There is great beauty about in Pancawati in December, as the wet season rains which lash Bogor and Jakarta clear the air around the great mountains of Salak and Pangranggo. Nonetheless to your correspondent there is something distinctly alien about watching and playing cricket in December, listening maybe, but only by night under a large duvet and mug of cocoa.
Andrew Barnes had challenged the East Indies to a Christmas game back in September, and so blessed by the seasonal natural beauty, on Sunday an excited Twenty20 crowd saw a terrific performance by the East Indies result in a 55 run victory against the new force in Jakarta social cricket, the Country Woods Barbarians. There was no turkey but some excellent sausages and steaks, not to mention a few memorable ducks.
The CW-Barbars won the toss, and Barnes had no hesitation in inserting the Indies, who then proceeded to accumulate a record opening partnership of 67, before Robert Baldwin, who had batted with grace and poise in putting together a fine innings perished seven runs short of his half century to a fine catch by Liam Hammer, off Sam. Two balls later Dick Slaney gave Sam a return catch to leave the Indies if not reeling, then at least dizzy at 67/2.
Mike Chick joined Scott Masson in adding 25 crucial runs before Chick copped a straight one from Briggsy. But by then the score was 92/3 in the 15th over and Masson had the solid platform he needed to attack. Though wickets continued to fall Masson could not be prevented from delivering several brutal blows into the sawah to finish with a superb 62 not out, a record score for the Indies. He was ably supported by cameo batting roles from Mark Havard, Arvin, Michael Schmid (who had never even seen a cricket match before, let alone played in one) and finally the eleven year old George Symonds, who ran well and remained unbeaten at the death. Connoisseurs of fine batting were respectively disappointed and relieved that Sam Shahzad and Will Symonds were not called upon to bat. The score of 126/6 was considered a good score on a slow pitch offering no little assistance for spin bowling.
Sam bowled very well to finish with 2/22 and Briggsy showed remarkable control in taking 4/18, with only eight runs from the bat off his 4 overs.
The CWBs have a renowned batting line-up and strode out with great confidence. Will Symonds opened with spin at both ends, and took the new(ish) ball himself. Seeing the prodigous extent of turn he went round the wicket in the first over, a tactic that payed off immediately as he trapped the dangerous Hankin lbw with his quicker ball. Baldy found extravagant turn at the sawah end, and swiftly removed Liam Hammer, to leave the CWBs 15/2 with plenty to think about.
With signs of coming rain, and sensing the need to go for the kill, Will duly relieved himself at the pavilion end, turning to the spin of Scott Masson who immediately dismissed Sam. Andrew Barnes had watched and waited patiently for 16 when the wily Baldy tempted him to sky one to Masson in the deep. The innings soon turned into a rout as Rahoul, Amol and Briggsy swiftly perished to the turning ball, to leave the last pair together with the score on 39/8.
Photos by, or of, Michael Schmid
Umpired by Tony Jennings