Midi CC, boosted by the return of senior pro Dom George and top-order batsman
Nick Allison, beat Damazan CC by five wickets at their home ground on Sunday to
move into the semi-finals of the Siddalls Cup.
Midi’s first cup win in the club’s history was appropriately founded on an 80-run
opening partnership between Allison (24) and Jason Armstrong (44), the club’s two
leading run scorers this season.
Chasing a target of 164 after losing the toss, Midi threatened to implode after the
openers departed when they lost three quick wickets but George and Neeraj Obhrai
dug in and eased Midi home with eight overs to spare.
Midi, whose league campaign ended dismally with a fifth consecutive loss at the
hands of Catus CC, were desperate to go into the summer break with a victory to lift
spirits but Damazan’s leading batsmen Gogan Singh and Marcus Harris hadn’t read
the Midi script.
With opener Gary Stark putting up a brick wall at one end, eking out an unbeaten10
runs in two hours,of dour defence, first Singh on 36, followed by Harris on 72,
helped take the visitors to 150 for two wickets, before the wily George picked up
three quick wickets to limit the score to 163 for five after the allotted 35 overs.
Captain Paul Rogers, standing in for Alex Lalljee, who selflessly decided to rest
himself , called on George after he had produced a typical miserly opening spell
which removed opener Sanja Seth, smartly taken by George at first slip.
George elected to bowl spin and after Ram Khumbar had removed Singh, well
caught by Ken Miller at deep mid-on, he struck three times in two overs which
included the vital wicket of the dangerous Harris, who blasted eight fours and five
George posted figures of three for 20 from his six overs while Rogers was the pick
of the other bowlers with one for 17 from seven overs which included two maidens.
Ram was also niggardly with one wicket for 21 runs.
With a confidence-boosting performance in the field, Midi went in to bat with openers
Allison and Armstrong knowing that the match-winning target would be helped by
Damazan only having eight men in the field.
Both batsmen made good use of the fast, dry outfield with cuts, snicks and glances
behind the wicket and the score moved easily along to 50 after 10 overs and in
quick order to 79 after 15.
When Allison departed with the score on 80, followed shortly after by Armstrong who
hit seven fours in his 44, Marc Dalling and Ken Miller kept up the run rate, Midi’s
American import hitting an imperious six as he bludgeoned his way to 19.
But it was Dalling who ensured that the openers’ good work was not in vain and
despite a mini collapse of three wickets, he was the last batsman out, hitting seven
fours in his jaunty 35 before leaving Neeraj , nine not out, and George, eight not out,
to steer the home side to a semifinal encounter against Eymet on 10 August.
With rested players Lalljee, David Amoros and Joe Whitworth all there to support
Midi, the victory was truly a club affair. Club President Dallling wrote in an email after
the match: “Well done to all the players, umpires, scorers, bar manager,
barbecuer & supporters not only for the victory but also for making this
afternoon such an enjoyable and convivial game.”