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.
Counter factual history is not a rigorous discipline. It is interesting as an exercise but doesn’t provide anything particularly useful. However, recognising a potential train wreck and not providing a replacement bus service to avoid a disaster, that’s another matter.
GMPCC batting, now that was the arrival of Sir Surprising McSurprisison (looks even worse written down). Skip lost the toss so it wasn’t a rush of blood to the head or some other attempt to mix things up. God knows a change is as a good as a break, but for Toobes change is what he wants back after he sends his kids to the shops for some tobacco and a copy of Pigeon Fanciers Monthly.
Opening up, Raheel and Alex Hill. Proper batting this, opening stand of 78. On his dismissal Alex left no one in any doubt that he wasn’t best pleased. I admire his passion and desire to do well for the team and himself but I was concerned that he might hurl his bat at the changing room wall. As the clubhouse is held together by paint and asbestos, I don’t think it would have survived the assault and we would have released a plague of Glis Glis that would make an Australian farmer think his ‘micenami’ ain’t too bad.
Josh replaced Alex, almost a like-for-like, young, hard hitting…
Another 50 plus partnership, Josh garnering 35 before being bowled by a gentleman nicknamed ‘Chopper’. As an older chap, bowling the ‘Prince of Actions’ (A Fairweather, 2021),gentle left arm round Nic was keen to find out the origins of his moniker. Nic enquired if he was a butcher or a hairdresser, he was neither, the name was one from his footballing days, leather balls, no shinpads, goalies in flat caps.
Tony and Ali appeared and departed quickly and Rags joined Raheel for a 41-run stand. Ali’s entry was quite something as he struggled to get his new hat on. He seems to have stolen it from Chairman Mao or Joan Baez but it has brought about a new nickname for him ‘Great Leader’ so it’s a winner.
Raheel batted beautifully for his 102 not out. Shots on either side of the wicket, especially to deep mid-on, who on receiving yet another well struck shot was heard to acclaim to his bowlers about line, length etc. I can’t think of Raheel giving any chances, faultless.
The innings ended at 214/5, 4.15pm GMT. Toobes announced “1 more over”, Rags thought he said Anna Kournikova, Nic reckon he heard apple turnover and Raheel missed the lot so off we went.
Therefore, the end of the innings was a declaration, not sure I have encountered one of these before.
Run to the Hills
What then played out was a display of well managed batting that saw the Roving Reporters win by 8 wickets but not before the Pelicans pushed them almost to the wire.
JG and Toobes opened and were steady, no wickets but steady. Rags and Yusuf came on first change and Yusuf picked up the first wicket, the oppo opener for 38. It was a very well judged catch by JG and this gave the Pelis a sniff. Joining the other opener was the Reporters’ captain. He is distinctive in the way in which he prepares for each delivery, he taps each boot and then takes his back lift, he is also distinctive in his running between the wickets.
Steady bowling mean they didn’t get away on us but the scoreboard ticked over at a speed rarely seen on a Sunday. Felt a little like being on the end of Muhammad Ali’s ‘ropeadope’, their running, quick 2s for example, just wore us down until they delivered the knockout punch. In no way did we let ourselves down in the field, apart from Nic who reprised his days playing for UCL in the early ‘00s ‘fielding like a Fimble’ (see below). They ran us out of the match.
Raheel maybe the first Peli to score a century and lose, something for the Iceman to look into maybe.
A lot of discussion could be had about declarations, merits of, too generous, lack of killer instinct but it is not my job as a recorder of events to pass judgement. Do we need to replace fine sessions with ‘self-criticism’ sessions? One for the AGM possibly?
The session in the pub was a dicey one for the Skipper as the President expressed his concerns about the match. Toobes had to have eyes in the back of his head as 2 vice-captains sat there awaiting the judgement of the King Maker.
I expect it’s due to the kind of crusading that has them chaining themselves to some trees or digging a bunker under Wendover in an attempt to stop HS2 (or HS Boo as we like champagne socialists like to call it), I do recall their number 4 bat being called S.W. Ampy…
The gentlemen from Bovingdon St George stepped up to replace the Crusaders, for which we owe them a vote of thanks. This is a team we know well, some of us better than others. Raheel, (not playing today) and Yusuf (who was man enough to play) turning out for BStG on Saturdays.
Rex Albert joined our merry band, Tony (Tony’s wife Liz really) scouting him out for us. The Iceman slid back in for his first game of the season. We also welcomed the return of liberal politics to the village with a new Lib Dem MP elected only two days previous, we should have started with a rendition of the Red Flag but no one knew the second verse.
Laos has its Plain of Jars, Los Angeles the Hollywood Bowl, now Great Missenden has The Field of Bowleds. Not the trait usually associated with GMPCC (but could apply to the opposition, St George and all that), nor the white powder you use to give you a ‘touch of freshness’ but as in wickets castled, cartwheeled, destroyed, upset, disturbed…
The GStB openers put on 64 and after that there was a steady fall of wickets. A. Ellis top scored for BStG with 82. Wickets were shared, sort of, 3 for Rags, 2 each for Sir Anger and Nic, Rex, the Skipper, Tiger and Yusuf having no luck. We look forward to more of Rex’s bowling, we just need to check the wicket is the correct length!
This lack of need for intervention from the fielders meant there is little material in terms of mishaps to make this report tastier.
Opening for the home team was Iceman and Nic. Grey described the weather, the players hair and the progress made chasing the 182 set by BStG. Nic was first man out after the Skipper pointed out that the innings was already ¼ the way through and we were behind the rate. I think Nic was stupefied by the Skipper’s ability to work outside of his 10x tables and that led him to play a yeehaa to the next ball and to be bowled.
The opening experiment I think is over, not all Kiwis can be winners.
Wickets fell fairly regularly. Amit got a start but a mini collapse ensued. Yusuf got a first baller from the BStG spinner and Niron and Rupert were back in the clubhouse soon after. Rags, Rex and Suranga pushed the score along. Rex smacked a 6. Rags and Suranga a few 4s. Tiger hit his obligatory boundary and that brought our cack-handed slugger to the crease. Toobes got to 10 and then played the wrong shot to a full toss and was well caught to end the GMPCC innings at 131.
We speak at length about cricket being a fickle mistress and a game of ‘what ifs’. We also refer to the book and what is contained within to illustrate settle the issues/of the points on contention.
Toobes may say it was a no ball, as may Suranga but in the book it says out, caught. The umpire at the bowler’s end looked to his colleague for a judgement and with none forthcoming made no moves to change the fairness of the delivery.
‘Some days diamonds, some days stones’ – John Denver.
This was Rupert’s last game before heading North of the border. All the Pelicans wish him well in the land of shortbread and Arbroath Smokies and look forward to seeing him again soon in the Valley of the Bowleds.
This piece of haute couture would not have looked out of place on the head of tousled head premier, failing that on Cat Weasel or Worzel Gummidge. Attired in such fashion he headed out for the toss at the end of which, surprise, surprise we were bowling. Sometimes I think he hates us and gains some perverse pleasure of making us run in the heat. However, the die was cast and so we took the field, and to bastardise the old song, “ The Northerner has got his hat, he’s coming out to play”.
Opening for the Pelicans was Skip down the hill with Bailey the Younger coming up the hill. Tidy is an appropriate description for the bowling, the Fiddlers openers starting with a stand of 31. A burst of a wicket every second over from JB and a number of dots to rival a Dungeon and Dragons dice from the Skipper had the oppo 3 for 54.
Next to the bowling crease was Alex Hill. Alex has played for the Pelis before, making appearance in the Stowe fixture a few years back. Replacing Skip Alex continued the tight line, and was joined by ‘Sir Anger’ after Josh finished a tidy spell of 8-1-32-3. I enjoy Suranga’s bowling for its passion and the anticipation of what will come next. Eventful overs garnered a couple of wickets and following Alex was Tiger. Steady was our man from Walton on Thames and Ali took a nice catch to add to the wicket tally. Kavin, son of Thili added another entry to the long list of father and sons who have played for GMPCC. By the end of his spell Kavin had more wickets than his dad, something a lot of Pelis were keen to point out.
The Fiddlers finished on 176 for the loss of 8 wickets.
To give him his due the Skipper, when encouraged (and with few options) will try something outside the box. Like an alchemist we tried something which we all know will never work. Raheel and Nico strode to the wicket, Nic wielding the bat that would be better used outside a barber’s or a sweet shop. Raheel took the strike and played out a maiden. You may remember in a previous match our Antipodean opener succumbing to a ‘Test Match quality delivery’. This time he was undone by a player who as a county representative (Bucks County Over 70s) was too good, second ball out LBW. How long this experiment continues we will have to see.
Following Nic was Alex who, with Raheel steady the good ship Pelican and took the score into the 30s. Raheel succumbed to the county rep and that bought Josh to the crease to join Alex. As far as I’m aware they play together somewhere up country and this experience of each other was evident in the partnership that pushed the home team on the road to victory. Alex went LBW bringing Ali to the crease. With a deftness of touch and timing the long and the short of the team moved us closer to 177 and a win. Josh was bowled for 38. This represented a commendable all-round effort, well worth the long drive from the wilds of Gatwick. Ali, with a rush of blood to the head was stumped for 32. Amit smacked his way to 12 before coming one of the 4 wickets to fall to the Fiddlers 4th change bowler. Thili strode to the wicket, with the pressure of not just the scoreboard but also the pressure of showing Kavin how to put a game to bed. Unfortunately, this wasn’t the case and Suranga had similar problems. Kavin however was able to show his seniors what was what and along with Tiger’s mighty six took the Pelis to the brink.
Unfortunately, the brink was as far as we got, Kavin and Toobes pushed it close but we came up short by 7 runs.
Once again, we had a good contest between two teams who played the game in the right spirit. Pelis provided some good all-round performances in the guise of Kavin. Alex and Josh for others it is good they know how to make a pot of tea.
11 mighty warriors gathered at Long Marston and surveyed the wicket, as ever one for the batsmen.
Skip walked out with the oppo and duly tossed up and lost and was put into bat, could this day get any worse….. oh yes.
Opening for the Pelicans we had Daddy Khan and Baby Kankate. What a partnership this looked, surely a big foundation was about to be laid. It didnt take long for our two openers to get into their stride and dispatch the opening bowlers around the ground, ave a bit of that.
And a bit of it they did indeed have with a combined age of 25 the two openers were crushed by the intensity of the Khan Kankate partnership indeed the 12-year-old girl having bowled pretty well was soon removed from the attacking line up, quickly followed by the 13-year-old boy.
Runs came a plenty and Skip sat back in his chair comfortable in the knowledge that today Winny would come to visit…..daddy Khan bowled by another youngster; Skip not worried sat back as he saw Josh enter the wicket. One instruction, you have ages take your time…….LBW for 0.
Not to worry we have Ali who put a great partnership on with Baby Kankate, indeed by Ali standards this was a new Ali, his alter ego Dool was being kept firmly at bay. Mind you with Ali you always know his alter ego is not far away, lurking in those deep dark recesses and after 10 overs he could hold him back no more. Like the Incredible Hulk out powered Dool Ali. Don’t worry thought Skip Niron has been batting well and can hold up the other end whilst Baby Kankate piles on the runs.
Calling for a quick single Kunaal ran towards Niron, Niron stood steadfast realising there possibly wasn’t a single going, in all honesty there was probably two. Having explained this to Kunaal who was stood in Nirons crease so to speak Kunaal set back to the safety of his own end only to fall with inches to spare. and on 83.
Niron with full intent to atone for his sins was bowled next ball. Skip was less confident.
Taking to the wicket we had Rupert and Baby Khan (the better one).
Now I don’t think I am being unkind here, but Skip was fully expecting to see Rupert trudge back to the clubhouse BUT this partnership with Yousuf brought out the inner Ian Botham from our middle order Pelican and quick singles followed 4s followed quick singles.
As for Yousuf he was in truly imperious form, if only his father could take note.
It was these two giants of the Pelicans cricket team who brought the innings to a close on 33 and 58 respectively, a magnificent half century from Yousuf and a great knock by Rupert.
Pelicans 235 off 40 overs
With a hefty total to defend Skip was rather relaxed, unfortunately that’s when things tend to go a little wrong. The opening partnership seemed to like the fayre that was on offer and gorged themselves on the delights of Toobes (not in that sense in the cricketing sense).
Suranga also came in for a bit of spankage (not in that sense either) so the only honourable thing to do was remove the openers and bring on Mr Metronome Rags and Joshie Shaduuuup Bailey. This brought an immediate impact as Josh removed the opening batsman and then the number 3 batsman. Things were looking up thought Skip.
Unfortunately, as we are all too aware that does lead to a problem. Now it is fair to say the long Marston opener had two shots he was particularly strong with, the hoick off his legs and the cut through the slips. With the trap firmly set it just needed Josh to spring it and the slips to offer the coup de grace. It duly happened and Skip was the recipient, a bit of a dolly, up she went and down she fell the opener on 55 was safe.
No worries it won’t be costly thought Skip, unfortunately the opener had other ideas and decided to use his two shots which quite frankly ones as good as he had why use any others.
With the opener in his mid 60s Josh once again sprung the trap and Skip once again watched the ball keenly as it came towards him and nestled like a fledgling in his hands, cradled with all the care of a new-born. Unfortunately, this new-born was going to grow up with some severe abnormalities as he was dropped once again on his head.
Shouldn’t be a problem.
With the opener standing his ground runs were coming quite regularly but with Josh who had taken the two drops in a quiet gentlemanly fashion and Rags bowling on the spot they were slipping behind the run rate ever so slightly.
With the game still hanging in the balance Skip played his final card, the bowling partnership of Kunaal and Adam Warne Fairweather.
A magnificent spell was needed if this game wasn’t to slip away, and it was duly delivered as Kunaal dismissed the number 4 bat and then the opener on a tremendous score of 133.
Warney Fairweather wrapped up the other end and brought Mr Winnerson in with Long Marston finishing on 225.
A great game on a great wicket, what isn’t there to like?
The afternoon began with a surfeit of teams arriving at the Meadow. There were the Gnomes, a handful of Pelicans and another team, LRC I believe who had been sent to the wrong venue. It appeared they had been given some crook intel. They had organised the match with someone called Barry, this knowledge, plus the presence of the opposition gave the skipper the confidence that the Pelis were playing at home. It reminded me of the Cheech and Chong ‘Is Dave there man?’ routine, but of course when I mentioned this several people asked me what a Cheech was.
Toss made, Pelicans in the field, there’s a surprise.
We welcomed Rags back and the match marked the debut of Yusuf, son of Khan.
Toobes opened from the Railway End, unleashing a Peli yorker which was larruped to the mid-wicket boundary. One delivery and no idea how the wicket might play as the ball didn’t touch it. From the Nags Head End Yusuf fired up the engine to deliver a tidy 7-over spell. His final ball was a rocket which took his pater and first slip by surprise and was next seen nestled by the ‘sight’ screen (inserted commas to be explained later*). Like Toobes moving Nic to hide him in the field Yusuf then took the gloves, a little bit of ‘step aside old man, watch and learn’.
Rags and ‘Sir Anger’ took up the attack and by his own admission the ‘Ragometer’ was a little out of sync. Metronomic became more Mini Metro, running but not as reliable as it was when it was new.
Suranga took 4 wickets with the Pelis helping him out with some quality catching. The catch at midwicket to dismiss the Gnomes’ Number 3 was followed by some typical muppetry from the Pelis overseas. In an attempt to recreate the ‘Andy Bichel Aussie Rules’ celebration Nic threw the ball in the air, tried to drop kick it as it hit the ground only to miss it, stand on the ball and roll his ankle. Moron! Initial thought was for Nic to leave the field but the bar is set pretty high for leg/foot injuries in the Pelis so to avoid derision he decided to brazen it out. This didn’t stop Nic being asked several times ‘Weren’t you limping on the other foot?’ Needless to say, several single fingered salutes and possibly suggestive hand gestures were proffered.
Around about the same time, a group of ladies who will now be referred to ‘Mumsnet’ set up their picnic just behind the sightscreen, Suranga politely suggested a spot by the scoreboard. They set up camp and proceeded to enjoy some high-quality work in the field, Nic stepped over a ball and then had to collect it shamefaced from the boundary, apologising for his colourful Antipodean vernacular, Amit chased a ball into their sausage rolls. We let them use the facilities for which ‘Mumsnet’ will give us a 10 on Trustpilot, the second-best score for the Pelicans.
Suranga collected a bag of 4 and this success was built open by A Fairweather who picked up 3 scalps for 19, he remains the skipper’s tail end destroyer and leading wicket taker.
218/9, a good effort with good batting from all the Gnomes. It was a better than decent total but there was pedigree in the home team’s batting line up.
Getting your ducks in a row
Opening were Raheel, Dad of Khan and Nico. Raheel was first to go, out to a quite wonderful catch at second slip. It was suggested that bringing actual cricket to the Meadow was one unusual, two not in keeping with what normally happens here of a Sunday. Next to go was Nic. The ball that got him was described as the ball of the century; it was of test quality (what kind of test we’re unsure). Nic left the arena feeling just like Mike Gatting that day in 1993. Amit and Rupert succumbed to the left arm round the wicket (‘Prince of Actions’ according to some), Rags to the bowler who got Nico. Yusuf continued his quality debut with some cracking shots and the highest score in the paltry total of 49. The Gnomes spinner took a bag including Toobes, taken by the same chap at second slip. The fielder concerned is a pilot so it heartens me that he has decent eyesight and a steady hand.
Adam was the last man out. One full delivery passed close to his leg stump with no real shot offered. Adam lamented that he didn’t see it, the diaphanous nature of the screen not helping to sight the delivery.*
Yusuf 21, Amit, Toobes and Suranga odds and sods? And 5 ducks.
There ended the horror, a game that can be likened to a group of people in a cabin in the woods, power goes out, no phone and a bloke in a hockey goalie mask with a chainsaw. For those Telegraph readers amongst us, it was more akin to a Hieronymus Bosch or Edvard Munch.
The match was played in good spirit, the Gnomes are a lovely bunch of chaps, (including an Aussie called Carter) and played a good game.
Both teams retired to the pub in good time.
As for this day, lets park in the multi-story of disappointment and let the council of despair remove it for scrap to the wrecker’s yard of the past.
103* vs Roving Reporters, June 27th
83* vs Northwood, July 12th
83 vs Long Marston, June 6th
66 vs Fleet Street Strollers, April 18th
58* vs Long Marston, June 6th
58 vs Stowe Templars, July 14th