Gunbarul to the fore again as Billington ends on a high
MBCC Sunday XI v Thames Valley Ramblers 6th September 2015
Posted by: Mat Armstrong
M & B triumphed by 39 runs against the Thames Valley Ramblers on Sunday to send Aussie James Billington home on a winning note. On a beautiful late summer's day the TVR skipper gave M & B first use of a fresh deck. Owing to availability issues the innings was opened by infrequent Sunday players Elliot Pinkham & Todd Lindley. Tidy opening spells by Boxall and Singh made runs hard to come by, as Lindley was first to go in the 4th over, caught in the gully pushing forward to a ball which swung away. The wicket brought Aussie Jim, James Billington, to the wicket for his last innings for the club(one position higher than was planned as "Useless" Yusuf Quershi was back to his disrespectful best, choosing to have one too many drinks and crying off at late notice on the morning of the game). It was left to Billington to break the shackles as he pieced the gaps to the boundaries with his trademark drives and flicks to the legside as Pinkham laboured initially. Eventually Pinkham found 2nd gear as he dispatched a short ball to the leg side boundary and began to locate the middle of the bat and locate the boundary with a lofted drive over mid-on and an authentic on drive. Although starved of the strike for a couple of overs, Billington remained fluent as he played a delightful flowing drive back over the bowler's head for 6 into the netting. Eventually Billington's final innings for M &B came to an end as he played to early at a slower ball and was luckily caught by Singh, when a collision between the fielders was on the cards as neither fielder called for the catch. Billington's final score for M & B being 58, which contained a 6 and 7 4's. The partnership for the second wicket realising 102, building a platform for the remainder of the innings. Alas for the TVR the wicket meant the arrival of Gunbarul, in the batting form of his life. As per the previous Sunday Gunbarul announced himself with a lofted off-drive, this time only for 4 and not 6. He took an immediate liking to seamer Jones hitting him high into the score box tree and depositing him high up the netting to widish mid-on. Although he became more fluent as his innings progressed Pinkham was eventually out in the 29th over for 67 as he gave a sharp return catch to the bowler, his innings containing 9 4's. His departure brought Cameron Jacobsen to the wicket who started in fifth gear, smashing his second delivery over mid-on for 4 and joining Gunbarul in the six hitting stakes by depositing two hits in the mid-on / cow corner region for six. His best shot though was a delightful cover drive off the spinner to the vacant boundary as most of the boundary riders were on the leg side and at mid-off. Gunbarul carried on his merry way hitting the previously frugal Honey Sarad to the square leg boundary for 4, Sarad then changed to around the wicket and was deposited next ball for 6 over mid off ! Jacobsen was eventually out for a rapid 31to end a partnership of 95 in a mere 9 overs. Mr Giri came in at no 6 to partner Gunbarul to the finish as 43 were added in the last 43, 38 coming off the last 2 and 22 off the last, which included two 6's into the netting from Gunbarul over mid-on to finish with 87no in 46 balls, which contained 6 4's and 5 6's.
With plenty of runs to play with the TVR batsmen needed to get off to a fast start, and this was not forthcoming as Jamie Odell proved too difficult to get away, even off only a few paces. His height and full length, albeit a bit too leg sidish, proving too much as his opening spell of 6 overs went for only 6 runs and included three maidens. Fellow opening bowler Atif Amin again bowled a probing away swinging line, and picked up the dangerous looking Honey Sarad lbw to leave TVR at 30 for 1 after 12 overs, Amin's opening salvo being 6/2/18/1. No.3 Singh hit a few boundaries before he top edged a looping delivery from Thomas Allen and was pouched by Billington. Amandeep was pinned lbw also by Allen after a demand rather than an appeal to the umpire. In the end Allen finished with figures of 6/0/39/2, again picking up useful wickets. Colt Thomas Buckle, making his Sunday debut, was introduced into the attack bowling his flighted leg spin. He soon ended the vigil of opener Wayne Lester for 40 in the 29th over. In the meantime no 5 Dhaliwal was finding his range, mainly on the leg side, and finding the boundaries with great regularity. Buckle should have got him out though, unfortunately skipper Armstrong dropped an easy catch at mid-off and damaged his finger in the process. Buckle's figures were thereafter ruined as Dhaliwal continued to hit boundaries. With 6 overs remaining TVR were still in the game needing around 80, but Armstrong put out the dying embers by bowling opposing skipper Smith in his first over and dangerman Dhaliwal in his second to ease any worries. It was fitting that Billington closed out proceedings from the River End and also finished with two wickets including one off his final delivery, courtesy of a skied catch to the keeper. Billington had the honour to lead the side off after another victory for the Sunday team.
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