Rains saves Midi CC in season opener against No Hope XI

Midi CC, deprived of much-needed practice by persistent bad weather, could
give thanks to the rain gods for delivering a storm of apocalyptical proportions
when they looked set for an embarrassing drubbing at the hands of the No Hope
XI in the traditional season opener on Easter Saturday.

Midi CC, chasing a reasonable target of 176 on a gloomy, overcast day, had
slumped to 54 for 7 wickets when the skies blackened and driving rain sent the
teams scurrying for the non-existent pavilion.

Miraculously, the weather cleared within 15 minutes, but with Midi Captain Dom
George in hiding and with beers delivered quickly to the opposition, the friendly
game was abandoned, enabling Midi to keep their unbeaten record for 2013

George, back at the helm after John McBurnie’s resignation in the close season,
won a brilliant toss and elected to field on a soddened ground where only one
end was suitable for bowling. A large hippopotamus basking at the other end
was declared a dead ball if hit.

Midi, who were fielding a new-look side without stalwarts Paul Rogers, Nick
Allison, Alex Lalljee and McBurnie, started strongly with No Hope’s openers both
back in the pavilion with the score in single figures, victims of Midi’s
transcontinental strike force, American import Ken Miller and Dutch recruit, Joris

But a 46-run third wicket partnership between Robert Goddard and Phil
Blutherwick steadied the No Hope ship and it took an astonishing over-theshoulder
catch in the deep by French youngster Pierre Zivanovic to remove
Goddard , giving Verdassdonk his second wicket.

With top-scorer Greg Millward adding a solid 39, the visitors eased to 175 all out
in the 29th over.

Pick of the Midi bowlers was Patrick Dubois who snared three wickets for 19
runs, including the prized scalp of Millward, who was clean bowled.
George, deliberately gave everyone a bowl, except the insane, infirm and
wicketkeeper David Amoros.

Under continually threatening skies, Midi began well in their run chase. Marc
Dalling, who assumed the Club Presidency in January, quickly demonstrated that
his swashbuckling 94 last season was no fluke, rattling up 23 runs in an opening
partnership of 36 with South African import Jason Armstrong.

But when Armstrong departed for eight, followed by Dalling on 23, both victims
of spinner Phil Stanhope, Midi provided their long-suffering supporters (Syd and
Doris Bonkers and a dog named Kevin) with the UMC (usual Midi collapse).

Four wickets tumbled with the score frozen on 47, three of them to Jim Hale.
Among the fallen was Captain George, who had exhorted his troops to go on the
front foot, and deciding to demonstrate what happens if you play back, was
bowled first ball by one that kept low.

With Hale on fire, Midi lost a further two wickets before the heavens took pity
and ended proceedings with the score on 54. Man-of-the-match Hale finished
with figures of five for nine.

Joe Whitworth, with a neatly compiled two runs, provided some solid defence to
prevent a total rout as batsmen fell around him.

George is now looking to Wednesday’s practice session, weather permitting, to
rebuild team morale ahead of the weekend’s friendly double header against
Harlow Veterans.

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