We set off on Friday evening from just by the airport for the three hour drive to Béziers, with a quick pitstop for a overpriced service station sandwich. With most of the drive done with rain falling (and much more of the stuff predicted over the weekend), we weren’t overly optimistic of much play over the weekend. We were due to play two games at the Midi cricket ground in Pouzolles, having been due to tour there a few years ago only for the now defunct Midi CC to frustratingly cancel on us on the Friday morning.
The first game was a 35-over affair against Montpellier Barracudas CC. We arrived at the transformed football ground as the lawnmower was going around, and there was even a surprise reunion as one of the opposition players happened to be a friend of Maroof Shaikh’s from India! The morning was very warm and sunny, although we knew there was rain expected in the afternoon. When Lauren Pamenter’s first ball went for six over the fence, she was probably hoping it would come sooner! A couple more lusty blows from the Montpellier opener followed in that opening over before he was adjudged LBW by the home umpire. Lauren was soon to have another LBW decision go her way, whilst Sam Phillipps at the “other end” kept the scoring rate down. Sam had an absolutely plumb LBW shout turned down (the umpire clearly having used up his quota!) and ‘deliberately’ dropped a caught and bowled to allow keeper Shriram Bhosale to get a run out. With the French hosts four down early on, we fancied our chances of rattling through them quickly. Zeeshan Dildar and Simon Eldridge were introduced into the attack and both claimed a wicket too, before returning captain Umer Razi started rotating the bowling (with all ten outfielders getting a go). Ali and Fareed hit some big shots for the hosts, boosting their score to 188. They were all out in the 28th over, with the last wicket a great run out by Maroof. There had been a wicket for the accurate Vishesh Gajjar and a couple for Umer too.
After a quick lunch, and with the clouds starting to roll in, Maroof and Khyzer Nawaz opened the batting. The two got us off to a relatively quick start, aided by some inaccurate bowling (and the wides that came from it) until Maroof was out in the fifth over caught behind as the drizzle started falling. Khyzer had been somewhat hogging the strike and this continued with his new partner Simon Eldridge. The two were struggling to rotate the strike, or hit big shots, so it was somewhat inevitable when Simon was run out attempting a second run. Khyzer and returning guest Pandian were both dismissed the following over, as a now traditional middle-order collapse started to take place. Shriram and Vishesh came together and upped the rate for a couple of overs before everyone was forced off as the rain increased. After about half an hour’s break, we went back out despite there being drizzle still falling. Sadly, this only lasted three overs until we were forced off again. It was ultimately the end of the game, with us on a below-par but not out of the game 70/4. The hosts decided to call it a draw, rather than work out any DLS result (which I’m sure wouldn’t have been in our favour!). It had been a great game played in good spirits and the relatively-newly formed Barracudas were fantastic hosts.
The forecast for Sunday was even worse and the rain started at about 8am. The ground had taken a lot of water overnight and had gone from being very dry to suddenly muddy. The astroturf pitch was sodden and with rain constantly falling we called the game off at about 11 o’clock. We started heading home, stopping for a couple of hours in Perpignan for lunch and a sport of tourism. Our thanks again to Nimes for even trying to get a game on for us, especially given their own commute to get there. Hopefully we’ll see you in Barcelona soon!
A great weekend with spirits high, despite the lack of cricket and the soggy weather. Maybe a third BICC tour to France will go better…?
A 16-strong group of players (plus a supporter!) drove down to Alfas on Friday, with the jokes and banter flowing from the start despite us going in five cars. Although he captained in last year’s trip to Menorca, it was Umer Razi’s first tour as official club captain, and indeed his first game since becoming captain in December. We were due to play against Sporting Alfas on Saturday before being joined by La Manga Torrevieja on Sunday for a T10 triangular tournament. BICC hadn’t faced either team for at least a decade, meaning they were new opponents for all of our squad. However, one of the Alfas players (Carlos Parkin) had faced us in the first meeting between the clubs back in 1996! Ravi Maduranga (Saturday), Hesh Rukunayake and Agni Sikdar (both Sunday) were all set for their BICC debuts.
Having all set off at different times from Barcelona, we met up at a colonial themed restaurant (perfect for our mixed nationality bunch…) up the coast in Altea for dinner, before heading back to base in Albir to sample a few of the local beverages.
Umer lost his first toss as full-time captain and we were put in the field. Despite the economical efforts of opening bowlers Shriram Bhosale and Burhan Ejaz, Alfas got off to a solid start. After six overs, they were replaced by Anish Shindore and Nathan Blyth (much to the surprise of everybody). The Nathan experiment lasted just two overs before he was replaced by debutant Ravi. Anish then picked up the first wicket of the game, removing Crompton just four runs short of his 50 caught and bowled to leave the hosts 70/1. As dangerous as he had been, the wicket simply brought the current national team captain, Muñoz, to the crease. He got off the mark with a huge six off Ravi, before he picked up his first BICC wicket removing the other opener, SACC captain Pennick. Anish was then taken out of the attack to be replaced by Maroof Shaikh, who was also difficult to get away. In his third over, he bowled Muñoz (30) and the three current or former international players were out with Alfas now on 113/3 just past the midway point of the innings. From this point on, the wickets fell much quicker and more cheaply. Ravi (2/24) picked up his second before the skipper (2/3) brought himself on for a successful three over spell. Anish (2/17), Shriram (removing Parkin for a well made 31) and Burhan came back on and picked up a much-deserved wicket each. Jack Jewson also gets a well-deserved shout out for three catches behind the stumps too. Alfas had an England-style collapse, going from 113/2 to 145/9 as their innings ended with no one outside the top four scoring more than two runs.
After a quick break, Maroof and Umair Iqbal went out to open. With the (ahem, significant) help of Mr Extras, they got us off to great start, sharing 46 runs before Umair gave second slip some catching practice. Captain Umer came and went to his first (legal) ball and Nathan didn’t last much longer before controversially being given out LBW by his own teammate. Suddenly we were 51/3 with the middle order rushing to get their pads on. Ravi came in at 5 and joined the calming presence of Maroof. They shared the highest partnership of the day, 74 runs, before Maroof fell for 41 trying to go up a gear with the game all but in the bag. Jack fell cheaply to a less contested LBW. Off the penultimate ball Ravi (48*) and Nial Evans (making a fine 0* from his one ball) managed to run four byes, which probably cost the Sri Lankan a debut 50! BICC won the game by five wickets with eleven overs to spare!
Alfas captain Pennick had half of both teams doing push-ups after the game as punishment for ducks or dropped catches, before BICC player of the match Ravi got a good introduction to Western European culture with a race involving downing a pint, spinning around a bat and a race against Alfas’ player of the match! After a couple of (calmer) drinks with the opposition at their clubhouse, we headed into town for a curry (and another drink or two).
On Sunday we headed back to the ground ready for our first ever T10 matches. Umer won the toss and we chose to bat first, looking to set a challenging total against a team already well versed in 10 over games. Having lost Jack early on, Shriram (29*) and Umair (25) put on 74 for the second wicket aided by 20 wides (each wide was worth two runs, but not bowled again). Umair was dismissed with two balls of the innings left. The most incredible part of the innings was the final ball when five runs were scored following some chaotic fielding and panicked running! Thanks to that, BICC finished on a respectable 81/2.
From very early on, it was clear that SACC opener Brown wasn’t going to hang about. He hit four boundaries in Hesh’s first over for the club to get the hosts well ahead of the rate. From then on, none of the other bowlers took major punishment but everyone also failed to get that crucial breakthrough until James Smith picked up a wicket (the wrong wicket!) of the other opener in the sixth over. Unfortunately this merely brought Bilal to the wicket for a cameo 10* off five balls, with the chase completed by Brown (49*) hitting a high no ball for four - James’ accidental no ball costing him a chance of his personal landmark. SACC won the first of the round robin games by nine wickets with 13 balls to spare.
The second game of the tournament was us against La Manga, who had arrived during the first game. We were well aware of their prowess, having watched them play in the Spanish championship final last year in Barcelona. Umer again won the toss but chose to bowl first this time. Leg spinner Ravi, having been first change in the first game, was asked to open and was miserly, conceding just five runs in his two overs. Sadly for yours truly, that just meant that they attacked the bowler at the other end! Alger (20 off 11) was (crocodile) caught well by Shane Lightley off the bowling of Burhan (1/9) in the fifth over, Tedder came in briefly but soon had to retire hurt. Hesh made up for his expensive first over with two cheap overs, aided by cheap overs from Umer and Shriram too. No more wickets but LMTCC could only manage 62/1 from their ten overs. Having comfortably beaten that score in the first game, we fancied our chances of a first T10 win.
Ravi also opened the batting alongside Crocodile Shane. Despite a couple of good shots, Shane was struggling to consistently get bat on ball and was eventually bowled. Umer came in next and together with Ravi batted cleverly, keeping us up with the run rate. It was largely without risk, until off their best bowler’s last ball Ravi (26) went for a big shot and was caught. AIded by some quick running, and a couple of byes to the keeper, Nathan and Umer (21*) completed the chase with a ball to spare. BICC won by eight wickets!
In the final game of the tournament, with most of us already headed back to Barcelona, LMTCC beat the locals, meaning the tournament ended with each team winning one game each (La Manga officially winning the tournament on net run rate!). It had been a thoroughly enjoyable day and weekend, great to meet two “new” teams and visit the beautiful ground that Sporting Alfas have. I’m sure we’ll be back before a decade is up, and hopefully down the coast to La Manga too! Thanks to all involved for inviting us and organising.
See Saturday scorecard here
See Sunday scorecard here
Menorca v Barcelona International CC Saturday October 30th 2021
Barcelona very kindly filled the final weekend of the season at Biniparrell following a withdrawal by the scheduled side. Hopefully the last COVID affected fixture ever.
The Catalans arrived brimming with confidence following their unblemished record against the locals. Many of the 13 previous encounters going to the wire but Menorca unable to get over the winning line, the new look squad as their international name states very much a mix of antipodean, Asian and British players who've taken residency in the Catalan capital.
The game at one point looked unlikely to go ahead as there was rather a lot of precipitation around but a swift phone call to our very own man of the cloth Rev Strudwick resulted in divine intervention and following some sterling work by the players preparing the ground a reduced format T20 game got underway at 2pm.
The visitors won the toss and as one would expect opted to bat. The opening new ball partnership of Wilson and your correspondent gave nothing away first up conceding only 20 runs from the first 8 overs and taking 3 wickets to leave the visitors reeling. They never recovered with all the Menorca bowlers taking wickets at regular intervals Adam Lavin 3/3 bowled superbly as the Catalans were skittled for 70. Only chairman McMullen 25 with a score of note.
The locals made no mistakes chasing down the paltry total Lavin and Hagger scoring 32* and 35* respectively to give a long awaited 10 wicket thumping victory to the hosts.
An early finish most welcome in the chilly conditions, chairman Manners presiding over his final weekend in charge in fine form at the bar. The late afternoon BBQ prepared by our very own Michelin man Osterbery most welcomed by visitors and hosts alike. The natural ingredient dessert supplied by Wilson was well received too.
Sunday v Barcelona International CC 40/40
There was quite a contrast in the weather from Saturday to Sunday, the heavier tog gilets tucked away as the sun beat down for the final time at the home of Balearic Cricket.
Menorca batting first got off to a measured start before Dow was triggered for 3. Saturday evenings Jugged hare supper washed down with a fine vintage claret having a negative effect on the judgment of line and length. There were contributions in the teens from Catterall, Brayne, Dan Sullivan and Barker. Burns senior made 22 but it was Sunday skipper Roussel who excelled hitting 52 from 37 balls at the top of the order. Menorca posting a slightly underwhelming total of 158 from their final 40 overs of the season.
In reply the Barca boys found head baker Wilson in excellent form, he uprooted both openers in quick succession. Luke Burns showed great control despite his tender years, impressively conceding only 11 runs from his 4 overs. The youngster unlucky not to pick up a wicket too. Shane Lightley made 39 but Menorca continued to take regular wickets. Roussel 3/35 showing his prowess with the ball to cap off a fine individual performance on the day. McMullen was proving a nuisance with the bat and it seemed likely that he would get the visitors home. He fell for 70 in the 36th over leaving the last wicket pairing to get 9 from 3.3 overs.
Akter Husein bowled the antepenultimate over and conceded 3, John Chipperfield then stepped up to the plate 6 required by the visitors for victory, the second ball of the 38th over hoicked through midwicket for 4 by Kleparski leaving the Catalans needing 2 to win or 1 for a tie.
Chipperfield strained every sinew with his very next ball, finding a way under Kleparski’s bat to rattle the off stump and give Menorca what seemed like a very unlikely victory. The collective euphoria showing just how much this meant to the team and spectators alike.
A superb and fitting end to what´s been a testing half season both on and off the field. We look forward to brighter times ahead with a full calendar of fixtures in 2022.
A debt of gratitude to the volunteers who got us to the end of the season. You all know who you are.
Special thanks to our chairman Andrew Manners for over three decades at the helm. We wouldn´t be where we are today without your dedication, perseverance and guidance.
Menorca travel to Malta for the first time this weekend for an end of season tour. Match reports to follow providing your correspondent doesn’t get overly inebriated.
Jeff Barker - Menorca CC
See our weekend report here
See Saturday scorecard here
See Sunday scorecard here
Having managed to put together a huge 16-man squad last year, we were well on target for a similar number this year, until the unfortunate late drop-outs of captain Sid Tewari and vice-captain Stu Boyd. Combined with injury concerns over Sam Phillipps and James Smith, and three players (Nathan Blyth, Jack Jewson and Hamza Baig) having to leave early on Sunday morning, it suddenly left us going from having a selection headache to scraping together an eleven to play both days. With Sid’s drop out, it left just Sam and Umer Razi as the only two to have been on all seven BICC Menorca tours. James, Shane Lightley, Burhan Ejaz, Nial Evans, Seb Armstrong and Todd Fraser were all on their first tour with the club, with Nial set to make his BICC debut on the Saturday.
FRIDAY We arrived in dribs and drabs throughout the day, with some fortunate enough to not be working! The early arrivals of Nathan, Jack, Todd and Hamza left Oscar Kleparski working in the hotel and they set off to explore the island (a rarity for us!). In the evening we hit the ever-popular Rainbow Spice curry house in Mahón, before returning again to Latitude bar, with some heading on to the casino afterwards too.
SATURDAY With some grey clouds overhead and rain steadily falling in Mahón throughout the morning, there was real worry that we would face our first Menorca cancellation. Despite assurances that it wasn’t raining at the ground, there was a significant delay to Nathan’s first game as BICC captain. Eventually, there was a break in the weather allowing the hosts to do some groundwork before announcing the match would be shortened from 40 overs down to 20. Nathan won the toss and elected to bat, seemingly to the delight of the Menorcans. That delight would stand as BICC had one of their worst ever batting performances on the Balearic Island. With none of the top six batters getting into double figures it left us in dire straits on 36/8. A relatively strong 27-run partnership between Damien (25) and Seb (10*) helped us post an abysmal 70 all out, with the last wicket falling in the last over of the innings. A shoutout to Grant Wilson (2/11) and Adam Lavin (3/3) for really stifling us.
Despite the low score posted, there was some optimism that early wickets might get Menorca nervous, especially with our constant reminders of how they’ve failed to close out such games against us in the past! The wicket had been slow with the rainfall, but unfortunately for us the sun came out over the tea break and started to aide MCC. Seb and Burhan opened up for their first bowls on the island with both keeping it tight, but failing to make a breakthrough. When replaced, Umer too kept it tight from his end, but unfortunately Oscar had one of those overs you see on a blooper’s reel and the game suddenly got away from us. In just the tenth over, Menorca completed the chase with both openers finishing in the 30s (that man Lavin thwarting us again!).
With Menorca celebrating their first win against us in the modern era, we settled down in the clubhouse to watch the England vs Australia game from the T20 World Cup and used the nets whilst waiting for Dan Osterbery’s superb barbecue and music from Alex (and Shane ‘Gallagher’). Despite the result and weather earlier, it was a great evening.
SUNDAY We woke up to a much brighter day as clearly the weather gods were pleased with the cricket result from the day before. With three tourists heading home in the morning, and only Umair Iqbal to replace them, we looked set to be short on numbers for the second game. Up stepped James to save the day (just don’t tell his doctor) and our eleven took the field first, following the gentlemen’s agreement to swap it around from the day before. Sunday’s captain Umer decided to maintain the opening partnership of Seb and Burhan, with the latter finally picking up our first wicket of the tour following a great opening spell. They were replaced by Damien and Todd. Both picked up a wicket, with Damo getting MCC’s Sunday captain Nick Rousell out shortly after he passed 50. They were replaced by Sam and Umer who dried up the run rate somewhat whilst getting a wicket each. Oscar came on and silenced the armchair critics by bamboozling club captain Joe Brayne first ball. Seb and Burhan came back on and it was Burhan who go two further wickets to finish with impressive figures of 3/37. The final wicket, a runout by Oscar, fell off the last ball leaving BICC with a chasable target of 159.
Vice-captain and new arrival Umair opened up with the hungover Nial and neither hung around for very long. Shane came in at three and played a steady if aggressive role. Seb was promoted up the order but could only offer a cameo for 15 before Umer came and went cheaply. Shane and Damien shared a decent partnership before the former played a tired-looking shot and was caught for 39. Burhan also came and went quickly bringing Todd to the crease. Despite him only scoring 13 he shared a 56-run partnership with El Presidente who reached his first 50 in three years. Todd’s dismissal meant James avoided a TFC award but he also decided to avoid the ball as he got a golden duck award instead. At this point 21 more runs were needed with just two wickets left. Both teams knew the crucial wicket would be that of Damien – sadly for us he was bowled soon afterwards by captain Nick (3/35) for an apparent BICC best score of 70. He had left eight more runs for the final wicket to eke out, with the overs left not really a problem. Oscar managed to hit a single, followed by a two and we were getting perilously close to the target. He hit the dangerous John Chipperfield (3/20) for four and we were just two runs short of victory. BICC knew the script having won so many of these close games over the years, it almost seemed inevitable... but then off the next ball Oscar inside edged onto his stumps and the game was gone. Menorca rejoiced and Barcelona despaired. That ten-match winning streak over the years was well and truly gone.
Despite the strange feeling of losing twice in Menorca for the first time since 2015 (against Marylebone Cricket Club, no less) it had been another great weekend on the island. Perhaps buoyed by actually beating us for once (or perhaps it was the drink), there was talk of a preseason trip next spring. Here’s hoping we see each other again soon.
Our thanks to everyone at Menorca who helped organise the weekend, to the bar staff for not letting us go thirsty, to Dan for not letting us go hungry and to Grant for not letting us go sober. It was also the last weekend of long-standing MCC Chairman Andrew Manners’ reign, a mightily fine innings and one that probably deserved to end on a high note. We’ll be back to start a new winning streak soon!
See Menorca's alternative view of the weekend here
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
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 scorecards here
For the second year running Idle Cricket Club has organised an international 7-aside tournament, on its two grounds (the Radish and the Belgiardino) to last two days. For the first time, the weather was more pleasant and allowed all of the games to be played as scheduled, above all the final that was not played last year.
There were seven other teams present (Milan, Wooburn Narkovians, Barcelona, Cabris, Torino, Cesena, Hasslock). The tournament was divided in two groups, mixed the 'Italian' way, the winners of which would advance to the final, the two-second places for the 3rd place play-off, the third-place finishes for 5th place and the fourth-place finishers for 7th place. These are the results of the groups and those play-offs..
(Results in picture)
Other than the trophies and cups, there were awards too for the best overall player (Morgan, Milan CC), the best bowler (Waxman, Wooburn Narkovians) and the best batsman (Damith, Idle CC).
The players of Idle CC were tired but happy, winners of this second edition, and thank all the participants for coming. Above all, the friends of the club who, despite not having the chance to play, did so much to make this tournament possible and enjoyable. Our victory is also theirs.
Report - see photo - provided by Silvio Leydi (Idle CC), translated by Sam Phillipps (BICC)