The final was played on a swelteringly hot day at the Asian Institute of Technology ground in Pathum Thani on Sunday 21 May. The team had played each other twice during the season with honours even.
Unfortunately, the ground had not been prepared for the final. The grass had not been cut for some time and the heavy rain had made the outfield extremely slow. Although it was the same for both teams, it was not appropriate for a final. Big hitters would do better as the aerial route was liable to yield more runs but at a higher risk. 4’s along the ground would be in short supply and lots of 2’s meant tired and sweaty bodies in the heat.
Abijit Kulkarni and Wez Masterton conducted the toss under the watchful eyes of umpires Robin John and Sanjeev Jeya. Wez lost again and was asked to bowl first which was his preferred option. This allowed PCC to have a clear target to aim at but gave BCC the flexibility to adjust their attack with their 7 bowlers.
BCC opened with the lofty Wayne Atkinson and the diminutive Pravin Dagle which gave Ryan Driver some problems adjusting his length to these vastly differently sized batsmen. 10 runs off the first over was a rare occurrence for Ryan, but it became all too frequent on the day as Wayne gave him the treatment.
Rabpreet Singh was a little tidier for his first two overs but Wayne and Pravin were scoring 9 per over. Pravin nearly fell in the 5th over when a big hit to the long off boundary was misjudged by Luke who came in too far and could not get back. However, Pravin holed out on the same over when a cover drive went straight to Reds Liddel and Pravin departed for 21 and the score at 36 for 1 in the 5 th over. Vishal Pattkar took the crease, whilst Steve Christie (Crunch) brought his left arm-around spin to bear.
This slowed the run rate down as there was some turn in the wicket. Wayne continued to bash Ryan who finished with 5 overs, 45 for 1 and his worst figures of the season. Crunch sent Vishal packing for 4 when he clattered the stumps in his third over and BCC were 67 for 2 in the 10 th over. Andy Emery took over from Ryan and had immediate success when the newly arrived Manish Argawal (not noted for his speed), was superbly run out by a direct hit from Habby Singh at extra cover for 2. 70 for 3 in the 11th over.
The wickets dried up for PCC as BCC maintained a steady 6 runs per over for the next 10 overs from Crunch, Andy and Habby Singh. Wayne clouted Andy for a few boundaries but Crunch kept things tight with 5 overs 20 for 1. Captain Abijit had taken over from Manish and was adding singles to rotate the strike to Wayne who was batting really well and gave nothing away. Trevor Moolman, who had assumed wicket keeping duties from Wez, noticed Abijit wandering out of his crease and smartly stumped him for 16 off Habby’s bowling. 128 for 4 on the 20th over.
Habby and Rabpreet bowled the last five overs and it was Rapreet that had most success. Subrotu Gosh went first when he lost his off stump for 3 at 131 for 5. Kanchan Shastri came in for a quick 13 runs including a rare 6 off Rapreet, but was run out by a superb throw from Ryan at long off straight to Rapreet at the stumps and 148 for 6 in the 23 rd over. Nivedan Kumar hit Habby for 10 in the penultimate whilst Rapreet removed him without adding to his score, caught by Reds and Wayne finished up the innings at 80 not out. 166 for 7 was a defendable total as well as a chaseable one. PCC’s opening batsmen would need to bat well to win this match.
Wez and Ryan commenced the chase for PCC whilst Nivedan and Kanchan did their best to put a halt to their shenanigans and unfortunately for PCC it was the bowlers that won the battle. Wez misjudged the line of the ball from Nivedan and the ball found Abijits gloves for 4 in the first over. Not a good start. Luke took the crease but could only watch as Ryan stoked a ball from Kanchan from his hip to Sounder Krishnasarry lurking at deep leg slip with a very good diving catch.
Gone for 4 and PCC could be in trouble at 14 for 2 from 2 overs. Luke took up the mantle and batted like a man trying to save his team with several boundaries in quick succession, mainly from Nivedan. He had some luck when Manish dropped him in the 6th over when he was on 39, but not long after Luke got an edge and Nivedan caught him at point off Sounder’s second over for 45. 63 for 3 in the 8th over. PCC’s run rate was good but wickets needed to be preserved and to some degree they achieved this, albeit with some assistance from BCC as Tamim Chowdhary dropped Jainish Parikh. BCC constantly changed the bowling attack and made it difficult to settle against a bowler and the run rate slowed a little, but Trevor Moolman was pushing a lot of singles.
Sounder struck again in the 10th over when Jainish swung and missed, resulting in a stumping by Abijit for 10 and 70 for 4. Simon Philbrook made a brief appearance which included a 6 but he was also stumped by Abijit from Manish’s bowling. Drinks were taken early with the scores almost level, but PCC were struggling with 5 wickets lost. After drinks the wickets continued to tumble and the required run rate increased from an achievable 6.5 to something unobtainable.
A small revival led by Trevor ended when Abijit swapped his gloves for a spot of spin bowling and he clattered Trevor’s stumps for 18. Rabpreet who had been doing well with Trevor, with quick running and a few boundaries off Sounder followed shortly after.
Pravin caught him at mid-wicket off Manish for a creditable 19. 118 for 7 in the 21 st over and the required run rate was 12. Neither Crunch nor Habby stayed for long as Walter Persaud entered the bowling attack and Abijit bowled Crunch. Andy Emery, unfairly demoted down the order, provided some tail-end Charlie resistance by hitting Walter for 6 in a quickfire 17, but caught by Abijit who took his 6 th wicket of the day – 2 from bowling, 2 stumpings and 2 catches. Reds was not out for 4 and PCC were all out for 151, beaten by 15 runs by the better team on the day.
PCC just needed another 20 runs from the openers to keep ahead of the game, but it was not to be. Wayne was awarded MotM for his superb 80 not out and BCC took home the Div A Cup for 2022/23. Well done BCC.
PCC would like to thank their sponsors, the Outback Bar, the Magic Bar, the Ayen Bar and the Pattaya Sports Group for their support and assistance. If there are any persons of any ages and abilities out there in the Pattaya area who would like to get involved with cricket, please visit our website, our facebook page, the Outback Bar (the PCC home base) or contact Simon Philbrook at email@example.com