With BICC seeing unprecedented availability in recent times, there has been a growing desire to get a friendly team going alongside our league team. After two failed attempts, we finally managed to organise a game against a Bengali XI full of juniors trained by our former player Nadim. It was also the first game played at CEM Maresme, which has become our regular practice ground in the past few weeks. The game saw no fewer than four BICC debuts (Shane Lightley, Martin Dobson, Jon Wong and Barry Edwards) as well as a ‘second debut’ for Edward Spencer-Phillips, who had a brief spell playing for the club in 2007/08. Umer Razi captained a BICC side for just the second time. Only Umer and Sam Phillipps (and Edward) had played for the club before 2021, as we did our best impression of the England squad currently playing Pakistan (“sorry, what was your name again mate?”). The BICC 2nd XI was up and running, and for the first time we’d have two sides in the same weekend*, with 19 players set to play over the weekend.
Umer lost the toss and former BICC guest player and Bengali captain Omar chose to bat. Shriram Bhosale and Nick Parkes opened the bowling with some fierce bowling that was too quick for the Bengali openers, with most of the runs during their two over spells coming from wides. Then came a new newbie and an old newbie in the shape of Jon and Edward. With pace off the ball, the batters felt a bit more comfortable and started to play a few shots, although at the cost of three more wickets, with Jon picking up his first BICC wickets. Umer kept ringing the changes, and having relieved him of the gloves, Burhan Ejaz and James Smith came on to bowl for the first time in a BICC shirt. The pair formed a more miserly partnership and were unlucky not to pick up more than the one wicket, another first BICC wicket for James. Umer quickly ditched the gloves, handing them to the late-arriving Barry to bring himself on for a bowl. With his wicket, and one more for the returning Shriram and Edward saw Bengali finish on 108/11, after Umer graciously allowed them a twelfth batter (not that he managed to contribute anything!).
Barry went out to open with last week’s league opener Burhan with the two of them settling well for a 23-run partnership. This was before Barry (11) felt to the local rule of hitting the ball over the fence behind the wicket (a notice that he’d missed having arrived late – oops!). This brought Shane to the crease, who provided something of an anchor as Burhan (10), Martin (after a thundering straight drive!) and James fell at the other end. Shane fell for a well-made 16, and we were starting to get nervous in the dugout watching on as wickets fell consistently. When Nick and Jon too fell cheaply we were on 55/7 and staring down the barrel of the gun. Fortunately, Edward and Umer built a strong partnership, taking us to within sight of victory before Edward (12) fell to the same rule as Barry (despite knowing about it). Shriram came in to watch Umer (26*) hit the winning runs with four overs to spare.
Our thanks to Nadim and Bengali for getting us a game and providing a good opponent and to Anish for umpiring the first innings when he’d just turned up to deliver the kit bags! It was a really enjoyable game played in the right manner by both teams. A huge well done must be given to Mr Wides, for scoring so many runs across both innings in a low-scoring game. Ahem...
*We didn’t get two sides out in the end, as we had to forfeit our league game the next day after a positive Covid case ruled out half the team! D'oh! We’ll try again soon.