Sunday XI versus David Smarts's XI - August 4th 2013
Sunday XI versus David Smarts's XI - August 4th 2013
Posted by: Mat Armstrong
M & B were involved in an exciting tie at Bray on Sunday as James Bowler took over the reigns in their annual fixture against David Smart's X1 from the Warwickshire area. Having been asked to field Bowler soon realised captaincy can be a thankless task as the opposition openers raced to 56 without loss in the first 10 overs, aided by a number of extras and an early dropped catch by "starvin" Bhavin Vaja. Yusuf Qureshi eventually managed to stem the flow of runs by bowling Lythall for 34 in the 16th over with the score at 102. From then on the slower bowlers began to exert a semblance of order as pace off the ball proved to be the winner.
Principle exponent of this was Raoul Cheema, who at last proved in could bowl respectable leg spin, after his two previous Sunday attempts at pie throwing. From ball one he was straight on a length and from then on he only bowled one full toss, which had been his achilleas heel in his previous bowling spells. Cheema tormented no 3 Dawson from ball one and put him out of his misery by bowling him behind his legs. Cheema achieved prodigious turn throughout his spell and aided by his new found accuracy proved a real handful. Indeed in his penultimate over he had the main scorer Cross lbw for 69, with one which kept low. In the end Cheema finished with figures of 8/0/36/2, to be the stand out performer, this time with the ball.
Bowler was lucky to have another slow bowler up his sleeve in the form of "Pappa Smurf" Samir Vaja, the wily rotund fox making his seasonal bow. Straight from ball one Vaja hit his lengths and bowled the last 7 overs from the River End for only 35, when the slog was one. He may be immobile in the field but he can still certainly bowl a mean spell of spin with true guile and control. Regular skipper Matt Armstrong also got in on the act, picking up two wickets at the end, for a change, although shipping a few runs, but that was to be expected bowling at the death. Overall though Bowler would have taken 247 for 6 after 40 overs. With the Bray wicket and outfield 225 is about the par score for 40 overs.
In response M & B were given a super platform by openers Bhavin Vaja and George Parsons as they posted 61 in the first 11 overs, mainly off the blade of Vaja, who resembled Colin Milburn at the crease. Mainly with drives through the off side, one lofted one clearing the River netting. Alas the ball after dispatching the ball for 6 the bowler exacted his revenge by coming round the wicket and bowling him leg stump. As is so often the case after a partnership one wicket leads to two and the other wicket is normally the other set batsman, and so it proved as Parsons fell shortly after to leave M & B at 61 for 2. There then followed a quieter period where it looked as if M & B may slip well below the asking rate. Will Cunliffe and Saquib Quereshi though had other ideas as they began to score fluently after their bedding in period. S Qureshi was particularly strong on the pull whilst Cunliffe was strong on the drive off both front and back foot. In the end the pair posted 103 for the 3rd wicket in 18 overs to leave M & B requiring 84 for victory off the last 10 overs, with Cunliffe being dismissed for a well compiled 54, which included 7 4's and a 6.. S Qureshi fell shortly after for 44but Bowler was lucky to have Raoul Cheema and Yusuf Qureshi coming in at 5 & 7 respectively. Cheema the regular opener rotated the strike and placed the ball intelligently before playing a number of aggressive pulls later on. Y Qureshi was aggressive from ball one and smashed a quick fire 28 containing 3 's and a towering 6 over the River net. His dismissal, yorked by the opposition captain, Smart left M & B requiring 20 off the last two. Paddy Cunliffe took a single off the first ball of the 39th over to leave Cheema to take 10 off the next 4 balls with 3 2's and a 4. Alas off the last ball he holed out at wide mid on going for a big 6. Leaving 9 to win off the last over. The new bat Armstrong managed to scramble 2 off the first ball before missing the next and being caught off the third. This left P Cunliffe requiring 7 for victory off the remaining 3 balls. A drive to the cover boundary left 5 off 2 and a squirt through the point region left 3 required off the last ball. Cunliffe launched the last ball to deep cow and easily got back for two but the harder task was whether Samir Vaja could negotiate another 2 after requiring oxygen completing the two previous 2's. Despite the turning circle of the QE2 Samir managed to scramble home to the delight of his team mates to achieve a very tie, which had regular skipper Armstrong racking his brains as to when the last tie had occurred? In the end a great game of cricket with both teams delighted with the outcome. Can't beat close Sunday friendly games even in defeat, much better than easy wins, when nothing really at stake.
M & B ended their Sunday season with a win to bring the curtain down…
Mat Armstrong - Sep 27, 2017
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The Cricket Club is situated in the beautiful village of Bray, Berkshire, on the banks of the Thames, overlooked by the Church of St Michael. The main ground is widely acknowledged as one of the most picturesque in the country.
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