Great Missenden Pelicans 2014
Year Played Won Drawn Tied Lost Cancelled
2014 24 8 7 0 9 3

Qualification: 5 or more innings; 22(!) others also batted including Sushil Patel, Hasan Arif and James Newman (4 innings each) and Alex King, Peter Greenwood, Tony Harris and Robert Frank (3 each)

Qualification: 10 or more overs, 1 wicket; also bowled: Hitesh Patel (2 wickets), Paul Howard, Julian Jeffrey (1 each), C Royal, Philip Gallagher, C Merry, James Newman, Kaz Rauf

Sunday September 21st, vs Kensington CC

Kensington CC 195-6 (R Kankate 2-39, Asad Rehman 2-34);    Great Missenden Pelicans 189-5 (Kunaal Kankate 54, Asad Rehman 35*, Simon Tickler 29*, Clive Nicholls 28)

Match DRAWN

Skipper-for-the-day Tickler reports: “a reasonably exciting draw, and good fun with Kensington as always. They won the toss, batted first, the first 100 took 28 overs, the last 95 took 14… Hard track on which to time the ball and pretty tight bowling from Kunaal, Hasan, Rags, JG. Asad turned it miles. Main feature was some fairly unpelican-like fielding, many stopped stops, runs saved and a tasty catch from Kunaal.

In the reply, Clive looked solid, JG smashed one to short extra cover, Kunaal made 54, Rags and Jalil came and went. Pelis needed 115 off 20 overs, 70 off 8 overs. I came in at the end with Asad and we got fairly close without ever looking like we’d do it. Needed 35 off 5, then 11 off the last over.

Kunaal, with a couple of wickets, 2 catches and 50-odd runs won the sponsored whiskey.

Sunday September 21st, vs Bushey

Bushey 113 (Richard Frank 4-19, Asad Rehman 4-25);    Great Missenden Pelicans 114-6 (Rob Bailey 34, Clive Nicholls 24, Jalil Rehman 22)

WON by 4 wickets

With Hit or Miss deciding to give it a Miss, Bushey stepped in to face an upbeat Pelis. Skipper-for-the-day Toobes clearly felt the burden of extending the Pelis’ successful run: with each wicket to fall in a modest run chase, he was heard to moan “surely we can’t lose this one…” But all was well in the end, and we move on to the final match of the season with recent stats of DWWWW.
A relatively early start saw just 9 Pelis take the field after losing the toss, but Bushey sportingly made up the numbers until the arrivals of Hasan and Niron.

The lack of a regular keeper, and of an opening bowler (pending Hasan’s arrival) caused initial confusion. Rob, having donned the gloves, passed them to Clive and assumed the responsibility of opening opposite Toobes.

Toobes, looking to end his season on a high, bowled like a millionaire. Two catches to Clive, one taken nicely down the leg side, a bowled (“my best ball of the season…”), and a hole-out to mid-off gave him a season’s best 4-19.

However, whilst Toobes was nipping out most of the top order, the No 4 batsman was threatening trouble with considerable class and sumptuous timing. He moved forward quite rapidly into the 40’s and Bushey into the 60’s. But his more brutal shots had a suspicion of premeditation, and this may have contributed to his downfall – tied down by Hasan for the first five balls of an over, he attacked the sixth and sent a looping catch to Toobes in the covers. Managing not to collide with himself, Toobes took it without the usual Pelis capers.

Asad and Hasan turned the screw, runs dried up, wickets fell and a succession of ever smaller batsmen caused Rob to make comparisons with Russian dolls. At 60-odd for 7, one of the lads took a thump in the chest from Hasan. Toobes comforted him, encouraging him by saying that he was about to bring on his ‘crap’ bowlers. Not much of a vote of confidence in Niron, ‘Invictus’ Tony or Adam you would think.

Bowling changes were made, and one of the lads did make a little hay against Niron, though Niron had only himself to blame for not removing him. A massive, steepling mis-hit gave Niron ample time to position himself, the ball dropped into his hands, but then bounced out almost as high again. Niron then prostrated himself face-down, face hidden by his dreadlocks as he moaned in shame and misery – and there he stayed for about a minute!

Fortunately others were snapping up catches. Tony, after a couple of difficult diving efforts, took one high to his right, one-handed and with the utmost nonchalance. Clive took a third, standing up, but for some reason it wasn’t given. Asad came back to stop any potential rot, and a tidy spell by Tony was rewarded by the final wicket, taken by Iceman in the gully.

114 is the smallest target The Pelis have had to chase this season, and after one over it was down to 102, Clive collecting three boundaries through his favourite cut shot. With no real alarms, the score moved through 40 before Clive edged one behind, followed by Iceman, gloving one behind. Paul hit some good blows, but wickets fell just often enough for Bushey to feel they weren’t dead and buried. They took further heart when removing Rob, who had provided the bedrock of the innings.

But this reckoned without Jalil, simply taking up where he had left off against Ley Hill a fortnight earler. Sumptuous straight hitting, involving some nimble footwork, calmed the nerves of our fretting skipper. Finally miscuing one, Jalil left it to Asad and Hasan to wrap things up.

A 5.30 finish and pleasant weather meant an opportunity for a few drinks at the Cross Keys, to bask in the glow of the Pelis’ Indian Summer.

Reports are intended to convey an entertaining picture of the day’s play. No disrespect is meant, but if on occasion we misjudge matters, please take it in the friendly and humorous spirit in which it is intended.

Sunday September 14th, vs Golden Age

Golden Age 202 (Alex Livie 3-45);    Great Missenden Pelicans 205-3 (Clive Nicholls 60*, Rob Bailey 34, David Bailey 31)

WON by 7 wickets

Sunday September 7th, vs Ley Hill

Ley Hill 252-6 (Alex Livie 3-49);    Great Missenden Pelicans 255-7 (David Bailey 80, Kunaal Kankate 43, Asad Rehman 43)

WON by 3 wickets

Sunday August 31st, vs Bledlow Village

Bledlow Village 125 (Kunaal Kankate 4-31, John Greenwood 3-23);    Great Missenden Pelicans 129-5 (Rob Bailey 38, David Bailey 32*)

WON by 5 wickets

Sunday August 24th, vs Widmer End

Widmer End 198-8 (Hasan Arif 5-25);    Great Missenden Pelicans 195-9 (A Livie 53, J Greenwood 40)

Match DRAWN

Sunday August 17th, vs Hit or Miss

Great Missenden Pelicans 256-6 (Kunaal Kankate 99, Asad Rehman 60);    Hit or Miss 257-5

LOST by 5 wickets

Which was the worse defeat on this Sunday? The Indians’ abject surrender at The Oval, or the Pelis’ inability to defend 256 off 40 overs at Penn Street? Whichever, at least we batted for more than 29.2 overs, and to judge from the dressing room afterwards, at least we cared about it.

Reports are intended to convey an entertaining picture of the day’s play. No disrespect is meant, but if on occasion we misjudge matters, please take it in the friendly and humorous spirit in which it is intended.

Sunday August 10th, vs Middleton Stoney

Match Cancelled

Sunday August 3rd, vs Sarratt

Sarratt 199-8 (Josh Bailey 4-45);    Great Missenden Pelicans 47 all out

LOST by 152 runs

There was more than a hint of World War 1 about the Pelis’ effort this week. With a long ‘missing’ list including some deserters (Shoelace? Gov?), we went into battle with an ageing General and some boy soldiers. The 152-run loss was as comprehensive as the disarray of the BEF on its retreat from Mons. But we know the sequel: with the help of reinforcements from across the Empire and from across the Pond (Tiger?), the tide was eventually turned. C’mon boys (and Hazel?), let’s rally round!

3 generations of Greenwoods, Pelis vs Sarratt

So miserable was the Pelis’ performance that we shall not essay a match report, save to say that Toobes took a cracking catch at full tilt; Josh took four on the eve of his departure down under; but most importantly, two new Pelis were blooded, including 10-year-old Olli Greenwood. He and our other ‘boy soldier’ Robert Frank are to be commended for their enthusiasm in the field, and for outscoring their grandad and dad, respectively.

Reports are intended to convey an entertaining picture of the day’s play. No disrespect is meant, but if on occasion we misjudge matters, please take it in the friendly and humorous spirit in which it is intended.

Sunday July 20th, vs Rickmansworth

Rickmansworth 167 (Rob Bailey 6-47);    Great Missenden Pelicans 168-4 (A Rehman 83*, R Bailey 47)

WON by 6 wickets

Wednesday July 16th, vs Stowe Templars

Stowe Templars 288-7 dec (Josh Bailey 6-58);    Great Missenden Pelicans 226-9 (S Tickler 72, K Kankate 41 *)

Match DRAWN

Sunday July13th, vs Wendover

Wendover 129 all out (K Kankate 4-28, R Frank 3-16);    Great Missenden Pelicans 117 all out (D Bailey 54, R Gibson 24)

LOST by 12 runs

Not a game of two halves, but one of four quarters. The Pelis bossed the first three, only for Wendover to climb off the canvas and sweep the Pelis aside in the final one. Not for the first time this season, the Pelis were left scratching their heads and asking “how did we not win that?”
The Pelis have picked up one winning habit, with the sixth toss won in seven. The same course was followed as brought an emphatic victory at Northwood earlier in the week, the Pelis opting to field and chase.

Wendover found runs hard to come by from the start, Toobes characteristically parsimonious and Josh bowling with pace and accuracy. Each bagged an opener, JG taking a low catch at cover off Toobes, Josh simply beating his for pace.

Wendover’s pretty capable number 3 looked to be warming to his task when picking up Kunaal for a steepling six over extra cover. Trying to repeat the shot soon after, he failed to get the same contact and there was Toobes underneath. Kunaal’s three-wicket haul against Northwood had clearly prepped him well, as he combined pace with an accuracy that sometimes eludes him. After a period of resistance from Wendover’s two senior players, he clean bowled both, and then picked up a fourth, also bowled.

Niron, replacing Kunaal, then struck with a caught behind, and Wendover were rocking, 7 down for 60-odd. But then followed a passage of resistance which, in the final analysis, proved decisive. Despite 8 accurate overs from JG, the best efforts of ‘spin twins’ Niron and Adam (surely the oddest twins since Arnie Schwarzenegger and Danny De Vito?), and a couple more overs from Kunaal, Wendover’s numbers 8 and 9 hung in and pushed the score up through 120. The eventual demise of the number 8 had ‘Pelis’ written all over it: a top-edge spiralling high into the sky, Bails positioning himself under it with a clear and repeated cry of “keeper!”, but bowler Toobes determined to get involved. Fortunately, sense prevailed and the ball was allowed to drop into Bails’s waiting gloves.

The last couple of wickets were then mopped up quickly, setting the Pelis a target of just 130 in 40 overs.

Out strode JG and Iceman, looking to establish a solid base. Back strode JG, having bagged his second duck of the week.

For the second successive Sunday, Bails and Iceman then set about the task with relish. Fours were dispatched around the ground, a fielder felled, and an early finish looked assured as the score reached 80-1 after just 12 overs. But as has been observed often before “eeeh, cricket’s a funny game”. Wendover took inspiration from Iceman giving up his wicket to a poor ball, and then immediately removing Kunaal with a good one. When Bails skied a catch soon after, 80-1 had become 85-4.

This was the opportunity for one of the less regular batters to make himself a hero, but none stepped forward. Only Paul offered much resistance. Wendover’s winning margin was a surprisingly comfortable 12 runs and the Pelis had lost 9 wickets for 37. Thirteen overs went unused. PG, having watched the Pelis’ disarray as umpire, was in chuntering mode, threatening to offer himself next week to introduce some ‘match management’ to the team.

And so to a very pleasant drink on the steps of Wendover’s pavilion at ‘The Witchell’. Discussing with the Wendover lads the challenges they face with the appropriation of their ground for HS2, we were left to reflect that losing a cricket match is a lot better than losing your cricket ground. We wish Wendover well in their efforts.

Reports are intended to convey an entertaining picture of the day’s play. No disrespect is meant, but if on occasion we misjudge matters, please take it in the friendly and humorous spirit in which it is intended.

Monday July 7th, vs Northwood

Northwood 135 (K Kankate 3-10, P Lamb 3-37);    Great Missenden Pelicans 136-4 (A Ilyas 64)

WON by 6 wickets

Sunday July 6th, vs The Lee

Great Missenden Pelicans 181 for 8 (R Gibson 55, D Bailey 49);    The Lee 128-9 (A Rehman 4-50, R Frank 3-8, J Bailey 3-54)

Match Drawn

A curious game, in which the Pelis threatened at one time to make 300, and The Lee fewer than 50. But in the end another agonising draw, with the Pelis having just over three overs at the final Lee pair.
Having won the toss, the skipper strode out with the reluctant Iceman, who had spent the week whingeing and pleading to be selected only in extremis.

Though Iceman contented himself with leg byes for the first four overs, Alex started brightly before falling for 14. With Bails batting characteristically robustly, and Iceman starting to warm up, the hundred was reached with just one wicket down and at around 9 an over – a score seriously in excess of 200 was surely beckoning…

The most impressive of the early bowlers was an 11-year-old, who not only took a couple of wickets but also, with a little help from the pitch, bounced Iceman, standing a good 18 inches taller than him!

But with Bails departing one short of his 50, things calmed down and The Lee’s banter became noticeably more upbeat as first Joan and then Silas departed for ducks, the latter having shaped nicely for a few shots. Iceman and Asad moved things on, despite some interesting ‘No-Yes-No’ moments.

Soon after putting himself on the Honours Board, Iceman played on, making room to a deceptively inviting slow bowler. Future Pelis historians may assume that this innings – 48 out of 55 in boundaries – was a fine exhibition of biffing, but in truth it had more to do with Iceman’s aversion to running.

A useful stand between Asad and Toobes, some late hitting by Josh, PG unleashing for the second time this season his ‘stand-and-deliver’ shot, and debutant Tony Harris, scoring 1 more than most Pelis debutants, saw the Pelis reach 183 for 8.

The Lee’s ‘run chase’ was a curious affair. It seemed that the more able batsmen were placed at 1,2,3 and 8,9,10, in an attempt to ‘give everyone a go’. Perplexingly, Alex Morgan, who had made a stack of runs in a couple of previous fixtures, stood as umpire until The Lee were 5 down. This might have worked as a run chase strategy if the first three batsmen had made a strong start. But after reaching 20 pretty rapidly (quite largely through Josh’s extras, before he turned the radar on), the Pelis started catching their catches.

First a fizzer from Josh to Iceman in the gully; then a mistimed shot to a Josh full toss, which Asad made more difficult than he needed, picking it off his shoelaces. And then the Pelis speciality: a skier off Toobes into the covers; Alex called; James Bailey held back until the last second and then decided to go in for a Mark-Cavendishesque barge; sunglasses were dislodged but amazingly not the ball, and nothing was broken. At 26-3, The Lee were in some disarray. And still Alex Morgan stood as umpire…

26-3 quickly became 30-7 as Toobes, Asad and Josh proved too much for the middle order, many seemingly promoted higher than their natural positions. Toobes asked to be taken off when the 11-year-old came to the wicket, but with figures of 3-8 he probably had an eye on preserving the improvement to his average. So finally Alex Morgan came to the wicket. Drinks were taken with 18 overs remaining. The two batsmen were overheard strategising a run chase, but surely with too much to do? Josh, bowling unchanged from the bottom end for 13 overs, first broke one batsman’s bat and then bounced him out in successive balls, and it was 50-8.

The question was now whether the Pelis could get the remaining two wickets, against two batsmen who were clearly not natural tail-enders. Alex Morgan, with the confidence of youth and ability, continued to go for his shots but top-edged a skier soon after reaching 50. This gave 20 balls with which to remove the last man. There were a couple of sniffs: an edge through the slips and a run-out call on an unnecessary second run. But for the third time in four games the Pelis had to settle for a ‘winning draw’.

Reports are intended to convey an entertaining picture of the day’s play. No disrespect is meant, but if on occasion we misjudge matters, please take it in the friendly and humorous spirit in which it is intended.

Sunday June 22nd, vs Kensington CC

Kensington 154 all out (A Rehman 4-25, Josh Bailey 4-45);    Great Missenden Pelicans 105 all out (S Tickler 46)

LOST by 49 runs

Sunday June 22nd, vs The Bushmen

Great Missenden Pelicans 196 for 6 (J Greenwood 47, R Kankate 35, J Rehman 25);    The Bushmen 97-6

Match Drawn

The Pelicans’ unbeaten run was extended to three games. Sadly, for the second game in a row, timed cricket played against us as those Bushmen dug in for a draw.
Unprecedented scenes greeted the Pelicans when the Skipper walked back to the pavilion, as a THIRD winning toss in a row enabled the Pelicans to have first hit on a baking afternoon.

With a good track to bat on, Rob and the Skipper made steady if unspectacular progress until the Skipper edged one to first slip. That said first slip was not very good, but the ball bounced off him and into the arms of a gleeful second slip.

First drop allowed Bailey and Bailey to join forces in the middle, sadly not for long.

Rob showed in no uncertain terms that scampering for a sneaky single is not his strong point. More precisely, it’s not his hamstring’s strong point as he was forced to wave the white flag – helped off the field by a phalanx of Pelicans.

Asad mentioned something about Deep Heat, the doctors in the building shook their heads and put out a call for Ice, Ice Baby.

Undeterred, Dave took up the baton and spanked a few sweet blows. But just when he looked set to cut loose, he picked out a fielder at leg slip and was forced to depart.

JG and Rag came together and there was no let up in the tempo. JG, taking to his No. 4 role like a duck to water, crashed the ball all round the meadow. Rag went one better by spanking the ball out of the Meadow.

A big stand took the Pelis to a position of authority, which allowed the middle order to open their shoulders. So out stepped Joan.

Now, as we well know Joan is the possessor of one of cricket’s finest forward defensives. In the weeks since his last appearance, it appears Joan has added other strings to his bow, strings such as lofted on drives, square cuts and flicks over midwicket. It was going so well, until he went back to his trusty forward defensive, and was bowled.

Still, there was time for a bit of father and son comedy batting from Rehman and Rehman. One was keen on running twos, the other less so. Dad, as you can well understand, won that argument.

Jalil departed three balls from the end, which gave Asad the chance to give Adam some running practice, and the Pelicans took tea with a wholly respectable 196 on the board.

The Bushmen have forged a reputation for their stoic approach to batting. Nothing’s changed in the 12 months since their last visit.

Josh spent 10 overs bowling at a man who simply refused to use his bat for anything other than a block.

It’s fair to say 17 runs after 13 overs had them on the back foot in this run chase.

It was a chase that never really took off. Josh got himself a couple of wickets, Asad likewise.

Joan, we’re not sure it was Joan given his batting exploits, cast further doubt on his person by pulling off a run out that did for the Bushmen skipper.

Hopes were raised of a Pelican victory, more so when the one Bushman prepared to take on the bowling launched one high in the air. It went that high that any number of Pelicans could have taken responsibility, but that was left to the bowler. Asad set himself, but appeared to be put off by the laughter coming from mid off (Jalil was at mid off for those wanting to know) and the chance went begging.

The Skipper shelled one later on, as did Toobes, but in truth it made little difference as the Bushmen dug in for a very boring draw.

Reports are intended to convey an entertaining picture of the day’s play. No disrespect is meant, but if on occasion we misjudge matters, please take it in the friendly and humorous spirit in which it is intended.

Sunday June 15th, vs The Fiddlers

Great Missenden Pelicans 204-8 dec (Rob Bailey 51, Alex Livie 51);    The Fiddlers 138-9 (Raghu Kankate 4-10, Asad Rehman 4-40)

Match drawn

Sunday June 8th, vs Wendover

Wendover 185 (Asad Rehman 5-37, Josh Bailey 3-39);    Great Missenden Pelicans 186-6 (Livie 71, D Bailey 39*, J Greenwood 34)

Won by 4 wickets

Sunday June 1st, vs Lord Gnomes

Great Missenden Pelicans 161 (D Bailey 52, R Frank 31);    Lord Gnomes 163-1

Lost by 9 wickets

Sunday May 25th, vs JB Cricket

JB Cricket 136 all out (A Rehman 4-20);    Great Missenden Pelicans 130 all out

Lost by 6 runs

Sunday May 18th, vs Hyde Heath

Great Missenden Pelicans 199 for 8 (J Greenwood 58, A Livie 39, C Nicholls 36);    Hyde Heath 164 all out (J Greenwood 4-30)

Won by 35 runs

Chalk a W in the results column, as the Pelis are up and running for the season. With the sun beating down, the Pelicans survived a mid-game wobble to claim a resounding 35-run victory at Hyde Heath.
Hyde Heath looked anything but a cricket pitch as we turned up fashionably early to see the groundsman marking out a strip. With no sign of an early start, we did the sensible thing and headed to The Plough for a pint. That proved to be the first error of the day as we were served what can only be described as a pint of drip tray by a landlord who had an uncanny resemblance to Rab C Nesbitt.

With thirst not remotely quenched, we ambled over the common to find a genuinely good pitch. Their captain clearly did not think the pitch was that good as he won the toss (obviously) and elected to field, on a baking-hot day, with EIGHT men.

The Skipper did the decent thing and went and stood in the field for a few overs while a search party was dispatched around Hyde Heath for the missing men.

The late comers arrived in dribs and drabs, by which point Clive and JG had set about some ropey old bowling with relish. So good was the opening stand, the Pelicans were dreaming of a century opening partnership when Clive fell lbw with the stand at 98.

The over rate was pedestrian to say the least but a half century from JG had the Pelicans dreaming of a big score.

A rapid-fire fall of wickets knocked the Pelicans back a shade and sparked the previously mute Hyde Heath mob into a state of chippy hysteria.

The Pelicans shrugged off the sledging to reach a respectable 199 for 8. It might not sound a huge amount for two and a half hours of batting, but Hyde Heath sent down a mere 37 overs in that time.

Tea was taken, and an excellent tea at that, with the Pelicans in confident mood.

Toobes, with a spring in his step after bringing mini Toobes No. 5 into the world this week, took to his task with relish and made the breakthrough in the opening over.

No. 3 (he was one who arrived late looking a little worse for wear) had sobered up in the two hours in the field and had the look of a genuine batsman. He spanked the ball around with relish but just as he looked well set, he played all round a straight one from JG.

Wickets fell at regular intervals; the Duck took a catch despite the best efforts of Sushil to put him off, and all was rosy in the Pelican garden.

But it would not be a Pelican Sunday without a spanner being thrown in the works. This, though, was less a spanner, more a kick in the spuds. While celebrating a wicket, the Duck gave Clive a friendly kick in the plums.

Pelicans went back to their fielding positions ready for the new batsman (who turned out to be Kaz’s brother). Kaz 2 scooped a ball up in the air to point where Clive was stood (sorry let me rephrase that: he scooped the ball up to where Clive SHOULD HAVE BEEN stood). Unfortunately, Clive was sat on the ground complaining about a pain in his crown jewels, and the chance went begging.

That sparked a spell of truly awful Pelican cricket. Misfields, overthrows and a nine-ball Kaz over which went for 22 brought Hyde Heath back to life.

Hyde Heath’s No. 6 set about spanking the ball all round the ground and for a good while it looked like we would be in for an extremely tense finish.

A couple of dodgy decisions from the umpire added to the drama, but the No. 6 was run out on 82, Butch took an absolute one-handed worldie and JG knocked over the final man to clinch the win.

Reports are intended to convey an entertaining picture of the day’s play. No disrespect is meant, but if on occasion we misjudge matters, please take it in the friendly and humorous spirit in which it is intended.

Sunday May 11th, vs Ibstone

Great Missenden Pelicans 154 for 9 (R Kankate 28);    Ibstone 158-8 (J Greenwood 4-30)

Lost by 1 wicket

For the second week in a row, the Pelis lost out in an agonisingly tense finish, Ibstone’s ten men edging home in the last over with their final pair at the wicket. But on a blustery, grey day at the end of a pretty wet week, to get a game at all was a good result; even better to get such a close one, contested in good spirit.
Invited to bat after losing the toss (of course), it was quickly apparent that wicket and outfield suggested application rather than free scoring. So much so, that when Adam, sharing a last-wicket partnership, slammed a 4 through mid-on, the cry went up “thank goodness there’s something for the match report!”

That’s a little unfair, as several Pelis batted pretty well. The openers set the tone for eight overs, Rob Bailey moving along quite smoothly – apart one ball taken on the bridge of his nose – and JG playing himself in. When Rob perished LBW, JG picked up the pace, and with David Bailey looking to punish anything in his arc, the 50 was reached with 1 wicket down. When JG and Bails fell 1 run apart, and Sushil soon after, Joan and Iceman took things along steadily, before Rags brought some necessary acceleration, belting two sixes and three fours in his 28. And Adam and Toobes added valuable runs at the end.

In hindsight, six Pelis batsmen got themselves in, and if any one of them had pushed on, it would have made the difference. But it was that sort of day, and there was general agreement that 154 was a competitive score.

A first-class tea was laid on at short notice by Lorna and Rob Bailey, and enjoyed by all.

Ibstone’s innings got off to a poor start as the Pelis hit them with the old rope-a-dope. Number two batsman, facing his first ball, edged along the ground to second slip where Iceman, ruminating his tea, allowed it to dribble by. Adam rumbled off in pursuit and the batsmen, turning for a second, perceived no danger, discovering too late that Adam’s arm is one of the strongest in the team.

Almost equally ludicrous was the second wicket. A skied catch headed straight to Niron at mid-off. All that was required was for Niron to be allowed to concentrate on the matter in had. But Sushil, from 25 yards away at mid-on, knew that he was the man for the job. “I’ve got it, leave it, I’ve got it” he screamed, heading towards the inevitable Toobesesque collision. Niron, with characteristic Caribbean cool, incredibly took the catch with Sushil climbing all over him.

This ushered in a period in which the remaining Ibstone opener and number 4 seemed to take the match away from us. Sushil failed to find the rhythm of last week; JG initially struggled with his length, a couple of catches were spilled, and less than 40 runs were needed before the partnership was broken.

Suddenly, however, the Pelis found their catching hands: Bails, standing up to JG, removed the opener; Iceman took the hard-hitting number 5 at mid-wicket (for the second week, modesty forbids full description, so let Toobes’s observation suffice, that he had never seen the Iceman move so quick, nor stoop so low); Toobes plucked one out of the air on the mid-wicket boundary; Rob took one at backward square, and Bails an inside edge off Rags. When JG bowled their number 9 for his fourth wicket, Ibstone were down to their last pair with 5 needed.

With 5 overs remaining, time wasn’t a factor, or so it seemed. A single and an edged four through gully brought the scores level. Then began a sequence of 23 dot balls from JG and Rags, the Pelis on their toes, the Ibbers knowing they also had no margin for error. Finally, with just 4 balls remaining, one took his life in his hands and drove past the bowler.

Perhaps we should record that a catch did go a-begging with the scores level, but since the perpetrator took the Pelis from a likely 120 to more than 150, and put in a great stint of bowling, he should remain anonymous…

Reports are intended to convey an entertaining picture of the day’s play. No disrespect is meant, but if on occasion we misjudge matters, please take it in the friendly and humorous spirit in which it is intended.

Sunday May 4th, vs Ballinger

Ballinger 177-9;    Great Missenden Pelicans 175 all out (D Bailey 57, H Patel 33, R Kankate 32)

Lost by 2 runs

There’s something about Ballinger that sends Toobes’s spacial awareness awry. Last year it was a bone-breaking (and award-winning) collision with the Duck. This year, with the game on a knife-edge, the opposing keeper was taken out as he sought to take an otherwise facile catch. In fact, this was one of THREE reprieves for our Northern hero – the most in a day since the Good Friday Agreement.
On a beautiful day for cricket, the Pelis blooded three debutants, James Bailey, Robert Frank and Sushil’s brother Hitesh, all of whom played a full part. Some 60 years spanned the oldest and youngest Pelis, and Ballinger turned out a similar blend of youth and experience.

Opting to bat first, Ballinger built their innings around one of their openers and second top scorer, Mr Extras. Mr Extras was helped along by Kunaal, bowling rapidly from the bottom end. But variable accuracy and variable bounce placed Bails rather than the batsmen in the corridor of uncertainty. However, Kunaal did get their number 3 LBW (good shout, Bails!) and also roughed up their number 4 with a direct hit to the helmet.

The Ballinger innings proved to be one of two halves. The first was dominated by their opener, untroubled in defence (though rumoured to have offered a sharp chance off Toobes to gully before scoring), and putting away the bad balls. The younger Pelis, James, Robert and Kunaal all distinguished themselves in the field, but it’s fair to say that we were toiling somewhat.

REPRIEVE #1: Toil looked set to turn to trouble when the opener, on 63, turned one of Hitesh’s leg spinners straight to Toobes at square leg. Toobes took three bites at the catch, but ultimately shelled it. Two balls later, a straight short ball invited the pull from the opener, but kept low and Toobes’s drop had cost just one run – half the margin of defeat as it turned out.

After the opener’s departure it was a different game, with the Pelis exerting good pressure. Catches were taken (including one at slip which modesty prevents this writer describing in its full magnificence), run-outs made. By tea Ballinger were 177-9, a gettable total, but requiring some application.

The Pelis openers PG and Iceman aspired to an opening stand to match their impressive 126 years. Sadly it wasn’t to be, though PG hinted at glories past, with a stand-and-deliver straight four and delicate leg glance. After that, the Pelis innings more or less followed the same path as Ballinger’s. Bails set about the bowling with a will, and after a circumspect beginning, Hitesh came to the party. The hundred was raised with just two wickets down, and the Pelis appeared to be galloping to victory.

A mini-slump then claimed Bails, Hitesh and Sushil, and at 120-5 our hopes rested largely on Kunaal and Rags. Last year, their partnership against The Bushmen was described as “some of the finest father and son spankage to have been seen for many a year”. This year they gave us a tantalising glimpse of victory, initially together until Kunaal was bowled behind his legs by Ballinger’s young leggie, then with Rags marshalling the tail. Special mention must be made of James Bailey: history will say he scored a duck, but it was probably the finest duck seen on the Meadow – apart from the Duck himself, of course. His partnership with Rags was worth 21 and took the Pelis to 172-7, and the very brink of victory. However, having shepherded James expertly, it was Rags who perished trying to retain strike with a tight second run.

Five to tie, six to win, the responsibility now fell on Toobes. The Ballies were up for it, scenting a win from the jaws of defeat. Surely, though, they hadn’t reckoned with the shovel – just a couple would suffice.

REPRIEVE #2 (controversial) and REPRIEVE #3: a single took us within one shovel of a tie. Then, facing their skipper, Toobes sent a steepling edge vertically upwards. “Keeper!” was the cry, but as he attempted to move into position, he found Toobes’s backside an impenetrable barrier. Truth to tell, there was ample time while the ball was in the air to make adjustments, but it went into the gloves and out again. Meaningful looks were directed at the umpire, but to the Ballies’ credit, there were no hystrionics or appeals. Two balls later, Toobes repeated the shot, this time the ball travelling little further than the other end of the wicket. This time the bowler put him down – surely this would be Toobes’s day?

But no. Toobes was unable to shepherd our two brave tyros, James and Robert, as expertly as Rags, and the Pelis fell an agonising two runs short.

Reports are intended to convey an entertaining picture of the day’s play. No disrespect is meant, but if on occasion we misjudge matters, please take it in the friendly and humorous spirit in which it is intended.

Sunday April 27th, vs Little Marlow

Match Cancelled

Monday April 21st, vs The Nomads

Nomads 228-8 (N Jeffrey 3-37);    Great Missenden Pelicans 142 all out (D Bailey 46, R Bailey 42)

Lost by 86 runs

The Nomads wandered onto the Meadow for a rare Monday fixture, enlivened by a helicopter landing, a firm stance by the Bailey brothers in the face of the playground bully, and last year’s most improved player catapulting himself to the head of the bowling averages…
A pretty pukka wandering cricket club, The Nomads contest around 60 fixtures and several overseas tours per year, with an annual dinner at the East India Club, St James’s Square. Thus when the account of the 2014 Pelis’ season is written, we may well look back on The Nomads as one of our strongest oppositions. We hope so, anyway…

Not that the Pelis folded, not in the field anyway. Unusually this match was a 40-over format. Toobes kicked off from the top end, bowling his eight straight through for a characteristically miserly 1-23, his wicket a peach of a slip catch by the skipper. Josh made a pretty good job with his eight overs from the bottom end, 1-43, removing the Nomads skipper with a fast straight ball onto his pads.

That was probably it as regards conventional dismissals. Most of the remainder had something of the bizarre – Niron’s ‘slower ball’ tempting the batsman into playing five seconds early, a wide long hop slapped to cover, a run out on the third run, started as the ball was already on its way to the keeper, and so on. Against our normal Sunday opposition a run of such dismissals would start to open up the tail, but these Nomads all seemed to bat, even the big opening bowler who clubbed two sixes to open his account.

Still, The Pelis stuck at the task and it was Niron who made his mark. “Take me off if they get hold of me, skip” was his pessimistic comment when asked to turn his arm over. But so effective was he, that he bowled TWO SPELLS, returning 3-37. Yes, there was an element of bamboozlement to each of his wickets, or more properly ‘nironation’, but for now, last year’s ‘most improved player’ sits proudly atop the bowling stats.

228-8 off their 40 overs was likely to be a challenging target if the Nomads’ bowling matched their batting. However, by drinks, at 93-2 off 20 overs, The Pelis were still very much in it. Clive was unfortunate to see the ball roll slowly back onto his stumps after a solid defensive block, but the Bailey brothers then built steadily. Handbags were exchanged at one point when, after two loud caught-behind appeals had been denied, a bouncer was fired down at David. This didn’t seem to faze the batsman, who observed that it had been “somewhat predictable”; but Rob, at the non-striker’s end, explained to the bowler what would happen if he was beastly again to his brother – basically, it involved Rob’s bat and the bowler’s head.

Sadly, this proved to be the most combative part of the Pelis’ batting effort. After drinks, it all rather fell away. After the departures of the Baileys, Tickles came and went, Alex shouldered arms to a straight one, Butch departed in similarly unlucky fashion to Clive, and only Iceman, enjoying some additional net practice, stuck around for long.

This was a prime example of the disadvantage of the 40-over format, with nothing much to play for in the last 10 overs. With a draw still on the table, the Pelis lower order might have displayed more purpose, challenging the Nomads to winkle them out. Maybe fanciful, but surely better than the game meandering to its inevitable conclusion.

Reports are intended to convey an entertaining picture of the day’s play. No disrespect is meant, but if on occasion we misjudge matters, please take it in the friendly and humorous spirit in which it is intended.

Sunday April 20th, vs Fleet Street Strollers

Great Missenden Pelicans 90 (A Livie 51);    Fleet Street Strollers 42-0

Match abandoned as a draw

The Pelicans were cruelly denied the opportunity to push for victory as rain brought an early end to the season opener with the Fleet Street Strollers.
Some would say the Pelicans were well placed when rain swept in. There is, however, an alternative school of thought.

In the past six months the skipper has done little to brush up on his tossing skills, as such we were duly asked to have first hit on a green top (there were instances of brown in the wicket but that was actually moss).

Things started so well. JG thought it was a 20/20 as he spanked 11 off the first over and ran up and down the wicket like a blue-arsed fly.

The blue-arsed fly routine proved to be Sushil’s downfall, as JG called him for what can only be described as a suicidal single. It was the sort of single that had Clive been called for it, he would have leant on his bat and boomed NO!. Sushil is not Clive, and set off for the run. Let’s just say a photofinish was not required.

Out strode Tickles, a fully primed Tickles with precisely zero minutes of net practice under his belt. But boy did he look good, until he missed a straight one and departed for a duck.

JG and the Skipper set about a rebuilding operation and it looked pretty good until JG spanked one to a bloke who proved to be quite a handy fielder.

The Captain’s Wildcard came, and promptly went, as did Niron who in fairness was undone by a nicely flighted leg spinner that took out his leg stump.

The Skippper and Toobes put on a nice partnership and all seemed well until the Skipper idiotically spooned one straight up in the air.

Alex King made the sort of debut Pelicans are known for: a duck, and it sort of went downhill from there.

The Duck had the chance to shake off his moniker after stroking one beautifully down to long-on. It was such a glorious shot that he had Adam simply stood and admired it, and elected not to run. The Duck departed the following ball – for a duck.

Adam followed soon afterwards to leave Josh high and dry, which prompted a flouncy bit of bat throwing from our young tyro.

Still, at 90 all out (or 98 depending on which scorer was to be believed) a handful – a very small handful – of Pelicans felt we had the Strollers exactly where we wanted them.

With the threat of rain (and the fact we’d been dismissed so swiftly tea wasn’t actually ready) we went straight out for 10 overs.

In that 10 overs not an awful lot happened, aside from one of the worst miscarriages of justice in cricket history. Toobes bowled a straight one (hard to believe I know) and the Fleet Street opener merely shouldered arms and padded up. The appeal was more a cry of celebration so plumb was he, but the umpire shook his head. The umpire later admitted that he thought he’d made a mistake by turning it down but did not want to look foolish by then sticking up his finger. He was politely told that he looked far more foolish by not giving it out.

Tea was taken under a steady drizzle.

Pelican confidence soared as we hatched a plan to claim victory over a steaming bowl of chilli, but were denied the chance as drizzle turned to persistent rain and stumps were pulled up.

(Note: Some parts of that final paragraph may not actually be true)

Onwards and upwards, and we take our unbeaten record into battle against the Nomads later today. And as I type, it is bright sunshine outside so rain surely can’t save the oppo this time.

Reports are intended to convey an entertaining picture of the day’s play. No disrespect is meant, but if on occasion we misjudge matters, please take it in the friendly and humorous spirit in which it is intended.