Ankur for another 0 giving MCC very unlikely victory.
MCC kept its cool in a very high pressure situation and did not a single catch in the game. Wides were kept to a bare minimum which was at the end really made the difference.
Notable Performances
Rahul Bhat 10, caught, one catch
Paul Scott 5-25, 0* (MAN OF THE MATCH)
Faraz Ahmad, 2-20, 0
Paul Busby, 1-3,0
MCC II wins by 3 runs


Mühlried = Schrobenhausen?

MCC 1’s V Ernsgaden CC Away at Ernsgaden, (07 Jul 2018)

Match Report

“Sometimes we do the wrong things for the right reasons” Kung Fu Panda 3 (2016).

It started well enough. Everybody gathered at the ground on time and the sun shone brightly.

This was the second meeting between the two sides in the league, Ernsgaden having won narrowly in the previous game. It later transpired that they had played a number of unregistered players, were subsequently fined by the league committee and the match result…. remained in favour of EGCC. Understandably, the MCC players had a point to prove.

This alone was no cause for concern. It’s perfectly healthy to use an injustice for motivation. You just don’t want it to boil over. But there were early signs of other things to come as the league umpire, who seemed nervous as well zealously officious, began quoting regulations before we had got from the car to the MCC basecamp on the other side of the ground.

MCC won the toss and elected to bowl. A tactic which has been working well for us, with our bowlers firing on all cylinders.

The umpiring theme continued when he called me over during warm-up to explain that any ball that bounced more than once would be called a “No-ball”. Why he did this, I’m not sure? We hadn’t been talking about it at any stage and I’m aware of the law. My guess was that he’d had an issue the previous week and it had remained unresolved in his mind. I sensed a tetchiness in the air and so the team talk, which normally consists of “Concentrate from ball one and make early inroads.” Went more like “I’ve got a funny feeling that today is going to be a difficult day fellas. Stay cool and let’s do our jobs well…”

If I describe every incident here for you, you’re going to miss your bus, forget about the toast under the grill, flood the bathroom or simply die of old age. It was relentless. It started from the very first over and continued right through the match. From Mudi being told that he wasn’t allowed to shine the ball too much, to square leg umpires being told that they were not allowed to make decisions, Instead having to hold a mobile phone and record every ball so that decisions could be reviewed by himself. This included obvious catches behind not being given until he had reviewed the footage. Not for the ball carrying, this was evident from anywhere with a clear view within a two mile radius, but for whether the batsman had hit it!? LBW’s were also reviewed from the square leg camera footage. It was entirely farcical, massively distracting and did nothing for the harmony of the game. Tempers were tested at every turn. This was an all-time-low in match management for all of us.

In amongst all of this mayhem, an actual game of cricket was trying to be played.

Waqas Khan took the new ball, wasting no time in removing the opener with the 4th passing unceremoniously through the stumps (I’m doing this from memory, as the bloody scorebook has not been filled in properly again…). He took a second in his second over, Max running in from deep long on to take a very assured catch.

All bowling was conducted from the same end as EGCC play on the BCV’s favoured wooden boards and coconut matting. Macca was doing the honours and he too got in on the action having their #3 pouched by Waqas at cover. You just can’t keep Waqas out of the game!
Waqas was at it again, this time a tremendous diving effort from Mudi, taking a low one-handed catch at silly mid-off.
Again Waqas struck, this time ct Westy, behind the stumps. Surely someone else would get a look in!?

They did! Imtiaz, on for Macca had #6 caught square of the wicket by none other than…. WAQAS! He’s everywhere!

Imti’s celebration was classic. He’s bowled really well all summer, but hasn’t been in the wickets. Today he was determined to vary pace and it had worked, extracting a false shot. The drought was broken and he fell to his knees like a man in prayer. Great to see plans work and great to see the passion we play with.

I’d like to give you an indication of scores at the fall of each wicket, but I just don’t have them. What I can say is that wickets were falling regularly and the runs were hard to come by. The opposition were being sustained by wides and no-balls and the fact that the boundaries were exceptionally small.

I can tell you that the scores went: 5,0,10,4,0,22 for the top six. However, the beefy batter at #7 was having none of it and he played an excellent innings of control and aggression. He was also instilling some pride in his bating partners, encouraging them to do better and support him. Consequently batters #8 (Ct Max, bowled Imtiaz), #9 (Ct Craig bowled Shashi – A brilliant two handed diving catch at cow corner, running around to his left from the running track and up a bank. You had to see it to do this catch justice. It was a stunner!) only made 2 and 5 respectively, but they hung around long enough for the beefy #7 to hit a very well-constructed 57, before the accurate bowling of Jonty Altmann saw his demise, Ct by Shashi at deep long on.

Jonty rounded off proceedings, bowling #11 for naught. EGCC bowled out in 24.5 overs for 149.

Outside of the ground, Ernsgaden was in distress. A fire engine was cruising the streets entreating the population not to flush their toilets as the local sewers had become backed up. Cries of “Achtung! Achtung!” emitting brusquely from the loudhailers. The authorities were dealing with it, which normally involves some poor sod (We’ll call him Donald) in overalls, with his arm shoved up to the shoulder in to something indescribably horrid, trying to alleviate a blockage.

As we sat and discussed the on-pitch events we were informed that there was no stopping for tea. Play was to resume immediately. As Mudi and Craig set off to start wearing down the total, I was forced to move upwind of Wembo to save the skin on my nostrils from being toxically removed. It is said that the 1883 eruption of Krakatoa gave less warning…

Mudi started brightly but Craig was undone by a good straight one and departed for 2. Mudi had raced to 33 and the partnership was already worth 38 after 6.1 0vers.

New kid on the block, Daniel Weston marched out and the two put on another 37 before Mudi holed out at deep mid-on for his first 50 if the year. He finished on 56. All the while the game was staggering along under the constant distractions presented by the umpire.
Seemingly cruising along, Messrs M Khan and J Deverill put a spanner in the works, both making a combined total of zero. Macca caught behind, Deverill bowled first ball.

As I sat down to perform the longer part of my innings – taking my pads off – Maxi was walking to the crease. I sat down next to Wembo who had yet to pad up, despite being next in. It turned out he’d been caught short in more ways than one and was contemplating a dash to the other side of the ground where the toilets were located. The earlier rumblings had indeed been a portent of things to come.

With Jonty already padded up and Maxi looking more solid than whatever was eating Wembo, a quick dash around the boundary was granted.
When a relieved Wembo returned Maxi and Dan were still chipping away in the middle. “You don’t want to go in there for a while!” exclaimed Wembo. “I hope you didn’t flush the toilet?” enquired Jonty?

It was then that a miserable howling could be heard as a poor Donald held up a fleshless arm before succumbing to vile and deadly fumes. MCC were 100 for 4.

Sadly Dan was the next to fall, perceived LBW to a ball that hit him on the thigh. Nelson had struck. 111 -5.
Overs were not an issue. We had plenty in hand, but the constant appealing and the Russian roulette of the decision making was making us all nervous.

The recently unburdened Wembridge made a shaky start, the ball popping up of his bat or the bat jamming down late to keep one out. This was scrappy cricket and it needed some street fight keep us in the game.

Maxi was caught for 11, just as he was looking fluent. 117 – 6.

Jonty hit a boundary second ball but was gone the next, again given LBW to a ball that hit him high on the thigh and which most of us on the boundary heard him hit. 120-7. Still 30 runs needed.

What happened next was attractional cricket. EGCC kept things tight, but every extra, every single hurt them. MCC cheered it all. The appeals kept raining down and the nerves kept tingling, but Wembo and Shashi blocked it all out and made the best of the bad ball. It was Wembo who began to free up (just as he had earlier) and the sluice gates opened, boundaries peppering the scorebook. The climax came with a wide down leg and the game was done. MCC winners by 3 wickets.

Further conversations with the umpire were had. He wasn’t a bad bloke. Actually, he was a nice chap. He just couldn’t/wouldn’t/didn’t-have-the-confidence-to, make a decision. Regardless, he had thrown a brick in to the cake and spoilt a hard fought match.

By the time I got to the car park Wembo had already made like a Panda and the rest of us were happy to leave it all on the field. A terrible game was only made bearable by having won it.

Match Facts:
Bowling: Overs Maidens, Runs, Wickets
Waqas Khan 8,1,35,4
Macca Khan 8,0,28,1
Imtiaz Ahmad 4,1,15,2
Max Hoeck 3,0,20,0
Shashi Gaikwad 4,2,9,1
Jonty Altmann 1.5,0,2,2

Waqas 2, Weston 1, Mudi 1, Barrett 1, Maxi 1, Shashi 1.
Batting: Mudi 56, Weston 29, Wembo 19*, Maxi 11, Shashi – the best made 1 you’ll ever see off 19 balls.

MOM: It comes down to two players. Mudi for his 56 and Waqas. The question is which went furthest towards helping us win the game? Mudi had the game at his feet but went for a 6 we didn’t need. He was in good touch and could have seen us home. Waqas Khan blew away the top order and took two catches.
MOM: Waqas Khan


MCC v DJK Goggigen (30 Jun 2018)

MCC v DJK Goggigen 30th June 2018 (Played at The Hirsch).

“The history of watches began in 16th century Europe, where watches evolved from portable spring-driven clocks, which first appeared in the 15th century. … Although mechanical watches still sell at the high end of the market, the vast majority of watches now have quartz movements.” Wikipedia.

It rained miserably all Thursday and grumbling messages were posted on the club FB page. Friday began gloomy as hell and autumnal temperatures, but gently things began to lift. By lunchtime there was an occasional golden ray that pushed up another degree C at every attempt. Come 4:30pm the gates to The Hirsch were opened for business and a clutch of optimists were rolling out the flicx under puffy white clouds, brightly lit against a background of ocean blue.
Scroll forward to Saturday and (ignoring the events of the night preceding… (You know who you are!)) the clouds had entirely vaporised and positivity, rewarded. The hallowed turf was softer than Grannies bed, in total odds with the sky.
Years of mid-day tossing paid off as the coin dropped in the MCC skippers’ favour and he had no hesitation in inserting the opposition.
I should say now that the scorebook, although accurate, is missing some handy information. Like the score at fall of wicket and in which over? In fact this would not be a problem, had the overs been filled in? So from memory, it went something like this:
Goggigen opening bat #1. Ct Sumeet (One handed full stretched dive, snaffling the ball in front of the open hands of Craig at first slip. Excellent take!) Bowled Waqas for 8.
#3 was next to go, Ct Deverill @ mid-off, bowled Waqas for 0.
#4 Ct Deverill @ silly mid-off, bowled Macca for 1.
#5 Ct Sumeet, bowled Waqas for 0.
#6 Ct Deverill (I don’t remember this one?), bowled Macca for 7.
#7 (I enjoyed this one. It was Sharifi, the opposition captain (My opposite number). Nice bloke, and it was the interplay that I liked. By now we were very much on top. I felt he was really under pressure to do something dynamic so I took Macca out from leg gully and put him at midwicket, dropping Varun in to the deep on the leg. I was firmly positioned at silly-mid-off under a wide-brimmed hat, complete with reflective glasses. I was there to intimidate the batsmen in to playing aggressively before they had got in. He looked directly at me. I showed no emotion back. He looked away and then looked back at me again. I smiled a little crocodile smile and he gave half laugh back and shook his head a little). Ct Macca, bowled Waqas that very ball for 2.
#2 This was ridiculous. The guy had been the only one to play with the temperament to bat the whole innings. He’d hardly played a forcing shot and I wanted to coax him in to more aggression. The opportunity came when, mid-innings, he changed his bat. “We’re expecting big things from you now” I told him. “I hope that bat’s better than the last one?” chirped Craig. “Watch out! He’s got a new bat lads!” – Sumeet. After a couple of overs of goading he unleashed a perfectly timed cover drive. Stop the watch and scroll back 20 years.
Twenty years ago I was positioned at silly mid-off, starring down an opponent. He unleashed a perfectly timed cover drive. In a flash, I saw it hit the middle of the bat and the ball head directly between my eyes. The next thing I saw was the back of my hand and a red ball planted firmly in it. At 28, you have the reflexes of a starving cat.
Scroll forwards twenty years again. Same scenario. I don’t see a damn thing really. The ball hits me in the upper thigh and as I crumple my beer belly traps the ball. Ct Deverill, bowled Macca for 5.
When my wife saw the bruise, she said “You could have been out of action for years!!!?”
#8 Plumb LBW, bowled Macca for 7.
#9 Bowled Macca for 0 (Macca on a hatrick).
Hatrick ball, the field in, bullet straight, ball pops up back to bowler, Macca tumbles but can’t cover the ground. Ball falls short. So close!
Last ball of Macca’s spell:
#11 Ct Varun, bowled Macca.
Goggigen bowled out in 15 overs for 45. No catches dropped. Top opening spells from both ends.
In reply MCC made 46 in 8.3 overs without loss. Varun Deshpande 26 N.O. Craig Barrett 5 N.O. The rest in extras.
Is this MCC’s most conclusive win, ever? I don’t know, you’ll have to consult the oracles. It must be among them?
It was a day where everything aligned and special things happened. After a friendly T20 which saw them beaten again, Goggigen left promising that they would have their revenge when they have home advantage. Who knows? The cricketing gods have a nasty sense of humour, but for now we’ll take the win!
Mahmoud Khan, 8 overs, 3 Maidens, 15 Runs, 6 Wickets.
Waqas Khan, 7 overs, 1 Maiden, 28 Runs, 4 Wickets.
Catches. Jonathan Deverill 4 (Although I cannot recall one of them, so if you took it you’d better say now!) Sumeet 2, Varun 1, Macca 1.
Runs Craig 5* Varun 25*
MCC win by 10 wickets.
MOM: Macca, without doubt.


MCC Firsts complete win against Wurmtal (24 Jun 2018)

Worm continues to turn for MCC against Wurmtal

And now for something completely different.
Stand-in skipper Wembridge, Andrew of Melbourne, elected to bat on a pleasant enough day with temperatures in the teens. Thankfully it wasn’t too hot as it was a first match in black clothing ever for some, but it did represent an opportunity to sport a rather fetching Plymouth Argyle polo shirt. A chance that was never likely to be shunned.

The skipper’s excellent tossing skills look to have been vindicated as the openers Mahmoud Khan and Varun Deshpande racked up 73 untroubled runs by the 15 th over before the dashing “Desh” departed for a top-scoring 35 and “Macca” followed soon after for a well-constructed 34. Going into the mid-innings break at 101-2, MCC were looking well on course for 200+ with Maxi and Mudi at the crease. Ultimately, both M & Ms were eaten up for 15 apiece as wickets began to fall in clumps, bunches, rather too quickly and the all too familiar mad scramble for black became rapidly apparent.

Sumeet hit a sweet straight six before succumbing shortly after for 8, Gaikwad lobbed one up for one and Lovell’s return to the league side after a hiatus of seven years didn’t go completely to Planegg as he was bowled off his pad / foot (for possibly the 71 st time in his MCC career) by a Wurmburner in Wurmtal. Or maybe he just missed another straight ball — again.

Unfortunately, a few things had changed since Lovell’s last league outing, meaning that the former skipper now has approximately 70 assorted white garments up for sale at MCC friendly prices. Anyway, another vital two runs for the cause. Completely vital in the end.

Wembridge, aka “Wembo”, struggling with a groin and to add insult to injury the added burden of captaincy, fired a couple of pleasant cover drives before he too was castled for a valiant nine. Imtiaz followed for a blob and all of a sudden, the worm had turned from a pleasant 73-0 to a less than rosy 144-9.

At that slightly depressing stage, after an average of 3.6 LBW appeals per over for the pressurised umpire to deal with, there was scant humour from the next LBW shout from third man, posted 30 yards away —“THAT’S COMPLETELY OUT UMPIIIIIIIIIIIIRE!!” Never change German cricket. Never change.

Anyway, after that fleeting entertainment, valuable late runs from Aditya (14*) and Jack Waqas did take the score onto 168 as MCC were dismissed after 38 overs. Something to bowl at. Something to bowl at.

It’s the early bird that catches the worm and an impressive opening spell from Waqas (8-3-15-2) and Imtiaz (8-0-34-0) put Wurmtal under the cosh on an “interesting” surface, a combination of Bolsa wood underneath carpet (tea bag). Mudi (5.4 – 0 – 43- 3) and Maxi (6-0-47-4) both managed regular inroads into the home team’s batting, but while only two Wurmtal made double figures, they both made it count with scores of 46 and 51. A stunning reaction catch at short cover from the skipper set the standard in the field, fortunately managing to avoid a broken finger off a flashing drive, while a portly former skipper somehow avoided getting maimed, naively standing too close at first slip, off a flying edge.

Indeed, there was slight panic when the Wurmtal score suddenly shot up to 150+ with still two wickets in hand according to the scoreboard. However, news soon reached the scattered MCC fielders that the scoreboard was missing an important number 4 so there was still some leeway. Just.

Despite this good news, complete panic almost followed though, when their batsman who had (up to that point) looked like he had only one shot in his locker, proceeded to launch a HUGE majestic lofted cover drive into the tennis court, thankfully not maiming a Steffi Graf lookalike on court number 1. ***Serious note, it was a tight shave though, and hopefully messages will be passed onto the relevant authorities to avoid this in the future. Somehow. Trust me, as someone who now only has one shot, the aforementioned lofted cover drive – it is a recipe for disaster. Complete disaster.

Thankfully for MCC, Macca Khan (4-0-20-1) soon came on to remove the danger man who completely played on, before Waqas took a stunning running catch on the boundary to seal the win by 16 complete runs.

    Match result summary

Cricket was completely the winner as MCC avoided a can of worms with a tense victory in Wurmtal.


Man of the match: Mahmoud Khan


MCC 1st XI vs Pfaffenhoffen Regionalliga (16 Jun 2018)

“Fortes fortuna juvat – Fortune favours the brave”

With some last minute changes in playing XI, MCC managed to put a strong team for the 3rd league game of Regionalliga against our visiting team Pfaffenhofen Cricket Club. Though MCC won back to back two away friendlies against same team (low scoring), our rival seemed enthusiastic, focused and were ready to bring on heat.

Skipper Wembridge won the toss and elected to Bat first. Arun and Zeeshan were sent to open only to see Arun walking back after being given LBW (which he claims was not out). MCC was 8 for 1 after first over.

As infamous as the MCC Flicx wicket is, it started playing tricks with batsmen. Wickets kept falling at regular intervals. After 6 overs MCC was 17 for the loss of 4 wickets. Zeeshan and Max started building a steady partnership but once again some wrong call was made and Zeeshan saw himself walking back.

Later Max who was joined by Pierre then started playing some responsible inns with partnership on 13 runs. Unfortunetly Max became a victim of the Flicx and got bowled, Skipper Wembo replaced him and continued with another important partnership with Pierre for 34 runs. At that moment MCC looked good but again wickets started falling. Somehow MCC managed to 110 runs on the board. An excellent innings by Pierre, Max and Wembridge under pressure.

With a Low target to defend, MCC begin their bowling with wicket machine Waqas Khan who took first 3 wickets and PAFCC were 14 for 3 after 5 overs. The combination of Waqas and Imtiaz worked perfectly for MCC. This duo was later replaced by another Right and Left bowlers Max and Pierre who didn’t let their opponents score and kept pressure on. Max was able to get well-set batsman Ghuman caught at covers by Pierre. After 20 overs Pfaffenhoffen were 62 for 5. Some motivational words and another change in bowling brought MCC close to victory. The perfect line and length of Macca kept building pressure and taking important wickets. Shashi joined him as the visitors started swinging. At the climax, the visitors needed just 4 runs in 48 balls. Skipper again came up with his wicket-taking bowler Waqas and the last delivery looked like this:

Waqas to Saber Ali (who was set and hitting) – A comparatively weak ball – Plays it in the air – Varun goes under ball – First fumble – Second fumble – Caught – MCC goes crazy.

As MCC never gave up and kept fighting til the last moment, we were victorious.

Scorecard as following:

MCC all out 110 after 32.1 Overs
A. Karthik, LBW, 0
Z. Shaikh, Runout, 7
M. Khan, Bowled, 0, Overs 6 Maiden 1 Runs 10 Wickets 2
V. Deshpande, Caught & Bowled , 1, Catches 1
S. Naag, Bowled, 1
M. Hoeck, Bowled, 13, Overs 4 Maiden 1 Runs 15 Wickets 2 Wides 1 Catches 1
P. du Plessis, Notout, 23*, Overs 4 Maidens 2 Runs 7 Wickets 0 Wides 3
A. Wembridge, Caught, 12, Catches 1
S. Gaikwad, Bowled, 4, Overs 5 Maidens 0 Runs 28 Wickets 2 Wides 2
I. Ahmad, Bowled, 1, Overs 6 Maidens 0 Runs 21 Wickets 0 Wides 3
W. Khan, Runout, 0, Overs 7.1 Maidens 1 Runs 20 Wickets 4 Wides 5 No Balls 3

Man of the Match : Waqas Khan

Author’s Special Awards :
Pierre du Plessis for valuing his wicket
Varun Deshpande for not dropping that catch
Sumeet Naag for doing world most thankless job and being GREAT at it.