After having to forfeit our league game last week, we travelled back to Riudarenes for our fourth league game there against a familiar opponent in Rising Stars. We were confident of repeating previous victories against them despite their status as a seeded team in our group. With a squad heavily depleted by Covid cases and contacts, we finally scraped together an 11 on Thursday, and fortunately none of them had to drop out. One notable absentee was Sid Tewari, so Stu Boyd took the reigns as captain for the first time in his BICC career. Tim Lee made his BICC debut and Oscar Kleparski his league debut, as we welcomed previous captain Mohsin Nawaz back for his first match back since standing down last year.
Stu lost the toss and we were put in the field. The returning Mohsin (1/22) and Seb Armstrong opened the bowling. Both quickly got breakthroughs as two wickets fell in the second and third overs. The third wicket built a 52-run partnership that Oscar (1/17) finally broke. Tim was finally rewarded for some miserly bowling in his third over to leave Rising Stars at 85/4 at the halfway stage. Damien McMullen, Maroof Shaikh, Kevin Kitchin and Nathan Blyth came on for their first bowls of the tournament and it was the latter two who rewarded their temporary captain’s faith with a wicket each, Kevin (1/13) on his third ball and Nathan (1/23) in his third over. Seb and Tim came back to clean up the tail, Seb (2/32) picking up one wicket and Tim (3/18) getting his just rewards with the final two wickets either side of a run out by Stu. Rising Stars were bowled out for 195 with one over left, mainly thanks to 69 from their number 3 Mati-Ur-Rehman Malik (and 39 wides…).
Maroof went out to open with Hamza Baig, the only outfielder not to bowl in the first innings. The two went about trying to build a solid start, but Hamza fell in the sixth over. Stu came in, but fell an over later bringing Tim to the crease. Him and Maroof stayed together for five overs, but we were still struggling to keep up with the required run rate. When both fell in the space of three balls, we were on 42/4 after 12 overs. Kevin and Damien spent a few overs in the middle together but also couldn’t get the run rate up. Kevin was caught and Damien (17) was run out, bringing Nathan and wicketkeeper Jack Jewson (22*) together for the biggest partnership of the innings – 29. Unfortunately, by this point we needed more than two a ball and, with wickets running out, victory looked increasingly unlikely. After Nathan (19) got out, Mohsin (13) came in for a cameo and Seb kept Jack company to the end, eventually dismissed off the last ball of the innings. We finished on 137/9 from our 30 overs.
Ultimately, we were undone by one batter from the opposition (Malik’s 69 was the only score over 22), some wayward bowling (our 39 wides to their 13) and the progress of the opposition in the year since we last played them (“They're quick bowlers and don't mind bouncing you. Was good to see their development actually. They played good solid cricket all day.” – Stu). Despite the 58-run defeat, it was a good day individually for many of our players. Kevin and Tim picked up their first BICC wickets, with Oscar joining them in getting his best BICC figures. Nathan also achieved his first league wicket, as well as his highest batting score. Jack and Seb also managed to bag their best batting score for the club, with surely more to come. Our next game in two weeks-time is the long trip away to Empuriabrava, to play the local team Roses Spartans.