Surrounded by thunder clouds and lightning, Pattaya Cricket Club entertained local rivals Asian Stars in the latest round of Eastern Seaboard Cricket League fixtures at the very wet but playable Thai Polo Ground last Sunday.
After winning the toss, the PCC captain Simon Philbrook had no hesitation in asking the powerful batting line up of the Asian Stars to bat first. In the sultry conditions the PCC opening attack of Salman Khan and Wezley Masterton were exemplary with their line and length. Despite some early boundaries from Darmesh (11), PCC controlled the run rate and Salman made the deserved breakthrough as Ben Charleston held onto a spiralling catch at backward point. Salman struck again two balls later as he trapped Dimple lbw and wrapped up his spell with the wicket of Manoj, caught joyfully by Venky.
Asian Stars started to rebuild the innings as the ball softened in the wet conditions with Bilial and Mazar at the crease. Enter Andy Emery. Just before the drinks break he had Mazar (8) caught in the covers, next ball he held a fantastic low return catch to send Sam (0) back to the tent and then he trapped Satnaam (0) back on his stumps lbw to complete his first hat-trick for the club. It was an innings changing 3 balls and PCC refused to relieve the pressure despite some wonderful strokeplay from Bilal.
Lee Standen clean bowled two tail-enders and completed a run out to leave Bilal with the final Asian Star batsman. Andy returned to wrap up the innings as he had Bilal caught in the deep for a marvellous 72 but it was Andy’s 4/14 that put PCC in control and needing 131 runs for victory.
In reply Manik and Wezley faced some determined and sometimes hostile new ball bowling but both weathered the storm, literally, and ensured the PCC innings started positively. With 46 runs on the board from 9 overs PCC were looking very much in command, but the wickets of Wezley (12) and Venky (0) soon halted the momentum. Andy (10) steadied the chase with the unflappable Manik who was in imperious touch. But, a flurry of late wickets including Manik for a wonderful 67 created a little panic in the home dressing room before Lee Standen settled the contest with a glorious drive over extra cover and a straight six.
PCC won with an over to spare and Manik deservedly was presented with the man of the match trophy. The win means PCC are now joint top of the ESCL with 3 fixtures remaining, the next of which is Sunday 20th May against the Southerners.
PCC would like to encourage anyone with a passion for the game to join the club by visiting the club website www.pattayacricketclub.com or the Facebook page.