The morning began gloomily, and as 11 Pirates (with no fewer than 7 Bashers: Shit Shoes (c), Swiper, Skid Row, Benched, Paps, Bread and Pope) arrived at the various fields at Jiankang University for the supposed 9am start. The trouble was the opposition was training a two hour bus ride away, and the schedule had changed the game to 2pm… great work skipper!
Alex turned his bike around and cycled off to the metro, but the rest of us stayed while we tried to contact the opposition for an early start. Eventually we got through to their coach, and learned they would arrive around 1.30pm. So as Bread had finally arrived, and there were 10 Pirates left, we played pairs cricket (4 overs each, -5 for a wicket), on one of the artificial soccer fields at the university. Skiddy and Paps began with 33 runs, although Shit Shoes got Skiddy twice in a row. There was quite a bit of chirp, especially between Skiddy and Benchod, until the Pope and Ornaments partnership. Skiddy got hit for 17, and Benched for 23, as Pope launched into the bowling. One massive hit bounced over the stadium roof and into the neighbouring construction yard. Fortunately, no one was injured and a bemused local with noodles and chopsticks in one hand lobbed the ball back over the fence. Pope and Ornaments ended up with 38 runs, and so easy a win that Ornaments blocked out the last over test match style. Ornaments had to leave, and so we followed up our warm up game with some tasty cantonese food at the mall across the road.
There are three fields at Jiankang University. We went to all of them before we found our opposition. Paps drove and arrived first, so he took the toss and decided to bat, and so Skiddy (11 off 9) and Swiper (22 off 19) went out to bat for a short but effective opening partnership. Govind (38 off 18) and Sumesh (20 off 14) started to accelerate the scoring, taking full toll of the short square boundaries. Two former Bashers were playing for Jiaozhi: Ketchup (4-0-47-1) and Dolly (4-0-52-1), both picked up wickets and Dolly also spent some time keeping.
A couple of catches bought Pope (87* off 37) and Paps (43* off 19) to the crease for an unbeaten partnership of 125 off the final 9 overs. Pope was especially brutal over square leg, regularly clearing the fence on either side of the pitch. Paps was more elegant, driving off the back foot through the covers with ease, and was unlucky not to face much of the final 3 overs and get his fifty too. The Pirates finished on 248/4 off 20 overs and team morale was high, except for Bread, who, feeling the effects of his university lifestyle, had fallen asleep under the small stand.
At the mid-innings break it started to rain, so we moved the kit into the entry of a nearby dormitory building. The rain was fairly light, and paused long enough for Govind and Sumesh to start with the new ball. Govind (4-0-18-1) bowled Ketchup for a golden duck on the first delivery of the innings, and was unlucky Skiddy dropped one behind the stumps and Jagath, well, what can we say… the laziest attempt at a dolly to mid-off imaginable. Bread (3-0-14-1) was awake long enough to bowl three overs of his left-arm spinners, and dismantle the wickets with a lovely delivery.
Benchod’s (2-0-25-0) boast at Thursday drinks was that “I’ve not bowled since May, but I’ll bowl better than Skiddy at least”. He attracted a couple of run outs, including Dolly (22 off 23), but was more expensive than Skiddy (2-0-13-0). Shit Shoes (3-1-10-2) picked up a couple of wickets bowling slow and straight. The first wicket fell off so slow a delivery that the batsman had time to finish his pull shot and pop the ball off the back of his bat to Ravi at gully, who made the catch look tricky with four or five juggles.
Paps (2-0-7-0) finished off the innings well with a couple of overs off the two pace run-up. The rain got a little heavier, and so for Jagath’s (1-0-18-0) final over all the fielders came up. The opposition no. 3 batsman, Qing Peng, obliged by hitting 4 fours through backward point to bring up a fine 59*. The Shanghai Communications Polytechnic ended on 122/6 off their 20 overs, giving the Pirates their first win of the season by 126 runs.
The next game is at the same ground next week at 2pm. I’ve checked the schedule this time.