Sunday XI v Nomads July 23rd 2017
M & B managed to win by 15 runs on Sunday whilst defending what seemed a below par total of 168 against Nomads on Sunday. With all the games abandoned midway through on Saturday the early forecast for Sunday was not good. Upon checking the weather apps on Sunday morning the prognosis for skipper Armstrong looked like Women's World Cup and Open golf for the afternoon, in the comfort of his armchair. Slowly the forecast changed from prolonged rain to dry spells and thundery showers around 6ish. Game head on ! Upon winning the toss the league stance would be bowl but as it was Sunday, let's bat. Messrs King & Ward snr opened the innings against the dibbly dobbly seamers of Smith and the skiddy faster delivers of Al-Darnaj. The normally fluent King was flummoxed by the wiles of Smith and the vagaries of the pitch. The early scoring came from Ben Ward snr, as always strong on the drive and cut. Despite wearing a delivery on his forearm he managed to take 10 off Al-Darnaj's over before being caught at point on the final ball of the over, to leave M & B on 29 for 1 after 9 overs. Brian Dixon joined King at the wicket and together they continued to build steadily. The wily medium pacer Smith finished with figures of 0-14 off his 8 overs as the batsmen, especially King, had difficulty getting him off the square. After a slow start Dixon managing to get the scoreboard moving with his quick singles and finding the boundary on the odd occasion. Indeed the reverse sweep came into play which yielded three runs. This stroke was to bring the end to King's innings as he couldn't emulate Dixon's execution, instead just looping into widish gully's hands, to bring a tame end to King's surprisingly sluggish innings of 24 in 24 overs, as he, like most batsmen, was unable to get to grips with the lack of pace from the bowlers. Dixon finally perished in the unusual fashion of being run out going for the 4th run for 37, leaving M & B on 97 for 3 after 26 overs. Mike Parkinson steered the innings for the next 9 overs rotating the strike and striking the odd leg side boundary but again struggling with the lack of pace. Ironically he was dismissed by the quicker pace of Al-Darnaj, castled playing round a straight one for 28. Ash Becker played fluently for 19 as did Thomas Allen for 14 no as M & B managed to finish on 168 for 7 off their 40 overs, a total which was defendable if M & B bowled well.
Skipper Armstrong entrusted Ash Becker and Gunbarul with the new ball and they didn't disappoint, as they kept the batsmen in check. M & B were hampered by the fact that they only has 10 men as tin man, Atif Amin, broke down on the M40 and didn't manage to make the game. Although the opening bowlers were tight restricting the boundaries the opening batsmen ran the M & B fielders ragged, taking numerous quick singles to keep the scoreboard ticking over. Despite Armstrong wanting to bowl his opening bowlers through, both advised they were unfit to do so, so Becker aborted with fine figures of 6/2/11/0 and Gunbarul 7/0/29/0. Armstrong turned to his Sunday spin twins of messers Butler & Allen. Both started well but at 67 for 0 in the 18 over, 168 was looking a below par score. However GT's first bad ball was hit straight to Becker at short widish midwicket to give M & B their first breakthrough as Hedges went for a well compiled 40. No 3 Ormston then gifted M & B two wickets, keen to get off the mark he pushed the ball wide of Becker, who simply swooped down gathered and threw the ball to King, who dislodged the bails to dismiss Kandampully, sold down the river by Ormston. Possibly still thinking about the run out Ormston then left a Butler delivery which clipped the top of middle and off to leave The Nomads now at 67 for 3 and then 68 for 3 at drinks, needing another 100 off the last 20. The dismissal of the openers and the turning to the slower bowlers totally becalmed the Nomads batsmen, who were unable to get Butler & Allen away, apart from a few leg side boundaries from Olly Smith. The pressure led to another run out with the Nomads again not learning, trying to pinch a single to the best fielder on the pitch, Ash Becker, with the same results. The Sunday spin twins both finished with excellent figures, Butler 8/1/31/1 & GT 8/2/20/1. It was left to Armstrong to bowl out at his Road End and James Cunliffe to continue the spin from the River End. Smith swung Cunliffe's first delivery to square leg for 4 and then tried to hit it there for the rest of the over, being eventually bowled on the sixth delivery. At the start of Cunliffe's next over Armstrong questioned the need for a slip, thinking square leg maybe better, Cunliffe pointed out square leg was not required. Three balls later, Cunliffe's wily flight and angle over the wicket across the right hander led to an attempted drive being caught by Ben Ward at slip ! Cunliffe finished with figures of 5/0/21/3 at the death accounting for Nomads skipper Brockton with one which again went across him and was duly stumped by King. M & B the eventual winners by 15 runs in a game which most people didn't think would start and then once started would not reach a conclusion. The Nomads players stayed well into the night and we look forward to hosting them again next year.