Sunday XI v Graveley - 25th May 2014

Sunday XI v Graveley - 25th May 2014

Sunday XI v Graveley - 25th May 2014
28 May
Sunday XI v Graveley - 25th May 2014
Posted by: Mat Armstrong
Year: 2014

The M & B Sunday X1 were pleased to get out on the Bray pitch for only the second time this season. Faced with a freshly cut and damp pitch skipper Matt Armstrong may well have inserted the opposition in a league game, but with it being Sunday he decided to give his batsmen first use of the new deck. Alas for Armstrong the opposition, Graveley, had a speedster D Smith, coupled with a spicy deck, spelt disaster for the early order batsmen ! That said Sunday run machine, Raoul Cheema, fell to the other less consistent opening bowler, Murphy, pulling out of the pull and gloving it to the keeper. Other opener Simon Ball was caught behind edging a rising delivery which the keeper took head high. No. 3 Dixon only managed to glove it to the keeper. When last year's centurion, Will Ballantyne, was caught in the gully by a fielder appearing to catch it with the wrong hand whilst diving, Armstrong was fearing an early bath at 16/4 and especially 32 for 5, when the usually obdurate Atif Amin was castled by impressive Smith.

Luckily for M &B Yusuf Qureshi was still at the wicket. Showing again why he must be one of the biggest wasted talents in the local club cricket scene. Having not picked up a bat since last September, Qureshi played some beautiful drives off both the front and back foot with his Laraesque back lift, albeit reckless at times. He was pleased to find a partner who was able to stay with him in the form of Arul Appavoo, a much under rated batsman, who is beginning to put a few scores on the board in this admittedly, embryonic club season. That said Appavoo was off the mark with two scratchy shots through the slips which found the third man boundary, he repeated the effort later in his innings of 36 as well. The two stayed together for 13 overs and added 72 which gave the M & B innings some respectability. Qureshi's demise(53 including 7 4's) triggered another low order collapse, more to do with bad batting than good bowling, but Armstrong would have taken 134 all out in the 35th over given where they had been. Tail ender Ambar Moorthy contributed 13 at the end but his innings was noteworthy due to the remarkable 7 he recorded! After pulling the ball through the cow corner region the ensuing fielder's throw hit the batsman whilst making his ground and ricocheted to the boundary leaving the scorer and fielding team to ponder the outcome.

Much like their batting M & B were quickly on the back foot in the bowling stakes as left hand opener, Logan, quickly struck 19 off Appavoo's opening 2 overs to leave the score on 26 off only 3, which including 5 byes, when the ball went under Dixon and hit the keeper's helmet. The game quickly changed in Ambar Moorthy's third over as Logan was strangled down the leg side and the no. 3 obligingly guided his third ball to Simon Ball at slip, who pouched the catch. Two catches for Armstrong, both off leading edges, with batsmen playing too early whilst flicking to leg, turned the game in M & B's favour, in the space of 5 overs. From then on wickets fell at regular intervals whilst the batsmen continued to score runs. Ambar Moorthy finished with the excellent figures of 8/1/21/5, all courtesy of catches. His figures would have been even better were it not for 3 4's going through the third man region in one over, when skipper Armstrong decided to move third man to fine leg!

The game saw the return to action of "Big" Tom Ryan, who impressed with his speed and accuracy in his 8 over spell, which was notable for the pearler of a first ball he delivered and a snorter of a delivery in his last over, delivered round the wicket and shooting passed the batsman's nose, as he swayed away. His two wickets, courtesy of hitting the timbers, kept the game tantalizingly poised. Ryan finished with figures of 8/0/35/2, no wonder headmaster Van Niekirk was keen to discuss Ryan's availability for the coming weeks and months of the season. No.3 bat D Smith continued to hold the Graveley innings together, scoring 38, and looked to be seeing the opposition home. Armstrong threw the ball to his senior twirler, Chris Butler, to see if he could magic up a wicket, and so he did in his third over as he had Smith deftly caught behind by Dixon to leave Graveley at 131 for 9. Despite Armstong getting a few past the no 10's bat, skipper Wraight hit the winning runs by pumping the ball for 6 and onto Bray road, to conclude an enjoyable game of Sunday cricket, which had swayed one way and the other.

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