Our three fixtures on our second day of play, Day 7 of the tournament, were exactly the same as the first day and we were keen to get revenge on the three teams who beat us on the Friday!
Magic CC - scorecard
After the opposition failed to show up on time, we were awarded the toss and captain Umer Raz chose to bowl first, going against the norm of not wanting to field in the early morning chill.
Despite that, we got a brilliant start with their top three all dismissed for a duck as our opening bowlers of Burhan Ejaz and newly-appointed 2024 captain Shriram Bhosale picked up two and one wicket respectively. The next pair steadied the ship a bit and scored a few runs before Imran Fareed claimed the fourth wicket with his legspin. There were two wickets in the following two overs too, both of the first ball of Maxi Hoeck and Vishesh Gajjar’s overs. The score reached 105/6 when Imran ran Waqas out on the last ball of the penultimate over. Vishesh bowled the final over, which went dot ball, caught and bowled, run out to the keeper and bowled as we finished with four wickets in five balls and a team hattrick! Vishesh ended up with very nice figures of 1.4-9-3! 106 would be a very chasable total.
Imran and wicketkeeper Maroof Shaikh opened the batting but sadly didn’t fare too much better than the Magic openers. Anton Kritzinger and Tom Coulthard came in next and did much better getting us ahead of the rate and looking ever-more likely for a first ECS victory and a great start to “Revenge Day”. When Anton was dismissed for 21 though, things went a bit south. Despite another new BICC top score (his fifth in a row!) of 42* for Hotdog Tom, he was rather let down by his batting partners at the other end who could only manage eight runs off 21 balls between them. Somehow we went from being favourites to losing the game by 20 runs.
We headed up to the stands for a couple of hours to lick our wounds.
Spartans Hospitalet - scorecard
Our second game of the day started off just the same as the first, with us being awarded the toss due to another no-show and again Umer chose to bowl first.
The Spartans however got off to a much better and quicker start than Magic had, despite the loss of one opener in the second over after he nicked through to Maroof off Shriram. The next partnership lasted almost six overs and put on 80 runs, the vast majority coming from the opener Hussain. The partnership was once again broken by golden arm Vishesh. Sam Phillipps came on for the next over and got the wicket of Ibrahim (66) caught by Maxi Hoeck in the deep, just a ball after Maxi dropped one in the same position. Vishesh, still not finished, claimed two more scalps in the next over for another cheap three-fer (3/16) before Burhan returned to bowl the final over. It was to be an expensive one and propelled The Spartans to 140/6, despite a wicket off the final ball.
In another change at the top, Umer decided to open with Imran but the skipper was bowled in the first over. Anton was also bowled in the next over for a duck and Tom broke his record-streak by scoring just six. It was to be a tale of the middle order, as no one could stay in the middle for long to support Imran, with Shriram also falling cheaply before Imran was frustrated to be given out LBW (with the oppo almost definitely appealing for caught behind). Maroof came and went before finally James Bentley (29) and Maxi (13*) put some momentum back in the innings. Sadly the required rate had just gotten away from us and it was to be too little, too late. We finished on 114/7, 26 runs short in what had looked like the most winnable game of the day.
Pakicare - scorecard
Having just watched Pakicare batter the living daylights out of The Spartans, breaking various ECN records along the way, we weren’t so confident of getting revenge here! Still, stranger things have happened in sport…
In a break from the day’s tradition, Umer had to actually go to the middle and toss but still managed to win and chose to bat this time. Our innings really struggled to get going and only top scorer and number seven bat Shriram (with just 13) and number eight Vishesh (two balls faced, two fours scored) managed to score at anything like the sort of rate required in a T10 match against the former European champions. The Pakicare boys have clearly hit some form and we stumbled along to 74/7.
Knowing that victory from this point was looking almost impossible, we set out to the field hoping to stop their juggernaut and at least delay defeat as long as possible. Golden arm Vishesh was to open the bowling, having been forced out of the attack in our previous game against Pakicare after a straight drive went straight onto his ankle. He would get our long sought after revenge with the first ball of the innings, as record breaker and Spanish international Muhammad Ihsan hit the ball down to Shriram at long on. The whole team went wild to the calls of “you’d think they won the tournament!” and Pakicare were 0/1. “Just nine more, lads!”, could we, could we? In short, no, and that was to be the end of our fun. Over the following 29 balls Pakicare knocked off the required runs to claim victory. We had at least avoided being the quickest defeat of the day!
So, revenge day didn’t exactly go to plan… On Thursday we will face Badalona, still stinging from their three losses against us two weeks ago, and Catalunya Jaguars who we also faced in the Northeastern league back in June.
Having been originally carded to open the tournament, we eventually got our campaign going on the fifth day. It was an early 8:45 start with games to come against Magic CC, Spartans Hospitalet CC and Pakicare CC.
Magic CC - scorecard
Captain Umer Razi, after arriving to the ground in near pitch blackness, won the toss and decided to avoid fielding in the cold. Umer opened the batting with Maxi Hoeck, who was out quickly. Keeper Dev Mahadevan came in next and would finish on a well-made 29* from 22 balls. Umer was caught having made 23 off 15 which brought Imran Fareed to the crease. He smashed 5 sixes on the way to a 19-ball 53 before eventually being dismissed in the final over. We posted an underpar 112/3 from our 10 overs.
Magic had started the tournament well so we knew we’d have to bowl well. Their openers got them off to a great start, helped by a few comical dropped catches, before Anton “Johnny Vegetables” took a good catch off the bowling of Imran. In the very next over, Mr Vegetables would get a wicket of his own and get us excited that we might just defend it. Sadly, despite a third wicket near the end for Umer, we just didn’t have enough runs on the board and Magic finished the chase with eight balls to spare.
Spartans Hospitalet CC - scorecard
After a two hour break, we were back to face Spartans Hospitalet. Having lost the toss, we were asked to bowl first. Spartans were yet to win a game so we were hopeful of getting our first victory! Maxi and Burhan Ejaz, unused in the first game, opened the bowling and got us off to a great start by really keeping the runs down and picking up a wicket a piece in their first overs. Vishesh Gajjar bowled the third and another wicket fell to a great run out by the skipper. James Bentley bowled the fourth, picking up a wicket with his first ball and we were well on top. An expensive over from Shriram Bhosale followed, before Maxi and Burhan returned to pick up another wicket each and two very cheap overs. Sadly the final two overs from Vishesh and Will Camfield were slightly less cheap and they finished on 115/5.
It was still a below-par score that we were confident of chasing. Umer opened with Tom Coulthard in something of a surprise - his previous experience opening the batting on a Youtube stream ended with him dismissed before the stream even started! A slow first over built the pressure and Umer edged off in the second over. Our middle order and Tom performed well, with Tom (27), Shriram (12) and Anton (23) all hitting with a strike rate in excess of 225. With the game ours for the taking, the steady flow of wickets wasn’t helping and Jon Wong and Dev weren’t quite able to keep up with the rate and we finished on 97/6. A second disappointing loss in a game that should have been ours.
Pakicare CC - scorecard
Our final game of the day was against Pakicare, the European T10 champions in 2022 and the first team we had played against before. Whilst less optimistic here, we were hopeful of putting up a good show and giving them a tough game. Umer won the toss and chose to bowl.
It was a tough 45 minutes in the field, with every bowler bar one getting dispatched around the ground by Spanish international Muhammad Ihsan on his way to 120* off just 40 balls. Vishesh was the one bowler to really impress, and the only one to pick up a wicket in his 1.5 overs, that went for just 15 runs. Only a blow to the ankle off a straight drive could stop him! His 11 balls “restricted” Pakicare to “just” 182/2, with the other wicket a run out executed by Vishesh and keeper Dev.
In this game Imran (27) was sent up the order to open with Tom and the two did well at the start, albeit considerably behind the 18 runs an over required! Umer came and went quickly and Shri was dismissed first ball for a “Golden Derek”. Jon and Tom saw out the remaining overs. Jon finished on 16* and Tom carried his bat for 32* as we ended on 91/3.
Three defeats on our first day, but a great time was had by all! We’re back on Sunday to play exactly the same teams in exactly the same order in what some are calling Revenge Day!
Ahead of our European Cricket Series debut in a couple of weeks, we organised a series of T10 practice matches against Badalona CC to get ourselves accustomed to this shortest form of the game. Despite the organisation being last minute, we had a mammoth 19 players make themselves available for the three games. There were so many indeed that one ended up playing for Badalona! More on him later…
First game (scorecard)
The first game saw club debuts for Imran Fareed, Kieran O’Donnell, Dave Martin and Vrishab Kandal. We lost the toss and were put in the field. Kieran opened the bowling with James “Aussie James” Bentley who got a wicket with a beauty of an inswinger in his second over. Despite a few relatively easy catches going down, the wickets started to tumble. Anton Kritzinger got one, Imran got one with his fourth ball for the club bowled, before claiming a second with a great caught and bowled next ball. Lewis, our aforementioned Badalona player, walked out and crumbled under the pressure of the hattrick ball, stamping on his leg stump to be dismissed hit wicket and give Imran a hattrick on debut! Dave also picked up his first wicket for the club while Sam Phillipps claimed two wickets with his last two balls. The final over was bowled by acting captain Shriram Bhosale, which only lasted two balls as Dave did a brilliant run out from third man and Shriram had the last batter caught by Imran as we finished with four wickets in four balls. A chase of 61 looked relatively easy.
Vrishab and Anton opened the batting and the latter certainly made light work of it, scoring 35* off 12 balls. He retired to leave Maroof Shaikh to hit the winning runs and give us a first victory of the day!
Second game (scorecard)
In the second game, regular captain Umer Razi was back in the team and won the toss, this time we would bat first. Full of confidence from the first game we set about hitting as big a total as possible, knowing that we had set the boundaries considerably longer than will be the case in the ECS. There were two more debutants in this game, Rabia Mushtaq (our third female player of the year) and Will Camfield. Our top two run scorers of the year so far, Umer (27 off 20) and Shriram (20 off 10), opened the batting and got us off to a quick start. Imran came in at 3, fresh from his hattrick, and showed what he could do with the bat too. He continued from where the openers had left off, whacking 40* off 19 balls. There were smart cameos for Nathan Blyth and Maroof before keeper Dev Mahadevan joined Imran getting 19 off 8 balls. We scored 138/4 from our ten overs.
Badalona batted much better in this second game and wickets were much harder to come by. Debutan Will and Supun Shalitha opened the bowling, keeping it relatively tight and building pressure from the get go, as did first change Imran. But it was the introduction of Uswa Syed that really changed the game as her first over went for just two runs and saw the back of both opening batters. Not done there, she got a run out later on to make sure she had a say in all three wickets. Badalona finished on 111/3, 27 runs short. Two from two!
Third game (scorecard)
Having won the toss again, Umer decided to bat again. This time another changed team saw Simon Eldridge open with Khyzer Nawaz. It was a slower start this game as the pair struggled to get the opening bowlers, including 11-year-old Gabriel, away. Gabriel would eventually dismiss Khyzer as he tried to hit out, only to find the gloves of father Lewis behind the stumps. (Yes Khyzer, it was impossible to write this report without mentioning that). When Simon was finally dismissed, it brought Dev to the crease and he continued on from the previous game, this time with longer at the crease he reached a magnificent debut 50 off 22 balls with ten fours (many of which will be Maximooooos by the time he plays at that ground again). He ended up with over half the runs as we finished on 98/3.
The lower total meant Badalona could sniff a chance of victory and they started well reaching 49 without loss. Joseph Danam was introduced to the attack, and just like Uswa in the previous game, got the wickets of both openers to leave Badalona rocking. When Aussie James claimed the wicket of their captain Adnan, we sensed the game was up and eventually they finished on 75/4, as James claimed a second wicket from the last ball of the day.
A great day for BICC, with a super turnout and three victories to warm us up for the ECS tournament. Make sure to tune in on December 1st for our first game! Thanks to Badalona for playing in a great spirit, as always.
The countdown to the first weekend of November, for our now traditional annual trip to Menorca, is always a long one but one that’s well worth the wait! Most of the players arrived on Friday, with some in the morning to work “from home” and others in the evening after actually slogging it out at work. The nine of us there went for a curry and a few drinks in the port in Mahón.
It was a very windy weekend, with temperatures having suddenly dropped to give it a properly autumnal feel, albeit it was still warm enough when in the sun. With the recent change of the clocks, an earlier than usual start of 11am was agreed to. For the second year running, the Saturday game would be to compete for the Manners-Paterson trophy, with our Balearic hosts holding it having beaten us comfortably last year. With a stronger team at our disposal this year, and some better form behind us, we were confident of taking it home this time around! Umer Razi started well by winning the toss and deciding to bat (/ let most of the team relax/ let himself watch the Pakistan vs New Zealand game). Maroof Shaikh and Zeeshan Dildar opened the batting and very quickly the bookies were slashing the odds on the “Next wicket: run out” option. The inevitable eventually happened with the score on 20, as Zeeshan set off for a quick single that wasn’t on, slipped and was helpless as the bails were removed from the non-striker’s end. Captain Umer came in and left the World Cup game for a whole two balls before sitting down again. Maroof accumulated from one end whilst wickets tumbled at the other, Damien McMullen (caught and bowled) and Nathan Blyth (hilariously run out in exactly the same fashion as Zeeshan) both scoring 7. When Maroof skied one to point for the fifth wicket we were only on 57 and starting to make early afternoon back-up plans. Fortunately, Shriram Bhosale and Jack Jewson had only ideas of us playing cricket as they fashioned a 83-run partnership, with Shri getting a third fifty of the year at rapid pace and Jack playing more of an anchor role at the other end (he barely got to double figures by the end of it!). Shriram (67) eventually played a false shot and was punished for it. Jon Wong, sat getting pad-rash for so long, was naturally LBW first ball. Jack accelerated for a bit longer before being dismissed. This brought James Bentley and Leandro Español to the crease in what turned out to be the last partnership. James blasted the ball all around Biniparell on his way to a quick 34 with Leandro finishing on a useful 7*. We ended up on a respectful 193/8, a good recovery from where we had been!
After a delicious tea/ lunch, we were back out in the field and were pumped up following a rare attempt at fielding drills(!). James and Zeeshan opened the bowling well, but the first half of the innings turned out to be the Tom “Hot Dog” Coulthard show. Having brilliantly caught the dangerous Adam Levin in the deep, he was brought into the attack alongside Sam Phillipps and proceeded to blast through the upper and middle order in his six-over spell. Two edges through to Jack behind the stumps were followed by catches by Damien and Shriram before the best caught and bowled you’ll ever see as he claimed a maiden BICC 5fer. This left Menorca on 80/6, which shortly became 91/7 when Shriram got in on the act. Confidence was high, but we knew Menorca batted all the way down to 11 and were not out of it. Joe Brayne came in at 9 and steadied the ship for a bit with Billy Johnson, before he was run out by Sam from third man to make the score 120/8. This merely brought Simon Cotton to the crease and the two of them made a brilliant 68-run partnership. That was only broken when Umer brought himself into the attack late on and bowled Simon. Stalwart Roy Sturgeon played out the rest of that over before Joe completed the win with a boundary at the start of the next. Another Menorca-BICC classic, with the hosts this time coming out on top by just one wicket, with only three overs left. We were naturally dejected but soon cheered up with the festivities and barbecue at the ground, despite having to hide in the pavilion to get out of the ever-stronger wind!
Sunday was due to be more of a friendly affair. This time Umer lost the toss against Sunday captain Markus Dow and we were asked to bowl. The wind had died down a bit overnight but there were still strong gusts going around. James and Zeeshan again opened the bowling. We were much more sluggish in the field today, despite actually getting a relatively early night on Saturday! Our mood was not helped by many, many missed chances and the Menorcan top order taking advantage of our mistakes. Zeeshan got a wicket early on, but that was followed by two 80+-run partnerships taking the hosts to 184/3 and the potential of a big score. We managed to restrict the lower-middle order’s scoring rate, with Shriram claiming 3/32 helping massively. Menorca eventually set us 241 to win from our 40 overs.
After another great, expansive (end-of-season “everything must go”-style) tea we set about the chase. Despite them managing a much bigger score than we’d seen the day before, we knew their strength today had been their batting and we were hopeful of chasing it down. Jon, on a king pair, opened with Leandro, in his last game before moving to Madrid in a bit of a mix-up of the order. They got us off to a solid start, with Jon registering his highest BICC score (34). The third wicket partnership was a big one for us, with Umer and Maroof both scoring big fifties. Umer was rather hogging the strike as he approached his illusive maiden century, and the pressure clearly told when he played a horrible swipe and was given out LBW on 95. D’oh! Better luck next time, Umi, great 50 though! Maroof was now the undisputed senior batter and had a more willing runner in Nathan Blyth at the other end. He also surpassed his highest BICC score (72) whilst Nathan contributed a “famous” (his word) 15* as we won the game by seven wickets with just over four overs left. We would at least return to Barcelona with a win, even if not the trophy we might have liked!
Tom was chosen as player of the weekend for his 5fer on Saturday, and alongside Sam, was kindly gifted a Menorca CC floppy for his efforts. We’d like to thank Menorca again for their ever-improving hospitality and for the two great games. November 2nd 2024 is only 362 days away!
We welcomed our third touring team of the year on the last day of June, St Matthias CC from Brighton. They had arrived the night before and immediately hit the bars, with some clearly still a bit worse for wear come 2pm the following afternoon! Umer Razi graciously lost the toss and we were put in the field.
Less graciously, Umer decided to open with the pace pair of Zeeshan Dildar and Maxi Hoeck but it was the captain who once again took the first wicket with a second run out in as many games. The other opener was soon after given out LBW to Zeeshan and walked off mouthing "thank you" to the standing umpire - I'm not sure he was enjoying the quick bowling! Maxi sent the number three back to the dugout first ball with a sharp caught and bowled. Reuben Grahame and Duncan Newing offered a bit more backbone at number 4 and 5 respectively before Simon Eldridge had the former caught by Burhan for a well made 18. Tom Sherlock made the bold choice to try and ramp Shriram Bhosale off his second ball and was caught at short third-man by Shane Lightley, allowing Duncan and number 7 Louis Grahame to build another mini recovery. Eventually Duncan was run out and Louis (along with new partner Alex Coghlin) retired. Simon came back on and bowled the tour manager Joel Sayers for his second wicket and St Matthias posted a below-par 120/7 from their 20 overs.
Regular guest Pandian Karuppaswamy opened with Vishesh Gajjar but there was confusion early on and Vishesh was run out - maybe Pandian shouldn't expect a call next time we're short! Shriram Bhosale reprised his role as pinch hitting number 3 that had worked so well in the league last weekend but could only managed 16 this time. Pandian somewhat made up for the run out by scoring 31 off 25 before falling caught. Burhan Ejaz (33*) and keeper Jack Jewson (17) kept the runchase well above target before Umer came in to score the winning runs in just the 15th over.
A good game played in great spirits between two teams that were probably much more evenly matched than the report and scorecard might suggest - it would certainly be interesting to play them in a more competitive game! A great bunch and we joined them for dinner, along with a couple of others from Men In Blue (who St Matthias were due to play the following day). Overall, it was a great day and Razball now has two wins in a row!
Following the bonfires and fireworks of Friday night, we turned up to the baseball ground in Montjuïc on a scorching Sant Joan afternoon for our league fixture against old friends Badalona CC. Umer Razi lost the toss with the one umpire that had turned up on time, and we were put in to bat in front of a probable record home crowd that reached double figures(!).
Umer opened with himself alongside Burhan Ejaz and the two built a very solid partnership. They were both clearly struggling with the heat though as there were quite a few runs turned down and a few others lazily trotted down to the other end! They reached the 10 overs drinks break at 75/0, aided by a few two-run wides and a dropped catch for each along the way! With a solid base built, they agreed to accelerate the innings, although Burhan was dismissed first ball after drinks, hitting the ball straight back to the bowler. Razball came into effect and Shriram Bhosale was sent in, much higher up the order than normal, to continue that acceleration - and it certainly worked! He would eventually bring up his half century off 28 balls on the way to 55*. Umer contributed a well-constructed 49 before being stumped by former BICC player Nadim Aseq as he looked to get to his personal landmark. In the final over, Maroof Shaikh came in and whacked 10 off just three balls to get us to a total of 186/3.
In reply, our now usual opening partnership of Lauren Pamenter (now definitely in her last game for the club in her current spell in Barcelona - unlike last week, which was definitely her last game for us for a while!) and Sam Phillipps took the new ball. Lauren struggled to find her rhythm in the first over but would help dry up the runs over the rest of the powerplay. Off just the eighth ball, there was a mix-up between the batters and Umer smartly ran Mahdi Al out from mid-off and we were on the board. Sam claimed two cheap wickets in his second and third overs either side of a dropped catch that really put the cat amongst the pigeons. Sam was replaced by Zeeshan Dildar who immediately started with a wicket maiden as his pace proved too much for Haseeb Ullah. Leandro Español also came in to the attack and almost immediately another chance went abegging after a mix up between himself and Shriram. Opener Maaz Ahmed and Tahla Islam reached drinks at 63/4, aided even more by some extras than we had been. Despite some good bowling from Joseph Danam and Vishesh Gajjar in the middle overs, their sixth-wicket partnership reached a slightly worrying 68 before Shriram, not content with a first BICC 50 and a catch, claimed the wicket of Tahla caught and bowled. This started another collapse as Badalona went from 114/4 to 129/8, with a wicket for Vishesh, another for Shriram and a run-out by Zeeshan. Nadim was run out by Shriram (yes, him again) in the final over and, after the number 11 didn’t come out for some reason, the game was done two balls early!
A warm and overcast day greeted the players at Vic, arriving punctually, only to have the start delayed due to a missing hessian wicket. A search round the perimeter by Shane and Vishesh (Mishmash to his mates) found nothing but overgrown grass and discarded confetti from the previous night at the festival next door occupying the old Vic. Off went our indigenous tracker, Sam, into the bush to see what he could find with his sixth sense of knowing where to go he found an alternative wicket. The old Vic wicket was laid out waiting for a new home, and tracker Sam called off the search and requested help via the bush telegraph. It was a team effort with the help of a kind fork lift truck driver to get our drop in wicket ready for our second league game of the season.
Having won the toss, Umi opted to bowl first and soon we were underway with Lauren steaming in with her usual left arm over action. The Jaguars were purring immediately though, with a six off the second ball over the fine leg fence which set the tone for the oppos batting nice and early. Next up and charging in like a young Roy Orbison was our very own President Sam, swinging the ball more than an Uxbridge by election. Alarmingly for BICC, the ball was being dispatched to the boundary way too often, soon Shriram and Zeeshan were introduced to stem the flow of runs. Lauren "Lozza" Pamenter was placed into third man on the boundary to shore up things behind Jono "where did it go wrong" Wong. "You're in the game Lozza" encouraged Jack from behind the stumps, suffice to say the ball never did come her way for the next two hours until a dolly of a catch late in the jaguar innings. A few too many no balls were being bowled and Shiram took a couple of catches off the following free hits. Eventually Shri broke through and bowled an opener with his ever nagging line and length. The fielding was briefly interrupted by the policía and the cars parked illegally had to be moved in time for the festival to start that afternoon. Shane returned to deep point and thus the iron curtain on the offside was back in place. A break they say, brings wickets, and Zeeshan was in the thick of it taking two while Mishmash bowled well without reward. Burhan and Umi closed out the innings and a hot and sweaty BICC made for the dugout for shelter.
Catalunya Jaguars 181/5 20 overs
After the interval Maruf and Jono were striding out to open the BICC innings. Within two balls Maruf was out strangled down the leg side to a melocotón of a delivery, a glancing shot off the pads that the keeper anticipated and moved beautifully to catch on the leg side. Next in was Zeeshan to get the barbecue going and sure enough Jono was the shrimp on the barbie, a miscommunication while a direct hit had him stranded halfway down the wicket. You'd have a harder job finding a calmer man in a crisis than Jack Jewson, the type of fellow you need when the ship is listing to one side and you need someone to tell you everything is going to be ok. Jack and Zeeshan steadied the HMS BICC through choppy waters, sneaking singles with the occasional boundary. With scoreboard pressure building Jack was bowled, trying to go big and next up was Shane to calm the BICC nerves and keep the scoreboard ticking over. To be fair to the Jaguars, they bowled well and either with luck or a well placed field the ball found the fielders more often than the boundary. As batsmen came and went the run rate became increasingly difficult to keep up with for BICC, the skipper was bowled going for glory for 7. Burhan came in and went for a quick 3, finally Mishmash finished on 11no and Shane 13no.
BICC 121/6 20 overs
We set off on Friday evening from just by the airport for the three hour drive to Béziers, with a quick pitstop for a overpriced service station sandwich. With most of the drive done with rain falling (and much more of the stuff predicted over the weekend), we weren’t overly optimistic of much play over the weekend. We were due to play two games at the Midi cricket ground in Pouzolles, having been due to tour there a few years ago only for the now defunct Midi CC to frustratingly cancel on us on the Friday morning.
The first game was a 35-over affair against Montpellier Barracudas CC. We arrived at the transformed football ground as the lawnmower was going around, and there was even a surprise reunion as one of the opposition players happened to be a friend of Maroof Shaikh’s from India! The morning was very warm and sunny, although we knew there was rain expected in the afternoon. When Lauren Pamenter’s first ball went for six over the fence, she was probably hoping it would come sooner! A couple more lusty blows from the Montpellier opener followed in that opening over before he was adjudged LBW by the home umpire. Lauren was soon to have another LBW decision go her way, whilst Sam Phillipps at the “other end” kept the scoring rate down. Sam had an absolutely plumb LBW shout turned down (the umpire clearly having used up his quota!) and ‘deliberately’ dropped a caught and bowled to allow keeper Shriram Bhosale to get a run out. With the French hosts four down early on, we fancied our chances of rattling through them quickly. Zeeshan Dildar and Simon Eldridge were introduced into the attack and both claimed a wicket too, before returning captain Umer Razi started rotating the bowling (with all ten outfielders getting a go). Ali and Fareed hit some big shots for the hosts, boosting their score to 188. They were all out in the 28th over, with the last wicket a great run out by Maroof. There had been a wicket for the accurate Vishesh Gajjar and a couple for Umer too.
After a quick lunch, and with the clouds starting to roll in, Maroof and Khyzer Nawaz opened the batting. The two got us off to a relatively quick start, aided by some inaccurate bowling (and the wides that came from it) until Maroof was out in the fifth over caught behind as the drizzle started falling. Khyzer had been somewhat hogging the strike and this continued with his new partner Simon Eldridge. The two were struggling to rotate the strike, or hit big shots, so it was somewhat inevitable when Simon was run out attempting a second run. Khyzer and returning guest Pandian were both dismissed the following over, as a now traditional middle-order collapse started to take place. Shriram and Vishesh came together and upped the rate for a couple of overs before everyone was forced off as the rain increased. After about half an hour’s break, we went back out despite there being drizzle still falling. Sadly, this only lasted three overs until we were forced off again. It was ultimately the end of the game, with us on a below-par but not out of the game 70/4. The hosts decided to call it a draw, rather than work out any DLS result (which I’m sure wouldn’t have been in our favour!). It had been a great game played in good spirits and the relatively-newly formed Barracudas were fantastic hosts.
The forecast for Sunday was even worse and the rain started at about 8am. The ground had taken a lot of water overnight and had gone from being very dry to suddenly muddy. The astroturf pitch was sodden and with rain constantly falling we called the game off at about 11 o’clock. We started heading home, stopping for a couple of hours in Perpignan for lunch and a sport of tourism. Our thanks again to Nimes for even trying to get a game on for us, especially given their own commute to get there. Hopefully we’ll see you in Barcelona soon!
A great weekend with spirits high, despite the lack of cricket and the soggy weather. Maybe a third BICC tour to France will go better…?
It was a sunny and warm afternoon for the start of the new Cricket España-run Northeastern League. We were to face Bengali CC in the debut match at the Carlos Pérez baseball stadium in Montjuïc in a Sunday evening fixture that would eventually end under lights (and some rain!).
Shriram Bhosale won the toss in what is probably his last game as stand-in skipper. Without hesitation he decided to bowl first. It was apparent right from the off that the Bengali batting line up was an inexperienced one and they were very reliant on a couple of their batters, opener Pabel Rahman (50) and captain Hasin bin Hakim (32). None of the seven bowlers used could dismiss them but some sharp work in the field saw them both run out. No one else (except our old friend Mr W. Ides) got into double figures although we were a bit disappointed to let Bengali reach an admittedly below-par score of 125/6 from their 20 overs. There were two wickets apiece for opening bowlers James Bentley and Lauren Pamenter, while Sam Phillipps and Vishesh Gajjar both chipped in with one each. Despite Bengali reaching a score considerably above what might have been expected during most of the innings, we went into the short innings break confident of chasing it down.
Regular opener Maroof Shaikh was partnered by Burhan Ejaz, not required with the ball today as he returns to being a specialist batter. They put together a partnership that saw us just short of halfway when Burhan was dismissed with the score on 60 in just the eighth over. Maroof was similarly caught by the keeper a few balls later bringing fake-Aussie Shane Lightley and fake-Brit Damien McMullen together. Damien was brilliantly run out from the deep, starting a collapse as we went from 83/2 to 89/5. James and keeper Khyzer Nawaz settled the nerves with a 35-run partnership that took the scores level, before Khyzer tried to win the game with one of his trademark scoops and was inevitably bowled. Vishesh came in and hit the winning run off his first ball to cheers from the boundary!
A much needed win for BICC as some much needed rain fell. We retired to the bar for a celebratory drink before heading for a late dinner. Congrats and thanks to Shriram, who amazingly finishes his spell as stand-in skipper with two trophies and us top of the league!
Catches win matches, is the old saying in cricket...
While stand-in skipper for the match, Shriram Bhosale, was winning the toss some light precipitation fell across the Carlos Perez campo de Beisbol stadium. It wasn't enough to dampen the spirits of BICC though, they took to the field full of vitality and vigour, after some pre-match drills.
James "Brisbane express" Bentley opened the bowling from the concert hall end, with Shriram steaming in second over. It wasn't long before the debut skipper was rewarded with a wicket, an absolute beauty rearranging the stumps. The Brisbane express was coming off track, until an adjustment was made to the run up and soon found his line again.
A change of bowlers often brings a wicket, and this time Joseph with Sam "baby faced assassin" Phillipps was no exception. Joseph bowling a nagging line and length tempted the Badalona captain into a lofty drive, as the ball sailed up into the evening sun, Shane "doesn't wear Ray Ban for nothing" Lightley was running in from mid off to take the catch. The catching practice session wasn't wasted from Saturday's nets session and within minutes Uswa "capitana" Syed was plucking one out the air at gully, giving Joseph a well deserved second wicket. Meanwhile, not to be outdone, the baby faced assassin was rattling the stumps to get in on the action.
Making her debut for BICC was our newly appointed women's captain Uswa Syed, introducing her spin to the attack, and with Bill "sticky fingers" Brooks lurking at mid wicket she soon picked up a couple of wickets that Bill gobbled up in his mitts.
At this point it's worth mentioning how exceptional the BICC fielding had been, committed and with barely a misfield, let alone a dropped catch. And as the sun was low on the horizon Shiram took a screamer out on the boundary off of Uswa, to finish her spell with excellent figures of 3 for 11. Even Maroof "don't mention Madrid" Shaikh took a great catch at deep mid wicket, unfortunately it was in vain as the delivery was an above waist no ball.
Joseph returned to finish his spell and picked up a third wicket, a tidy 3 for 26. Enter into the fray the ever ready Leo "the dentist" Español with a quick piece of fielding to extract a Badalona batsman with a run out. Not to go home empty handed the Brisbane express clean bowled a Badalona rabbit to pick up a solitary wicket and end the Badalona innings.
The BICC innings began after a short interval to break fast with Bill and Maroof, under the lights in full darkness. Bill fancied a long spell of umpiring so stood in front of the stumps and was dismissed LBW for the first of several ducks. Uswa was next and soon back in the dugout, without troubling the scorer. Now Bruce, to steady the ship with Maroof and set about the Badalona bowling. After looking settled Maroof chipped one back to the bowler and was out for 8, with Shubh in and out like a flash Shane was unexpectedly on his way to calm the BICC nerves. With Bruce and Shane in control the runs finally began to flow, Bruce executing a sublime cover drive to the boundary while Shane cutting outside off stump until a mix up in the running of a quick single ended the partnership, having scored 16.
In came Shriram who didn't waste any time dismantling the bowling and hit hard, the run rate was creeping up though and with an unbeaten 25 not out it wasn't enough. Bruce's good knock came to an end, bowled for a well played 28. James had a little cameo with Shriram and finished with 11 not out.
All in all a good team performance, but runs win matches, not catches.