Sunday October 4th, vs Nomads
Nomads 150-9 (Raghu Kankate 3-35) Great Missenden Pelicans 151-4 (Kunaal Kankate 106*)
WON by 6 wickets
Sunday September 27th, vs Kensington
Kensington 201 all out (Hasan Arif 4-41, Raghu Kankate 4-61) Great Missenden Pelicans 185-8 (Kunaal Kankate 94, Clive Nicholls 40)
Sunday September 20th, vs Hit or Miss
Sunday September 13th, vs Golden Age
Great Missenden Pelicans 244-6 (Kunaal Kankate 140) Golden Age 130-7 (Asad Rehman 4-38)
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 6th, vs Ley Hill
Great Missenden Pelicans 268-4 (Kunaal Kankate 92, David Bailey 89) Ley Hill 158-8 (Alex Livie 3-6)
WON by 110 runs
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 30th, vs Bledlow Village
Bledlow Village 195 (Raghu Kankate 6-31) Great Missenden Pelicans 158 all out (Tony Harris 39, Kunaal Kankate 36)
LOST by 37 runs
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 23rd, vs Widmer End
Widmer End 131-6 Great Missenden Pelicans 132-2 (Kunaal Kankate 56)
WON by 8 wickets
Sunday August 16th, vs Hit or Miss
Great Missenden Pelicans 149-9 (David Bailey 42) Hit or Miss 154-2
LOST by 8 wickets
Sunday August 9th, vs Middleton Stoney
Middleton Stoney 157-8 (Gov Sankar 6-33) Great Missenden Pelicans 161-3 (Adam Crossley 81*)
WON by 7 wickets
Hasan opened the bowling for the Pelis and without offering Middleton Stoney a second of stability his beautifully delivered opener screamed down the hill swinging ever inwards past the defending batsman removing his off stump to the delight of the packed crowd… well 15 more than normal – and a golden duck began the day.
Maintaining the attack up the hill Govi Sankar, returning after almost 3 years absence, showed the Pelis that he has spent that time getting a golden Lords badge sewed onto his whites and working on his pace. A couple of overs later and Govi had removed four of the Stoneymen with an edge to Tony “Stumps” Harris, a high up and under again taken by the wicket keeper, a deceitful beamer to trap the number 4 batsman LBW followed by a huge high ball taken supremely well by Kunaal out at point.
Hasan was unfortunate not to claim another wicket early on with a ball that whisked inside the bat missing an edge by a hair’s width and the wicket by a hair on the other side. No time for Paddington bear-esque behaviour this week though as Hasan continued to keep the run rate down as the Pelis ploughed on with superb fielding, much self sledging (mainly from Skip who seemed to have been on a course mid-week) and a belief that another victory was just around the corner.
With the opposition languishing at 25 for 5 and the Pelis feeling like England on a Thursday at Trent Bridge Skipper made the moral call to remove his metaphorical foot from the throat of the Stoneymen. In came Paul Howard who demonstrated that he isn’t bound by the conventional width of the wicket but once he found his line he kept the Stoneymen busy up the hill whilst Niron was providing all sorts of difficulty for the 6 and 7 batsmen. However it didn’t take long for the Stoneymen to start edging the score upwards and a huge cheer was raised from the boundary as they surpassed Australia’s 60.
Once the score had become more reasonable and the number 6 was up towards his half century Govi whispered in hushed tones that he had never had a 5 wicket haul… ever. The decision was made to bring Paul off and within the over Govi clean bowled the number 7 before an edge added another catch to “Stumps” bringing his mighty Pelis return to 6 wickets for 33 runs (apparently Josh wouldn’t have been able to do that well).
Kunaal replaced Niron and began to tease the batsmen and make “Stumps” realise that gloves just aren’t enough for the wicketkeeper but sadly no wicket thus it was Hasan who was brought back to encourage a catch to relative newbie Adam Crossley (more about him later) and suddenly the Stoneymen were on the precipice. Sadly with minutes to go and Crossley brought into the attack the Stoneymen remained defiant even when a looping high ball into the sun was launched, under it the ever watchful Niron made a sort of Cook-esque palm at the ball before realising that he wasn’t England skipper and it fell just outside of his waiting hands.
After a delightful tea from Laura… and John there was lull as the afternoon heat built up and the desire to have a short nap spread through both teams. The cakes did the job though and with a rush of sugar age differences provided no boundary to getting the game underway again and lots to play for.
With the Stoneymen 157 for 8 the Pelis were feeling confident of a strong batting display and in strode Clive and Tony to open. Tony clearly weary from the afternoon heat managed to turn a loose ball on to his wicket with surprising skill and so managed the weary walk back for a duck. However this was all part of the great Pelis plan as Adam Crossley stepped forward to be counted and after Clive was out LBW shortly afterwards for 6 he was joined at the crease by Asad nursing a wrist injury (don’t ask how… he is 18).
The opening Stoneymen bowlers kept the run rate down with a fantastic display of precision bowling but the Crossley / Rehman partnership was a fruitful and fortuitious one on many occasions with no less than 3 dropped catches for Adam and a close call for Asad along the way. Picking their targets both batsmen played diligently with some superb strokes and despite his wonky wrist Asad began picking up steam as the bowlers changed.
With Asad on 35 controversy descended when the umpire (Stumps) deemed that a ball may have hit Asad’s gloves before being smartly taken by the wicketkeeper. If the technology existed at Nags Head Meadow then Asad’s claims that it hit his thigh pad (backed up by the square leg umpire) could well have left him at the crease and another half century would have beckoned. Sadly the call stood and Stumps was £20 better off from Jalil for keeping his son grounded.
With the scoreboard ticking over nicely Kunaal joined Adam at the crease and immediately the shots from both batsman became more majestic as 6’s and 4’s flowed with gay abandon. One particularly massive hit from Adam even clattered into the large oak near the pavilion and returned to the ground inside the boundary – should it have been caught there may have been some deliberation over the rules but thankfully common sense prevailed and both hands were raised by umpire Clive.
This may have spurred Adam on somewhat as his confidence grew; one four took out a baby doll’s stroller where it then lay crumpled like a vision from a futuristic, apocalyptic scene… much to the child owner’s despair. Not one to be phased by such things a six shortly followed that almost saw Susan sent to hospital as it bounced just past her and on towards the tennis club. It certainly made for an interesting introduction to El Supremo after the game.
With the Pelis cruising nothing really looked like changing. Kunaal brought the game to a close with a beautiful driven 4 and 7.1 overs to spare. Kunaal finished on 25 whilst Adam Crossley had knocked a wonderful 81 and shown great Peli spirit throughout.
A wonderful day of cricket, a great result and a BBQ to follow from PG and Susan left the Pelis and particularly the Skipper in great spirits. Everyone had batted and bowled and in someway contributed to the win.
The Pelis look forward to next Sunday’s grudge match against Hit or Miss with two straight wins under our belt and returning players who will have to fight for their place!
Sunday August 2nd, vs Sarratt
Great Missenden Pelicans 205 for 7 (Asad Rehman 64, Tony Harris 49, Raghu Kankate 31) Sarratt 97 all out (Raghu Kankate 3-23)
WON by 108 runs
The Grand Eminence then pulled his first rabbit from the hat and threw Tony Harris into the fray. He and Jalil started brightly, but a couple lifted off a length from Mock Jagger and Jalil threw his arms at one from the other end and skied it. One ball later and the nameless Number 3 rejoined him in the pavilion after an ugly edgy drive to deep extra cover. I blame my hangover, which was directly brought about by the lack of spirit in the Aussie cricket team. That brought Asad to the crease with a point to prove. And so he did, assisted by Tony who was having a blast.
The score was moved on from 12 for 2 to 120 odd. All the Sarratt bowlers looked sharp, but the prodigious bounce was encouraging them to bowl too short. Asad pulled them to all parts, Tony chose the behind square on the off side quadrant for his runs. At one point they had 7 men in that area, and when their fielder proclaimed that he only had one shot, I had to also explain to him that he only had one leg. Which shut him up.
Finally they took off their good bowlers and replaced them with pie chucking filth, which immediately did for Tony and then his replacement Paul. Brutally Tony had reached 49, but I can comfortably say it was the most cheerful innings of the season, every delivery and run enjoyed to its fullest. By contrast, Asad the precocious princess was kicking himself for every missed half chance and only getting 6 an over. Mock finally had him caught in the covers for 64 runs, which left us at 140 for 5 and in an interesting position. Was this a great launch pad for 200 or the start of a collapse to 160?
Rags and Niron had the answer, the former accelerating through the final overs with increasing recklessness, with Niron playing like we had 320 overs to fill interspersed with the occasional flowing drive. Between them, including some extras and a 5 run penalty for the ball hitting a helmet, we approached 200 before Rags was bowled for a gloriously entertaining 31. This allowed our Benevolent Dictator up to a couple of overs to express himself, but he only used one ball to do that and then let Tiger do his thing. For nought not out. Niron successfully achieved his red-inker, and 14 runs to boot.
205 looked like a good total, on far from the best track and against far from the worst bowling. But not an insurmountable total. Then, the greatest challenge faced the soon to be fielding Pelicans side. A veritable feast laid on by Paul and Ray to test the resolve of our discipline – it took every sinew of self-restraint not to go back for fourths….a tremendous spread!
Our Great Leader had seen enough talent in Tony to hand him the keeping gloves. (Is “Stumps” an inappropriate nickname for him?) Having got his eye in by missing the first ball for four byes, he then showed us a masterclass of wicket-keeping and throwing his body in the way of anything that needed stopping.
The next decision for the Harbinger of Abundance? Give the slope and following wind to the fit as a butchers dog Hasan or the hungover and physically crumbling middleaged hairdresser? The latter, knowing that his uphill bowling spell would be short, had an LBW first ball and a wild hoick gave him a bowled an over after. At 40 for 2 off ten overs, Hasan was bowling beautifully without luck. Rags came on up the hill and immediately created magic and possibly Pelicans history. With HIS first ball he got a bowled. The next batsman then left two balls and missed a third, which created much chatter in the field about a hitless wicket maiden. Rags promptly bowled the fella to record a “double wicket hitless maiden”. Legend.
Then – controversy. Their new bat smashed a drive through extra cover and, watching Kaz heroically chasing after the ball calculated that he hadn’t got a cat in hell’s chance of overtaking it. However, the ball (appeared to) stop about 2 feet short of the fence, and Kaz hurled it back. When I say “appeared to”, I mean “did”. The fast retreating batman hadn’t actually made a run, but the umpire had already signalled four. After a bit of confusion, the umpire’s call stood and play was allowed to continue with Sarratt four runs to the good.
It is safe to say that bowler Hasan was not pleased. I’m underplaying it. The very next ball, the stumps were shattered, and the batsman was sent back to the pavilion by Hasan with a furious boundary signal and “Is that one four too…?” The batsman was in possession of a bat and a six stone weight advantage (he was 12 stone) so we were lucky he was bewildered and not antagonised. Quite why Hasan felt that the batsman had been at fault for the episode is hard to comprehend, but when the red mist fell he reacted like a true Pelican and committed to apologise.
A sharp catch from Paul at mid-on removed their dangerous captain, and now Sarratt were deep in trouble. Kaz replaced Hasan, and despite complaining of chest pains and going beetroot managed four overs of bowling which included a bowled. Asad up the hill picked up a couple, and then we were in the tail. Who could remove the last pair? The Grand Commander chucked the ball to Tiger. Seven balls later it was all over, Sarratt demolished and the Pelicans left to drink the sweet nectar of success.
Everyone either batted or bowled, and a great day was had by all.
Tuesday July 26th, vs Knotty Green/Bovingdon
Sunday July 19th, vs JB Cricket
Great Missenden Pelicans 102 all out JB Cricket 104 for 8 (Josh Bailey 3-33, Asad Rehman 3-36)
LOST by 2 wickets
And, more importantly, they are the only team to inflict defeat on Hasan. Yes, you read it correct, we had Hasan in our ranks and still lost.
It wasn’t exactly a high-scoring affair as on a pitch that looked like it had been crawling through the desert for a month desperately in search of water, to no avail, batting was a shade difficult.
Your 87-year-old grandma’s heels are supposed to be crusty and disintegrate on contact, not a cricket pitch. But that it was what was served up and it proved too tough for a raft of Pelican batsmen.
Only Josh, who had seen one rear up from a half-volley length and take his dad on the nose, truly came to terms with the conditions and he biffed a few lusty blows.
Aided by Niron, who i can confirm possesses a lovely flick off the hip, and Tiger, who has developed a glorious cover drive in his time away from the Meadow, Josh took the Pelicans to 102 all out.
While the Pelican batting debacle was taking place, a glis glis set about wreaking his own bit of havoc. Bold as brass, the bushy tailed beast gave Bails and Susan the runaround in the clubhouse.
Reinforcements were sent for so the Skipper handed Tiger a bat and asked him to unleash his own form of justice. Sadly, Tiger only uses his cover drive on cricket balls so it was left to Mrs Vanderpeet to catch the beast in a humane trap.
A humane trap, Nic, come on how can you call yourself an Australian?
It’s still to be confirmed whether the glis glis was released into the wild, so when Nic VDP turns up next week with some “pork scratchings” I won’t be the first in the queue.
Back to the cricket and the Pelicans were shot out well before tea, so JB had to have a bat before we could feast on a sumptuous spread (no glis glis were harmed in the making of this tea).
There’s a belief that Mitchell Johnson bowls well after scoring runs, so the Skipper thought if it’s good enough for Mitch it’s good enough for Josh (Tall, dark hair, has trouble growing a decent moustache, has been in Australia in the past six months. It ticked a lot of boxes). It sort of worked, as he bowled with good pace and accuracy.
At the other end, it’s fair to say Asad Rehman was fired up. I’m not quite sure what those JB boys had done, but Asad was like a lion hunting his prey. The previously absent quicker ball was brought out of hibernation (it didn’t work and merely drew the occasional look of anger from Bails) while one or two verbals were dished out as well.
Josh and Asad chipped away with regular wickets to keep the Pelicans in the hunt, but JB batted fairly deep and they found a vital partnership to get over the line.
Heads were hung in shame, but Hasan looked ready to take on Joey Chestnut in the game of competitive eating after the end of Ramadan so he consoled himself with a packet of cheese and onion crisps. The rest of us had a beer.
Onward and upward for Knotty Green (they thrashed us last time, so no pressure).
Tuesday July 14th, vs Stowe Templars
Stowe Templars 175 all out (V Patel 4-33) Great Missenden Pelicans 171 all out (C Nicholls 64*)
LOST by 4 runs
Sunday July 12th, vs Wendover
Wendover 223-9 Great Missenden Pelicans 209-5 (A Rehman 79)
Monday July 6th, vs Northwood
Northwood 170 all out Great Missenden Pelicans 130 all out (A Livie 36)
LOST by 40 runs
Sunday July 5th, vs The Lee
The Lee 192 all out (J Bailey 3-13) Great Missenden Pelicans 195 for 5 (D Bailey 114*)
WON by 5 wickets
Sunday June 28th, vs Roving Reporters
Roving Reporters 186 all out (R Kankate 5-33) Great Missenden Pelicans 191 for 6 (A Livie 89*)
WON by 4 wickets
Getting back to the talk of hitting, there wasn’t a lot of that going on as Toobes and Hasan were like a pair of misers counting their money. Nothing was given away. While Toobes was bounding down the hill and probing on off stump, Hasan was delivering hooping inswingers that the batsmen struggled to play. The hooping inswingers would have been a worry for many a wicket keeper, but not for debutant glovesman Tony Harris who flew around behind the stumps with relish and more often than not came up with the ball.
The Pelicans were firmly on top, but the openers could not carry on for ever so reinforcements were called for. Asad Rehman was tossed the ball, with the youngster fully fit once again after whingeing about his back for a few weeks. It’s just as well he was fit and well as the Skipper asked him to twirl away for 14 overs.
At the other end, the Skipper went in search of a couple of tearaway fast bowlers. None were available, so he settled on Tickles and Rags. Charging down the hill, Tickles – when he was not shuffling the field and confusing Niron to the extent that he was so frazzled he let a catch slip through his fingers at square leg – helped himself to three wickets.
Asad and Tickles softened up the Reporters, allowing Rags to step forward and claim his second five-for of the season to roll out the opposition shortly before tea for 186.
A typically high standard Susan tea fuelled the Pelicans for the fight and it gave the Skipper time to find a couple of openers. The odd shake of head (Adam) when the offer was made left the Skipper to opt for a bit of family bonding.
Out strode Rehman and Rehman, a blend of youth and experience and the scene was set for something special. The partnership lasted four overs, as Asad was undone by a nice inswinger from the handy bowler at the top end.
Buoyed by his five wickets, Rags strode out in a mood to cause carnage. He did just that with a flurry of boundaries but was cut short by a smart catch.
Niron looked determined to put his fielding mishap behind him as he bounded to the wicket. The Reporters had not read the script and Niron trudged back, very few players do disconsolate better than Niron, for a duck.
When Paul H fell, the chipper Reporters got even more chipper. Talk in their huddle centred on whether the Pelicans would continue the chase or shut up shop. Such talk merely acted as a spur to Tickles, who once again moved gloriously into the 20s. And then got out.
The Skipper was in need of a friend. He found one in Hasan. Defending an unbeaten record for the Pelicans (he tells us about it every game), this unflappable teenager worked the ball around superbly to bring the target within reach.
Bowling changes were made in a bid to make the breakthrough, but the Pelicans were not for shifting and victory was secured with 15 balls remaining – leaving Adam to nurse another bout of pad rash.
Sunday June 21st, vs The Bushmen
Great Missenden Pelicans 257-9 (A Rehman 69* D Bailey 59) The Bushmen 105 all out (H Arif 3-8)
WON by 152 runs
Ancient history? Maybe, but two of the Bushmen that turned up to play the Pelis were on the planet in 1942. And in addition to these two septuagenarians (the oldest 76), three further Bushmen were aged above 60.
No wonder, then, that the Bushmen’s cricket has a somewhat timeless feel. No more so than when watching the 74-year-old Michael Cockerell, doyen of political broadcasters, bowl six overs up the hill off a 12-pace run-in. Here he is, described in the book ‘The Authors XI: A Season of English Cricket from Hackney to Hambledon’: John Arlott once described John Easter as ‘the slowest fast bowler in cricket’, but then Arlott hadn’t seen Michael Cockerell in his later years. There was something magnificent about Cockerell’s tempo, and his endurance. He came in to bowl from a run that had at one time helped him to generate pace, but that was now an exercise in rhythm alone, his bowling arm still raised high in his delivery stride, wrist cocking well above the level of his head. It was an action grooved by the years, full of the echoes of what once was…
The Pelis were pretty strong to meet the Bushmen’s venerable challenge. Our own septuagenarian PG was on the original team sheet, but was controversially stood down shortly before the start. With exams over, Kunaal, Asad and Hasan all turned out to provide a formidable middle order, and potentially very powerful bowling unit.
Most of the Pelis batsmen got in, with Bails and Asad making the Honours Board. Kunaal now has a batting average – of 142! A 40-over format, combined with the Bushmen’s timeless tempo, meant that Laura’s wonderful tea was not taken until around 5pm. The Pelis’ 257 for 6 represented a little over the 6 per over that the skipper had decreed the minimum expectation.
Taking the field, the Pelis went straight on the offensive, with four slips and a gully. Toobes and Hasan wreaked havoc in contrasting styles. Hasan bowled line and length, his occasional slower ball taking two of his three wickets including the useful-looking (and comparatively youthful) skipper. Toobes was more of a box of tricks, with some pitched in his own half, some not at all, and the shock straight length ball cleaning up a couple. They shared the first five wickets, and the Bushmen were reduced to 24 for 6.
Tidy spells followed from Tony and Adam, but the real relevation was Nic. Bowling down the hill, he decided to relinquish his “filthy spin” for some tidy seam with an idiosyncratic run-up launched off a rugby side-step. His first ball was declared by Bails to be “the ball of the match”, lifting and seaming past the batsman’s nose. His second was snicked through the slips. Another edge went the same way, before Alex held onto a third. Toobes snapped up another catch.
Some rearguard batting pushed the score through 100, but with the clock creeping around to 7pm, the Keys was calling. Asad stepped up and duly wrapped up the last two wickets.
And the day’s Champagne Moment? This went to someone who didn’t actually play, drinks man Niron managing to drop the cups, prompting general mirth and the usual Pelis sledging.
Sunday June 14th, vs The Fiddlers
The Fiddlers 201-8 (R Frank 3-43) Great Missenden Pelicans 118 all out (R Kankate 42)
LOST by 83 runs
Sunday June 7th, vs White Waltham
White Waltham 187 all out Great Missenden Pelicans 158-8 (Hasan Arif 51*)
Date: 7 June 2015
Venue: Nags Head Lane
Weather: Sunny and warm
Toss: Won by GM Pelicans who chose to field
The original fixture was meant to be away to Penn and Tylers Green who cried off due to a lack of players. White Waltham stepped in to fill the gap and the match was moved to the Pelicans home ground.
Pelis took the ball and it was like Steptoe and Son to open the bowling, Hassan aka Harold up the hill into the wind and ‘Albert’ ‘Toobey’ Franks down the hill with the wind. The WW openers were also two different characters, one more circumspect (polite description for hung over) the other playing the odd decent shot (one straight six with the wind being an example) among some fairly village swipes that kept the bowlers interested. The charge by the taller opener was finished by a ball that took his off stump in a fashion not too dissimilar to one that got the author the previous week. Although this was at the time the best ball of the day it would later on be relegated to the second best ball of the day.
First drop for WW offered little resistance, playing a few leg side swipes with no reward, an extra getting him to the top end and facing Hassan/Harold. A cracking delivery bowled the chap, it hitting his bat, his pad and his wicket. The Pelis were away and as Albert/Toobey began over 8 with figures of 7 – 1 – 29 – 1 then the WW Ben Stokes lookalike cracked the majority of the 17 that came off the over. “Have a blow Toobey” came from Skip and so the warm ups began for Tickles.
Arif bowled another and a double change was instigated by Skip, Tony coming on up the hill.
Back to the Railway End where Simon went about setting his field. Joining me at square leg was Niron, sometimes in front of square, sometimes behind square, sometimes in front of square but too far back, sometimes behind square and again too far back or on the odd occasion too close in. This is no doubt a frustrating sentence to read, certainly was to write but dear reader this is how I am trying to convey the frustration of the bowler and although there was no physical manifestation of the tea pot you could certainly hear Simon thinking it. Simon’s single wicket was a full bunger that clipped the Stokesalike’s off stump.
The game rattled on at pace once Tony took hold of the pill. A run up shorter than his left leg meant we got through the overs quicker than I could count to five, sorry six. Harris’s two wickets came from catches, one by one of the less agile members of the team and Tony took the other.
After a brief flurry for the 6th wicket WW wilted under some tight bowling and some appalling running between the wickets. The WW skipper, mentioned earlier as being circumspect although certainly worse for wear after a night out ran two of his partners out and demonstrated that self sledging is not a Pelis closed shop. The chap nicknamed ‘Pigeon’ was given no end of grief for his attempt to make his ground. The innings ended when the WW skipper ‘the limpet’ was bowled by Skip, 49 and out.
Tea was taken early and what a grand spread it was. Creamy mushrooms in bread, cakes, vol au vents now being called Yorkshire Puds with pulled pork and a vege option which had quinoa as one of its constituents. A discussion ensued about not just its nutritional value but also how its name is pronounced. Genoa, feijoa, Samoa… and the joke will go on and on.
The Pelis took to the batting crease, JG and Gibbo/Iceman opening the batting. Steady would be how I would describe the start. Runs coming mainly from the Pub End, the fella bowling from the Railway End bowling a fairly tight line. Two wickets fell quickly, Jalil clipping a low full toss to square leg.
Having already seen the ball of the day I was surprised when like trains on diversion because the High Wycombe line is closed for essential maintenance, two came along. With an average like Ashton Agar Skip was expected to see us home. First ball, into line and played languidly into the off side. Having seen this before I was looking forward to an afternoon of arms aloft signalling maximums. Alas the best ball of the afternoon was bettered by THE best ball of the afternoon. Leaving a straight one Skip was skittled, all the greats and some of the lesser have done it. Me I just miss them.
Hassan was at the wicket and settling into his innings when he was joined by Niron. The partnership realised 41 runs and used up valuable overs. This is, I have been told a Niron record, never having batted this long before. His dismissal meant two good balls would do it for WW, a case of two brings one maybe?
Hassan brought up his fifty at which point one of the opposition remarked to their skipper that was the noise of someone scoring fifty. I think we were only moments away from some internecine violence. Great self sledge.
With the kids watching ‘Albert/Toobey’ Frank came to the wicket to see the Pelis home to a losing draw or as we say in NZ a loss.
A good game of cricket, good nosh, fair result.
Sunday May 31st, vs Lord Gnomes
Great Missenden Pelicans 178 all out (Alex Livie 37, Simon Tickler 28, David Bailey 26) Lord Gnomes 179-7 (Simon Tickler 3-24)
LOST by 3 wickets
Alex lost the toss, and so quickly did the oppos opt to field that we suspected they had more confidence in their batting than their bowling. A Penfold lookalike opened at one end, and a fellow called Harold – nicknamed ‘Shippers’ in a gallows humour reference to one of the most prolific serial killers in history – at the other. Neither appeared especially lethal but that didn’t stop Iceman giving away his wicket, overbalancing while chasing a high and wide looper from Penfold.
JG and Tickles did cash in, however, and matters started to look brighter. But when the first and second changes were made, it became apparent that a gnomish trick had been played, an accurate spinner taking over at one end and their paciest bowler from the other.
Tickles and JG both perished sweeping against the spinner. Rags fell to the paceman, as did Bails, but not without taking him on with several good hits.
Having lost by 9 wickets when setting the Gnomes 160-odd last year, the main hope of a competitive score seemed now to lie with the in-form skipper. He was cut short cruelly, twice. First by Iceman, calling a 5-ball over after balls 4 and 5 had been dispatched out of the ground. And then by a juggling catch in the covers from a rocket-like drive.
Time now for the lower order to push the score to something competitive, and up they stepped. Adam and Tony, and Toobes, all contributed. The Gnomes did look a little surprised after Tony, having dived to make his ground, took a moment to bang his leg back in place.
The final score of 178 was something to bowl at, and the Pelis took to the field fortified by Bails’s Chilli and baked potatoes – very welcome on a cool afternoon.
The Pelis’ bowling and fielding performance was one of solid endeavour. Good catches were taken by Bails, Toobes and Alex; there were no silly drops, no on-field collisions; three hard chances were nearly taken, one in particular low to Adam’s left from a hard hit cover drive; and a seemingly good stumping was not given.
But the real standouts were the bowling performances of Rags and Tickles. It is doubtful that any Peli will bowl a longer spell this year than Rags’s 15 overs, up the hill. It is doubtful too that there will be a louder celebration than the roar when Rags removed the Gnomes’s distinctly handy opener, pitching the ball middle and leg and clattering the top of off. Tickles’s spell – seven overs consisting of 42 ‘effort balls’, three earning wickets – was hailed by Bails as his best for at least six years.
The Gnomes required 113 off the last 20. Soon after, with 6 wickets down for 120-odd, all results looked possible. However, their keeper marshalled the run chase well, abetted somewhat by THAT dodgy stumping decision, and finished things off with a six in the penultimate over.
Hard as the Pelis strove, 178 was probably just a bit below par against a competent batting side.
Sunday May 24th, vs Wealdstone Corinthians
Great Missenden Pelicans 244 for 3 (Kunaal Kankate 110*Alex Livie 106*) Wealdstone Corinthians 167-9 (Hasan Arif, 4-27, Richard Frank 3-18)
WON by 77 runs
Bails and Iceman were first to sit down at table. A steady start over the first seven overs, with the occasional biff, was a mere amuse-bouche before the real feast. Indeed, when both fell, followed by Paul, the Pelis had little more than 20 on the board, and were in a bit of a pickle.
This brought to the wicket last week’s gourmand with a hungry young fellow by the name of Kunaal.
A look at the scorebook (below) might suggest that they proceeded to help themselves from a smorgasbord of buffet bowling.
Nothing could be further from the truth. The Wealdstone bowlers were disciplined more or less throughout, on a slowish wicket offering a little help. So Alex and Kunaal picked carefully through the hors d’oeuvres: a morsel here, a bonne bouche there, profiting where possible when the bowler dished up something more appetising.
Halfway through the 40 overs, the Pelis were emerging from the soup – 76-3 – and Alex and Kunaal were ready to move onto the main course. From overs 21 to 30, they moved into hearty trencherman mode. Kunaal started to unleash his trademark wristy cover drives and thumping straight hits; Alex kept pace and reached his 50 two balls ahead of Kunaal, profiting from his only real let-off as he was dropped at long-on and the ball deflected over the boundary.
133-3 was the score after 30 overs, and it was time for the dessert trolley. The last 10 overs went for 13, 3, 16, 17, 9, 13, 8, 16, 10 and 6 – a total of 91. Kunaal called for Port and cigars when the opening bowler returned, pinging him back over his head and through the covers, two overs yielding 30 runs.
Still matching each other mouthful for mouthful, Alex and Kunaal reached their hundreds off successive balls. This sent the statisticians scurrying off to their databases – well, to PG actually – to find out if a Peli had ever scored back-to-back hundreds, and if two Pelis had ever scored matching hundreds in a stand of over 200. No indeed, this was history, and consigned Ben Stokes’s fastest Test hundred at Lord’s to a mere footnote on the day.
Last week we compared Jalil and Rags to the Muppets’ Old Gits Statler and Waldorf, waiting their turn as Alex and JG plundered Hyde Heath. This week it was Hasan who sat padded and boxed up for 31 overs. But for those that had missed out on La Grande Bouffe, Susan’s sumptuous tea provided a more than acceptable substitute.
244 was a fairly daunting total for Wealdstone. And it wasn’t long before the evergreen Toobes, opening from the top end, had removed both openers.
The Wealdstone number 3 had caught the eye in the field, with a turn of foot like Usain Bolt, an arm like Steve Backley, and an endlessly noisy line in chatter, earning him the sobriquet ‘Duracell Bunny’. He now brought his particular style of mayhem to the crease, running manically and noisily between wickets, his batting partners scarcely able to run one to his two.
Impatient finally to get into the action, Hasan wasn’t best pleased when denied a leg-before against Duracell Bunny. He has developed a fine Paddingtonesque stern stare, and there was plenty of opportunity to practice it as he put together figures of 4 for 27.
Wealdstone was never really in the hunt, and in a 40-over game with no draw on offer, the game meandered somewhat, leaving plenty of time for debate on interpretations of the laws. Already in the Pelis’ innings, Alex had enjoyed a philosophical discourse with the Wealdstone keeper over Law 26 – Overthrows. Now the keeper, standing as umpire, no-balled Bails under Law 40, for allowing his gloves to stray in front of the stumps before the ball had passed the stumps. As Bails pointed out, this was surprising, given that he had whipped off the bails, and they had travelled forward. Wealdstone’s number 9 batsman, one of their senior players, swung his bat back after playing his stroke and removed the bail – was this out hit wicket under law 35? “Of course not!” snorted the batsman, with such certainty that the umpire dared not contradict him. Given that he stuck around for 43 not out, it was perhaps fortunate that this was a 40-over format…
There was time for one last oddity, as Bails stumped the Wealdstone number 10 off a ball given as a wide. Fortunately there was no debate over the correct interpretation of Law 39, and soon afterwards both teams were feasting together, at a pitch-side barbecue organised by Susan and PG.
Sunday May 17th, vs Hyde Heath
Great Missenden Pelicans 275 for 2 (Alex Livie 103*, John Greenwood 85*) Hyde Heath 180-9 (Raghu Kankate 5-37)
The Skipper marched out with the Hyde Heath captain confident of winning yet another toss, he marched straight back having lost it majestically, the Pelis were batting, incredibly we were only going to use 0NE ball.
Suitably booted and suited the Brothers Bailey sashayed out to the wicket milking the ripple of applause that caressed the ground. Hyde Heath had opted for a mixture of spin and medium pace (and that was just at one end), the Brothers Bailey decided to fill their boots and struck the ball to all corners of the Missenden Circle until with Bailey D on 26 one swipe too many resulted in a catch at slip. As is often heard one leads to 2 and in this case it proved to be the case as Bailey R soon drove the ball into the hands of a welcoming fielder to be dismissed on 21.
Under normal circumstances this usually announces the start of a Peli collapse but with the Skipper now joining JG to the Theatre of Dreams, magic was about to happen.
There was no collapse.
Indeed our batting performance has very little to write about other than JG stayed there and finished on 85, and the Skipper stayed there and finished on 103. Both innings were sublime with surprisingly few chances offered. The Pelis finished on 275, leaving our version of the Muppets’ Old Gits Statler and Waldorf AKA Jalil and Rags sitting around padded and boxed up commenting on all and sundry.
Tea was created by Bailey D, which seemed to vanish rather quickly, and then we were out again needing to dislodge the Hyde Heath mob.
The Heath to their credit went for the total but with not much on offer from Toobes and Rags it looked a hopeless case.
The openers were dispatched one by being bowled and the other by chancing his luck with JG’s arm.
Niron and Maurice came into the attack and again the odd wicket fell, Nic had a go and using the technique of stealth bowling i.e. coming out of the clouds managed to bag a wicket.
By now Hyde Heath had decided a draw was the answer and the pick of the Pelis bowling Rags came back into the attack with JG. Unfortunately wickets did not fall fast enough as the Skipper came on to bowl the final over, and still the Heath were there.
We departed to the Keys agreeing cricket had indeed been the winner today.
Sunday May 10th, vs Ibstone
Ibstone 168 all out (Richard Frank 4-47, John Greenwood 3-40) Great Missenden Pelicans 108 all out (Alex Livie 60)
LOST by 60 runs
After yet another winning toss, the Pelicans opted to take first use of the ball. And what a decision it proved to be.
Swing king JG took out the opener with a boomerang ball, but he was put in the shade by his opening partner Toobes who whipped out two Ibstone batters without troubling the scorer.
The Pelicans continued to prise out batsmen, with Paul Howard claiming his first victim as a wicketkeeper with a nice catch off Rags. Versatile as an egg, Paul is proving himself to be – although he’s not quite mastered the self sledge.
While Pelicans continued to take wickets, the Ibstone No. 3 stood firm. He also looked mighty impressive with bat in hand.
He went past 50 at a canter, but looked in danger of running out of partners. He started to look a little anxious and began to take risks. With 60ish to his name, he went after a good length ball off JG and edged the ball into the gloves of Paul.
Ibstone No.3 was unmoved, despite taking a good look back to see if Paul took the catch, as was the finger of the umpire. The official said he did not hear it. There were a couple of Pelicans who said they heard the edge from the boundary.
The No. 3 took full advantage of his life as he went to his century and took his side to an imposing 168, as opposed to what should have been less than 100.
It’s fair to say the Pelican run chase did not start too well. Rob Bailey picked out a fielder when attempting to smack a long hop to the boundary, debutant Maurice’s batting was not as impressive as his bowling and Rags simply missed a straight one.
At 5 for 3, the Pelis were not in the best shape.
JG and the Skipper set about rebuilding and did a solid job. JG struck a couple of lusty blows and looked well set until failing to middle a drive and picking out a fielder.
The Skipper did the same, but he picked out an Ibstone fielder who seemed to have a fear of catching.
Paul joined the Skipper at the wicket and they began to chip away at the target. But Paul did not have as much fortune as the Skipper as the previously fearful fielder held a good catch.
Niron came in and put his dancing career in jeopardy by putting out his back and compounded his own misery by walking in front of middle stump and trapping himself lbw.
Toobes came in and said he felt in superb form. The bowler fed him a ball which was perfect for the shovel, but he spooned it straight up in the air.
Tony’s stay was all too brief, and the Skipper was joined at the crease by another debutant.
Nic came in billed as a bowler. We’ll describe the bowling as a little on the rusty side, but his batting looked in good shape – especially the square cut.
The run rate was on the rise and risks had to be taken. The Skipper took one risk too many and was run out short of his ground.
Ollie Greenwood had a spring in his young step as he walked out to bat. The Skipper had told him to have a look at a couple before cutting loose.
That he did and he looked in excellent touch, but he was undone by a skiddy low one, which should have been no problem for a boy standing at roughly 3ft tall.
The unbeaten run is over, so the Skipper can now stop dreaming of being Arsene Wenger.
Sunday May 3rd, vs Ballinger
Match abandoned – rain
Sunday April 26th, vs Little Marlow
Little Marlow 156 all out (Asad Rehman 5-35) Great Missenden Pelicans 157-6 (Alex Livie 49* Simon Bailey 47*)
WON by 6 wickets
On a dog of a wicket (it rained on Saturday, don’t you know), the skipper lost the toss and was pleasantly surprised to hear the Marlow captain say he’d like to have first hit.
Was it confidence, a cunning plan or an act of sheer madness from the man from Marlow?
It soon emerged that it was the latter as a team of highly skilled Pelicans bowlers (Toobes was still at the airport at this point) tied the Marlow batsmen in knots.
Raga trundled down the hill for 11 overs of supreme line and length, while Hasan charged up the hill with no mean skill.
It was tough going for those men from Marlow as the second wave of Pelicans bowlers kept things tight. By this point, we’d given up on Toobes and enlisted the services of Simon Bailey. Third ball of his spell, Bailey S – resplendent in grey and orange tracksuit bottom – found the infamous Nags Head ridge that sent the ball shooting into the bottom of off stump.
Glass back Rehman junior hauled himself off the osteopath’s bed to conjure up some fizzing leg spin. An excellent catch from Hasan handed Asad his first wicket. Four more followed (and three no-balls) as the Pelicans skittled Marlow in the last over before tea for 156.
Fruit in a cup was the undoubted highlight of the Skipper’s tea, and it sent Dave and Rob Bailey into bat with a spring in their step.
The previously mentioned Nags Head ridge was the undoing of Bailey D, while Asad lost his middle stump as the Pelis looked in trouble.
Bailey R and the Skipper set about repairing things, but Rob was undone by a bit of late inswing.
A flurry of wickets followed and the Pelis were in a spot of bother at 58 for 6 – with Adam, Kaz and Tony scurrying to to put on their pads.
Toobes’ stand-in Bailey S (who had by now jettisoned the tracksuit in favour of a pair of white trousers) joined the Skipper at the crease and did the gentlemanly thing of allowing the Skipper to lean on his bat and admire the sumptuous hitting from the non-striker’s end.
Marlow thoughts of victory were brutally cut down as Simon and the Skipper put on 99 to lead the Pelis home, with neither having the counting skills to make 50 which was fails all round apart from the W they etched into the results column.
That’s eight or nine games (it’s so many I’ve lost count) unbeaten and we march on to Ballinger next week.
Sunday April 19th, vs Fleet Street Strollers
Fleet Street Strollers 238-3; Great Missenden Pelicans 167-9 (A Rehman 53, R Bailey 39)
For a split second this seemed a good decision as a caught and bowled chance headed towards Toobes in the first over. But only for a split second. That chance went a-begging, and a long afternoon in the field was in prospect: 48 overs, to be precise. The reprieved opener went on to 108 not out, with another reprieve from Iceman later on.
Whilst 238-3 might sound like a rout, it was less than 5 an over, and the Pelis’ bowlers stuck to their task. Toobes was his economical self; Hasan thoroughly deserved his wicket for a long spell up the hill; Tickles declared that “every ball is an effort ball” and looked like it; with a couple of good LBW shouts, Asad deserved more than his two wickets; and Rob Bailey mixed it up effectively.
239 is a fair target on an April wicket. But the Pelis started solidly. The two Roberts – Bailey and Iceman – put on 60 in the first 45 minutes, seeing off the opening bowlers – one of them to Stoke Mandeville A&E.
A run chase of 140-150 in the last 20 overs, with wickets in hand, started to look a possibility. But this reckoned without Alex ‘Judas’ Livie. Having come on as sub for the crocked bowler, straight away he was presented with a catch by Rob – and took it.
Asad was immediately in the groove, his straight hitting particularly impressive. But no-one stayed long enough to establish a threatening partnership. In true Pelis tradition, several batsmen contrived their own downfall. None more so than the skipper. Facing a looping ball three feet outside his leg stump, he declined to accept the wide. Deceived by the pace – little more than walking pace – he was so far through his shot that the ball struck the back of the bat and looped up for the keeper. Butch was also embarrassed, shouldering arms and losing his off stump. Tickles then became the second player to be caught by a Peli fielding as sub – Paul this time.
Asad brought up his 50, but departed soon after, leaving the last 3 wickets to hold out for 5 overs. Hasan was assured at one end. But Paul lasted only a couple of balls. Adam stuck around rather longer, including one sumptuous off drive for four. Toobes at number 11 came to the wicket with 9 balls left – even he could tell it wasn’t the time for the shovel. Hasan took responsibility for the final six balls: admirably cool, he shut out the Strollers with little alarm.
This was a good advert for ‘proper’, timed cricket. A 40-over game would have had everyone wandering around pointlessly in the cold for the last half-hour, wishing they were in the pub. As it was, there was something on every single ball, right to the finish.
And so the unbeaten run continues. Continuity was much in evidence elsewhere. Toobes, into his sixth decade, was the familiar warhorse with the best economy rate. Iceman’s pads moved into their fourth decade. Asad took an early lead in the batting and bowling averages, having topped both in 2014. More catches were dropped than held – if one discounts those on behalf of the opposition. 2014’s best fielder Paul Howard was notably busy. Hasan, one of the finds of 2014, distinguished himself with ball and bat. And there were the usual moments of Pelis comedy, the pick being Iceman’s ‘Iceman on Ice’ routine.
Yes, the Pelis’ season is under way…