Away day blues at the racecourse, as M & B wilt in the sun
Sunday XI v Royal Ascot Away 6th May 2018
Posted by: Mat Armstrong
M & B made it two Sunday defeats out of two as they went down to Royal Ascot by four wickets on a very rare away day. So rare that stato Armstrong is racking his brains as to when the last away game was. GT reckons there has never been one since he has been at the club(2012). Possibly the last being v Little Marlow prior to 2012, oh well, London buses as we are due to be away to Boyne Hill in June. With Armstrong still injured(back next Sunday) the captain's armband went to Simon Ball, who took on the Alec Stewart mantle - captain, keeper and opening bat. Despite losing the toss M & B were asked to bat as the oppo skip reckoned their batting was rather weak(3rd / 4th X1). Ever efficient Armstrong asked the oppo skip the cost of teas as he left the field and was surprised to find the cost being £50, although he paid the fee. Think we'll have to increase our oppo tea charges from £35 to £40 forthwith.
M & B's totally different opening pair this week were Ball and Saquib"Squashi" Qureshi. Both found scoring hard initially as the wicket was rather slow. Ball did though found the boundary with a fine straight off-drive. For the second week running the first mode of dismissal was run out, with again the captain making a dodgy call and ultimately paying the price, this time. In the 9th over Squashi finally found the middle of the bat as he pulled a ball to the midwicket boundary, but unfortunately holed out the following ball, to leave M & B 19/2 after 9 overs. Aussie Sean and Yusuf Qureshi repaired the M&B total by posting a partnership of 33 in 10 overs. With both looking set they unfortunately both fell in successive overs castled, Qureshi playing back and trying to whip to leg, departing for 10 and the ball seeming to go under Sean's bat as he looked to drive straight(19), this leaving M & B 54/4 at the half way stage. Sunday stalwart Tif Amin and Faizal Aziz both set about a further recovery operation, Amin well experienced at this. Amin to be fair managed to rotate the strike quite regularly and not surprisingly left the bulk of the scoring to Aziz. The Ascot skipper gave a number of bowlers a chance , the later bowlers providing more scoring opportunities. Aziz didn't need a second opportunity as he scored freely all round the wicket, just as he reached his 50 he was lured out of his crease by the tantalising flighted spin of Hudswell and stumped for a well compiled 53, which included 9 4's and ended a recovery partnership of 72 with Amin in 12 overs. The flighted offering of Hudswell also caught out Amin(17) and Le Clerq in quick succession. M & B were lucky they had the batting talent's of Wargrave's own, Gunbarul, coming in at 7. He liked the seam bowling of Trainor as he pierced the leg side boundary with regularity. After bowling his first 3 overs for 3-9, Hudswell came unstuck in his final over as Gunbarul and Thomas Allen took him for 19 to bolster's M & B 's total. In the end M & B finished on 182 for 7, with the 8th wicket putting on an undefeated 33 in 4.4 overs. A total hich M & B were satisfied with, considering they had only 54 on the board at the half way stage.
In response M & B were looking for seam bowling options to support Gunbarul, step forward 4's own Monsieur LeClerq(with a silent Q), who struck first ball courtesy of a fine catch by Squashi, running forward and diving to hold on. Gunbarul was too good for opener Trapanino, beating him with one which seamed to hit the off stump and then castling Trainor with a yorker. Ball took Gunbarul off after 4 overs with figures of 2 for 5 to give other bowlers a chance. There then followed a free scoring period as Mohammed and Sunny took advantage of some friendly bowling as Ascot posted 73 for the 4th wicket in 11 overs. Ball's response was to get the Sunday spin twins on, back in tandem after Allen's absence last week. Allen lured Mohammed with a flighted delivery as he swooped to a catch a rare caught and bowled followed shortly after by a Ball stumping, to leave Allen with figures of 2-13 after 4 overs, backed up by the economical Butler. This left the gamely evenly balanced at drinks with Ascot on 102 for 5. Allen struck again in the 22nd over to give M & B the upper hand having Afzal caught at mid-on by Aziz 10 leave Ascot 107 for 6. A key moment of the game though came as Allen dropped a caught and bowled chance off Sunny, as the Ascot batsmen began to score freely. Allen in the end finished with commendable figures of 3/30 off his 8 overs, well backed up by Chris Butler 8 overs for 33. Ball brought back Gunbarul to bowl the final overs in tandem with Aziz. By now the M & B fielding was becoming ragged as the ball just dropped short of fielders and the sun began to sap their energy. Ascot struggled to get Aziz away and preferred the extra pace of Gunbarul. To be fair Gunbarul had no luck on his return over, an edge going through the slips for four. That said his following over was strange as he was taken out of the attack after bowling two successive above waist high, one of which was hit to the boundary. In the end Sunny & Baker saw Ascot home with an unbroken 7th wicket partnership of 79 with four overs left.
Along with this being an extremely rare game M & B fielded two father and son combinations, Yusuf and Squashi, and Faisal and Adam Aziz. Armstrong can recall Nick and Luke Clements, James and Chris Bowler, plus James & Paddy Cunliffe but not two pairs in the same game?
A late cancellation by regular opponents, Chelsea Nomads, led to a hastily…
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