Sunday XI v Incogniti 7th July 2019
M & B kept their good Sunday run going by defeating Incogniti by 51 runs in their only time game of the year. Incogniti being M & B 's oldest fixture dating back to the 60's / 70's. Originally a two day game over the August cricket week, reduced to one day and then brought into the Sunday fold. As always upon winning the toss skipper Armstrong elected to bat. Although it had rained overnight and the wicket hadn't been covered the wicket had dried out sufficiently for it not to be deemed an issue. George Parsons and Paddy Searing opened up proceedings for M & B and were confronted by only six fielders as a number of Incogs were late, even though the start was put back by 15 minutes, eventually reaching a full compliment around 7/8 overs in. The openers had few problems against the opening seamers as the strike was rotated and the odd boundary struck. Spin was eventually brought on in the 10th over and proved to be the staple diet going forward. Spinner Saeed was hit for a 2 and a boundary in his first over which brought M & B's 50 up. Both batsmen looked well set both strong on the drive and Parsons able to flick through the on side whilst Searing looked to pull. Spin was the undoing of Searing for 28 as Saeed garnered Incogs first wicket at 70 in the 16th over. No.3 Simon Ball, this time playing for M & B, started off regally stroking cover drives off his 2nd and 3rd deliveries for 3 and 2, alas it was short lived as he was castled by Saeed with a quicker delivery which turned and took the top of off. Ed Denman came and went hitting one boundary before he tried to hit a Malik full toss over mid on but instead merely steered it to him. The same cameo fate befell Mike Parkinson jnr, after forcing a boundary off the covers off the back foot, he again tried to force Malik this time over mid off, he timed it well but alas not that well as Saeed again pouched the catch to leave M & B on 103 for 4 after 25 overs. Gunbarul's poor Sunday batting season continued as he smashed a delivery back at Nadir only to look aghast as the ball seemed to lodge in his arm pit and leave him trudging of the pitch shaking his head for 2. John Child was given an opportunity at 7 but he was run out going for a needless tight single from Parsons to leave him stranded. His father Tim then came to the wicket with M & B in disarray at 116 for 6 after 30 overs, albeit Parsons was going serenely along on 60no. Incogs skipper Bowry then decided to feed M & B some runs to make a game of it, although Parsons thought this was rather Mickey Mouse he managed to pierce the boundary, mainly on the leg side, as the flighted filth was dispatched. Tim Child managed to stay with Parsons and score 7 as a valuable 46 was added for the 7th wicket. Child and Armstrong then fell in the same over to part time bowler Bennett as M & B slipped further to 165 for 8 after 39overs. On 98 Parsons tried to hit Saeed over mid off but only managed to pick out probably the tallest Incogs fielder, Ritchie, and was on his way for 98 in the 40th over in an innings which contained 15 boundaries and anchored the M & B innings and was deserved of a century. Tail enders Amber Moorthy and Chris Butler enjoyed themselves and added a crucial 23 in the remaining four overs. Butler announced himself by getting rid of the slip cordon with a reverse sweep , both batsmen were strong through the widish mid on area and collected boundaries in this region. Moorthy seems to be benefiting from his new pads and £40 bat. Moorthy and Butler's scores of 13 and 9 were the 3rd and 4th top scorers excluding the ever handy extras which contributed a very handy 23 to bolster the M & B total up to 194, at least a defendable score if the bowlers put the ball in the right areas. Nine of the M & B wickets fell tot he slow bowlers with the other courtesy of a run out.
Defending a middling total M & B had to begin brightly and normal Sunday opening bowlers Ambar Moorthy & Gunbarul did just that. When Moorthy pitched it up he caused problems, early on he was cut a few times. Gunbarul made the first inroads having opener Eyer fortuitously caught down the leg side expertly by Denman. Another full delivery left the other opener Birtles and he nicked off to Denman off Moorthy. The dangerous looking Love, batting a couple of feet out of his ,played a couple of nice looking drives but after Parkinson this out to the keeper, Denman chose to stand up to the wicket for Moorthy and he was less effective. Moorthy beat him a couple of times, with the ball well taken by Denman. The batter chose to drive at a wide delivery which resulted in the ball looping to Searing in the gully. Meanwhile Nadir was steadily accumulating mainly feasting off short balls, which Moorthy tended to bowl at the back end of his spell. Nonetheless Moorthy's figures of 8/0/32/2 were highly commendable as were his partner in crime, Gunbarul, 8/2/23/1. As is customary on Sunday a pair of spinners came on first change, this week senior spinner Chris Butler and the apprentice John Child were the practitioners. Butler started slowly with short ball dispatched to the square leg boundary and what he perceived to be a reasonable delivery hit over long on by Ritchie and described as agricultural nonsense by the bowler! Child was straight on the money and was unlucky not to have Ritchie caught as the batsman tried to find the short River boundary. Nadir and Ritchie built a partnership of 66 as the rate reached over 7. A crucial over by Child turned the game further in M & B 's direction as Nadir was judged lbw as he attempted a sweep, which he missed as the ball turned. Next ball the usually prolific Sunny Bowry tried ambitiously to loft the ball over extra cover only to not quite get to the pitch of the ball and get a leading edge, ballooning the ball to cover point where Parsons accepted the gift. The new batsman Khan after playing out a few overs looked to keep the score board going with Ritchie and keep up with the ever increasing run rate. Having hit a six at the River End Ritchie attempted to find the longer Road End boundary but only succeeded in picking out Gunbarul on the long off boundary to give Butler his first wicket. New batman Malik seemed determined to rotate the strike with at least quick singles as he muttered to his partner in Urdu. Sadly the communication broke down as both batsmen ended up at the same end, with Malik having to troop off in disgust. With the run rate escalating it appeared to be a question of trying to winkle out the three remaining wickets rather than the Incogs get the runs. Khan got an inside edge as he tried an aggressive shot off Butler and saw his wicket rearranged. With 8 down and numbers 10 &11 to come the field began to crowd the batsmen. Child though quickly accounted for ten and jack with lbw decisions in his favour, despite the no.11 remonstrating he had edged it. M & B had won by 53 runs with 4.4 overs remaining. If Incogs had batted out time they would have received 38 overs against M & B's 44, which Armstrong thought was just about reasonable, albeit this being the only time game we play. Twirlers Butler and Child finished with figures of 9/1/48/2 & 8.2/39/4 respectively.