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