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.