End-of-season dinner ruined by drunkard
Sat 14-Nov-2015 
 

Well done to everyone who came to the Pacific CC end-of-season dinner at The Oxford in Kentish Town, where a good time was had by all, until some drunkard decided to subject those present to a slurred speech… 

Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to the Pacific Cricket Club dinner 2015.

It's been something of a transitional season, with last year's player of the season James Gleadow unable to play. In 2014, he took an incredible 55 wickets and scored 245 runs. This year he has been very much stuck on the sidelines. But it's been great to have him along to various games throughout the season as he continues his own personal battle. The first game of the year was in his honour and raised an impressive £700 for charities that fight bowel cancer. Our thoughts remain with James.

Also notable by his relative absence this season is Jon Webley. As you know, Jon is one of Pacific's leading run scorers of all time, but due to the birth of his baby daughter he has played only a few games this year. Still, he has been able to score boundaries with the bat and swing the ball prodigiously when bowling. And, of course, congratulations to him and Kate on parenthood.

Jon has been jostling at the top of the runs table with another Pacific stalwart Steve Lay, who occasionally ventures down from his new home in Scotland. This season one kept overtaking the other during their occasional appearances but Steve remains just on top with his 9692 runs scored over 31 years, meaning he is just four runs ahead of Webley.

Meanwhile, Pete Hollman, the origin of the species, has fallen to third place, with a "measly" 9630 runs. These days Pete's happier umpiring, leaving the run-scoring to Hollman Junior. More on Luke later. Pete founded Pacific in 1983 and he still gives it his all to keep the club going, be it by organising fixtures, finding players for us at the last minute, looking after the club kit, fielding (if somewhat reluctantly), umpiring or getting the prizes made for the dinner. I think we'd all like to thank Pete for his efforts over the years, so let's give him a round of applause.

The newbies
While we've seen less of the likes of Gleadow, Webley and Hollman Senior on the pitch, we have benefitted from a new stream of talent this year. For the first half of the season we had the all-round skills of Pranav Chandramouli and the power hitting of Theo Steyn. Unfortunately both of these players have since moved away from London – to France of all places, where they are no doubt playing French cricket as we speak.

But there have been other newcomers who are hopefully here to stay. The Australian Paul Rajkumar likes to take the attack to the bowlers at the top of the order and he doesn't take his time. In fact he has been known to get himself out in bizarre fashion in order to take a 2pm conference call.

Aly "The Alygator" Duncan has added some aggressive intent to the batting order and kept wicket well. In one match we were treated to the Double Duncan, with Aly's brother Chris also playing, and also keeping wicket brilliantly.

Then there is Ben Burnham, not to be confused with the bloody Ben Boorman. Ben has scored some handy runs, including an impressive 32 on debut, and has sometimes had a few bruises to show for his heroics. Not only is he a brave batsman who can hold the innings together when we lesser mortals are falling around him, he is also a good source of cigarettes for the occasional smokers – if only they weren't Lucky Strikes.

Now let us turn to Mark Woodland who has also chipped in with runs and wickets. Mark has come to cricket somewhat late in life and he seems to be improving with every game. He hit a magnificent eight runs against Oakfield Parkonians and took his first wicket ever against Washington, bamboozling the batsman, who was then stumped by Rajkumar. And Mark puts his body on the line in the field. We couldn't ask any more of a man playing his first season.

So there are some strong candidates for Best Newcomer, though obviously none of them are as beautiful as last year's winner, are they, Juliana? Eu te amo.

It is one of Pacific's strengths that we can give newcomers a warm welcome and we look forward to them helping us take the club forward.

The regulars
Now let's move on to some of the people who've been with us some time.

Let's start with Ravi Patel. As well as being a brilliant bowler, Ravi scored his first fifty for the club this season with his 64 against Shakespeare CC. It will no doubt be the first of many fifties and we look forward to seeing him on the pitch once more. So, to slightly misquote from Macbeth, Ravi: "When shall we thee [should be "three"] meet again in thunder, lightning, or in rain? When the hurlyburly's done, When the battle's lost and won". An appropriate quote, I think, because we're mad enough to play in thunder, lightning or in rain. (It was even suggested that we should play today, despite the arrival of Hurricane Abigail.) And in the case of the Shakespeare match, the battle was won, but only thanks to Ravi.

The long arm of the law Phil Smith has bowled immaculate line and length. He has taken one of only two five-wicket hauls this season, with his five for 34. (The other bowler to take five wickets was Pranav, with an incredible 5 for 16 at the dentist's dream venue of Mayfield away.) And Phil's no mug with the bat either. We look forward to seeing many more of his sixes over midwicket. Phil has also proved invaluable at the badlands of Wray Crescent, telling two youths to put their fire out or he'd take them down the nick. 

Speaking of flames, Tom Ireland was also on fire this year, displaying his all-round talents. He scored a fluent 136 not out against Highgate, which could have been more had it not been for the idiot of a captain declaring too early. He has also bowled some fantastically economical spells and picked up 13 wickets. He can bat, he can bowl, he can keep wicket – is there anything this man can't do? Probably not.

Now we mentioned that Pete's playing days are almost behind him. But he has devoted much of his time to another Hollman, who has been churning out the runs. This season Luke has shown his class by hitting 301 runs in only five innings at a brilliant average of 75. But that's not all. In 88 appearances across all formats this season Luke scored a whopping 2671 runs, and took 64 wickets (and that's not counting his recent trip to the UAE). These figures must make Pete and Pat proud and they show that we are lucky to have him bolstering the side at the end of the season. It is just unfortunate that Luke got out in the nineties twice for us so was unable to reach three figures. But I'm sure his best innings are still to come.

Now, whisper it quietly, but we must mention the quiet American, Paul Davis. Paul continues to improve with every game, whether with the bat or the ball, as well as adding fantastic recipes to the Pacific tea menu. Paul brings his baseball skills to his bowling. Not only does he have an inswinger and an outswinger, he has a knuckle ball, a fastball, a breaking ball, a forkball, a sinker, a sweeping curve, a slider, a spitball and a screwball – which all means that when he plays cricket he's having a ball. And so are we because he's a joy to have around.

Another man who likes to serve up some unplayable deliveries is Ahmed Hussain. And this year Ahmed has also displayed Boycott-like resistance with the bat. He saw off Locksbottom's bowling with a record-breaking innings – taking 56 balls to get off the mark, thus consigning Vincent Croft's previous record of 45 balls to the history books.

Speaking of Vincent, we know he likes to shine the star and this year his star shone brightly in the President's XI match where he saw off our attempted coup by fielding a star-studded side and drilling them into a ruthless fighting force. Unfortunately injury prevented him from bowling that day but he turned out a couple of weeks later and, despite not quite finding his groove, he blew away the Grammarians' top order with a lethal combination of long hops, beamers and the odd unplayable inswinger.

Aroon Korgoankar has been frustrated by injury but has still played the odd game and bravely taken on the role of treasurer. Hopefully he'll be prising some money out of those who've snuck off without paying. We look forward to seeing Aroon's chinamen in action next year. In fact, it looks like Aroon's playing career should easily outlive that of his sworn enemy Ian Bell. He's useless, isn't he, Aroon?

And who can forget Tony Tambyrajah, the senior pro? Tony came so close to bowling us to victory against Oakfield Parkonians, who ended up winning the league, so that would have been something to talk about for years to come, had we won. We love Tony's languid, easygoing action, which is referred to by Kieran as his "celestial loop". Tony's always happy to be the No 1 spinner when that opportunity arises. Tony is Pacific's elder statesman, though we're not quite sure how old he is. He is rumoured to have played with WG Grace, and his years of experience mean that whenever things get tough, Tony T is a reassuring presence. He's always there for advice, be it on cricket, on life, or on love. Thank you, Tony T.

And, of course, special mention must go to Kieran "the K Dog" Mullens for match managing again this year. Kieran has triumphed against adversity, pretty much always managing to get eleven players out throughout the season. Kieran, a big thank you from all of us. That said, I must admit it can be slightly worrying as captain when Kieran is the next man in. You look around and you can't see him anywhere. It turns out he's gone to buy a cappuccino and then you spy him cycling back into the ground, only to ride into a kerb and spill the cappuccino all over himself. Five minutes later he's still not wearing whites and still undecided which pair of pads he's going to use – or gloves, or thigh pad, or bat, or box. No, you've at least got your own abdo guard, haven't you, Kieran? But however unprepared he might be, he is capable of brilliance with the bat and the ball. His classy cameo against Highgate springs to mind, when his cover drive against their Sri Lankan overseas player has to be a candidate for shot of the season. K Dog, we salute you.

So there you go. The 2015 season is finally over. Well done to everyone for making it such an enjoyable one. Thank you for coming this evening and here's to a successful 2016! Cheers!

Those were of course the words of captain calamity Toby Chasseaud before he downed another pint. He can just count himself lucky that the unforgiving Steve Richards was not present to heckle him.

 

And the winners were...

Player of the season: Tom Ireland (546 runs, 13 wickets)

Most improved player: Phil Smith (24 wickets)

Best newcomer: Paul Rajkumar

Best fielder: Toby Chasseaud (16 catches, 2 stumpings)

Best bowling: Pranav Chandramouli (5-16)

Most wickets: Phil Smith (24)

Highest score: Tom Ireland (136 not out)

Most runs: Toby Chasseaud (944)

 

And here are the full averages for the 2015 season:

Batting

Bowling

Fielding