Midi open season with a win and loss against Andorra

Midi CC launched their 10th anniversary season against an invitation X1 from the
tiny Pyrenees principality of Andorra with a stirring 53-run victory in a 40-match
on Saturday and a dramatic last-ball defeat in a 20/20 match on Sunday,
watched by arguably the biggest crowd ever seen at their St Pons de Mauchiens
ground.

The weekend proved a fitting start to Midi’s historic season, the weather
behaved, the atmosphere was festive, fish and chips were served, the wine and
beer flowed, and Midi CC performed as per expectations, brilliant one minute,
mediocre the next.

Captain Paul Rogers won the toss and elected to bat in the first match and
having drafted in two new players, the lack of practice in the run-up to the
double header wasn’t in evidence as Midi steadily accumulated a competitive
score after losing Rogers cheaply for 3.

Under blue skies, new boys Ankush and Harshesh quickly demonstrated that
their contribution to Midi’s 2015 campaign will be an important one, Ankush
scoring 43 and Harshesh 33, helping taking the score to 134 for four with club
stalwart Nick Allison providing firm resistance at the other end with a highly
focussed 11.

American import Ken Miller’s 35-run contribution was the cameo the St Pons
faithful have come to expect – sixes and fours sprayed over and through deep
mid-on and deep mid-wicket, baseball style, sheer pleasure to watch, impossible
to defend.

Miller was joined by former captain and respected club pro Dom George whose
brilliant 78, which included four sixes, took Midi’s score to 248 before he was
unfortunately run out by Ram Khumbar.

Andorra’s bowlers found it hard to stem the late run flow with only Roger Hyldon
(2-41) and Mike Shaida (2-37) able to prevent the score topping the 300 mark.

Andorra needed a run rate of over six runs an over and made the worst possible
start with both openers back in the pavilion with the score on 14.

Mike Shaida, who top scored with 46 and Harry Cull, who hit eight fours in his
38, helped to push the score along but miserly bowling from man of the match
Ken Miller (1-21 off eight overs) and Ram (0-7 off six overs, including four
maidens) meant the target never looked within reach.

A late flurry from John Houghton who ended unbeaten on 43 took the visitors’
score along to a respectable 196 but well short of Midi who went into Sunday’s
20/20 match confident of a weekend whitewash.

But that heady optimism was cruelly exposed under overcast skies with a
catastrophic start after Rogers once again won the toss and chose to bat.

The scorer had hardly finished sharpening his pencil when three Midi batsmen
were gone, Rogers again failing with 1, Miller succumbing on 3 and President
Marc Dalling caught for 3.

Talismanic Frenchman David Amoros provided some light relief with a jaunty 12,
Ram chipped in with an entertaining 17 and Dutchman Joris Verdassdonk helped
to set the Andorrans with some sort of target with an unbeaten 17 which
included three (scorer’s verdict) or two (Joris’s view) dropped catches.

Andorra, lulled into a false sense of victory with a target of only 92, set about
falling on their sword with an early top-order collapse which saw four wickets fall
for 37 and 11 overs gone. Pierre Zivanovic piled on the misery with an incredible
direct hit from the deep which left Andorra floundering on 44 for six after 14
overs.

Fortunately for the mountain men (and one woman), Daniel Carrington (17),
Mike Nicholson (10) and Harry Cull (11 not out), steadied the ship but there was
still high drama as the ninth wicket fell in the final over and it was left to the
nerveless Cull to heave a huge four off the last ball to win the game.

Watched by a crowd nearly a 100 strong, the winning runs were greeted with
whoops, cheers and yells and the sight of the Andorrans running on to the pitch
to congratulate their teammates led George to comment: “You couldn’t write the
script.”

The Andorrans have already messaged their thanks and expect to be back. Their
fixture organizer Arnout Kok wrote: “Thanks very much for a great weekend of
cricket. We had a great time and everyone is looking forward to a return trip
next year.”

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