Basement Battle in Westpark
There are few certainties in Bavarian second team cricket, but this week’s away fixture was guaranteed to provide the first points in Pool 5 for at least one of the two sides as MCC’s loveable but winless Sekunden made the short trip across the city to CCB’s patch. Having glanced at the teams’ previous cards, the day’s other safe bet was that the army of ball retrievers stationed in the quarry beyond the fence along the leg-side boundary would be spared of their duties. A lovely afternoon in the early summer sunshine beckoned for the modicum of spectators.
On time and with a complement of twelve, returning captain and duty wicket keeper Owen duly lost the toss and, to his considerable if typically covert delight, was invited to bat. A lush and damp outfield looked set to pose a challenge to the MCC’s eleven orthodox players, but the painstakingly prepared surface would at least be largely demon-free. Simrat and Vinul opened up, with the latter clattering and battering a smattering of 2 boundaries in the second over as we looked to build a credible total. Alas, the Spartans had evidently been practicing their catching. Whereas the ground fielding was a BCV T20 masterclass, with at least 4 boundaries coming from misfields, CCB not only caught everything on offer but snaffled two that would have graced any stage. Sameer fell to the catch of the day which ended a solid partnership of 37 with Owen, unlucky to see his tracer-bullet pull shot miraculously held half an inch from the turf by a full length forward dive from Sediq, definitely the best all round fieldsman on the day also taking 4/4 in his five overs. Captain Davies played another lovely innings, holding a willing but steady pack together and holing out for 33 in the 18th over. Specialist number 11s Scotty, Varun and Gloria were not required as the lads posted 76/7 after their alotted 20.
This side of 11 bowlers made their way into the field knowing that wickets were required. As usual, wise-beyond-his-years Scotty served up a rank long hop first ball which the CCB opener carved straight to Vinul at backward point, aggregate catch success still undamaged. Wickets were plenty, catches continued to be grabbed, and soon enough CCB were in a pickle at 11/3 and then 25/4, with both batsmen and leg umpire nervously berating the genuinely useless scorer from the middle and instructing him to find a few mystery runs at the end of each passing over. Unfortunately, reprieved by the approximately 18-yard circle at mid-off and by our only drop of the day with the score at 45/4, an unbeaten and orthodox stand of 52 between Sanjeev and Arvind got them over the line, MCC going down by 6 wickets within 14. Tight for a while, but not close enough in the end.
After a quick and identical toss, not to mention a very swift downing of nutrients, in came Pryke for the unfortunate but now proficient scorer Foster for the second instalment. Buoyed by a rousing team talk suggesting that 76 might be a tad light and that blocking in the last two overs with such talent in the hutch might have been a little conservative, an adjusted top 6 went again, this time hoping to get the extra 20 or so which would have put the unruly Cockapoo amongst the Westpark geese.
But that didn’t happen. Vinul bossed the first 4 balls before creaming a full one along the ground to mid-off and running, the first of 2 excellent direct hits to claim victims. The top 4 struggled for fluency and all fell cheaply, number 6 Ritwik joining Owen in the 6th over with just 11 on the board, and when Owen followed an imperious six with a leading edge to point we were 30/5 at the halfway stage. Despite a more than tidy run-a-ball 24 from Ritwik the long tail failed to muster even a twitch and the rabble were bundled for 61 inside 17 overs, Scotty and Tom’s intentions of keeping the opponents in the field for the duration falling pitifully short as Paul was bamboozled by a fast straight one just as he was getting his eye in. Once again Gloria was left starved of the strike and stranded, unable to walk the talk from an hour earlier.
With a repeat of quick wickets, the team was confident that it could defend 61. Remarkably ponderous, CCB took almost no risks in valuing wickets over aerial bombardment, perhaps gearing up for the 40-over format which both sides are looking forward to. Varun claimed their opener trapped in front of a stump apparently located about 2 feet outside leg, but CCB were not to be denied, dribbling along at under four an over amid tight bowling from Scotty and Varun who were both excellent all day, before Shankar cut loose with 5 leg side boundaries against Prykey’s medium pacers to wrap it up.
CCB are a great bunch of lads and were delighted to register their first wins of the season. With a week off next week, MCC2 face Ingolstadt at the Hirschanger on June 4th, with local police predicting trouble from some rowdy spectators. Locals are advised to stay indoors and keep their windows closed.