Sunday XI v The Stage 9th September 2016

Faisal bowls over The Stage with his performance

Faisal bowls over The Stage with his performance

Sunday XI v The Stage 9th September 2016
20 Sep
Sunday XI v The Stage 9th September 2016
Posted by: Mat Armstrong
Year: 2016

M & B beat the stage by 24 runs,despite the disappointing no show from opening batsman Alex Hess, to bring an end to their Sunday season in glorious September sunshine at Bray. Skipper Armstrong won the toss and had no hesitation in electing to bat even though he wasn't sure, at the time, as to whether Hess would turn up or not. In the end Blair King moved up to open with Brian Dixon with everyone else moving up one spot. The openers got M & B off to a quick start, taking advantage of a number of full tosses from opening bowler Kudmany. They did though play out a testing opening spell from Huntly. Both were fluent on the drive, though as always Dixon was keen to cut and dab behind point. The 50 partnership was brought up in the 10th over as King dealt severely with spinner, Headley's first over, despatching him for two 6's. Indeed King followed suit in his next over smashing him over square leg and cow corner to the short clubhouse boundary, meaning he had struck the bowler for 4 6's in this opening two overs, which would bring an end to his first spell. By now the M &B openers were scoring at will and rotating the strike regularly. Both batsman took a liking to the new bowler McCann, who generally bowled a full length. The century partnership was brought up in the 15th over, meaning the second 50 had come up in only 5 overs. Both batsmen smashed McCann into the net with lofted drives as 13 came off the 16th over. All along leg spinner Collison bowled a reasonably controlled spell to a well set field. Dixon took a few liberties, an attempted reverse sweep which didn't come off, until he was bowled trying to shovel the ball to leg for an even 50, which contained 6 4's and a 6. The wicket fell in the 19th over, whereupon drinks were taken. The opening partnership yielding 132. In the next over after drinks, and indeed King's first ball, he was caught trying to hit McCann for 6 over mid-off and was easily pouched at deep mid-off, a great chance of another Sunday century gone. Nevertheless 77 in 20 overs, containing 5 4's and a mighty 5 6's speaks for itself, well played. Four overs later Gunbarul tried to hot McCann for 6 over widish mid-on and again was reasonably easily caught for 18. From 132 for 0 in the 19th over M & B had slipped to 152 for 3 in the 24th over. A seemingly strange lbw decision against Aziz for 6 meant M & Bh ad now lost all their gun batsmen with 165 on the board and 10 overs left. Step forward Michael Parkinson junior, who shepherded the tail through to the end with stout defence and astute placement of singles with the odd boundary thrown in, in an innings of 34. He was supported in a 6th wicket partnership of 40 with Joe Blackett who remained 15no a the close. Definitely an innings of two halves, 133 coming off the first 20 and a mere 81 off the final 20. The Stage would have been more pleased with M &B's total that M & B themselves, although skipper Armstrong advised his batsmen to bat out the overs to make sure they secured a reasonable total, which 214 was.

Although 214 was a defendable score M & B knew about the quality of opposing skipper and opening batsman, Owen Oldroyd. The Stage got off to a flyer courtesy of a few four byes and a couple of short leg side deliveries smashed for 6 and 4 by Oldroyd. After a couple of overs Armstrong found his groove and settled in on a probing full length. Blackett was replaced after his opening salvo at the River End by Thomas Allen, who after being blinded by the light in his first over, departed from the field to locate his shades. The lack of pace slowed down the scoring from the River End, although Oldroyd continued to score predominantly on the leg side. Armstrong surprisingly completed his 8 over allocation, after being forced to retire after 4 overs the previous week with a calf strain. Although he didn't manage to get a wicket he was parsimony personified, going for only 17 runs. He was replaced at the Road End by senior Sunday spinner, Chris Butler. Oldroyd took advantage of the big open spaced on the Church side boundary, even managing to occasionally find the rope. The normally reliable Gunbarul dropped a catch off Oldroyd as he came running in from the long Church boundary. The drop looked costly as Oldroyd specialises in scoring big centuries. Indeed Thomas Noakes also dropped a lot easier chance again off the unfortunate Butler earlier in the piece. The Stage posted 100 without loss but M & B managed to keep the rate below 4. Allen finished his spell wicketless but conceded only 26. Armstrong bought Faisal Aziz on to bowl out at the River End. Aziz finally made the breakthrough in his first over by bowling the obdurate Fletcher for 21, to bring an end to the opening partnership of 103 in the 25th over. First ball of Aziz's next over was smashed for a huge 6 over mid on by Oldroyd as he realised he needed to increase the run rate. However in the next over Butler made the crucial breakthrough, as he so often does, by snaring the key batsman, Oldroyd. Oldroyd pulled Butler to the leg side but was unable to keep the ball down and this time Gunbarul took the catch as he came running in. Oldroyd was out for a well crafted 85 with the total on 133. Next over Aziz got Collision lbw and Armstrong sensed that was probably a key wicket, although he made a duck, the way he had bowled and fielded, one sensed he could bat. Aziz crafty quicker balls proved decisive and he moved through the order by castling the batsmen. All along no 3 Huntly held firm and hit the odd boundary. It got to the stage where he was running out of partners and needed to hit out. He flicked a delivery from Aziz high out to midwicket where Dixon took an excellent catch running back to effectively seal victory for M & B, as he was dismissed for 21. Noakes had replaced Butler at the River End to bowl out the final overs with The Stage needing 10 + an over with only a few wickets left. Aziz ended with the best Sunday figures for many years, 8/1/33/6, 4 of which were bowled. Noakes captured two wickets from his four over spell to leave The Stage 190 for 9 off their 40 overs and leave M & B the victors by 24 runs. An enjoyable game made even more enjoyable by a sumptuous tea laid on by our own master chef, Brian Dixon.

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