Sunday XI v The Stage 15th September 2019
M & B finished their season in glorious sunshine with a comfortable 99 run victory over The Stage. Armstrong won the important toss and had no hesitation in batting in the baking sun on the parched outfield. George Parsons and Vijay Kalabandi, playing his first Sunday game of the season, opened the proceedings for M & B. The Stage were fielding 9 with one arriving late. Parsons struck the opening gambit by driving through mid- on to bring the first boundary of the innings off the fourth ball. He was quick to drive or basically place the ball in the numerous gaps coupled with lightning outfield. M &B raced to 21 after the first four overs, with all the runs coming off Parsons’s bat and extras. The Stage opening bowlers pulled the initiative back by bowling successive maidens. Stage skipper Sargent soon switched to spin at both ends to take pace off the ball. The 50 was reached in the first over of spin in the 12 th over . Hutchinson started with a useful first over of leg spin. Parsons continued to find the boundaries as Kalabandi rotated the strike. Parsons reached his fifty in the 16 th over off spinner Maloney, Kalabandi tried to hit Maloney over the top but only found the safe hands of Sargant, as he trudged off for 17 in the 16th over with M & B on 78. Sunday man Benny Ward snr was in at three but his tenure was short as he was dismissed second ball by Hutchinson, given out lbw, a sad end to a fruitful Sunday season. Parsons took a couple of boundaries off Maloney’s next over as he moved into the 60’s. Hutchinson was unable to continue bowling due to a damaged hamstring so Jeff Davies took over from the River End and started with a maiden. On the stroke of drinks new man Alexander Le Clerq attempted to get off the mark by hitting Maloney over orthodox mid-on but only succeeded in hitting mid-on to leave M &B at 91 for 3 at drinks with Parsons 63 no.
Master Vaja was in at 5 and was off the mark immediately. Davis began to settle in to a tidy spell of slow bowling from the River End, aided by the slow low wicket. Maloney conceded 9 from his 6th over and was replaced by even more flighted offerings from Segal. Vaja had problems dealing with the flight and slowness of Segal whereas Parsons was happy to advance down the wicket and bunt the ball for one. Vaja eventually waited on the back foot and was able to pull a number of Segal deliveries to the boundary, one going all the way for six. Although Vaja was beginning to find the boundary the boundaries had dried up for Parsons, who eventually fatally swung across the line at Davis and was castled for a fine 78 in the 29th. In an innings which contained 11 4’s. New man James King couldn’ Fathom Segal and attempted to come down the wicket to him and unfortunately missed and was easily stumped to leave M & B floundering at 131 for 5 in the 30 th over. M & B were lucky to have the in form Gunbarul at 7 and he was able to form a handy partnership with Vaja over 6 overs , before Vaja was castled by Godfrey for 45, an innings which lasted 16 overs and contained four boundaries and one maximum. John Child was unlucky to get a delivery which rolled along the ground and was quickly dismissed. Ambar Moorthy put bat to ball with great effect in his short stay but nonetheless accounted for three boundaries in his 14. Gunbarul took 10 off the first four deliveries of the last over before being caught for a handy 26. M& B finished on 204 for 9 off their forty overs which was around twenty below par, but still a target to defend against ten man Stage and with a handy bowling attack. Davis was the pick of the Stage attack conceding only 18 off his eight overs and garnering one wicket.
Although messrs Moorthy & Gunbarul opening proceedings with the new cherry, they decided amongst themselves to switch ends, with Moorthy starting from the River End. Gunbarul made the initial breakthrough in his second over, his angle bringing the ball back into Gallagher as he attempted to drive at hit the top half of the middle stump, causing it to spear outwards towards the keeper, an unusual sight. Moorthy rattled the timbers of opener Almond shortly afterwards to leave The Stage 5 for 2 early on. Gunbarul pressed home the advantage in his next couple of overs as he again castled Gostelow and Davis to leave The Stage at 20 for 4 and asking for a take two. Maloney though addded some solidity to the lineup as he looked to support the injured Hutchinson, who was batting with a runner , having pulled a hamstring whilst fielding. Hutchinson looked capable on the drive and picked up length well. Maloney helped Hutchinson see of the opening bowlers although he played one sweetly timed extra cover drive off Moorthy which sped to the boundary. Both seam bowlers finished with fine figures, Moorthy 8/0/18/1 and Gunbarul 8/2/22/3. Seam was replaced by spin at both ends, as is the M & B Sunday way. Chris Butler was this week joined by colt and resident 1st X1 player John Child. Initially Child strayed with his length and Hutchinson was quick to pounce, dispatching the ball to the square leg boundary. Hutchinson also manoeuvred a number of Butler reasonably full deliveries over widish mid-on ass the field adopted an in out motion depending upon which batsmen was on strike. Drinks were taken with M & B well in control, although The Stage had or orchestrated a recovery of sorts, principally on the back of Hutchinson’s efforts. Soon after drinks Hutchinson brought up his fifty with another well struck boundary. With the field now out when he was on strike and the likelihood of many twos minimal Hutchinson was forced to go for the big shot once to often and he attempted to loft Butler over mid-off where Armstrong managed to hold the catch and get the big fish wicket to cement M & B’s stranglehold on the game. Shortly after, Child , who by now had found his length dismissed Godfrey with a peach, which turned and hit the top of off. He also dismissed Segal, as he looked to drive, which was well snaffled by Gunbarul, running back from first slip and taking the catch over his shoulder. Butler bowled Farrell first ball with a delivery which appeared to zip off the wicket and hit the top of off. Youngster Child had the privilege of getting the last club wicket for M & B in 2019 by having the obdurate Maloney well caught by keeper James King for 25, which capped a fine performance behind the stumps on a difficult keeping wicket, with the ball generally keeping low. The Stage managed to break the hundred but 105 was never enough to challenge the M & B total. The spinners, like the seamers, enjoyed decent figures, Butler finishing with 7/0/28/2 & Child 7.1/1/30/3.