MBCC Sunday XI v The Stage 13th August 2015

Useless Yusuf hits career best in Stage farce

MBCC Sunday XI v The Stage 13th August 2015
17 Sep
MBCC Sunday XI v The Stage 13th August 2015
Posted by: Mat Armstrong
Year: 2015

M & B had a resounding 224 run win over The Stage on the final Sunday and game of the season at Bray. Upon winning the toss skipper Armstrong had no hesitation in opting to bat. The opposing captain Owen Oldroyd (he even sounds like an actor)advised they only had 10 players and were weak. As per previous years The Stage play Cross Arrows on the Nursery ground at Lords the following day, and when once the players used Bray as a net they now choose to omit the fixture and save themselves for Lords.

Openers Brian Dixon and Mr Giri took advantage of the weakest opening attack of the season to plunder 48 runs off the first 4 overs as both feasted off loose deliveries and found the boundaries with ease. First change bowlers Kudmany and Headley restored a certain amount of order. Indeed with Dixon on the verge of his first Sunday fifty of the season he was deceived in the flight and bowled by Headley for 47 in the 10th over with the score on 79. His innings included 7 4's. Mr Giri took the opportunity of opening the innings with both hands as he played a somewhat controlled innings, which included many offside strokes as well as his normal legside fare. That said he got a moo noise out of spinner Headley when he hit him over cow for four, but no noise when Mr Giri stroked him through the covers for 4. Alas Headley got his revenge as he castled him as Mr Giri attempted to cut him and departed in the 20th over for exactly 50, which contained 9 4's, with the score on 146.

In the meantime Yusuf Qureshi had added to the foundations built by reaching 43 at the fall of the second wicket, having entered the fray in the tenth over. Having had a poor season, albeit over a low number of games, Qureshi realised this was the last chance saloon to get a large score for the season. He must have meant business as he had the tin man(Tifler) bowling at him for a good 20 minutes in the nets. Without over exerting himself he was able to score freely around the wicket with the bad balls delivered although his bread and butter shot was the drive, either straight or through the covers. he did though punish a number of short leg side deliveries with his pulls. Qureshi was joined at the fall of the second wicket by prolific Sunday bludgeoner Gunbarul, currently in the batting form of his life. As always Gunbarul was strong straight, through square leg and cow, but he did play a number of authentic off-side strokes along the deck. Gunbarul as always was quickly into his stride and posted his first 6 by pulling a short ball over the drive and into the bushes. Gunbarul should have been out in the late 20's when he again pulled another ball straight to square leg, only for the fielder to let the ball slip through his hands and over the boundary for 6 ! Blow me in the next over Gunbarul only went at hit it in the air to mid-on, who got in position to take the catch and again let the ball slip through his fingers for 6 again. When it seemed another century was on the cards, Headley managed to hang on to a catch at cow corner as Gunbarul departed for 77, it sounds unkind but he definitely didn't deserve a century this week ! Gunbarul has had plenty of luck this season with dropped catches and shots just missing fielders, but if your lucks in make it count - 281 runs for once out in the last three weeks is certainly cashing in. The third wicket stand yielded an impressive 148 in 13.2 overs, which took the game completely away from The Stage, if it hadn't already been. Prior to Gunbarul's departure Qureshi had reached his century with yet another boundary as he aimed to post a daddy century in the remaining overs. Gunbarul's departure led to a clatter of wickets as no doubt the incoming batsmen suffered from pad rash. It was left to new player, Ahmed Furaq, to shepherd Qureshi through to the end of the innings. By know Qureshi was scoring at will, primarily straight, and occasionally high into the netting for 6. With Qureshi on the cusp of 150 it was left to returning M & B player from the 60's, Brian Jackson, to bowl the last over with his wily double bouncing spin. Qureshi looked to pull / sweep a delivery only to top edge it and look horrified as the ball dollied up to Oldroyd behind the stumps, to take a comfortable catch. Qureshi was left to trudge off wearily for a mere 146, which included 16 4's and 2 6's, albeit against a weak attack. Qureshi had thus accumulated more runs in one innings than he had in the whole of the season. To cap a fine over Jackson also cleaned up Furaq to finish with 1/0/3/2, why didn't Olroyd bring him on earlier!

Skipper Armstrong proved his fitness by taking the new prune for the first time for awhile, from his beloved Road End whilst colt Thomas Buckle opened with his leg spin from the River End. Although it was unlikely that The Stage would reach their target Armstrong knew that Oldroyd was an impressive batsman, having scored a century last year. So it proved as Oldroyd smashed a drive through the covers and played a fortuitous cut to the boundary in the first over. Buckle had problems gripping the shiny prune and was hit for a few boundaries, before asking to be removed from the attack, to be replaced by Faroq. Oldroyd greeted Armstrong's first delivery in his fourth over with a massive 6 over long off and an all run 4 off a square drive the next delivery, as The Stage brought up their 50 in the 7th over. However Armsrong exacted immediate revenge by trapping him lbw next ball as Oldroyd trudged off, for a rapid 37, knowing the game was effectively over. Armstrong struck again in his next over bowling Clayton with one which kept a tad low. In the following over Furaq castled Legg with a slower ball and bowled Beckman two overs later, beaten for pace, to leave The Stage 78-4 after 14 overs. Armstrong finished with figures of 5/0/34/2 whilst the impressive Furaq finished with figures of 5/1/19/2. It was left to the Sunday spin twins, Thomas Allan & Chrus Butler, to wheel away to make further inroads. For a change Butler went wicketless but was very frugal, 6/2/12/0, Allen though once again claimed a couple of wickets, an easy catch to short mid off to Armstrong and a classic break back to hit the top of off, to take his total to 26 Sunday scalps for the season. In the end it was only the run scoring of Headley which was keeping the score ticking over. Headley taking a liking to Buckle's leg spin as the ball spun down leg to the left hander and was swept or pulled to the boundary. Jamie Kiddell was called into the attack as the seventh bowler and immediately struck, beating Kudmany with his pace, and castling the batsman. In the next over the tin man, Atif Amin, managed to prise out the wicket of the obdurate Headley as he drove at a ball and was well caught in the gully by Mr Giri, ending Headley's innings of 33 in 23 overs. It was left to Kiddell to clean bowl the last Stage batsman with the last ball of his 2nd over to finish with figures of 2/1/2/2 and bring down the curtain of another season at Bray. All the M & B batsmen returned to the bar to drink out of Yusuf's jugs of beer, alas Yusuf was too tight to buy any and said he needed to press his shirt and polish his shoes for Monday !

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