lunes, 13 de enero de 2014

Viv Ash Cuba Libre Invitational 2014

Another summer Sunday in Lima, grey skies lifting slothfully just in time for cricket.  Players of every denomination drifting through the doors of LCFC to indulge their passion. Setting their bags down, perusing the pitch and going off to shake hands with friends they have known for more than a decade or with some they have met just the previous weekend.  It´s always the same.  The hearty bonhomie they recognise from wherever they have played cricket before.  A chance to forget, to anticipate, to relax, to enjoy.  Just simply to be.  But enough of the reverie, on with the report.

An annual fixture in the calendar is the Viv Ash Cuba Libre Invitational, another opportunity to get one's eye in before the serious business of competitive cricket kicks in.  As so many players are involved these days it is a serious business trying to organise the cricket into a useful, meaningful, competitive practice.  So it was decided to split the 30odd arrivals into 3 teams, named Appleton, Bacardi and Cockspur. Originally it had been Cockburns but due to the alcohol not being rum related, the scorer, Juliet, decided to take it upon herself to change the name and she being from a rum making nation the organiser was not going to argue.  A v B, B v C, and A v C would be the equation.  The usual issue of the actual team not being the same as the team list obviously made for a slightly stressful beginning but some smudging of names and last minute adjustments made for 3 teams of 9 or 10 depending on the time of day. 

First off Appleton played Bacardi, Bacardi winning the toss and scoring 75 runs with Roughton and Mahoney receiving arguable decisions (more on this later).  Viv Ash, the trophy´s namesake, was playing for Appleton and, despite his advanced age of 127 he was still able to bowl Sargent, middle stump and then, while walking back to his fielding position took the most casual of catches – incontrovertible proof that cricket can be played by one and all.  I think extras was top scorer in this match.  Appleton faltered atrociously in response after Farook's quick fire 23 and no one else really deserves mention.  

What happened after though was really the news of the day.  Two players questioned the umpires decision after the game´, saying they ball had gone from the bat to pad not vice versa. Thereupon the umpire marched off the premises, uttering imprecations against upstart pipsqueeks (or words to that effect – language modified for GA rating) who question umpire´s decisions. Someone mentioned that this is always the case, the umpire is often not the happiest person on the pitch.  So the day was official umpireless.  The situation was resolved with the non-playing team provide two umpires and the scorers´ father, Denis was pressed into action.  A very correct square leg ump he was too, changing side with the change of left hand right hand bat, and at not too bad a canter either considering his dotage.
At around the same time, Spry, who had just returned from the West Country, managed the amazing trick of falling off the spectator bench while keeping his beer intact, well done that man.

On with the cricket. Bacardi then posted 97 runs with Buesst and Mahoney both being retired out after scoring more than 25 runs: 25 and 29 respectively. Bobby and Diego de la Puente took some beating with 18 off their one over respectively.  Jon 'Dementer' Heyman continues to impress with his slow, painfully accurate bowling (or should it be painfully slow, accurate bowling?) Somehow he manages to persuade the ball to go through a time distortion field after it pitches and many batsman's souls seemed to get sucked out of them as they lose their stumps.  Empty shells appear pitchside minutes later.   Cockspur were unable to reach that impressive score although James and Sonu did by reaching double figures. Bacardi had won the tournament with a game still to be played.

The final game was played between Appleton and Cockspur, Appleton scored 66, with Simon Parker the backbone of the batting with a solid 26, dropped twice on the way but carried on in an unhurried manner.  Dementer came into his own again with 3 wickets for 20.  Steve 'Hagrid' Hallett also fell victim to the Dementer who completed his soul-sucking with  Jaggi, who managed to make a typical quickfire 16 before meeting his fate.  Farook (3-7) Zulfi (1-10) and Jaggi (0-4) then bowled excellent spells, keeping Cockpsur to a below par 55, though Bobby managed to make amends for his wayward ways with an authoritative 30.

Bacardi were awarded one of the many football trophies that clutter up the cricket hut for their reward and Chris Mahoney was awarded man of the day and had to drink from a filthy, cup/box as his reward.

What was learnt?  Don't sit next to an alcoholic woman at a cricket match, you'll find yourself emigrating to Mexico. An umpire's patience is finite. Beer is drunk during and after the match.

domingo, 5 de enero de 2014

Rob Champions Trophy 2014

So the 2014 Season has begun. The first game of the season was the Rob Champion Trophy, presented to Cricket Peru by Rob Champion, a longtime stalwart of the game, before his departure for more challenging cricket environments. The only stipulations attached to the trophy are that the game is to be played in a good mood with the teams to be named the Manics and the Depressives respectively. 

Originally advertised as a 9-a-side tournament and programmed to begin at 1pm with players to arrive at 12, only 16 players had turned up by 12:45. Team captains Steve Hallet and Julian Walter decided to start with 8-a-side, a 25 over match, 5 over maximum for bowlers and batters to retire after scoring 30 runs with the possibility of coming in again if the wickets ran out.  At 1:08:34 there were 11 players for each side. In keeping with the spirit of the Champion Trophy, it is promised that everyone who turns up gets a game. Despite the promised appearance of Harikrishna and 3 or 4 others who did not turn up, by 1:23:13 it was a 12-a-side game. 

The toss was won by the Manics who chose to bat first.  Diego de la Puente, darling of the South American under 13’s (who scored the winning runs – 12 in the final over – against Argentina in October 2013) and Henry Harris, a debutant to LCFC, opened the batting.  Henry was soon bamboozled by the pace, or lack thereof, of the pitch and was out caught off Jon Heyman’s bewildering medium-slow ball, as was Bobby a few balls later.  Diego opened with some intent but was later clean bowled by David Chaplin, another debutant who´s pace increased as his spell went on.  Alex Neufeld (eventually bowled by Jaggi – owner of the first and only maiden over of the match) and Suyash then pushed the score slowly on to 50. Suyash was then bowled by Zulfi, a skiddish fast bowler.  His pace also accounted for Sonu and Hiro, bowled and caught behind respectively.  Chris Mahoney, resplendent in his signature yellow batting shorts and on a high from enjoying Australia’s 5-0 drubbing of England, shone briefly with a massive six before being given out LBW.  Miles Buesst and Captain Walter then added 36 useful for the 9th wicket,taking the score to 106 before Walter was run out well short by an accurate throw from Gerhard Buttner.  He appeared quite relieved to be out as the partnership had consisted of many quick singles.  This also brought in Tiagi, who made a splash by hitting 24 runs in an over. However, his tardy arrival due to a rather late night with a certain Johnny Walker may have contributed to him getting out soon after for a golden bowled by Tony Sanford.  Or it might have been the sandals he was wearing.  Miles and Farook added 18 runs before Miles was brilliantly run out by Tony Sanford from point.  Manics had scored 124 in 23 overs.  Not really near enough.

Depressives began their batting with Indar and Divyansh.  With just a few runs on the board Div was caught at point, flashing.  Gerhard was then caught by Julian the Kangaroo Walter, jumping 5 feet in the air at short mid-on. Atif and Indar tucked into some buffet bowling from Farook and Buesst, but soon Farook had Atif LBW.  Buesst was rather expensive with 13 going off his one over, and as runs were at a premium, he suggested Walter bowl. Walter, hit for four off his first ball, rallied and dismissed Jaggi LBW off his 3rd ball, bowled the debutant Simon Parker second ball and had David Chaplin for a golden after moving Mahoney into a short mid-wicket position, taking a smart catch low down.  Depressives were in trouble. 

From 54-3 to 55 – 6.  Zulfi hung about a bit before some pressure bowling from Sonu brought about a catch for Farook at long on.  The cool and collected Indar retired after scoring a 6 to bring him to 33. Buesst then engineered some skipper –on-skipper  with Steve Hallet caught by the Julian Walter for a duck.  Mahoney was brought on to try his hand at his left arm specials, so promising in nets, yet rarely replicating on the pitch.  An over that brought  4 wides also brought 2 wickets, those of the spin factory: Sanford and Heyman.  Marcus Gee and Indar then tried to wrest back the initiative for the Depressives, but the target was just beyond them with Farook clearing up Gee’s wicket.  They were 21 runs short.

What was learnt?  Patience is a virtue, runs come.  There is no ex-county player here.  Matches can turn in an over.  Beer is drunk afterwards.