PCC played their last match of the League table on Sunday 20 March at the Pattana Sport Resort against the Tamil Nadu CC (TMN CC). The Asian Stars CC had taken back 2nd place in the BCL with a win on Saturday, so a win with sufficient points was essential to regain our place. TMN CC, although placed 9th in the league, should not be taken for granted. PCC’s plan was to restrict TMN CC as much as possible and try to earn extra bowling bonus points.
A hot and humid morning greeted both teams. Captain Simon Philbrook won the toss and in time honoured tradition decided to bowl first. TMN CC opened with Anucha Ansari and Annon Ansari against Ryan Driver and Andy Emery. Ryan’s first over was a maiden and he was bowling with some aggression. The bowlers had the better of the contest as they restricted the openers to 4 runs per over. Habby Singh entered the battle in the 6th and his first ball cartwheeled Anucha’s off stump with a sublime inswinger for 5.
Jianul Arsath (Armsa) only lasted 3 balls before he too lost his off stump for a Duck. Ryan pegged down his end as he bowled his 5 overs straight through to create some pressure, but it was Habby that did the damage. The first ball of his second over scattered Annon’s stumps for 18 and Habby had a wicket maiden and was 1 run for 3 wickets in 2 overs and TMN CC were 29 for 3 from 8. Mabas Khan and Captain Sheik Hyath provided brief resistance due to Jainish’s bowling being a little wayward and Habby being taken for a few boundaries.
It was bowling from the crafty old Steve Christie and the metronomic Andy Emery that restored the PCC stranglehold. Steve had Sheik LBW for 10 in his first over and Andy had Mabas superbly caught by Luke Stokes at Mid-on, also for 10, in a catch very reminiscent of the famous catch by his namesake, Ben. Mohaideen Thamby made a quick 9 before being caught by Luke who used his chest to stop the ball rather than his hands. It made one hell of a thump and will hurt for weeks. Drinks at 15 overs with TMN CC on 66 for 6 (spooky) and under the cosh.
Nagood Meeran took the crease after drinks and noodled away until he was dropped at Long-on by the usually safe hands of Wez Masterton and then smashed Habby for 6. Revenge was sweet as Habby bowled him next ball for 12 and completed 5 overs with 4 for 20. Ramiz occupied the crease for 22 minutes for his 4 runs and was eventually caught behind off Bernie Lamprecht’s first ball by Colin Clark. Colin was having a terrible day behind the sticks and it was probably the first ball he’d held all day.
Seyed Aashick was soon back in the tent for a Duck which gave Andy Emery his 3rd wicket of the day for 22 runs. That left Syed Sultan still on the mat who managed a swashbuckling 13 from 13 balls until he danced down the wicket to try and smash a wide from Steve and was promptly stumped by Colin who appeared to have finally woken up. TMN CC concluded their innings on 100 all out and PCC had achieved Plan A Part 1 by earning 4 bonus points for bowling TMN CC out for 100 or less.
Plan A Part 2 was to score 100 in no time at all and be back home for tea and medals by 4pm. There was a fatal flaw with the plan – it was bollocks. (Any Black Adder fans out there.) The usual pair of Wez and Ryan went out to create some havoc against Ramiz Raja and Nagoor Meeran who had not read the script. Nagoor tickled Wez’s off stump on the 4th ball for 2 and whilst Ramiz was being given the treatment, Nagoor tickled Ryan’s off stump for 5 in the next over.
Luke managed to stay longer against accurate and pacey bowling, but Nagoor tempted him to hit long and he was caught on the boundary by Mabas for 6. Worse was still to come when Pete Reeh took the crease and got suckered by Mohaideen into prodding a slower ball and lofted a catch to Ramiz at short-mid-on for 2. PCC were 20 for 4 after 7 overs and being taught a lesson. Colin, now fully awake, realised he had to put on his Big Boys pads and knuckle under or there was going to be a melange of egg and faces.
He plodded on defending the good balls and punishing the bad and finished with 38 from 51 balls. PCC passed drinks at 5 for 58 and was slightly behind. Jainish made an 18-ball appearance for his 4 before being caught by Aashick off Sultan. Captain Simon was doing well until he decided to go for a quick single that wasn’t there and Colin, quite rightly sent him back with a firm, ‘NO’. Changing the speed and direction of a Simon in full flight is a hazardous event and something went ‘ping’. Retired Not Out, 6.
Colin was eventually caught by Ramiz off Sultan, which brought Andy and Habby to the wicket. They set about Sultan and Habby hit the winning boundary with 11 Not Out for both batsmen and a win by 4 wickets. Nagoor had taken 3 wickets for 13 runs from 5 overs and Colin had been instrumental in saving PCC with some mature batting. Habby was awarded MotM for his 4 for 20 from 5 overs.
This result re-established PCC’s 2nd place in the BCL, but in Bangkok, AIT was being given a cricketing lesson by Bangkok CC. The nature of AIT’s defeat was so severe that PCC highest points win was sufficient to take first place from AIT.
The Elimination Finals, Semis and Finals will be at Pattana Sport Resort will be on 27 March, 3 and 4 April. Details on the www.bangkokcricketleague.com website. Anyone that wishes to become involved in any way with PCC should contact Simon Philbrook on 0870 395 790.