BICC travelled up to Riudarenes for our first game of the 2021 Catalan league season against Lleida Tigers, the first time we've competed in the league since dropping out during the 2013 season. The match saw the debuts of Seb Armstrong and Burhan Ejaz, with another recent recruit Todd Fraser as 12th man. It was also a first BICC appearance on Catalan soil for Tom Kynaston, after his debut in our last game in Menorca in October.
Lleida won the toss and decided to bowl first, with Sid Tewari deciding to open with himself and wicketkeeper Hamza Baig. Hamza fell with the score on just 6, before Stu Boyd and Kevin Kitchin both fell cheaply to leave BICC on 24/3. Umer Razi came to the crease to join captain Sid and the pair steadied the ship well in a 72-run partnership. Halfway through the innings, there was a brief delay as the local mayor, Mr Josep Solé Turon, was introduced to the teams by members of the Catalan Federation's committee. Unfortunately soon after the break, Sid fell one run short of his 50 and his departure brought about another quick flurry of wickets, with Anish Shindore, Nathan Blyth and Seb falling with just five more runs added to the score. Rez Hassan (11) came in for a quick cameo, before Umer, quickly running out of partners, was caught for 39. With him gone, the last wicket partnership of Burhan and Tom scraped another five runs before the former was bowled and BICC were dismissed for 135, leaving 15 balls unused on the table. The morning's game at the same ground had seen the Ripoll Warriors successfully defend a similar score in the second innings, so there was optimism in the camp (or at least, on the whatsapp group).
New boy Seb opened up with Sid, and after leaking a few runs, both of them got one of the openers out in their second over. In the fifth over, Rez was brought on to replace Seb (1/28). Together with Sid (2/22), the pair brought the scoring rate down and continued to pick up wickets. Rez ended up with impressive figures of 2/13, both of his wickets taken by Nathan at slip (but cleverly claimed by Kevin on the scorecard). After 9 overs, Lleida Tigers were 58/5 and starting to run out of batters, even if their scoring rate was still above the required. Stu and Anish were brought on, with Anish (1/25) picking up a wicket well caught by Hamza. A few balls later and the teams were off for a rain delay. At this point, BICC were ahead by one run according to the Duckworth-Lewis method. Despite this, there was a want to get the job done on the pitch. After a few minutes, the teams went back out, with Lleida's number 3 Ahmed Ifraz ultimately taking the game away with the help of a few too many extras. Including a 5-run penalty for incomplete kit (that the umpires were helped to remember in the 46th over of the game) the 7th wicket put on 57 runs. In the end, that partnership made the difference and meant we fell to defeat. Our wait for a league win continues at 9 years!
Despite the defeat and the iffy weather conditions, everyone had a great time and were pleased to be back playing a cricket match after over seven months. Beers were had post-match, and some of the guys went for a curry too. Onwards and upwards! Visca BICC!
See scorecard here vs Menorca
See scorecard here vs Mallorca
Menorca v Barcelona Saturday 24th October 40/40
At last a fleeting return to some kind of normality as we had the pleasure of entertaining a new look Barcelona International CC. The visitors escaping from the ciudad condal after enduring much stricter lockdown and confinement than ourselves. They arrived in dribs and drabs before being fully assembled on Friday evening, steam let off in various hostelries, culminating in a finger buffet at Es Figueral.
Menorca were dealt a savage blow with the eagerly anticipated return of the now fit and slim (f&s) Dan Osterbery thrown in to disarray following a calamitous bike ride. It was unthinkable considering he´d only days before completed the 800km across the arduous camino de Santiago alongside new skipper Joe Brayne. He certainly fell by the wayside having being cajoled in to a libatius lunch with the effervescent Sturgeon, he was unable to negotiate the 4km from San Luis to Binibeca resulting in numerous breakages and a whole heap of pain. The comeback put on ice and ibuprofen until next season unfortunately.
Brayne lost the toss and was asked to bat first. Much hope resting on the young yet more than capable Lavin first up but it wasn´t to be on this occasion as he popped one up to the covers. Fellow opener Hagger (29) fared much better but was cruelly triggered by new coach Cotton. A brush up on the laws wouldn´t go amiss during the close season was the general consensus. Replaced by Roussel (29) a solid partnership ensued until he also fell LBW bringing Dow to the crease. It was dour from Dow as he struggled to make an impact, the country gent back in the hutch, gilet firmly zipped for a spluttering 3. It was former skipper Cotton´s offspring who top scored. No appreciation for line or length on display his 36 came quickly and awash with youthful exuberance. A late unlikely flurry from Sturgeon rounded off the hosts innings a below par 173 posted.
The Barcelona retort wasn´t the best initially with Hamza and Sid both falling cheaply, the Catalans in trouble at 30/3. That brought the enigmatic Umer Razi to the crease, the much maligned all rounder silenced his critics with a carefully paced innings. He was brutal with anything short and despite being dropped relatively early on he controlled the run chase superbly, ably assisted by Stu Boyd who upped the ante, finishing the run chase with aplomb and 11 balls to spare.
A joint yet socially distanced dinner at the outstanding Clementina followed proceedings. We were enlightened by Sturgeon and Dow who gave a comprehensive description on the subtle nuances throughout the Southern French wine region. Port was also on the agenda, Dow an authority on port and dessert wine impressing with his depth of knowledge.
Sunday 25th October Barcelona v Mallorca T20
Mallorca came to the party on Sunday too playing a T20 Mallorca in the morning and then against ourselves in the afternoon.
The first game ended up being a very tight affair with Barcelona just pipping the Mallorca boys by 3 wickets with only 1 ball to spare they made hard work of chasing down a paltry 108.
Menorca v Mallorca T20
To the final game of the season Mallorca batted first with the hosts under the stewardship of Roussel. New boy Stefan and stalwart Ali did well at the top of the order scoring 21 & 31 respectively a useful 26 from Zeeshan also got the visitors up to 119 at the close of their 20 overs the local bowlers all doing well to contain the neighbours.
There was a certain air of bewilderment as Tysoe was taxed with opening alongside Lavin. He struggled to gather any momentum, out for 11 in the 9th over. Once Lavin (29) and Tysoe made their way back to the pavilion in successive balls there was a monumental middle order collapse giving the visitors a comfortable 27 run victory.
So the curtain falls on a non event type of season, we are eternally grateful to both Mallorca and Barcelona for making the herculean effort to get here and enjoy the facilities at the home of Balearic cricket. Also to everyone who helps behind the scenes, the ground looks great, the new wicket is playing as we hoped it would and the good news is we´re fully booked for the next two seasons.
See you all next season.
Jeff Barker (Menorca CC)
See scorecard here vs Menorca
See scorecard here vs Mallorca
Following our cancelled tour in April (done for obvious reasons), BICC were champing at the bit to return to Menorca after somehow going two and a half years without a tour there. Despite having lost a couple of senior players in recent months, the club is seeing a real boost in numbers this season and managed to whip up a mega sixteen players to take the short trip across the Mediterranean. Of these sixteen, ten had never been on a BICC tour, one more hadn’t been to Menorca and two hadn’t even made their official debut for the club! Menorca ever-presents Sam Phillipps, Umer Razi and new captain Sid Tewari were back for their sixth tour on the island.
THURSDAY: Sid and Sam, joined by Hamza Baig, arrived on Thursday and quickly went to check out the ground and its beautiful grass. There they found new Menorca captain Joe Brayne and Jeff Barker preparing for the weekend’s games and were invited to join them, and a few other MCC players, that evening for a catch-up drink. The weekend had begun!
FRIDAY morning saw a further seven players arrive, all of them first-timers (Anish Shindore, Oscar Kleparski, Leo Viñola, Kevin Kitchin, Simon Eldridge, Nathan Blyth and Jack Jewson). After going for a burger lunch near our hotel, the ten of us headed to the ground for a look-around and a net practice, but only after the traditional photos and rolling around on the grass! Whilst there, the penultimate group of Umer Razi, Rez Hassan and Umair Iqbal arrived and briefly joined in the practice. With the sun setting, we headed back to the hotel (via picking up the final three arrivals of Damien McMullen, Stu Boyd and Tom Kynaston) to freshen up for dinner and get everyone checked in. Given the current situation, finding a place for dinner for a group of 16 can be difficult, but we were very lucky to find and completely book out a great restaurant in the town of Es Castell called Es Llenegall (highly recommended!). Upon returning to the hotel, some of the players took advantage of current restrictions to sit outside the hotel with a great view over the port, having one last night cap before bed.
SATURDAY morning, and finally time to play on Menorca’s hallowed turf! With us having such a large touring group, Menorca were kind enough to agree to a 12-aside match (12 batsmen, but just 11 fielders). The playing XI was Hamza (wk), Sid (C), Kevin, Umer, Damien, Stu, Anish, Rez, Oscar, Leo and Nathan, with Simon being the 12th player to bat at 3.
Menorca won the toss and decided to bat. Rez and Anish opened, and it wasn’t long before Anish got the first wicket of the game, dismissing Adam for a duck courtesy of a smart catch from Damien. Captain Sid had said that he was going to rotate the bowlers through short spells, and so after just three tidy overs each, he brought on Oscar and Stu. Oscar struggled a bit to find his line so, trying to find a breakthrough as the second wicket partnership started to build, Sid decided to bring himself on soon after, bowling in tandem with his vice-captain. A couple of overs later and Stu got that breakthrough, ex-MCC captain Simon giving the second opener Julian out LBW for a well-made 26. Batsman wasn’t happy, bowler was convinced it was plumb (in other news, water is wet). Despite this wicket, Stu was whipped out of the attack next over to allow Umer to come on from the Pavilion End. It proved to be a good swap as Umer got a wicket in his second over, dismissing Nick for 29 with another LBW. This brought about the halfway drinks break, with Menorca on 67/3 after 20 overs.
As they say, drinks bring wickets, and Menorca lost one the very first ball after the break. Opener Rez returned and immediately got Marcus to edge the ball to Nathan at slip with a good ball, and Nathan somehow managed to cling on to it! Unfortunately, BICC’s catching was to deteriorate somewhat over the next couple of overs, with Sid dropping a catch off the bowling of Umer, before Umer dropped one off the bowling of Rez, and then Rez dropped one from Leo’s first ball, after he had replaced Umer. Rez was then taken out of the attack and Damien was brought on to bowl some spin. His first over saw the batsman take a big hit out towards deep midwicket where Nathan was waiting for the ball, only for the fourth drop to go down in as many overs. The batsmen were living dangerously and offering chances and another wicket was only a matter of time. Luckily, the catching behind the wicket was up to scratch, and when Leo got Toby (36) to swing at a wild one, Hamza somehow held onto a relatively thick edge and the quick-scoring batsman was gone after a 54 run partnership. Despite this success, Leo became the second bowler to be taken out of the attack straight after a wicket with Nathan coming on for his first bowl. It turned out to be another stroke of genius (or sheer luck) from the captain, as he took a wicket first ball, the batsman picking out Mr Safe Hands Stu in the deep with accurate precision. Nathan would get a second wicket in his second over too, this time caught in the covers by Sid. Despite securing best-ever figures Nathan was taken out of the attack, with Sid and Stu returning to bowl together again. Stu then claimed two wickets in an over, as BICC looked to quickly clean up a very strong looking tail. He first knocked over the stumps, removing MCC stalwart Roy (24) before enticing the next batsman Grant to edge one straight up high, Stu claiming the catch off his own bowling. Rez replaced the wicketless Sid and quickly got his second wicket of the innings, Jeff caught by Umer. This brought the last batsman in, but confusion led to Joe being run out by Stu. BICC had bowled out MCC for 166 from 37.2 overs, with eight wickets falling in the 17.2 overs after drinks!
After a half an hour late lunch break, Sid and Hamza went out chasing a below-par score full of confidence. However, after a quick start, Sid was dismissed in the third over for seven, caught by the keeper having tickled the ball off his glove. Specialist batsman Simon came in and managed to build a strong foundation having recently come back from injury, playing like an old Ian Bell circa 2013 (or so he claims…). Hamza fell in the ninth over having scored 13, skying one well up into the air, only for it to fall into the keepers’ gloves. Kevin (1) came and went quickly, becoming the second victim for Grant. This brought Umer to the crease, the ‘enigmatic’ and ‘much maligned’ all-rounder (according to our hosts!). With two of the steadiest scorers in the club batting together, the required run rate rose for a while, although Umi was putting away the bad balls and Simon was able to swing his now fixed arms at a few balls as they played themselves in. That being said, both were giving opportunities, but it was Menorca’s time to put down catches and allow a big partnership to build. They managed to make it to the 20 over drinks break unscathed, with BICC on 64/3, still requiring a further 103 runs. Despite the rising run rate, we were confident with two set batsmen and some big hitters left in the shed yet to come.
At this point, Simon decided that it was time to accelerate, but having given a couple more opportunities that MCC failed to take, finally succumbed when charging up the wicket and being stumped for 18. In came President Damien with 81 more runs required from the remaining 14 overs. Umer too had moved up a gear, and offered another chance in the covers but was put down. With the batsmen having run a single, Damien was then caught at mid-on off the very next ball for a quickfire 12. This brought the dangerous (but tremendously ‘unwell’) Stu to the crease, with 68 now required from 12 overs. Umer offered one more difficult chance to a diving slip fielder, before reaching his fifty with a big six over long-on. By now, the chase was down to a run a ball and the ball was well in BICC’s court, even if next-man-in Anish couldn’t bare to watch Umer’s continued blocking! Stu and Umer calmly continued knocking off the runs, with the scores tied after Stu hit a massive six, and Umer called him through for a suicidal run in a definite attempt to get on strike to score the winning run. Stu turned down a single off the last ball of that over, before dismissing the first ball of the next for another massive six to win the game with 11 balls to spare. Stu finished on a quick 45* and Umer on a well-constructed 63*. BICC continued their unbeaten run over the Menorcans, stretching an unbelievable 11 games. MCC were left cursing their luck and wondering how we always end up on top in these usually tight games.
With the game finished, we hung around at the ground having a beer before heading to nearby Sant Lluis for a lovely, socially distant dinner with the usual speeches from Menorca’s Jeff and our captain Sid. Upon returning to Mahón after dinner, a few of the players headed into town for one last drink.
On SUNDAY, Menorca had invited their Balearic neighbours Mallorca to come play both us and them. With the clocks having gone back overnight, we headed to the ground for an 11am start in our first ever fixture against the Mallorcans. Sid again lost the toss and we were put in the field in this 20 over match. The playing XII was Jack (wk), Umair, Oscar, Kevin, Anish, Sid (c), Rez, Nathan, Hamza, Umer, Tom (bowling only) and Sam (batting if desperately required).
Rez and Anish opened again, with the pairs first overs both ending with a boundary following five dot balls (albeit with four byes in there too). The Mallorcan openers didn’t seem to want to run, with the first twenty runs all coming from fours! In his second over, Anish managed to dismiss both opener Mujahid Ali (bowled) and number 3 Tishan (caught at slip by Umair) in a double wicket maiden! Sid continued his system of rotating the bowlers and brought himself and debutant Tom on. Sid went for a four before the batsman finally scored a run by actually running! Off the next ball, Sid put down a sharp return catch off his own bowling. Two economical overs followed, Tom conceding just two from his first BICC over and Sid just one from his next. Then, in Tom’s second over, he got his first BICC wicket, claiming opener Stefan for 19 following a great catch from Oscar. Tom wouldn’t have to wait long for his second wicket, taking advantage a wide to claim Qais, again caught by Oscar, off the seventh ball of the over. Sid took Tom out of the attack, bringing on Umer, who was again economical in his first over. This left Mallorca struggling a bit on 44/4 at the halfway stage of the innings.
Tom returned from the other end, replacing the skipper, and managed to get himself a third wicket, Rez this time taking the catch at mid-off to dismiss Mallorca captain Wesley. Umer then got in on the act at the start of his third over, having Dev caught by debutant wicketkeeper Jack for his first BICC dismissal. Tom bowled out his fourth over to finish with impressive figures of 3/25, before he ran off to the airport to catch his flight, with Leo substituting for him in the field. Sid brought himself back for his final over and finally got a wicket with his last ball, bowling the fast-scoring Rizwan for 15. At this point, Sid brought back the opening bowlers to clean up the last wickets. Anish claimed the wicket of anchor Paul (26), before Rez claimed the last two wickets in three balls, first bowled before taking a good caught and bowled to end the innings. Mallorca had been dismissed for 105 from 18.3 overs. There were wickets for all five bowlers, but particularly impressive figures for Tom and Anish (3/10).
After a quick break, Jack and Umair opened the innings, chasing what seemed a low score for the second game in a row. The pair built a solid, if slow, start before Jack nicked to the keeper in the seventh over for ten (doing an absolute textbook ‘walk’ off in the process). Oscar came to the crease and tried to increase the scoring rate but fell for four, caught and bowled to Qais. This left BICC looking behind on just 31/2 at the halfway stage, needing another 64 to win.
Things went from bad to worse in the next couple of overs, as BICC then lost another wickets to be on just 44/4 after 12 overs. Kevin came in and was quickly run out from a good throw, running all the way to the boundary much to the amusement of the gathering Menorca fans. Anish then came in looking to try out his new bat, and was promptly bowled first ball. Sid came in next, with BICC needing to up their scoring rate, and he and Umair did that in a needed quick 30-run partnership. Sid was bowled attempting a big shot, but he’d done a job and inputted some momentum into the scoring. Rez came in and offered much of the same, rotating the strike well with the accelerating Umair. Rez was caught in the deep for 11, having perfectly picked out long-on. This brought Nathan to the crease, with BICC now seemingly on top but frequent wickets making things tense on the boundary. Just four were needed from the final over, with opener Umair on strike needing four for a maiden club fifty. First ball, dot. No problem. Second ball, wicket! Umair had edged through to the keeper and had to go. In came Hamza, batting well down the order and he hit a two off his first ball. Two to win, three balls left. The pair then scampered a single off the next ball. (Some) relief, scores were tied, with Nathan now on strike. The two batsmen met and presumably discussed tactics. Nathan missed the ball, and the keeper gathered it cleanly, but was unable to hit the stumps as Hamza sprinted to the other end, both batsmen making their ground, meaning BICC had won the game from the penultimate ball of the over! Once again, we’d made it far more complicated than seemed possible at the change of innings, but we had won our first game against Mallorca.
That afternoon, Mallorca were playing Menorca in another T20 match in front of a good crowd of 30 or so picnickers. We ordered pizza and sat down to watch as Mallorca comfortably beat Menorca, batting more aggressively in this match, and thus setting them a target that was out of their reach. A last beer or two were consumed after the match with promises that we’ll be back soon for tour number seven. Our thanks again to Menorca for having us over once more and organising a great tour in difficult circumstances, even though they haven’t been able to play much this year. It was nice meeting Mallorca CC on the Sunday too, I’m sure it won’t be the last time that our two teams meet. Assuming new restrictions allow, we’ll be back playing on our less green ground in a couple of weeks, daydreaming in the outfield of having a pavilion, a bar, and spectators!
Check out the highlights from the game versus Mallorca here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dEHxaDVnC4I&ab&ab_channel=BarcelonaInternationalCricketClub
See scorecard here
It was very windy up in Montjuic, which caused several interruptions as the pitch kept blowing away (yes, you read that correctly). Sid Tewari lost his first toss as captain and we were asked to bowl first.
BICC opened with Rez Hassan and Anish Shindore. Both kept the runs down well for the first four overs but couldn’t quite make the breakthrough, with a surprising and rare drop from Stu Boyd at long off. Badalona opener Omar then got his eye in and punished Rez’s third over, hitting three successive fours. Sam Phillipps and skipper Sid replaced the openers in the sixth and seventh overs respectively. Leo Viñola had a run out chance in Sid’s first over but, with the strike batsman stranded in the middle of the wicket, unfortunately threw to the wrong end! In the next over, after a couple of loose balls rightly put away for six, Sam finally made the first breakthrough in the eighth over, as Rez caught Omar with a simple chance at mid-on. Rez was in the action again in the very next over, as he ran out the other opener Salim. Soon after there was another run out, this time Sid with the throw following further confusion with the running. Meanwhile, Umer Razi replaced Sam (1/21) and the two slow bowlers really brought the run-rate down with some tight bowling. Sid replaced himself with Stu (2/20), who kept the trend with a tidy first over. In his next two overs, he would get two wickets caught and bowled: one a more simple looping catch, and the other that was hit hard straight at his face (a good thing he got his hands in the way!). At the “other” end Leo replaced Umer and managed to bamboozle the opposition batsmen with his first few balls with some impressive flight. Sid brought himself back on for the penultimate over and claimed the wicket of the fast-scoring Injamal LBW to finish with figures of 1/23 from his four overs. Rez came back for the final over, conceding just six runs. The over ended with two more run outs in two balls (with the out batsman from the penultimate ball staying in the middle as runner, he was effectively dismissed twice in two balls!) as Badalona pushed for a few extra runs. They finished on a respectable 162/8 from their 20 overs.
The regular opening partnership of Sid and wicketkeeper Hamza Baig went out to bat and were immediately up with the rate required in the first few overs. Amazingly, Hamza managed not to edge it over the fence behind him throughout his entire innings. The two of them pushed up through the gears and were well ahead of the required run rate by the end of the six-over powerplay. The two gave no chances to the opposition bowling, with the only “reprieve” when Hamza was caught on a free-hit. They were helped by some erratic bowling by the Badalona bowlers, who sent down ten wides in the opening overs. Once the powerplay had finished, Sid and Hamza continued to push on, with three consecutive overs in double figures before eventually Hamza fell for a rapid 46 off 26 balls, caught attempting to hit another boundary. The opening partnership had put on 97 in just 9.2 overs and had really put Badalona on the back foot. Sid then offered up a chance but was fortunately dropped. Umer had came in at 3 and steadied the ship as the bowling got more accurate before he fell for nine in the fourteenth over. Nathan came in to bat, with just 32 runs needed from the remaining six overs. He played some elegant shots, most of which went straight to a fielder. Sid passed 50 to complete silence, because the scorer can’t count. He was bowled soon after for 54, bringing debutant Kevin Kitchin to the crease. After Nathan perfectly picked out mid-wicket, Damien McMullen came to the crease and he and Kevin saw off the last few runs to take BICC over the line for their first victory of this second edition of Slog Fest with nine balls to spare!
So BICC start this league the same way they ended the last one, with a victory. Everyone managed to contribute (some more than others!) and it was a good game played in good spirits.
This game will be well remembered by BICC players for a long time, for several reasons. Mohsin Nawaz announced at the end of the game that he was stepping down as captain, and taking a break from playing for a few months; there was a superb innings from Stu Boyd; and it was the final of the elongated Slog Fest that had been delayed by a few months. It was BICC’s chance to show Men In Blue who was really the king of cricket in Barcelona…
Mohsin won his final toss and decided that we would bat first. Out went regular opener Hamza Baig and debutant Umair Iqbal. Off the very first ball Hamza took a wild swing and the edged the ball over the fence behind him, out! Following a prolonged delay in trying to get the ball back, Stu Boyd kicked off his innings. He was soon given a lifeline, as he was dropped without having scored. Following this, the two batsmen built a monster partnership of 119 during which Stu was dropped again from a difficult chance at short fine leg. He continued to punish MIB for their mistakes and passed 50 with a huge six, before Umair, denied the strike for most of the partnership, was bowled for a fine 27. In came Damien McMullen (8), who decided to leave a straight ball and was bowled. Then came Mohsin, who was dropped on his way to eight, kindly offering Pandian at long on a second opportunity to catch him. In at 6 was Anish Shindore, who became the third batsman to offer MIB catching practice, and the third to get away with it! At the other end, Stu survived a scare as he was bowled off a dead ball (as it pitched short of the matt), before finally reaching his century in the following over. Unknowingly on 99, he sliced the ball up into the offside. Everyone on the side-lines, knowing that he was on 99, watched in panic as the ball went straight towards a fielder, only for him to drop it! The batsmen scampered through for two runs and everyone celebrated! But he wasn’t quite done yet… Anish fell soon after for thirteen, and Sid Tewari came to the wicket. Stu smashed four more sixes to end up on 130 not out, with Sid finishing on six from his three balls. BICC had set a very challenging 211 for MIB to win from their 20 overs.
Mohsin decided to open with himself, alongside another debutant in Rez Hassan. Their first overs went for just five and seven runs respectively, setting a good tone for the innings. A more expensive third over was followed by a wicket in the fourth, with Rez claiming his first BICC wicket. Mohsin took himself off, probably to calm down after the traditional dropped catch off of his bowling. Sid came onto bowl in the fifth over, and like the openers had a cheap first over. In the following over, MIB opener Shankar fell foul to the same local rule as Hamza had in our innings. Rez finished his four overs with impressive figures of 1-23, and Sid took a break having gone for just 12 from his two overs. Umer Razi and Stu came on to bowl, both keeping the pressure on and the required run rate going up. Umer took a wicket in his first over, bowling Prasanna as he tried to reverse sweep it, and Stu took one in his second over, having Shubh caught behind by Hamza. Naresh and Harpreet came to the crease, facing an evermore daunting task. The two built a good 55 run partnership, before the former was run out following some confusion by Anish. With MIB now requiring over 20 an over, Mohsin brought back Sid for one over, with Stu finishing his four overs at the other end, matching Rez’s figures of 1-23. For the final over, outgoing skipper Mohsin came back on trying to get himself a wicket. MIB required 43 runs, meaning the game was done and dusted. They scored ten off the final over, but sadly Mosh couldn’t get his wicket. But BICC had won the game and the first edition of the Slog Fest cup!
Everyone did whatever the 2020 equivalent of shaking hands is, took a couple of team photos, congratulating Stu for his fine knock and Mohsin for his near four years as captain. We retired to our favourite chiringuito Tropical Jesu, for the first time in six months for a celebratory tipple. Mohsin gave a farewell speech and announced Sid as the new captain. Sid himself then gave his own speech and announced Stu as his vice-captain. Roll on the next season of the Slog Fest cup!
Long Live the Supreme Leader.
See scorecard here
The BICC 12-man squad arrived for their fifth Menorca tour across the Friday night and Saturday morning, chasing two victories to take their tally to ten games unbeaten against the Menorquins. The squad included three newbies, birthday boy Mohan ‘our favourite Indian’ Reddy, David ‘Big Joe’ Evans and Nakul ‘Nockles’ Vyas, along with the long awaited return of ex-President Rob ‘I’ve lost my sunglasses’ Paterson. With rain forecast all of Friday night and much of Saturday there were worries we wouldn’t get a game. Fortunately, the sun came out and a delayed, over-reduced game could begin at about 2 o’clock.
Supreme Leader Nawaz won the toss and elected to bat. With President Damien having graciously offered to sit out this match, he was cruelly denied the opportunity to sit in the sun soaking up the cricket (amongst other things), after being volunteered to umpire all 70 overs. Mohan and Umer Razi opened, but it was not to be a birthday debut to remember for Mohan as he fell early. Keeper Alex ‘Saffer’ Wallauz joined and they formed a solid partnership, taking BICC to 76-1 before Alex was caught for 29. This began a mini collapse, as three wickets fell for just eight runs, including a duck for Stu Boyd and a harsh run out for Rob (despite including the least gracious dive you’ll ever see on a cricket pitch). Fortunately, everyone’s favourite South African Warren Meredith joined Umer at the crease and scored a quickfire 30. After he edged behind, it fell to Sid Tewari to help fire some quick runs as the innings drew to a close. In the penultimate over, opener Umer finally fell, having scored a fine 50 where he was the backbone of the innings (he’ll tell you he scored 81, mind). BICC eventully set a total of 169-7 off their 35 overs.
The skipper decided to open the bowling with himself and Nakul, who both managed to keep it tight. They didn’t manage to get a breakthrough until the sixth over though, when Nakul had Julian Hagger caught by his opening bowling partner. The score was just 13 and the next wicket would take just two more overs before Nakul struck again, bowling Adam Cockroft. The score was now 28-2, as Mallorcan guest Ali Mujhid walked out to the crease. He formed a formidable partnership with keeper Andy Tysoe as the pair of them reached the 40s. First change bowlers Dave and Sam were unable to continue the opening pair’s pressure, nor take any wickets (albeit not helped by a dropped catch off Sam’s bowling). Eventually, Warren and Sid were bought on. Warren had quick success, taking the wicket of the dangerous Ali (48) in his first over, caught in the deep with quite possibly the finest running catch ever seen on a cricket pitch* by yours truly. The next wicket would come in the very next over, with Sid relying on the skipper’s safe pair of hands to dismiss Grant Wilson for a duck. Still, with the score now 103-4 off 21 overs, Menorca were getting dangerously close to their first win over BICC, although looking far less secure than they had done on 102-2 just seven balls earlier. When opener Andy (41) finally fell a few overs later after missing a straight Sid ball, BICC got their tails up. From this point, 44 were required off the final eight overs, with the Menorca’s fast scoring skipper Simon Cotton walking to the crease. Fortunately, for BICC, no one was able to hold down the other end and give him support, with Stu, Umer and a run out from Dave dismissing Pavan Nerella, Akter Husain and Russell Day with none of them scoring more than six. In amongst these rapidly falling wickets, Simon was “dropped” after yours truly again took another great catch in the deep, only to end up falling over the rope. Despite the quick wickets, MCC had gotten themselves into a position where they only needed 10 off the final two overs. Step up Stu, who brilliantly bowled a maiden in the penultimate over, including the run out from Dave.
Still 10 needed off the final six deliveries. Mohsin vs Simon. Skipper vs skipper. Three results still possible. Who would come out on top? First ball, dot. 10 off five. Second ball, wicket! Mohsin bowled Simon and BICC could smell victory. Ten off four, with numbers ten and eleven at the crease. Between them, they could only muster three singles and a dot ball, meaning BICC won by six runs in one of the tensest and most exciting matches between the two sides thus far. The two teams dusted themselves down and discussed BICC’s latest MCC win over a beer or two. Following this, BICC headed out for the now traditional curry at Rainbow Spice before hitting the town.
See scorecard here
Some weary Barcelona and Menorca eyes turned up to the ground on Sunday morning to basking sunshine, a great relief from the forecasts of thunderstorms all morning. Whilst it had rained overnight, it was not a problem and the match was able to start on time. BICC won the toss and chose to bat, with the possibility of rain later in the afternoon still in the air. A different opening pair of Mohsin and regular Menorcan guest Umer (43) headed out to the middle attempting to win the eighth consecutive meeting between these two teams. With the score on 67-1 following a 50 partnership between Umer and Sid (25), Umer was “controversially” given out LBW, with the opening batsman the only person complaining. Eventually it fell to a hungover middle-order of Stu (49*), Warren (30) and Jeremy (17) to guide the score resembling something a good score. BICC reached 187-9 off their 40 overs.
Over tea, both teams were optimistic of their chances, although BICC realised they would have to bowl well and take all their chances to win the game. And, to quote every clickbait story ever, you’ll never believe what happened next…
The first wicket fell to Jeremy on just the fifth ball. This brought the dangerous JD to the crease, albeit momentarily as he called a suicidal run and was run out by a combination of Joe and keeper Alex’s efforts. With the score on 1-2 and following two maiden overs, Menorca were beginning to feel the pressure, and in just the fourth over Mohsin picked up another wicket. After six overs Menorca were struggling on 2-3, but Jeremy was about to make it worse with another wicket. Mohsin took himself off after four maiden overs and impressive figures of 1-0. Unfortunately for Menorca the torture wasn’t about to end there, as, like on Saturday, Sam got a wicket in his first over. The score was now 7-5 after ten overs, and now it was surely a forgone conclusion. Another wicket fell to Sam in his second over, but this brought barman Jeff (30*) and Andorran guest Mike (14*) together. The two of them batted well, forming a wall in front of the stumps that their teammates had been unable to do. That being said, there were still plenty of near chances, and swings and misses but BICC were unable to make another breakthrough, despite the attempts of Sam, Joe, Stu and Warren. As the innings progressed, the rain fell harder and harder, and at just after 3:30 the umpires took the players off. Unfortunately, it wasn’t long before the game was abandoned, with the rain continuing to fall and an already slippery Astroturf wicket only getting worse. Following some calculations online, it was confirmed that BICC had won the game, even on the Duckworth/ Lewis method. After 24 overs, Menorca reached 65-6 with the par score being 127. This meant that BICC had beaten Menorca again, this time by 62 runs, making the overall score 8-0. Hopefully next time they can give us a bit more of a game(!), although well done to Jeff and Mike for batting 12 overs in difficult conditions and showing up their teammates.
And so concluded our weekend away, getting wet but with two victories from two games. A big thanks to everyone at Menorca who makes it possible and for inviting us for a fourth time. We always feel so welcome and you are such terrific hosts. Thanks also to everyone at Andorra for playing in the right spirit and for being a great laugh. Here’s hoping we can host each other one day soon.
See scorecard here
BICC’s first game of the weekend against Andorra. Such was the excitement of the two teams to play on a beautiful, grass (GRASS!) pitch that the match actually started before the advertised 12pm. At the toss, Mohsin declared that BICC would bat first and the deadly pair of Joe (14) and Alex (20) were sent out to open. The top five all got decent starts and set a good base. However, a mini collapse saw BICC go from 74-2 to 84-5 and then 104-6 after 24 of the 40 overs. Fortunately, the lower middle-order came to the rescue somewhat. Some good shots from Umer (29), Damien (54) and Mohsin (26*) allowed BICC to set Andorra an unlikely 225 to win, with BICC all out in the final over. It must be said that Andorra bowled well, with four bowlers each taking two wickets.
A wonderfully cooked cricket tea of steak and chips followed, before a pessimistic Andorra headed to the middle. Their first step was to see off the new ball threat from Mohsin and BICC debutant Jeremy. Some mean bowling from them (1-16 and 3-10 respectively) left Andorra struggling at 24-4, with the top order finding the pace and bounce from both ends difficult to handle. This fourth wicket brought Hepburn to the crease, fresh from top scoring for Andorra on Friday with 39. Captain Mohsin then rotated the bowling. There was no rest bite for Andorra though as Sam took a wicket in his first over. Hepburn (51*) again proved difficult to dismiss, but wickets at the other end were falling on such a regular basis that the Andorrans were finding it difficult to pad up in time. Sam (3-24) blew the chance for a hat-trick by bowling a full toss but it mattered little. Warren (2-2) came on to clean up the tail before Sid went one better than Friday by clean bowling Vicky to end the innings. BICC had won by 140 runs, with Andorra again bowled out within 25 overs. Being the positive bunch that they are, they at least clinged on to the fact that they had bettered their score against Menorca, having finished on 84 all out. The match had again finished relatively early, but nobody complained with plenty on offer at the bar!
See scorecard here
Menorca batted first and posted a very impressive 241 for 6 with T Gallagher hitting an unbeaten century. J Davies also weighed in again with 47 runs for the home teams cause.
Barcelona responded will to the run chase and finally chased down the competitive total with six wickets to spare.
A wonderful end to another great season of cricket in Menorca. Fittingly, the club reached out to the community and were delighted to be able to present Club Vidalba who organise sporting activities for children and young adults with a cheque for 724€.
Well done to everyone who participated.
Author unknown https://cricketspain.es/menorca-end-season-with-triangular-tournament/
See scorecard here
This will be a rather truncated report, I'm afraid, more of a short list of honorable mentions really. The match happened far too long ago and I didn't take notes.
Our first game of the year got off to a good start with pretty much everybody arriving on time and helping with the kit and the mat. A basic sign of a real team, long may it last.
Before Alex won the toss we lent Harry to Sant Andreu, who was last man to arrive (he'd informed us he'd be a bit late) and so was on 12th man duties. I'm not sure we'll be so quick to lend Sr.Batra to another team again.
BICC decided to have a bat and the new pairing of Umer and Tanzeer got off to a watchful start. Umer fell LBW (Sid?!) trying to break the shackles of some good opening bowling for 3, which brought in the in form Alex.
Batting with intent from the off, the skipper showed the way with some fine drives, and Tanzeer played a quieter innings which accelerated later on, until the 6th over when he hit a six and then was out. But his 29 off 27 was a very decent opening hand, and Ash came in with things looking good for BICC.
Alex continued to play his own game, fluent and fast scoring and Ash chipped in also, dismissing anything on his legs with customary class. After he was out for 18 the batting collapsed a bit due to the opposition bowling Harry. He claimed the wickets of Rob , Alex, Nadim and Shayne and finished with 4-17.
Alex, man of the match, scored an excellent 59 off just 37 deliveries and a total of 152 was set.
Being a batsman its not surprising that this is where things get a bit hazy. People bowled, wickets fell, the opposition collapsed for 82. Mosh bowled with good rhythm but somehow never found an edge. Umer tossed them up with guile and got 4-16 (sorry Harry) and Sid got a couple. We took our catches (4), fielded with commitment as always and Ash stumped the last man off Shayne's bowling.
A good effort all round. The only other thing to mention was the Presidente losing his rag with Adolf the groundsman. Roger has been informed and we are meeting with the management next week. Hopefully metal spikes will not be driven into the outfield while we are playing ever again.