So the 2014 Season has begun. The of the season was the Rob , 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 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 with players to arrive at 12, only 16 players had turned up by . 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 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 ,taking the 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 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 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 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 . 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.