Pirates of the St Lawrence versus New Edinburgh of Ottawa
Sunday 14 August 2011
By our Irish correspondent Samuel Mulligan
Pirates of the St Lawrence hosted New Edinburgh of Ottawa on Sunday in a classic contest played out in front of a full house at The Candy Fields. The game – which was interrupted by two breaks for foul weather – went to down to the wire, with the Pirates clinching a three-wicket victory off the penultimate ball.
The Candy Fields is quickly becoming home to all creatures great and small. Already this season, pre-match preparations have featured snakes, coyotes, and an army of carpenter ants. The set-up for Sunday’s game was no different. The Pirates unrolled the jute mat to find a family of baby mice squatting at one end of the wicket. The mother had chewed through the canvas, collecting fluff to provide warmth for her children. ”Right,” said Coach Roche. ”Someone needs to pick them up very carefully and put them back in the shed.”
”Why are we putting a nest of mice back in our shed?” asked Captain Bell.
”Throw them in the bush, brother,” suggested Kiwi Julius.
”I wish you’d given them to me. I could have fed them to my chickens,” said Professor Granville, later.
After a new home in the forest was found for Mickey and the gang, play got underway with the visitors, New Edinburgh, batting first.
Keenly aware of the New Edinburgh batting order’s strength in depth, the Pirates bowlers were under strict instructions to bowl line and length. The home team’s plan of building pressure on the Senators was executed perfectly by the seam quintet of Roche, Legault, Granville, Wisden and Krishnan.
Roche and Legault were particularly miserly, conceding just 28 runs from their opening 10 overs. Turning the screw on New Edinburgh’s openers, Jawad and Aman, Roche got the initial breakthrough when he bowled the former for 2 (from 15 balls). One quickly become two, as Legault had Aman caught by Wisden at mid-off for 3 (from 16 balls). Wisden, groaning before the ball reached him, did well to hold on to the ball as it struck him on the end of his thumb.
Poor visibility, the curvature of the earth and gravitational variations can all be blamed for a number of missed chances by the Montrealers. Special mention must be made for Granville, whose spectacular effort at first slip nearly yielded the catch of the season. Diving full-length to his left, Granville successfully snaffled the ball millimetres from the turf only to spill it when his arm hit the ground.
The New Edinburgh top-order capitalised on Granville’s misfortune, building a solid partnership. Priyank and Arun put on a half-century stand for the third wicket. Rarely ruffled, the pair executed a number of elegant, crisp drives to pierce the infield.
It took an exceptional piece of fielding by Julius, diving and then hurling the ball over the stumps at the non-striker’s end from point, to break the partnership, running out Arun for 32. The New Edinburgh batsman had looked good throughout his 40 ball innings, notching up five boundaries, but Kiwi Julius was in fine form in the field. Over the course of the morning he played his part in three run-outs. Julius later attributed his fiery fielding to the unorthodox choice of curry as his pre-match breakfast.
At the other end, Priyank had raced to a run-a-ball 40. Together with new man Nakul, he continued to accelerate the scoring. In danger of letting the opposition slip away from them, the Pirates turned to spin.
While Julius’s leg-spin managed to contain the New Edinburgh batsmen from the Terminal End, it was Mulligan who made two breakthroughs at the Woodland End. Bowling his patented brand of slow, aerial bombardment, the Dublin Death Star had Priyank caught at long-on by Sakrani. The ball looked to be sailing comfortably for six, only for Sakrani to pull-off a blinding catch a yard inside the rope, still on the move.
Mulligan then had Nakul stumped for 12 (from 13 balls). Tempted down the track, the New Edinburgh No.5 was stumped by Roche – who had temporarily taken over the keeping duties.
The fall of Nakul was followed soon after by the first of two breaks for bad weather, but swift work with the covers by both sides saved a certain washout.
After the delay, the crowd of onlookers swelled to include a toad. Drawn out by the wet weather, the amphibian perched himself on a chair in the front row under the tent to watch the exciting conclusion of the New Edinburgh innings.
Play resumed with father and son, Martin and Jozef Cheetham, bowling from each end. The English debutants from Point-Claire were lively in the field all morning. Cheered on by Mrs Cheetham – watching from her deck chair in the forest – the pair maintained the pressure on the New Edinburgh batsmen.
Despite a strong contribution by the Ottawa lower-order, wickets continued to fall. From the Woodland End, 15-year-old Jozef Cheetham picked up his first wicket for the Pirates when he clean bowled Mehul. The New Edinburgh No.6 had looked dangerous, scoring 17 off 18 balls.
Jozef further proved his mettle in the next over when, fielding off his father’s bowling, he broke his nail, but refused the offer of a substitute fielder. Instead, the gritty youngster fashioned a make-do bandage out of fibre glass tape. ”We’re ‘ard, us Cheethams,” commented Dad.
Spurred on by the Cheethams’ commitment to the cause, the Pirates produced back-to-back run-outs. Rajan departed for 10 – again run out by Julius throwing to the non-striker – before Deepak was caught short of his ground for 21 when Bell, having induced a leading edge first ball which dropped agonisingly out of reach over the bowler’s head, fired the ball back to the keeper. Deepak’s whirlwind innings came off only 12 balls, and featured a monster six.
While wickets fell around him, New Edinburgh captain Dravya continued to find the boundary. Batting down the order, the visiting skipper smashed 6 fours and a six.
As the Ottawans looked to hit out, Blechynden and Sakrani did well to stem the flow of runs. Looking to close the innings, Bell brought Roche (in the form of his life) back at the Woodland End.
Saunil top-edged a sweep off Bell to give Sakrani his second sensational catch of the day, this time at short fine leg. Roche executed the fourth run out of the innings (a record for the Pirates) with a lightning pick up and direct hit off his own bowling to rid of Nimeesh.
The innings concluded when Roche picked up his second wicket of the day (having suffered four drops by keeper and slip). Captain Dravya was snared by the junior Cheetham, back-peddaling from extra cover.
New Edinburgh were all-out for 219, using 40.1 of their alloted 43 overs.
After a fine display in the field, the Pirates’ innings got off to the worst of starts, slumping to 2 for 2 in the second over. Keeper Nikhil and opening bowler Deepak combined to remove Mulligan and Julius, both gloving rising deliveries behind for blobs.
It was left to Bell and Roche to steady the Pirate ship. Both were forced to bide their time, as New Edinburgh bowled tight lines and got the Kookaburra ball to seam and swing alarmingly. Roche then unleashed a spate of boundaries, including two maximums, to take him close to 50. His whirlwind 43 came to an end when an Arun peach cut in from outside off stump and and bowled him through the gate to make it 68 for 3.
After the game was halted for a 50-minute lightning storm, the two teams took to the field, with thunder clapping overhead, in what could be described as Celtic conditions. The delay meant calculators were called into action, and the home team were set a revised total of 176 off 36 overs (95 more in 15 overs) using the Granville & Roche Method.
Very much at home in the darkness and driving rain, Bell – a son of Alba – picked up his scoring rate. Prior to the storm, the skipper had scored 21 runs off 58 balls. Now invigorated by the wet and windy conditions, he began to find the boundary with regularity.
Having to score at roughly six and a half an over, the Pirates middle-order collapsed, while Bell, cutting and sweeping the spinners to the fence, kept them in the hunt.
Joined at the crease by Martin Cheetham on 126 for 7, Bell brought up his eighteenth fifty for the Pirates with a savage pull for four. The pair added 37 in quick time before Bell fell to an astonishing piece of fielding by his opposite number. The batsman looked to have cleared mid-on comfortably, only for Dravya to pouch a wet ball one-handed, high above his head. Bell’s 74 came off 87 balls, including 53 runs in the last 28. The Pirates, with just three wickets in hand, still needed 13 off 13 balls.
Plagued by vomiting, migraines and sprains, the Pirates’ ranks had been severely depleted. With Blechynden and Sakrani on their way home after chundering in the bushes and threatening to faint, and Wisden nursing a dicky thumb by the scorebook, New Edinburgh, in an excellent display of sportsmanship, allowed Krishnan to return to the crease.
Jawad produced a blinder in the penultimate over, conceding just three runs. With nine needed off the final over, it was anyone’s game.
Cheetham smashed the second ball down the ground, but a superb one-handed stop and return from the long-on boundary saved a certain four. The batsmen traded singles, and then, with three runs needed from two balls, Cheetham dispatched Saunil over midwicket to seal a famous victory.
Pirates of the St Lawrence versus New Edinburgh of Ottawa
Sunday 14 August 2011
The Candy Fields, Mont-Saint-Hilaire
Match type: 43 overs per side
Weather conditions: Tropical to Tim Burton-esque
Result: Pirates of the St Lawrence won by 3 wickets (Granville & Roche Method)
New Edinburgh Innings
Jawad b Roche 2 (15 balls)
Aman ct Wisden b Legault 3 (16 balls)
Priyank ct Sakrani b Mulligan 40 (5×4, 42 balls)
Arun run out (Julius) 32 (5×4, 40 balls)
Nakul st Roche b Mulligan 12 (13 balls)
Mehul b J Cheetham 17 (2×4, 18 balls)
Rajan run out (Julius) 10 (1×4, 18 balls)
Deepak run out (Bell) 21 (1×4, 1×6, 12 balls)
Saunil ct Sakrani b Bell 10 (1×4, 9 balls)
Dravya (c) ct J Cheetham b Roche 37 (6×4, 1×6, 27 balls)
Nimeesh run out (Roche) 1 (1 ball)
Nikhil (wk) not out 5 (1×4, 8 balls)
Extras 29 (Byes 4, Leg Byes 4, No Balls 1, Wides 20)
Total 219 for 11 in 40.1 overs
Phil Roche 6.1 overs, 2 maidens, 2 wickets, 13 runs
Matthew Legault 4 overs, 1 maiden, 1 wicket, 15 runs
Andrew Granville 3 overs, 1 maiden, 0 wickets, 13 runs
Tom Wisden 4 overs, 0 wickets, 24 runs
Sundar Krishnan 3 overs, 0 wickets, 26 runs
Matthew Julius 4 overs, 0 wickets, 24 runs
Samuel Mulligan 4 overs, 1 maiden, 2 wickets, 6 runs
Martin Cheetham 2 overs, 1 maiden, 0 wickets, 5 runs
Jozef Cheetham 2 overs, 1 wicket, 16 runs
David Blechynden 2 overs, 0 wickets, 22 runs
Aneeq Sakrani 2 overs, 0 wickets, 21 runs
Angus Bell 4 overs, 1 wicket, 29 runs
Pirates of the St Lawrence Innings
Angus Bell (c) ct Dravya b Nimeesh 74 (9×4, 1×6, 87 balls)
Samuel Mulligan ct Nikhil b Deepak 0 (4 balls)
Matthew Julius (wk) ct Nikhil b Deepak 0 (2 balls)
Phil Roche (wk) b Arun 43 (5×4, 2×6, 51 balls)
Sundar Krishnan ct Arun b Aman 6 (1×4, 17 balls)
Matthew Legault b Nimeesh 2 (7 balls)
Andrew Granville b Nimeesh 0 (5 balls)
Jozef Cheetham b Jawad 6 (1×4, 8 balls)
Martin Cheetham not out 22 (3×4, 30 balls)
Sundar Krishnan not out 2 (4 balls)
David Blechynden absent ill (trapped nerve in neck, migraine and vomiting)
Aneeq Sakrani absent ill (hunger, nausea, vomiting and blurred vision)
Tom Wisden absent injured (sprained thumb)
Extras 23 (Byes 9, Leg Byes 2, No Balls 4, Wides 8)
Total 177 for 8 in 35.5 overs
(Revised target: 176 in 36 overs)
FoW (1-2, 2-2, 3-68, 4-91, 5-102, 6-108, 7-126, 8-163)
Nakul 7 overs, 3 maidens, 0 wickets, 27 runs
Deepak 4 overs, 2 wickets, 22 runs
Arun 5 overs, 1 maiden, 6 runs
Saunil 4 overs, 0 wickets, 19 runs
Aman 5 overs, 1 wicket, 22 runs
Nimeesh 5 overs, 3 wickets, 23 runs
Priyank 2 overs, 0 wickets, 13 runs
Jawad 2 overs, 1 wicket, 7 runs
Rajan 1 over, 0 wickets, 19 runs
Dravya 1 over, 0 wickets, 7 runs