Sunday XI v Fiddlers 30th June 2019
What started as a phone call on Wednesday from Fiddler Mike Salmon, saying they only had 6/7 players and an umpire led to a tied game on Sunday at Bray, as M & B tied on 205 with The Fiddlers, containing three loan M & B players. Swaps Manchanda was immediately offered to the opposition, as he was being rested on rotation with Butler and Allen filling the spinning berths this week. Swaps advised Krish Vaja was keen to play for the oppo, as long as he could bat. Skipper Armstrong was surprised to see Simon Ball turning out for the oppo, and thereby making his first weekend appearance for the season. Armstrong lost the toss and The Fiddlers chose to bat, as M & B took to the field with 9 players, with Tin Man late again and Parsons recovering from a hang over. The usual opening duo of Moorthy and Gunbarul started proceedings with the new cherry. Gunbarul struck early by having oppo skipper Simon Jessop caught and bowled off a forceful off drive. The batsman looking astonished as Gunbarul appeared to take evasive action but the ball struck his hand and parried up whereupon he gleefully accepted the falling gift. A few overs later Gunbarul did for other opener Baglow, with a goody which struck the top of off stump. The following ball did for former M & B player Squashi as he was done by the legendary Gunbarul inswinger which struck the batsman in line and the umpire sent him on his way. At 27/3 M & B were on top as only Bally was able to score fluently, generally on the drive in the V plus the flick through widish mid on. After a stay of 6 overs Ghazi swished at one too often and the edge was gobbled up by the gloves of Dan Callieu to give Gunbarul his fourth wicket. Gun bowled through to finish with excellent figures of 8/1/34/4 and was well backed up by partner Ambar Moorthy, who kept the pressure on with figures of 8/1/33/0. Senior Sunday twirler Chris Butler struck in his first over as left hander Gumbs flicked him to square leg where Thomas Allen nonchalantly timed his jump to perfection and pouched the catch above his head - how unlucky was the batsman. Bally continued on his merry way, taking a liking to GT's flighted offerings from the River End. That said GT struck to dismiss John Hewitt with the off spinners classic dismissal of a flighted morsel which the batsman comes down the wicket to but doesn't get to the pitch and leads to the ball ballooning to point where Atif Amin takes another surprising catch moving to his left. At 94 for 6 the Fiddlers were indebted to Bally who stood tall on an undefeated half century as he was joined by another M & B player, master Vaja. Krish showed great maturity as he played himself in and let Bally do the majority of the scoring early on. Most of the runs came from GT's end as Bally found the River End net with regularity, occasionally for six mainly for four. GT was unlucky on a number of occasions with the ball just evading fielders and a leading edge from Vaja catching the wind and floating over the boundary for six. Butler managed to keep the batsmen in check from the Road End bowling a decent line and length and generally giving the batsman no pace to work with. Bally did manage to put Butler into the hedge on one occasion for six but that was it. In the end GT managed to get his revenge on Bally as he went for glory on 98 only to find Michaux on the deep mid off boundary and add to his dismissals in the 90's, despite that most players would take that score. Although he deserved a hundred it wasn't to be but well played Simon Ball. Butler finished with commendable figures of 8/1/33/1. Wyatt Michaux and Armstrong completed the final four overs from each end as Krish Vaja batted through to finish on a fine 43no over 18 overs. In the end The Fiddlers finished on 205 for 8 off their 40 overs courtesy of their M & B batsmen. Skipper Armstrong was happy to chase 205, which was probably short of a par score.
The Sunday man, Benny Ward snr, and George Parsons opened up for M & B. They were confronted by master Vaja from the Road End, bowling his yorkers. The batsmen got a few streaky shots through the slips and benefitted form a number of four byes as keeper Hewitt took the brave decision to stand up to full length yorkers. Both batsmen managed to tuck into opening bowler Wordworth with Parson striking him for three boundaries in his third over. Both batsmen were strong on the drive. In Vaja's fourth over Parsons came down the pitch to him and made the attempted yorker into a full toss and bludgeoned it back over his head for four. Woodworth was replaced by Swaps Manchanda and he took no time at all in introducing himself to the batsmen with a full toss which dipped on Parsons and castled him for 27 in the 8th over, with the score on a healthy 57. Wyatt Michaux was quickly into his stride rotating the strike and finding an early boundary off Vaja. Ward introduced himself to Manchanda in his second over as he smashed him over mid-on for six and took him for three consecutive boundaries in his third over. As always Ward was strong on the drive but did rotate the strike well with dabs / cuts and pushes into the leg side. Against the slower bowlers he also played a cross between a push and a drive which went to cow corner on a number of occasions. After taking two boundaries off Raul Mohindru's first over Michaux tried to force Manchanda off the back foot only to find his furniture rearranged and leaving his league captain with the bragging rights, as M & B were reduced to a still healthy 99 for 2 in the 14th over. Mohindru found his range in his second over as he enticed Parkinson down the wicket to be stumped and then bowled Amin second ball to leave M & B in a less favourable position of 100 for 4. Gunbarul joined Ward and played sensibly rotating the strike and playing for drinks, which were taken at 114 for 4. Fatigue got the better of Ward as he played round a Mohindru delivery to end his innings in the 23rd over for a fine 59, which contained 4 4's and a 6 and took his Sunday tally to 219 in 5 innings at an average of 73. The same fate befell Gunbarul in the next over to leave M & B floundering at 124 for 6 in the 25th over and seemingly playing for pride. Hinds Head chef Dan Callieu and M & B legend Thomas Allen had other ideas as they slowly built a partnership, with GT slowly overcoming his stage fright and Callieu building on his undefeated innings of the previous day. Both batsmen scampered singles and Allen dispatched a couple of poor balls to the boundary. Vaja was brought back to complete his spell, whereupon Callieu got his innings going nudging a couple of 2's and an edged boundary to third man, coupled with another four byes led to 13 from the over and M & B moving to 149 after 29 overs. With Wordworth injured the Fiddlers had to juggle their bowlers and this led to Simon Ball needing to bowl ! The M & B batsmen, mainly dealing in singles and the odd two nudged the score up to 169 after 35 overs, meaning 37 were then required from the final 30 deliveries. A tight over from Jessup meant the equation then became 35 off 24 balls. The batsmen scrambled 5 off the first 4 balls of Ball's over before GT was caught at mid off trying to go over the top for an excellent 25 in 12 overs ending a partnership of 52 which had brought M & B back into the mix. Despite scoring 25 GT stormed off the pitch with a face like thunder, the shrink's couch await. Armstrong managed to scramble a single off the final delivery to bring the equation down to 29 off 18. The Fiddlers had to fiddle an over and the responsibility was given to Gumbs to bowl his one and only over. After a comfortable couple of singles Armstrong managed to find the cow corner boundary followed by a more text book drive through extra cover for 2. 20 were then required off the last 2 overs, the first of which to be bowled by Bally. A dot delivery was followed by a 2 and a lofted drive over extra cover for four by Armstrong. A juicy full toss from Ball was missed by Armstrong, who swung across it and was castled and with it seemingly M & B 's chances of victory. Unheralded batsman Ambar Moorthy, wearing colts gloves, had other ideas as he promptly hit the final two deliveries for 2 and 4 through widish mid-on to leave grandstand finish of 8 off the final over to be delivered by oppo skipper Simon Jessup. Despite suffering from exhaustion Callieu managed to hit a couple of 2's along with some singles to leave two off the final delivery. Jessup bowls it wide of the off stump Callieu goes to drive and catches it off the edge and it balloons to Manchanda in the gully who drops it ! Callieu manfully tries to get back for two but covers about 13 yards as the bails are broken and the game results in a tie! Callieu leaves the field to applause for a valiant 26 looking like a beetroot version of Buster Bloodvessel(lead singer of Bad manners), while Moorthy walks off pleased his son saw him score 7no off three deliveries. All agreed what a great game in delightful weather and on a great ground, Sunday cricket doesn't get any better than that.