MBCC Sunday XI v Royal Ascot 1st May 2016

Sunday X1 fall to disappointing 5 run defeat in pursuit of 135, despite Nick Clements' valiant efforts.

Sunday X1 fall to disappointing 5 run defeat in pursuit of 135, despite Nick Clements' valiant efforts.

MBCC Sunday XI v Royal Ascot 1st May 2016
09 May
MBCC Sunday XI v Royal Ascot 1st May 2016
Posted by: Mat Armstrong
Year: 2016

M&B lost to new opposition Royal Ascot on Sunday, as the batters were unable to chase down a hardly testing target of a mere 135, on a reasonable early season track with no demons in the wicket. The Sunday X1 welcomed back Ambar Moorthy and Avinash Gossain, who both didn't play in 2015. There was also a welcome back for Nick Clements, who is now based in Dubai, who was making a guest appearance, along with his son Luke, who boards at Bradfield College.

Upon losing the loss M&B were asked to bowl. Callum Phillips and Moorthy opened up with the new prune. Despite a first ball full toss Moorthy bowled surprisingly well. He was the given the boost of an early wicket off a pie, as the opener drove a short pie to Gunbarul at extra cover. The Ascot total rattled along early on courtesy of some short balls and countless wides. Ascot gifted M&B a second wicket as the batsmen ran on a bad call and was run out courtesy of a throw from Nick Clements to Armstrong, who managed to gather and throw onto to the stumps before the batsman making his ground. M & B were in the box seat when promising opener, Payne played an uncharacteristic rash drive, when well set and was castled by Moorthy. In the end Moorthy finished with well earned figures of 7/3/30/3, which was excellent considering he hadn't bowled for a year or had a net! Moorthy was replaced at the River End by Gossain, who found his length straight away, albeit his direction left a little to be desired ! Bowling mainly leg sidish, he was probably lucky to pick up opposing skipper Wensley lbw, but a wicket is a wicket. Gossain finished with pleasing figures of 6/0/13/2. At 73 for 7 the game seemed to be in the bag but youngsters T Clarke and B Clark had other ideas as they sensibly used up the overs and waited for the bad balls. Their tenacity bore fruit as they posted a fifty partnership for the eight wicket to take Ascot well beyond a hundred. Only a piece of fielding brilliance from Gunbarul ended the partnership as he picked up the ball from extra cover and threw down the stumps with only one stump to aim at, terminating T Clarke's innings at 35(top score). That piece of brilliance opened up an end and "tin man" Atif Amin was able to benefit by picking up the final two wickets to end with undeserved figures of 4.2/0/19/2, as he struggled to get his arm over and bowled round armed pies mainly down leg side. M&B left the field pleased with their efforts in restricting Royal Ascot to 135 all out in 34.2 overs. It was generally a question of the Ascot batsmen getting themselves out as it was at least a 175 wicket, factoring the shorter clubhouse boundary.

M & B set off in pursuit of their target with colt Luke Clements and Simon Ball, playing his first game of the season. Ascot opened with spinner with Gary Clarke, Ball showed his authority be lifting Clarke over the top for 3 in his first over. Ball and Clements dealt with the next over comfortably, with Luke Clements getting off the mark. The fun and games started in the next over as Clements unfortunately gloved a short ball as he tried to pull and was caught by the keeper. Ball took a boundary off Clarke as M & B resumed control. Their position was solidified in the next over as seamer Sullivan struggled with the left and right hand combination of Yusuf Qureshi and Ball, consistently falling short and being pulled for three boundaries. Next over Qureshi tried to force a ball off the back foot and was bowled as the ball moved in slightly. Sunday big gun Gunbarul then entered the fray and promptly poked a full toss from Clarke straight to sill mid-off and departed first ball ! To be fair to Gunbarul the Sunday X1 can't rely on him all the time as he was due a failure as his last six scores of 76,77,87no,120no,36 &49 suggest. Not the ideal situation for Nick Clements to enter the fray, for his first innings in a couple of years. Experience counts as Clements played himself in with a few flicks down legs to get his score going. Initially Clements played second fiddle to Ball, as he continued to dominate the bowlers. Unfortunately for M&B Bally had a brain fade as he picked out one of the three fielders specifically placed in the deep as he used his feet to dance down the wicket and spoon feed deep cow ! Gone for 21 to leave M & B at 52 for 4 after 11 overs. Phillips became Clarke's fifth victim as he tried to dispatch a short length delivery and only succeeded in skying it to a grateful fielder. 5 for 20 in 8 overs, well bowled Gary Clarke but what were the M & B batsmen doing ! Atif Amin at least occupied the crease as Clements kept the scoreboard ticking with a few boundaries, via pulls and forcing drives off back and front foot. Amin perished in the 25th over for 6 with the score on 96, as he helped Clements put on 32 for the seventh wicket. It looked as though Avinash Gossain would dig M &B out of a hole as he scored freely via drives off front an back foot, but alas his cameo of 11 ended after four overs to leave the game tantalizingly poised at 118 for 7. The hammer blow for M & B was when Nick Clements was castled for 46 just short of a deserved half century. The modern club cricketers don't have the same application in the field and at the crease as Clements. This left the tail enders to eke out the odd single and take advantage of the extras to boost the score. In the end the tail enders weren't quite up to the task with Butler casted in the 37th over, five runs shy of their total. A close Sunday game nonetheless of poor batting quality. It was good to see that a number of M & B players stayed behind for a couple of hours after the game for a few drinks and to test out the comfortable sofas. Fair play to Ascotwhoseplayers who also supported the bar into the late hours as well, well played them.

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