Sunday XI v Nomads 21st July 2019
M & B had a resounding victory by 145 runs at home against perennial opponents The Nomads. Traditionally one of M & B's toughest opponents they were slightly weakened this year as they fielded two teams on the same day, with their other team away to Hurlingham. Although club captain Brockton captained at Bray EL Supremo Michael Blumerg held sway at Hurlingham, nicking one of Nomads players to leave the Bray visitors fielding 10. Skipper Armstrong wasn't too sure who won the toss but either way it was agreed that M & B would bat, so no change there.
George Parsons & the long lost Alex Hess opened up, Hess making his first appearance of the season. After Parsons played out a maiden from Shawl, albeit with a few wafts. It was left to Hess to face Mark Firth, previously of Boyne Hill but now one of Wargrave's leading bowlers. A nagging spinner /seamer who completely did Hess third ball with one which drifted back in as Hess was on the back foot looking to cut. This bought El Moustachio, Simon Ball, to the crease, together with Parsons these two batted very sensibly to see off the opening salvo from Shawl and Firth. . Parsons managed to dispatch one of the rare bad balls from Firth to the midwicket boundary, one of only two scoring shots in his first four overs. Indeed as soon as Shawl's opening five over spell ended Ball managed to strike ten off spinner Evans' first over, with a couple of boundaries through the off side, as well as four byes making a return of 14 off the over. The openers saw off Firth, as he recorded miserly figures of 8/2/12/1, conceding just eight scoring strokes and bowling about two bad balls. Parsons and Ball saw M & B through to drinks at 20 overs with the score on 68, with 20 of those being extras. Perhaps refreshed by the drink both batsmen stepped on the gas against the 1st and 2nd change bowlers. Ball hit the slow left armer over the net and into the Anstis' garden, never to be seen again. Both batsmen looked to drive where possible or occasionally sweep, albeit to the Church boundary you were unlikely to reach the boundary. Master Ellis was unlucky to not get Parsons as he tried to hit over the top only for Shawl and mid off to make a poor attempt at catching it. Funnily enough Shawl was brought back from the Road End for one over and claimed the wicket of Ball, who tried to pull a short ball and only got a leading edge to enable the bowler to take the high catch. Ball's innings lasted 25 overs and was worth 46(3 4's & a 6) and the partnership with Parsons was worth 108, which had given M & B a platform for the remaining 13 overs with eight wickets in hand. What also played into M & B's hand was the majority of the remaining overs would have to be bowled by the fifth bowler or a combination of two. M & B were able to capitalise on this as Parsons began to free his arms and Ed Denman was fluent from the off, especially through the leg side. Having learnt about trying to reach the Church boundary Parsons was able to slog sweep a six to the shorter clubhouse side. By know Parsons had found his range and was increasing his boundary count, mainly through drives, as his energy for running between the wickets had diminished, partly from his excesses the previous evening and also the fact that he had batted 30+ overs. Parsons was badly dropped on the midwicket on 96 but managed to get through for a well deserved century shortly after, courtesy of a couple of 2's. In the end the combination of the 8 overs from the 5th bowler went for 79. Shawl came back to bowl the final two overs from the River End and was greeted second ball with a beautifully clipped boundary off his legs by Denman. Denman was eventually bowled in the 39th over for a well compiled 35 which included 3 boundaries, the partnership with Parsons yielded 111 in 12 overs. Will Ballantyne escorted Parsons through final deliveries which culminated in an all run four courtesy of a misfield. This left Parsons to walk off undefeated on 125 have carried his bat through the whole forty overs, striking 13 boundaries and a six. Parsons now taking over the mantle of Sunday man from Benny Ward snr for his aggregate of 250 runs in three knocks at an average of 125, against Ward's 219 runs at an average of 73.
As always M & B started with their new cherry exponents Ambar Moorthy and Gunbarul. Despite a stutter in his run up Moorthy hit a steady line and length, as did Gunbarul, who started with a maiden. The dangerous Brockton cut a boundary behind point and put a full toss through midwicket for three in Moorthy's second over. Moorthy though made the initial breakthrough in his next over as opener Bradley seemed to poke at a full length delivery on off stump and direct it into his own stumps. Moorthy got the prize scalp of Brockton in his next over with a delivery on a line of off stump which seemed to pop enabling Parsons to gather a sitter at gully. Gunbarul got in on the act in the next over by bowling a short delivery at the Aussie Evans, who had been batting a long way out of his crease, he tried to pull it but only succeeded in top edging the ball high into the aim to enable the advancing Gunbarul to pouch the catch off his own bowling to leave Nomads 29/3 after 8 overs. Things got better for M & B in Gunbarul's next over as he opened up Firth with a pearler which possibly clipped his thigh pad and hit the top of off to leave Nomads reeling at 35 for 4. Worse was to follow for Nomads in the next over as Shawl smashed a full length Moorthy delivery to Gunbarul at mid off and Moorthy managed to castle Ellis snr with an inswinging yorker to leave Nomad in disarray at 37 for 6 after 11 overs. Armstrong removed Moorthy from the attack after six overs to prevent the opposition taking more punishment. Moorthy returned the heroic figures of 6/0/21/4. He was backed up by his opening partner Gunbarul, who recorded equally excellent figures of 6/2/9/2. As always Armstrong introduced his spinners into proceedings after the opening seamer salvo. Senior Sunday spinner Chris Butler was first on show and he hit his lengths straight away. Fellow spinner Swapnil Manchanda offered up a starter for 10 in his first over with his regular full pea which was crashed through square leg for a boundary. Butler got the next wicket in his third over with a fuller flighted delivery which hit the top of the stumps as the batsman tried to hit it over the top. Butler also cleaned up the obdurate Wahi as he was well caught behind by Denman as he tried to cut, leaving Nomads 68 for 8 with only master Ellis to come. Injured Ormiston, batting with a runner, farmed the strike and struck the odd boundary. Perhaps the day could be summed up for Nomads by the final dismissal, as Ormiston smashed Manchanda's second delivery of the 24th over back to him , whereupon Manchanda took a brilliant diving catch low down to his left to bring the contest to an end, leaving Armstrong to shout "catchers name!".
Another good all round performance from the Sunday X1 to keep their good run going. The early finish meant more drinking time for the players, which both teams took advantage of. I envisage The Nomads coming back a lot stronger next year seeking their revenge.