Sovereign Authority
Pacific v Royal Sovereign at Springfield Park  Sat 02 Jun 2018 at 1pm
Lost by 2 wickets
North East London Cricket League

April's dramatic tie with Royal Sovereign at Wray proved to be a harbinger of an equally spicy encounter with a distinctly Caribbean flavour at a somewhat spongy Springfield Park on Saturday. Sadly, Pacific's third match of the NELCL era ended with us finishing an agonisingly close second on a day that was as memorable for what happened off the pitch as on it. 

The Sov won the toss and inserted Pacific, perhaps in the hope that the pitch would be baked in the afternoon sun. In the event, the track stayed pretty slow and low for the duration, and the only thing baked in the afternoon sun was The Sov's merry band of vociferous supporters, several of whom appeared also to have been on the Special Brew since 8am. Every day for the last 20 years.

Rastaman libation.

PCC's top order faltered. Key man Chasseaud was trapped for 15 by a shooter that he could do little about. Duncan (5) and Burnham (7) both gave away their wickets cheaply with silly shots, betraying a naivety with the bat matched in recent memory only by the England test side at Lords.

But all was not lost.

The old adage about clouds and silver linings was never truer as Chasseaud took shelter from the sun under the Pacific Gazebo (a wonderful acquisition for the club), and tucked into a generously-proportioned bacon bap from the café adjacent to Lea Rowing Club. The returning Arup Sen followed suit with his second bacon sarnie of the day, while Burnham went for the sausage option with HP sauce, as well as a refreshing San Pellegrino (Aranciata) and an Americano with a dash of milk. For a pavilion-less venue, Springfield Park Café offers good value sandwich options, and your correspondent would suggest that it is worth a visit on this basis alone, irrespective of whether a cricket match is taking place.

Back to the game, and the pig-eating Pacifians were heartened by the return of George Moses from one of the club's recent spate of thumb-related injuries. He (38 off 32) and Bing (29 off 28) scored freely and made good starts before Moses played around a straight one and Bing bunged one behind. Garrett struck a sweet boundary before being bowled by Lucius soon afterwards, leaving Timbadia and Murtaza "Whacker" Younis Siddiqui with the heavy burden of batting out the 40 overs.

Timbadia appeared in combative mood. He went at the bowlers with conviction, before getting a little carried away, calling for an unnecessary single and running out Mutz who had until then had looked composed at the crease. The Ramadan man was fasting, but not fast enough, and was palpably frustrated as he returned to the hutch. Timbadia appeared unrepentant. Little else of note took place in PCC's innings, and we closed on a feeble 136 all out from 33.1 overs.

The interval was all a bit ad hoc, without the traditional tea. Pacific took the opportunity to rehydrate with pure H2O on a sweltering afternoon, while The Sov got stuck into some beers, no doubt confident of knocking off their meagre target.

Sen Dog and Shaz opened the bowling, Chasseaud opting for the medium-ish stuff on a tricky track with batsmen who back in April at Wray had evinced a propensity for booming it out of the ground. We soon turned to local spin man Pandya, who was the first to make a breakthrough as opener and wicket-keeper David edged one to Arup at gully. Garrett, Bing, Toby and Moses all bowled tidy spells, but Pandya was the undoubted pick of the bowlers and man of the match, returning figures of 8-1-15-4 and at no point letting the pressure drop. He pinned danger man Ian on the sweep-slog early in his innings, the latter remonstrating with the umpire at square leg in an effort to have the decision overruled. It was in truth a risky shot selection, proving that the harder they come, the harder they'll fall. Umrish was unlucky not to have more in the end, his balls of fire leading the way in precipitating a Sovereign mini-collapse, leaving us very much in the ascendency at drinks, requiring four more wickets for 60 or so runs.

At this point our fielding innings was marred by the unsavoury spectacle of some drunken hoodlums creeping across the outfield at a snail's pace, refusing to quicken their step when implored to do so by Pandya. Would-be Pacific hard men Sen and Burnham began to chivvy the intruders along with some choice words, safe in the knowledge that there were 22 of the equivalent of "their brother's mates" to back them up should the worst come to the worst. We'll call this Handbags Incident No 1. 

With the shanks and straps safely out of sight in the gentrified Murder Mile, the game proceeded to its inexorable nadir as The Sov knocked off the required runs with six overs to spare, buoyed by shouts of "Bat Long!" and "Raasclaat!" from their irrepressible and inebriated boundary brethren. Opener Luke carried his bat. 45 was his number, and PCC were left wondering what might had been if half chances had not been spurned earlier in the innings. Chasseaud took a worldy, but to no avail.

Although we lost, the game was a close-run thing and proves that we are more than capable of cutting it (among other shots) in the NELCL. A collateral boon of our new Saturday schedule is that post-game refreshments can be indulged in liberally without fear of repercussions the following day. This was evident during a well-attended session in the atmospheric beer garden of the Crooked Billet, punctuated by a sighting of local boy done good Dizzee Rascal, and culminating in karaoke-filled high jinks upstairs in the Star of Hackney Downs. For those who were there (Chasseaud, Sam "The Voice" Howes, Burnham and a founding member of Eastern European gypsy-folk trio the Barefoot Howlers), the look of pure joy on Aly Duncan's face as the first strains of Paul Simon's "You can call me Al" pumped out will live long in the memory.

Handbags Incident No 2 soon followed, as a troubled young man with his arm in a sling (who presumably was jealous of Sam's note-perfect rendition of Wuthering Heights, or for some unfathomable reason objected to Burnham's Paul Weller impression) deigned it incumbent upon himself to instigate fisticuffs with each of the PCC contingent in a display of Python-esque ludicrousness.

And then it was time to go home. 


Pacific v Royal Sovereign
Toss won by Royal Sovereign
Pacific innings Runs Mins Balls 4s 6s
  Aly Duncan b Nick  5  0  23  1  0  
  Toby Chasseaud* lbw b Jamie  15  0  34  3  0  
  Ben Burnham b Luke  7  0  15  0  0  
  George Moses b Nick  38  0  32  6  1  
  Bing Stanley c Wkt b Lucius  29  0  28  2  2  
  Murtaza Siddiqui† run out  10  0  10  0  0  
  Tim Garrett b Lucius  5  0  9  1  0  
  Sharan Timbadia b Jamie  11  0  28  1  0  
  Umrish Pandya lbw b Lucius  3  0  0  0  0  
  Arup Sen b Matt  0  0  0  0  0  
  Rob Dinsey not out  0  0  4  0  0  
 Extras (b 3, lb 1, w 9, nb 0) 13    
 TOTAL (33.1 Overs) 136    
 Fall of wickets: 
Bowling O M R W  
 Dennis 4 1 14 0  
 Nick 8 1 31 2  
 Luke 4 1 24 1  
 Jamie 6 1 23 2  
 Lucius 8 1 28 3  
 Matt 3.1 0 12 1  
Royal Sovereign innings Runs Mins Balls 4s 6s
  Luke not out  45  0  0  5  0  
  David† c Sen b Pandya  11  0  0  2  0  
  Nick lbw b Timbadia  1  0  0  0  0  
  Ian lbw b Pandya  4  0  0  4  0  
  Ken b Timbadia  0  0  0  0  0  
  Lucius c Siddiqui b Pandya  18  0  0  4  0  
  Oli lbw b Pandya  9  0  0  0  6  
  Ben c Moses b Garrett  17  0  0  4  0  
  Jamie c Chasseaud b Stanley  4  0  0  4  0  
  Dennis* not out  0  0  0  0  0  
  Matt did not bat  0  0  0  0  0  
 Extras (b 9, lb 1, w 15, nb 1) 26    
 TOTAL (34.1 Overs) 137    
 Fall of wickets: 
Bowling O M R W  
 Arup Sen 3 0 11 0  
 Sharan Timbadia 6 0 35 2  
 Umrish Pandya 8 1 15 4  
 Toby Chasseaud 2 0 16 0  
 Tim Garrett 7.1 0 25 1  
 George Moses 3 0 12 0  
 Bing Stanley 3 0 11 1  

Other matches:
 Sat 24 Aug 2019, Springfield Park,
 Match tied in final-over thriller, Sat 28 Apr 2018, Wray Crescent, Tied