See scorecard here
In the last 12 months BICC have played Gracia 6 times and, despite us taking a 3-1 lead, they clawed back to draw it 3-3 (mainly through very disciplined bowling.) A win this Saturday would not only be a great start to the season but also go some way to restoring order.
Alex won the toss and put them in to bat, showing a belief in his bowlers that was totally soon justified. Mohsin and Sid started well and when Sid bowled a maiden in his 2nd over the pressure proved too much and the wickets began to fall. In Mosh's 3rd over he had their good opener plumb lbw and the very next ball had another - finding an edge that looped (at lightening speed) to the ever safe (ish) hands of Rob at slip. His hatrick ball missed the edge by a whisker but the next one had their number 5 playing on to his stumps. They were suddenly 24 for 3.
Umer, in the wickets once again, got the next two lbw but there was a bit of a rearguard fight from the visitors and keeping them to under 100 became our aim. Thanks to outstanding fielding all round (special mentions to Alex, Rollo, Ted and Mosh) we kept their scoring chances to a lean minimum.
Harshad, after a few looseners, found his radar and his pace (along with the odd mystery ball full toss!) were too much for the opposition and the three wickets he claimed in his maiden BICC match were all played on. Hiro came on and bowled well, round the wicket providing a different angle for the batsmen to contend with and getting the 8th wicket with a good yorker length delivery.
The last wicket fell to a similar delivery from Sid whose accuracy and clever change of pace make him the best bet to be most economic bowler two seasons running.
The total was 93 all out after 16 overs and confidence in the BICC camp was palpable. Gracia CC were ever graceful not only in their umpiring but also in clapping us in.
So expectations were high as Sid And Umer went in to open and their composed stand of 50 was potentially the last nail in the coffin for any chance of a Gracia win. There will always be chances early on, especially batting on our pitch, but they both batted very well and timed some classy front foot drives through the covers.
However, being a team that likes to entertain - once Sid fell for 20ish - the BICC top order decided to make things interesting. Last season's top scorer Alex fell to a good full one first ball and two balls later Ash (BICC 's all time top scorer and Spain International) fell to a weird one that somehow dribbled off his pads and onto the stumps. Three wickets in four deliveries - just like the opposition - but thankfully with double the runs on the board.
Rob came in and doggedly defended, occasionally scoring off his legs (the sides of.) Meanwhile Umer continued to look untroubled and a stand of 20 odd runs (in both senses of the word) restored some calm. When Rob fell lbw to Mohsin the score was 73 for 4 and just 21 were needed to win. Hiro fell early but Rollo dug in and Man of The Match Moshin struck two consecutive maximums to seal an excellent victory.
So, a very good start to the season. As Ash said, one of the best fielding performances in a long time and - despite a wobble - when your top 5 get 80% of the runs required you're in good shape, especially as BICC bat increasingly deep.