Great Missenden Pelicans 170-7 (Raheel Khan 64*, Asad Rehman 52) Ley Hill 104 (Adam Fairweather 3-32)
WON by 66 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.
In a good piece of match management, the fixture was shifted to Ibstone, second only to Little Marlow in terms of windchill factor, as Ibstone cover their wickets. With the weather in the week being less than tropical it meant we could get a game so hats off to the Adam and the oppo.
Toobes won the toss and elected to bowl on what looked to be a fairly tasty wicket.
This is the band of men who took the field…
NB: one Peli named after a night club, several others like Bond villain sidekicks
With Skip and ‘Cold Case’ opening the bowling things were ticking along nicely, one of the Ibstone openers looked like he’d played a bit but so far so good. Josh bowled one opener and had their first drop caught down the legside by Irongloves. This is when we should have put up the barricades or simply buggared off. The next Ibstone pairing put on 150. I guess we didn’t do as well as might in the field and I am reluctant to dwell on anything for too long but special mention must go to Raheel who you may remember as ‘Karl’ from the Marlow match. Raheel is a quality cricketer, bats, bowls and keeps so what happened next was so out of character/the ordinary.
The ball was hit to the outfield. Imagine a long jumper, say Jonathon Edwards. Picture him doing the long jump. Cut out the run and the jump and have in your head just the landing. You got it, feet first finally landing on his backside, meanwhile the ball disappearing to the rope. That is, after long deliberation, the best way to describe it.
Another thing to note from the purgatory that was our time in the field was some very village field setting. I hope everyone was wearing a pedometer as Skip moved players from long off to long off, deep square to deep square. As one direction involved walking headlong into the ‘Ibstone Zephyr’ there were bound to be some tired limbs (Thili, Tiger…) at the end of it all.
With the arrival of Tiger Tiger at the bowling crease out fortunes changed. Things did indeed burn bright as he castled the Ibstone opener for a well compiled 114. Tiger picked up another wicket as did Adam although there was a little confusion as to names in the scorebook with T Harris being credited with the scalp.
The Ibstone number 4 completed his century in the last over and set the total at 250/6. Run rate required 7.14/over.
Opening up for GMPCC were Raheel/’Karl’ and Nick Nick, a name which would prove to be a lovely example of nominative determinism.
The bowling at the top was economical due to the inability of the makeshift opener to hit the ball. Nearly putting his back out on several occasions trying to hit the ball the bat being used more as a walking stick rather than a vorpal blade. Raheel smacked a few with a healthy strike rate but at the other end the runs were rarer than as Voltaire would say “Men, generally going with the stream, seldom judge for themselves, and purity of taste is almost as rare as talent.” Something had to give. Attempting to ramp the opening bowler Nick succeeded in producing a fine tickle to the keeper which saw him on his way. Best it ended in failure as a better execution of the shot would have seen the ball go straight in his face and someone picking glass fragments out of his eyeballs. With our lack of medics in the team I think we got away with it there.
Raheel departed for a well compiled 29, there a big score brewing for ‘Karl’ as he’s getting good starts so it is only time when he cashes in.
The next pair carried on with a 50+ run partnership. Josh fell LBW for 35 and Tony carried on to 40. Both innings included some cracking shots, most of which failed to register with the Pelis on the side line, the oppo providing the only compliments for cover drives for four and sixes over cow corner.
We batted the full 35, ending on 163/9, losing by 87 runs. As a sign of disgust, the heavens opened as we left the field.
Beer courtesy of Ibstone allowed us to have an immediate post mortem. The verdict was Village, not even Village People, Village of the Damned, Furniture Village, Resident Evil Village (ask Tony), just Village.
A grand afternoon played in good spirits against a good bunch of blokes from the Ib.
Man of the Match: the older couple under the blanket on the bench with the Labrador.
Firstly, we welcomed back from the Amazon Captain ‘Hands of Springs’ Harris. Our gloveman returned from the back of beyond to resume his work behind the stumps. It was like he’d never been away, like that noise in your head you can’t seem to stop, like the hum of a distant A Road you couldn’t hear when you bought the house (only viewing available my arse, only day the wind was blowing in the wrong direction more like!).
In contrast to the tropical conditions of the Amazon was the weather. With a temperature numerically similar to skipper’s quicker one there was an expectation that Shackleton and his crew would appear from behind the pub dragging the James Caird. It wouldn’t be a Little Marlow fixture unless the umpire was wearing an expedition grade jacket with full hood and fur.
A steady start by Little Marlow was ended by Has bowling one of the openers. A run out and two wickets to the skipper meant the home side were looking good. However, the other opener was limpet like and accumulated runs at a steady rate. The scorecard had been completed in red pen, this is relevant for several reasons, one being the colour of my politics and the appropriate colour for the Marlow opener who carried his bat for a well compiled 75.
Karl(?) bowled a steady spell in tandem with ‘Sir Anger’. Suranga’s bowling comes with a decent level of clip and plenty of grrrrrrr. Next into the fray were Messrs Vanderpeet and Fairweather. These two are the scourge of many a lower order and at this stage they were the 2 leading wicket takers for GMPCC. By the end of proceedings only one would be top of the pile and that would be Adam F. Vanderpeet bowled a quartet of reasonable overs but as is always the case the fifth over was one too far, like a bridge over the Rhine it was too much, with the deliveries landing like less like a precision guided munition more like Jackson Pollock on a bad day. Three scalps to our left arm twirler left GMPCC with 141 for victory.
Hasan and ‘Karl’ opened up for the home side. The Little Marlow opening bowler marked his run up almost in the next post code and with his first delivery sent down a rapid full bunger which Hasan played with his knuckles. Village cricket come sometimes throw up these kinds of aberrations and apologies followed ‘so nothing to see, move along’. That said the next ball was TGFS (Too Good for Sunday) and certainly too good for Has. A screaming yorker upset his poles, TGFH (Too Good for Hasan). No disgrace, it was a ripsnorter of a delivery, would have sent any Peli packing.
Clearing not suffering from beriberi, our man from the Amazon strode out to the wicket. Followed a tidy partnership between Harris and ‘Karl’ with fours a plenty as young tyro from the top end tired. With ‘Karl’s’ dismissal by said young tearaway plus plenty of extras the hosts lost their third wicket with the score at 70. Amit and Harris having plundered nine fours between them. With the two aforementioned back in the clubhouse Ali and Niron moved the score closer to the magic number of 141, unfortunately the wheels of the bus failed to go round and round as we may have wished, in fact the bus overheated and clapped out on a small incline and gave up the ghost. The opposition spinner ran through the Pelis finishing with a very handy 5-25. 126 all out, close but no biscuit.
A post-mortem in the Nags Head left us with nothing conclusive on which to pin the loss. Maybe we need the young Montobailey* to use his forensicity to get to the bottom of it all.
Flippy McFlippyson, Tossy McTossface, call him what you will but for brevity’s sake known as Skip here on in, won the toss and as is his peccadillo put the Strollers in to bat.
Getting changed the Pavilion Manager realised he had neglected to bring his trousers. Faced with two options, field in jeans or field in batting shorts which are mostly white, the day was saved by Hasan being in possession of spare strides. Needless to say, said trousers were a little tighter than what our friend from the South was used to. These contour huggers play a part later on in some atypical fielding, a long barrier that was not long and even less of a barrier.
In the field the opening attack of Skip downhill and Hasan kept the FFS’s in check with a wicket falling to the skipper by way of a sketchy hold at mid-on by our own SOCO J Bailey.
First change was our man from CSI Gatwick. A short spell garnered two wickets, one of which was a great hold by Hasan at second slip. This was all after a textbook ‘flounce’ from TVPs answer to Endeavour. Having been turned down for an LBW shout an audible sigh, like a tyre with a slow puncture was heard around the meadow. Not quite up to the standard of past efforts but is of course only day one of the season. Despite the turmoil and uncertainty of life at present, I am glad of there being constants in life, a Peli flounce being one of them.
However, there was one constant which was missing from the Peli performance, shelling catches. We held them all, even ones that weren’t catches. Hasan, Asad, Suranga, Josh and Amit all in the book and we can only keep in our memories the catch at fine leg off a Suranga beamer. Keep the image of a beamer in your head, they appear again (and again) later on in the story.
Spin accounted for 6 of the Strollers. Nic (HFNZ) got 3, Adam likewise. I didn’t really want to use the current pandemic situation as an analogy in this report but the reaction of the team to Nic’s successful LBW shout against the opposition skipper/highest scorer/Kiwi that Nic thought was an Aussie was a textbook example of social distancing. A man alone in the appeal Nic was left to celebrate on his own, a complete lack of:
Adam produced one of those firsts alluded to in the title, his first over a double wicket maiden.
Strollers all out for 139.
With a batting line up that went all the way to 11, Asad and Raheel set about seeing off the seven score and no more total set by the men of the pen.
This is a very settled, consistent and effective opening pair. 96 for the first wicket ensured we would get over the line. Textbook shots all around and out of the ground saw the score rattle along. One decent ball is now resident in the hedge across the road. With the score around the 90 mark a side to the bowling hitherto unseen appeared on the field of dreams. Hostility. Hostility at 45 mph (Fairweather, 2021) but hostility nonetheless. Asad took a blow to the nads, he was green. Most laughed, a couple enquired as to his health but most laughed. By all accounts he didn’t have a box in his kit and managed to rustle one up from the clubhouse, fortuitous. Whether this ruffled our man with the name on his shirt we will never know but he was out shortly afterwards LBW. Umpire A Fairweather was pretty quick on the draw, like Tony Hart on speed.
Josh ‘Ted Hastings’ Bailey made his way to the wicket and started his innings like our tail started at 3. Then all of a sudden things got a little tasty. The Stroller’s skipper came on for a bowl and unleashed a reasonably sharp beamer at ‘Ted’. His reactions were up to it and he managed to hook it for 4, it all happened so quickly there was no chance for him to exclaim ’Mother of God’ or any other such law enforcement expression of shock.
This was the first of several full deliveries to ‘Young Montabailey’ with thoughts turning to the people who measured and marked the wicket, 22 yards, 22 metres, half a furlong, near enough is good enough.
Raheel batted well for his 66 and Josh and Niron took us over the line with plenty of overs in the bag.
A great win by 7 wickets followed by a table at the Nags Head for a few after matchers.
Thoroughly enjoyable day, good weather, excellent opposition, as the man on the bike said ‘summer has arrived’.
Skip and Neeraj toddled out to the wicket discussing all things not cricket, stood, surveyed the strip below our feet and tossed the coin. With heads called by Neeraj both captains watched closely as the coin landed and revealed tails. “We’ll have a bat” suggested Skip, and with that hands were shook and the gladiators of war suited up in their finest white armour,
Raheel and Asad went forth to do battle with the best that Kensington could throw at them. Such confidence against Kensington can usually provide you with a smacked botty and today was no different as the Minister of Mayhem in his finest woolly hat David Behar bowled firstly Raheel for 10 swiftly followed by Hasan for zero. Skips plans were looking a tad problematic. Now elevated to number 4 having sat in his pads all day Saturday Josh “Shadup” Bailey strolled out to bat with all the purpose of a Sherman tank, a rather lanky streaky looking Sherman tank but a Sherman tank all the same that resembled a daddy long legs with leg extensions.
I must confess having watched Josh many times his innings tends to be a bit on the edge of your seat affairs as one moment of brilliance can swiftly be followed by one not so moment of brilliance. And with his first scoring runs being a 4, 2, 6, I must admit that once again I was expecting the expected, i.e. 6 followed by bowled, BUT NO the 6 was followed by a block which brought a mighty cheer from the crowd and a defiant hand raise from Joshy Boy.
It was not until the 24th over that what was starting to look like two batsmen became one batsman trudging back to the clubhouse, not Josh Oh no but our very own Prince of Chesham Asad, out for a paltry 42………..loser. Josh was now joined by Kunaal, playing because Rags had decided to stand down, a random decision that was to have far reaching effects. With the Pelicans score on 115 Kunaal decided to play himself gently into the game with seven singles and a two, Josh similarly had slowed down to singles, but safe singles.
With 30 overs gone and 10 to go the Pelicans score was on 159, Skip announced par would need to be at least 220 and even then, those pesky Kensington’s would cause us some problems. Josh sensing a bit of a hurry up coming on decided something must be done and unleashed in his own imitable style hell, if indeed hell was to be found in the Pink Flamingo Bar at the end of Pier 143, 4 followed 4 followed 6 until on 97 and so close to a hundred he was finally caught, what an innings. The Pelicans were now on 193 after 34 overs, 6 to go, surely, we could get another 30.
With one Bailey coming back to the clubhouse the Pelicans sent out the Old Bailey or the Hanging Judge as he is known in no parts, looking a fine athletic specimen that loosing 2 stone makes you look. Judge Bailey demanded his guard from Nico, confidently he raised his bat, like the finest swordsmith this side of Constantinople, chopped it downlike a gladiator, and watched his wickets disintegrate as he was bowled first ball. Thankfully, he was replaced by a proper batsman Niron, ably supported by his cousin who told everyone he was rubbish. Bails meanwhile incredibly unlucky in his wicket loss explained something about Nico giving him the wrong guard, the tooth fairy being in his line of sight or something like that, anyway it wasn’t his fault ok. So where were we oh yes 35 overs 201 runs. With Skip looking for hopefully another 20 or so runs Kunaal decided it was time to step it up not only another gear but actually a good 23 gears. There then followed the Meadows very own version of Blitzkrieg as hell was unleashed from a knackered split old bat. 6 followed 6 followed 4 and so it went on as the most destructive spell ever witnessed by this individual sent the Kensington fielders to all four corners of Bucks.
With 3 balls to go Kunaal was on 83, he hit a 4, followed by a 6 followed by a 6 to end on 99 not out. Now some would say that the last 6 was hit off a no ball, indeed all the players would say that, let’s leave it there. Anyway, with the help of Nirons nurdling and fine back up display the Pelicans had finished on 277. Unbelievable.
With tea finished the Pelicans made their way out to try and stop what all felt was coming, a Kensington fightback. Opening for the Pelicans we had Toobes and Hasan, Toobes well ok usual fodder, Hasan on the other hand first over first wicket, unbelievable. The Pelicans celebrated but there was still plenty more batting to come.
The other Kensington opener Keleher decided attack was the only form of defence and started to unleash his own version of hell, primarily off the bowling of Toobes, naturally all unbelievably great shots. He was ably supported by Rohan who we know from old can bat a bit. With Toobes commencing his final over and ramping his speed up to 32 kph Rohan was deceived by the quality of the 5th ball of the over, actually on the wickets, such was his surprise that he watched it hit his wickets, not in slow motion, that was the actual speed.
I would like to say the Pelicans started to smell blood but actually we didn’t we knew things were not over yet especially with Keleher slapping the ball around. With Toobes out to grass Skip called the Chesham Prince himself into bowl, and after changing into his party frock he watched his first two balls go for 8. Hasan meanwhile into his final over unleashed his inner man and let rip with a low bouncing stunner that took out the Kensington opener on 53. The celebrations were a little more exciting but still muted, “cant trust them” muttered Skip.
With Hasan now joining Toobes the Joshmeister came on to do battle, and what a battle it was as he ripped through the middle order of Kensington and returned figures of 4 for 41 off 8 overs, what a performance, and following his batting heroics what a day. Meanwhile Asad now with warmed fingers did what he does best and suffocated the other end, unusually he didn’t get any wickets……loser. With Asad and Josh finishing their spells it was time to bring on the big guns, Adam (there aint no bigger gun) and Niron (no one has a bigger gun). Adam as usual took his customary wicket off 6 overs for 38 but Niron with the hands of Shane Warne but without the grip took two wickets for 11 off 3 overs and brought the game to a close with Kensington finishing on 202.
With hugs all around and Cobras to drink the two teams mingled and shared stories of tales of derring do, or just discussed what a great occasion it was. Meanwhile in the clubhouse Suranga assisted by Thilli prepared a Sri Lankan feast that was enjoyed by all those that took part or indeed watched the game. A fantastic tea produced by two of the smiliest, newest Pelicans who have added such a great deal to the club in the short time they have been with us.
With the 2020 season ending what a fitting and wonderful way to sign off, great company, great food and no rain.
It is fair to say the Pelicans had pulled together a half decent team as we welcomed Beaconsfield for the first time to the Meadow, with the weather looking decidedly chilly and rain forecast Skip went out to the wicket to toss. Unusually there had been no requests to bat first so it came as a great surprise to all assembled when Skip returned having won the toss which in itself was unusual, and then having elected to bat which was downright unheard of.
Opening for the Pelicans we had Missenden’s very own version of Sharma and Grover, Raheel and Asad, ready poised and cocked to do battle with all that Beaconsfield could throw. Proceedings started at a pace as Raheel and Asad feasted on the Beaconsfield bowling until on 47 Raheel holed out and was sent back to the clubhouse, as we know 2 follows one and shortly after Raheel leaving the field of dreams Asad soon followed with a handy 53 and 112 on the board for 24 overs. This set the Pelicans up for Missenden’s very own Aisha and Pinki none other than Kunaal and Hasan. Frankly there isn’t much to report other than it got colder and colder, then it rained and then Aisha started hitting 6s followed by Pinki getting to the boundary too. Kunaal 48, Hasan 33 brought the inning to an end on a very respectable 202 off 35 overs.
With tea taken the Pelicans made it back out to the wicket in roughly 4 layers of clothing apiece, opening for the Pelicans we had Missenden’s version of the Leng Sisters, Toobes and Josh. It is fair to say the bowling was tight and as ever Toobes was denied a hatful of wickets only by his inability to bowl the opposition out. Josh on the other hand didn’t seem to have such a problem and dispatched three of the Beaconsfield batsmen in rather quick succession. Indeed, so quick was one such dismissal a caught and bowled followed by a theatrical throw down that the batsman indeed did question is Josh actually did have control of the ball. He did. But he was advised to hold onto it slightly longer next time.
With the Leng sisters put out to grass Toobes was replaced by a very pacey 16 year old who was a friend of Hasans younger brother, enter Salim or as it says in the book Serum, complementing the youth policy he was joined by (as it says in the book and which Nico always tells us never lies) Kartic. Young Kartic or as we also know him as Old Kankate was soon into his metronomic run snuffing best. Salim/Serum too was giving nothing away and by the end of his 7 over spell had taken a further 3 wickets.
Now with the game rushing towards a likely conclusion there must always be some confusion in a Pelicans game and this week it was provided by Rags, with his overs mounting the Pelicans were soon looking to witness a Kankate misfire as no runs were being scored and incredibly no wickets either. Finally, in his last over the wickets began to tumble, unfortunately it was at this point that the scorers pointed out that Rags was in his 8th over out of 7.
Now let me tell you this Rags is one of the least flustered individuals in the Pelicans, but on this day, we witnessed a Kankate Flounce. To say he wasnt happy is an understatement as his outed batsmen were returned to the field of play and his 8th over erased from memory. with Serum and Kartic finished the Plicans needed some quality to bring the game to a close, the wish was answered by Rainman and Van De Beak. Finally, correct names. Let’s wrap it up here, Rainman 3 wickets for 12, Van De Beak 1 wicket for 2. Beaconsfield all out 106.
Notwithstanding the verdant outfield which would be the same for both sides there is a very important rule when playing our friends in West Wycombe, make sure you win the toss and if you do make sure you bowl first.
With history running around Skip’s mind the coin was tossed, tails were chosen and unbelievably tails were indeed the outcome. The plaintive explanation of weak team etc etc you can bat first etc etc fell on deaf ears as Skip elected to bowl, I may be stupid but I’m not daft, or something like that.
Opening for the Pelicans we had the usual duo of Amir and Toobes, to save time after 16 overs WW had advanced to 26, Toobes and Amir had come and gone and Suranja and Rags had taken over. Suranja too finished his spell of 6 overs for no wickets and 13 runs, and was replaced by Panpet Van or that is what it says in the book, we though know him as Nico. Such was the torpid nature of the batsmen can I please give you an abridged version, Rags took two wickets for 30 runs off 13, yes that’s right 13 overs, Panpet Van took one wicket off 5 overs for 17 runs and Asad took 2 wickets off 9 overs for 22 runs but Amir on the other hand was on fire and took a mighty five for off 11.2 overs for only 21 runs, a truly fantastic effort and one which saved the Pelicans from playing into Bank Holiday Monday or indeed beyond.
Now let me go back somewhat, WWCC are renowned for a particularly soporific type of cricket and this Sunday was no different. Play started at 10 to 2 and, with the Pelicans bowling in a very timely fashion the overs soon mounted up. Raheel was like a coiled spring whipping those bails off like Alan Knott himself, a cobra could not move faster, unfortunately for the Pelicans in gully we had somebody who caught like a cobra, our very own Rupert who now holds the honour of dropping the easiest catch of the season so far. Nirons similarity to a cobra well let’s not go there, but Nirons similarity to something that moved fast was not apparent as he picked up the ball ten feet from the bowlers end wicket watched the WW batsmen take a ridiculous run, get stranded in the middle, run back to the crease, Niron finally then unleashed the ball that comfortably missed the stumps. The worst run out attempt of the season so far.
With the overs racking up and more importantly tea on the horizon the Pelicans doggedly stuck to their task to winkle out the WW bats. With 40 overs comfortably bowled the Pelicans requested a drinks stop which was begrudgingly given followed by mutterings of “we will add the time on at the end”. With the clock hitting 4.30 and 45 overs bowled there was 115 on the scoreboard Skip thought it was gettable but with the conditions it could be tricky, WW on the other hand decided to carry on, and on, and on, WHEN WOULD IT END zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz anyway with Amir two balls into the 51st over he finally brought the snooze fest to an end to general mummering’s of thank xxxx for that. Those extra 5.2 overs advanced the WW sore by 9 runs to 124. A very tired Peli team traipsed off the pitch listening to Rags demanding we go for the draw, Skip on the other hand was having none of it and demanded a victory or go down trying.
Opening for the Pelicans again it was those two Ninjas Raheel and Asad, with the long grass runs needed to be run, but a steady foundation of 57 once again was laid by the time Raheel was bowled, there then followed four quick wickets, first Amit for 11, then Asad with a fantastic 43, then Niron for 11 followed by Rupert for 6. Now these may not sound high scores but each run was worth its weight in gold as the WW score came towards the Pelis, but more importantly precious overs were not used up as the Pelicans were now into their final twenty overs, indeed as Rupert departed there were 10 overs left and 32 for victory. Joining Jalil at the crease following Rupert was Suranja, now to say his stay at said crease was brief would do a dis service to the very briefest of briefs going, indeed it was so brief his partner at the wicket Jalil didn’t even notice his attendance. Anyway, out strode Rags to join Jalil and needing funnily enough 32 runs off ten overs. Surely this would be over, not as quickly as Suranjas innings but quickly. Well, to say that Rags and Jalil the epitome of the slow single were on fire, if indeed slow single running were the benchmark, it would be then fair to say they were red hot, indeed like lava.
As balls were defended or smashed to the boundary only to result in a “quick” single the score board limped on with twos, ones and zeros. It is here I must say Jalil looked like Usain Bolt compared to Rags, and indeed the Pelicans were wondering whether the draw was the aim. Nine overs to go the scoreboard read 95, 5 overs to go it had progressed to 98.
As the Mogodon started to wear off 9 was taken off the 16th over, we were back in the game, and then 2 runs were taken off the next over, we were back out of the game, then 5 runs followed by 4 runs and here we were the final over 7 runs needed. Jalil ran a quick single and left Rags at the striker’s end, 6 needed to win 5 balls to go. Rags defended the next ball, and then the next and then the next until with one ball left, we were still on 6 needed for victory. To put things into context, so far, the Pelicans had found the boundary 4 times and all of them 4s, a draw was on the cards……..bollocks. But then Rags summoning his inner Chris Gayle stepped forward and smashed the recalled WW opening bowler straight back over his head and beyond the electric fence, for SIX and victory. What a finish. It is also fair to say everybody played a very important part in this victory.
Such was the pleasure of the victory that nearly all the Pelicans headed for the Swan with the oppo, where once again animosities were quickly forgotten and once again, we came away thinking pretty decent set of blokes. And they engineered as bloody close game which really is what we all enjoy.
66 vs Fleet Street Strollers, April 18th