Normally, PCC lose their first match and play catch-up, so let’s hope that success on the first day does not bode ill.
The first match was against Lamphun. Pattaya won the toss and decided to bat first. Wez and Luke opened as usual against Chan Chai. Wez opened with a 6 and a beautiful back-foot drive for 4 through cover-point. 14 off the first over and a good start as you need 75 to be competitive against Lamphun. Luke had similar results against Feem which included a rare mis-field from Cher which yielded a 4. 13 off the over and 27 for 0 from 2. Pit bowled the 3rd over and Wez plundered two more sixes whilst good fielding from the lightning fast Lamphun youngsters prevent almost certain 4s. 41 for 0 off 3. Frame took the 4th over. Wez hit two more boundaries over mid-wicket and retired on 32 to be replaced by Habby. 63 for 0. Cher bowled the last over and had Habby bowled for 7 who was replaced by Trevor Moolman, but not for long as Trevor got an edge and was caught behind by Andy for a Golden Duck. A single by Andy Emery allowed Luke to face and the score reached 69 for 2 with Luke 29 not out. An extra run would not alter the result but the lost bonus point might have cost a place in the final and even the tournament.
Cher and Chan Chai opened against Hamza Khan. Cher placed the ball excellently where fielders were not, i.e. down in the 3rd Man area, but PCC were slow to correct their field placements and runs were leaked unnecessarily. Andy fell and landed on his bottom for the second time in 12 hours, but he did prevent a boundary 4. 13 off the over. Habby bowled next but his length was too full and Cher splatted the full tosses accordingly. Thus, an expensive 19 from the over. 32 for 0 and slightly ahead. Wez tried to stem the flow but he too was glided down to a vacant 3rd Man area and the runs kept flowing, 53 for 0 from 3 and 12 ahead with Chan Chai having retired at 34 and replaced by Frame who glided a ball from Wez’s poor over to backward point for 4. Andy’s over yielded an economical 9, despite a wide, to establish parity, but could the last over be as economical. Sadly, it was not to be as Luke decided to bowl quicker balls instead of his usual right hand leggies. With the scores level and 1 ball to go a boundary 4 was scored and Lamphun won by 6 wickets. PCC failed to get any points and would need to beat Zen Spirit to get into the final.
The final divisional match was against Zen Spirit, a new, but largely local team, who were unbeaten. Wickets were going to be hard to get and so economic bowling would be the key. Wez won the toss and elected to bat first. He opened with Luke against Tariq who bowled extremely quickly, despite just recovering from knee surgery, although he was a little wide. Just 9 from the over. Naveed continued the bowling and was assaulted by Wez who hit a 6 and two 4s. 26 for 0 off 2. Incha bowled his quite quick deliveries from a very short run up but again Wez managed two massive 6s and a 4 to take the score to 42 off 3. Ubaid Ullah bowled the 4th over which allowed Wez to retire on 35 and Habby took the crease to continue the battering with 12 off the last 3 balls. 22 off the over and 64 for 0 with one over to go. Luke had been deprived of the strike until this point and went ballistic with boundaries galore to retire on 33 and a score of 90 for 0. An impressive 81 from 4 overs. This was a defendable score and a win was possible with tidy bowling.
Hamza bowled the first over, but too many balls were in the slot and he got hit for 17, mainly to Abaid Ullah. Salman Khan bowled the next over and was summarily slaughtered for 28 via three 6s from Abaid and more boundaries from Tariq. Abaid retired with 31 with the score on 45 for 0 off 2 and 19 runs ahead. Wickets were need and quickly. Unfortunately, none ever came as Habby also bowled into the slot and more boundaries to Naveed. 22 from the over and Zen Spirit were romping away at 67 for 0 from 3 overs. Worse was to come. Andy, normally an economical bowler, was hit all over the park and Naveed retired on 32. Tariq continued the barrage with 3 more boundaries and finished 24 not out whilst Insha watched. A bye off the final ball of the 4th over secured a win to Zen Spirit by 6 wickets with one over to spare. A tremendous batting effort aided and abetted by some average bowling.
Thus ended PCCs participation in the cricket, but the Tournament was not over. The Gentleman’s final was between Darjeeling Juniors (46/1) who defeated Koh Chang (45/2) by 5 wickets, whilst The Players final was between Lamphun and Zen Spirit. Lamphun concluded their innings with 60/4 and would have to bowl very well to contain Zen. They romped home by 21 runs because of excellent fielding, sharp wicket keeping and some controversy when Naveed was run out having grounded his bat and then left his crease whilst the ball was still deemed to be live and he was run out. To make matters worse, Naveed refused to leave the field and when he did another 2 wickets fell quickly and Zen Spirit left the field with three balls left to play. It was all smoothed over and had a happy ending (no, not that sort).
PCC would like to thank their sponsors, Outback Sports Bar, Ahern Bar, Magic Bar and the Pattaya Sports Group for their support and the supports for cheering PCC on, even if they don’t always win.