Sunday XI v The Stage 17th September 2017

Sunday stalwarts Amin & Butler to the fore

Sunday XI v The Stage 17th September 2017
27 Sep
Sunday XI v The Stage 17th September 2017
Posted by: Mat Armstrong
Year: 2017

M & B ended their Sunday season with a win to bring the curtain down on the 2017 season. M & B at last managed to complete a game with the last three friendlies, since the end of the league season, having been abandoned half way through the game. Upon losing the toss it was no real surprise that M & B were inserted, making it an incredible 14 occasions M & B have batted first out of 16 games this season ! With availability poor and the under 17's playing in the Berkshire final, Armstrong did well to get 11 on the field. An extremely new opening pair of Saquib Qureshi & Alexander LeClerq set about posting a total for M & B. LeClerq though was dismissed in the second over, courtesy of a fine catch by the keeper, standing up to the wicket, to dismiss Le Clerq for a duck, his first of the season allegedly! The wicket brought new bar manager, Ben Ward, to the wicket, and together with Qureshi they built a platform for Bray. After bowling two overs of seam Khan switched to off spin from the River End, Ward promptly hit him over mid-off for 4 first ball. As always Ward was strong in the V and on the flamingo cut shot. Qureshi playing only his second game of the season still possessed all his old strokes - driving straight and off the back foot as well as the cut. Together these two put on 47 in 13 overs, before Ward lost patience and hit Davies down long off's throat to give his wicket away for 19. With the Stage having two late drop outs M & B were able to offer them colt Johnny Child and the oppo were quick to make use of his spin as he was brought on first change from the Road End to bowl the 14th over of the innings. Although his first over went for 9 he responded next over by having Qureshi stumped with his teasing flight. Qureshi making a steady 22 in 16 overs. Child followed this up two overs later by snaring Mike Parkinson, albeit via a smart catch from skipper Oldroyd, off a drilled drive to extra cover, to send Parkinson on his way for 9. This brought Tim Child to the wicket, to join tin man Amin, who had warmed up by being at the crease for 4 overs for no runs. Together these two built the largest partnership of the innings. Both batsmen carefully saw off the spin of Child and Davies. Child bowling his last four overs for 5 runs to finish with fine figures of 8/0/24/2 and Davies bowled out his allocation of 8 overs for a mere 9 runs. Child & Amin generally dealt in singles and two's with the aid of extras to keep the score board ticking. The partnership eventually yielded 64 in 17 overs before Tim Child was stumped for a season's best 22, which contained one boundary. With 3.3 overs Ashley Becker entered the fray for one last game before his flight home on Wednesday. Opening bowler Gallagher returned to bowl the last two overs and the extra pace aided Amin & Becker. Becker played a beautiful lofted extra cover drive for 6 in the 38th over and hit Buller for 2 more 6's in the 39th over, one clearing the net easily and the other over cow corner. This 6 hitting obviously gave Amin the bug as he launched Gallagher in the final over for 6 over long on to the amazement of his team mates. Becker tried something violent in the final over but was castled in the final over for a brilliant 21 in 3 overs, which contained 3 6's, enabling M & B to post a score above 150. In near exhaustion Atif Amin carried his bat for 47 no made in 24 overs, containing a 4 and a 6. Having been inserted and with the batting line up Armstrong was happy to score 167 in the end, giving the bowlers something to bowl at.

In his last game for M&B(this season at least, possibly back next season) Ash Becker opened the bowling from the Road End with Joe Blackett. The Stage opened with the aggressive Chandana and left hander Gibbs. Chandana played with hard hands and looked to drive. The Stage openers, especially Chandana, got the innings off to a good start, Chandana got after Blackett at the back end of his first spell, as he lofted him into the Anstis' garden, losing the ball. The spare ball brought M & B more luck as Jawad Murtaza struck with his third ball, as skipper Armstrong turn to spin, albeit Murtaza's wicket, with his third ball, was a dart speared in, yorking Gibbs. Murtaza almost had Oldroyd caught first ball, but the ball just eluded the out stretched hand of Qureshi at mid-on. Becker bowled out to finish with figures of 8/1/31/0, keeping Chandana in check. Like Murtaza, main Sunday spinner, Chris Butler, struck in the first over, dismissing main batsman, Chandana with his third ball. Chandana looked to hit to the leg side but a leading edge led to a catch for Blackett at mid-off, to much jubilation from the M & B fielders, who realised the significance of the wicket, as Chandana departed to the pavilion for 44, to leave the Stage on 86 for 2 in the 17th over. Oldroyd showed what a dangerous batsmen he was by hitting Murtaza for a 6 over mid-off into the net. as he took 10 from Murtaza's second over. Butler wrestled the initiative back for M & B though by bowling Khan in his second over as the batsman attempted a sweep and was bowled middle stump. There then followed a quiet period as the spinners controlled proceedings for the next 4 /5 overs. M & B fancied their chances though as Murtaza dismissed Oldroyd for 28 as he tried to cut a ball which got big on him and ended up in the safe hands of Parkinson at extra cover. This left the Stage at 100 for 4 after 22 overs with all their big guns gone. From then on the spinners controlled proceedings, Murtaza bowled out to finish with excellent figures of 8/1/24/2, bowled with excellent flight and control. Butler picked up another wicket as he had Gallagher stumped by Becker, as he tried to get the scoreboard moving. Butler again finished with fine figures of 8/2/22/3, to cap a fine Sunday season. Armstrong brought Blackett back a the River End to complete his spell. He bowled a fuller length and benefited wit the wicket of Buller, bowling him off stump, first ball after asking for a helmet. Blackett, like the rest of the bowlers, finished with good figures of 8/1/32/1. It was left to Armstrong to bowl the last 4 overs from the Road End and LeClerq to bowl the remaining 4 from the River End, the Stage requiring 43 with 3 wickets left. Armstrong, as always bowled at the stumps and proved difficult to get away. LeClerq bowled commendably full and straightish. The pressure led to two run outs as the Stage eventually batted out the overs knowing they couldn't reach their target. Colt John Child capped a fine performance by finishing undefeated on 6, as the Stage close on 145 for 8 after 40 overs, 22 shy of M & B's total.

It was good to finally get in a full game to bring the curtain down on the 2017 season. Sunday regulars GT & Gunbarul joined the team to drink the season to bed and talk over the match and season.

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