BICC travelled to Riudarenes again for its second league game of the season, against another new opponent in Ali CC. Sid Tewari won the toss and decided to field first. Also like the first game, the playing eleven included two debutants, Maroof Shaikh and Nick Parkes, with 12th man James Smith also yet to make his debut on the pitch.
Rez Hassan and Anish Shindore opened up, and it didn’t take long for some fireworks. Both suffered at the hands of Ali opener Zeeshan (58) who got the oppo off to a flying start. By the time both opening bowlers were withdrawn, the score had reached 71/0 after just six overs. Umer Razi came on for the seventh over. Zeeshan reached his 50 with a huge six before Umer got his revenge, dismissing him caught and bowled. The volume and energy on the pitch, which had naturally subsided somewhat, increased and BICC felt like they had an important breakthrough. Sid brought himself on at the other end and got two wickets in his first ball. Suddenly Ali had gone from 81/0 to 85/3. They kept tumbling, with Sid completing a 5fer after just 3.4 overs which left Ali on 125/6. Umer eventually bowled out with very respectable figures of 1/40. Meanwhile, Stu Boyd had come on to replace Sid and continued his economic trend. He also managed to pick up two wickets, the first a slightly fortuitous LBW followed by a slip catch by Nathan (his fourth in three games), conceding just nine runs from his four overs. Tom Kynaston replaced Umer and also kept the scoring rate down (at least, when he found the astroturf strip…). Sid brought himself back on again, and again got a wicket first ball to achieve his best ever BICC figures of 6/24. Two balls later and Maroof combined with wicketkeeper Jack Jewson to end the innings with a run out. Ali were dismissed for 160 in just the 23rd over. After that electric start, BICC had done well to reel in what could have been a formidable total. Sid made sure to praise Jack’s efforts behind the stumps as having saved 20-30 runs in just his second outing for the club.
Four balls later though and Jack, opening the batting with Umair Iqbal, had run himself out without scoring. First Stu, then Sid, Nick and Umer briefly joined Umair, with BICC struggling to get going against the Ali openers. When Umair (25) was also run out in the 13th over with the score at 47/6, we were well in trouble. Whilst the required run rate wasn’t necessarily an issue, we were fast running out of wickets in hand. Then Maroof and Nathan came together, occupying the crease for a few overs, steadily accumulating the highest partnership of the innings (19!). Those watching on from the side started to believe again, before Maroof unluckily fell to a very sharp stumping. Anish came in next desperate to regain some batting form but unfortunately nicked off, the keeper pulling off a smart dismissal on the way to player of the match. With Tom doing his finest Jack Leach impression (0 off 10) at one end, Rez’s quick cameo (19) came to an end after one too many big hits and he was caught in the deep. With this brought the end of the innings and the match. Despite a 64 run loss, we had enjoyed our day. Whilst chatting away with a beer after the game, the two teams for the next match at the ground turned up and, looking at our mood, presumed we’d won. Maybe next time…
In the end, Ali were too strong for us across all departments and we could see why they were one of the seeded teams in our group. They played in a good spirit and we hope to meet them on the pitch again soon!
In other positive news, we were able to use our new Big Dogg kit for the first time, the first time BICC has turned out fully in uniform for many a year. And don't we look good!
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!