Ike Siddiqi memorial match

Ike Siddiqi confounded the weather forecasters by setting up sunshine for his memorial match on Saturday. Even more old timers confounded expectations by actually turning up and even taking the field.

With intensity on a par with Brexit, Chris Hutchins and Farrukh negotiated the teams and the format. Under the watchful eye of umpires Morley Pecker and Peter de Boeck, who did a great good-humoured job through the day, Chris H’s All Stars padded up.

Farrukh’ Old Stars had not however developed any bowling amnesia. Kumar and Peter Eade were soon back in the groove, and several batsmen back in the hutch. It took Ali Hall, Dave Foster, Manuj and the skipper himself to restore sanity and keep the scoreboard ticking. Further good knocks from Kunteel Barua and Sameel built on the good efforts, with Steve Collins x 2 double act testing the scorers. They set a fine total of 154 off 30 overs.

In reply, the Old Stars set a cracking pace. Fozzie skipped in to fierce intent, but Alex Tabor gave the Chairman opportunity to work the crowd with his fielding prowess in front of the pavilion (and to fetch the ball from behind the mower). Usman and Prateek whacked it onto the golf practice ground, with Sachin thumping it past the square leg umpire. Peter Eade and Glen Smith decided they should have been batsmen.

So it all came down to the last over, with the last pair at the wicket. With the fielders in, Prateek played a great and fitting cover drive for 4 to win the match. The score board read I57, standing for Ike and the age he so prematurely left us.

The nicest thing about the day is that Ike would have thoroughly enjoyed it. You expected his Merc FUN 999,  or whatever it was, to roll into the car park, and this pair of sunglasses to appear, the usual oversize bag on his back. He could have had a Hoegaarden. In tribute to RBCC’s greatest ever slow left-armer, all bowlers were right arm, even Jalal abstained – Ike was a hard act to follow.

He would have enjoyed arguing with Des Bourne about the day Des declared with Ike on 99. He would have teased Weeksie about his move back to Blighty. He would have loved Wilf’s unstoppable 4, and his unstoppable momentum round the field. He would have been so very happy to see Richard Eames making a 400 km round-trip from Luxembourg to share a few beers. He would certainly have told Stoney to get his kit on and play. He would have loved Farrukh’s curry. He would have kissed all the girls.

Big thanks to all who made the day so worthwhile. It was lovely to see all the old friends, and equally great we made contact again with so many others who sent their good wishes even though they couldn’t make it. We were thinking especially of Ike’s snooker and tour party buddy, Ted, immobilised by his hip playing up.

With Weeksie doing such great work on the ground, and Farrukh and his wonderful family in the kitchen, we had a day to remember that fitted the man we had gathered to remember

Written by Colin Wolfe

A few of the 'old boys' back to play in memory of Ike.

A few of the ‘old boys’ back to play in memory of Ike.