MBCC Sunday XI v Captain Scotts XI 23rd August 2015
Posted by: Mat Armstrong
M & B lost an enjoyable game by 4 wickets on Sunday, when the players thought there would be no chance of a game. With rain starting at 11.35 and skipper Armstrong setting off to the ground in pouring rain at 12.45 the omens were not good. Armstrong made the obligatory pitch inspection upon arrival under one of his trusty golf umbrellas, he was surprised to see the square surprisingly unscathed after 90 mins rain. The rain though was due to stop around 3ish ! Upon returning to the clubhouse Armstrong's view was wait until 2.0 and if still raining abandon the game. Rather surprisingly the rain stopped at around 1,40 and the players were obliged to remove the covers, whereupon it never rained again and a 35 over a side game ensued.
Upon winning the toss skipper Armstrong had no hesitation in batting, and so regular opener Brian Dixon and very occasional Sunday player William Ballantyne commenced proceedings. Ballantyne was off the mark first ball with the trade mark Brain Dixon guide / dab to third man for 4.His innings should have been over in the 4th over as a poor short ball was pulled to deep mid-wicket, who let it go through his hands for 4, whereupon Ballantyne promptly stroked the next two deliveries to the boundary. Dixon was first to go LBW as he attempted to sweep spinner Smail, with the score on 55 in the 10th over. This brought, rather unusually for M &B, the first of three successive left handers in the batting order, colt Benjamin Ward. Ballantyne drove a number of well timed boundaries as he moved serenely on to what appeared a well deserved half century, when he got a brute of a delivery, which reared off a length and had him edging to gully, to bring an end to his innings of 44, which included 9 4's. His demise brought Yusuf Qureshi to the wicket, who announced his arrival by depositing a half tracker over mid-on for 6. This was the prelude to one of those sumptuous Qureshi innings which makes you wonder what a wasted talent he is, bearing in mind he has played so infrequently this season. Ward drove and pulled as only he does to reach 24 before he was bowled for 24 by spinner Hawson, after helping Qureshi post 59 for the third wicket to leave M & B at 124 for 3. His dismissal brought Gunbarul to the wicket and together with Qureshi formed the largest partnership of the innings, 66, in 7 overs. Qureshi continued to pierce the gaps as well as loft the ball over mid off for 6, which he did on three occasions. Gunbarul hit a few off side drives before he found his range and hoisted a delivery over square leg for 6 to the short clubhouse boundary. In the end Qureshi was dismissed for 64 which included 5 4's & 4 6's. Gunbarul was bowled for 36 as he looked to hit spinner Smail to leg, his innings including 3 4's & 2 6's. M & B finished on 229 for 7 off their 35 overs, courtesy of late order runs from colt Jai Chopra (13) and Callum Phillips(19no), which included 4 leg side boundaries.
With the visitors needing to score at better than a run a ball M & B set attacking fields hoping to go than an early kill. Thomas Evans picked up an early wicket catching opener Sandhu lbw with a fast full delivery. Phillips should have picked up an early wicket as well but Qureshi blotted his copybook by missing a fairly straightforward catch at point as opener van Horst looked to drive. In the meantime no.3 Stepney took advantage of the gaps as he punished both good and bad deliveries as the ball crashed to the boundaries all round the wicket, albeit mostly to the leg side. One notable shot being a pick up for 6 off Evans, which sailed into a neighbouring garden! After 10 overs Armstrong made a double change bringing on his main spinner Chris Butler and main Sunday strike bowler Gunbarul and adopting an in and out field - out on the boundary for Stepney to hopefully stem the flow of runs. The strategy brought instant results as Butler snared opener van Horst in his first over, courtesy of an excellent leg side stumping by Dixon. Gunbarul cleaned up J. Reilly with his trademark in swinging Yorker, whilst Butler and Dixon combined again with a more straightforward stumping to leave Captain Scott's X1 at 131 for 3 at drinks. The balance appeared to be heading M & B's way when Butler clean bowled dangerman Stepney for an excellent 84 with a slower ball which appeared to actually turn? No.7 Naude, an ex first class cricketer in South Africa, showed his intentions by cover driving his first ball to the boundary for 4. At a crucial juncture of the game both Butler and Gunbarul finished their spells, Butler with figures of 7/0/46/3 and Gunbarul 7/0/3/0/1. Naude and skipper S.Reilly took a liking to change bowler Le Clerq, with Reilly strong through the legside and Naude strong through the offside. That said Armstrong missed a chance off a hard hit drive to deep mid off, which went through his hands for 6 off the unlucky LeClerq. Colt Chopra again showed his promise by bowling a tight spell of leg spin at the death, snaring Naude at the end, with the scores level, courtesy of Gunbarul, who made a steepling catch look easy. In the end skipper S.Reilly saw Captain Scott's X1 though to a 4 wicket win with 7 balls reaming. The game raised two points -
1. If you live by the weather forecast you'll never get out of the house!
2. There are stronger better sides than M & B on Sunday, not all Sunday opposition are weak , William Cunliffe!
M & B ended their Sunday season with a win to bring the curtain down…
Mat Armstrong - Sep 27, 2017
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