Depleted Midi battle to brave defeat against Toulouse

Midi CC, stricken by the late withdrawal of two key players, went down bravely to
table-topping Toulouse CC on Saturday, 20 June, and will now have to wait until next
weekend and the result of Catus’ match against Armagnac-Bigorre to find out if it can
finish the season in a best-ever second position.

Midi, who went into the away match against Toulouse with a record three wins in its
league campaign, was confident of pulling off a surprise victory but the team, already
without anchorman Nick Allison, was reduced to 10 men when both seasoned
veteran Dom George and strike bowler Patrick Dubois were forced to withdraw.

Midi’s total of 125 all out in 34 overs after being put into bat by Toulouse was simply
not enough and the home side rattled off the runs in 25 overs losing only three
wickets in the process.

Midi started its 40-over innings on a fine, hot day at Seissan in disastrous fashion
with club president Marc Dalling falling first ball to a fine catch in the deep after
mishitting a full toss.

He was followed not long after by captain Paul Rogers who once again threatened a
big innings but fell on 13 runs to a juggling catch by Christophe Srikanth at deep
square leg.

But Midi was given hope by its two new recruits, Ankush Lal and Harshesh Bhatt,
who once again came together in a time of a crisis with the score on 22 for two, and
steadily took their side to a measure of respectability.

Ankush had looked well on the way to his second big score of the season following a
century against Armagnac-Bigorre, when a rush of blood saw him clean bowled by
Toulouse skipper Brett Trudgett for 36 with 71 runs on the board.

Phillipe Fermanel, who took five wickets in Midi’s home defeat against Toulouse in
May, was again the danger man, following up the wicket of Rogers with the LBW
removal of Martin Eede, who compiled a gritty 16, and then Harshesh who was
caught for 26 with the score on 108.

With half the side gone and the tail now wagging furiously, Midi scratched, scraped
and scampered in a bid to set Toulouse a competitive target.

Talismanic Frenchman David Amoros provided an unexpected anchor, and after the
quick exit of Ram Kumbhar, the Zivanovic brothers, Pierre and Lucas, all out for 0
with the score on 110, he was joined by official scorer Reg Gratton, who put away
his pencils and rubber, to help push the score along to 125, with a last-wicket
partnership of 15.

Gratton put the UMC (usual Midi collapse) behind him and rolled back the years,
drawing one wag to comment that he must have been pretty ordinary back then. His
neatly compiled five runs helped Amoros to a creditable and undefeated 11 which
included one scintillating boundary.

Naga mopped up the Midi tail taking four wickets for 38 runs while Fermanel ended
with three wickets for 21.

Even though the outfield was slow, the 126-run target seemed easily attainable and
openers David and Rob Johnson patiently accumulated 42 runs in the first 11 overs
before Ram struck to give Midi its first scalp – a running catch behind the wicket from
Marc Dalling at second slip.

But it was hardly a sniff for Midi as all of the Toulouse top order posted creditable
scores to push the score past the 126 target.

Lucas Zivanovic, while bowling a raft of wides, was Midi’s best bowler with two
wickets for 32 in his four overs.

Captain Paul Rogers was deeply disappointed after the match. “I am not a happy
bunny,” he told his team and hopped, or rather limped, off back to the team hotel.
He had said more than once during the Midi innings that there were hundreds of runs
to be made on the benign track. But evidently no-one listened.

Rogers’ pronounced limp (ankle tendon), was compounded by injuries to Harshesh
(upper leg muscle), Ram (upper leg muscle) and Gratton (First World War wound),
so it was a ravaged side that faced Armagnac-Bigorre in the 20/20 competition the
following morning.

While club president Dalling once showed his consistency with another duck after his
side lost the toss and was sent in to bat by Armagnac on another fine and hot day,
Midi once again had to thank Ankush and Harshesh for posting a competitive target.

Ankush played superbly and hit 12 fours and a six in his 76 and Harshesh was on 36
not out alongside Eede with nine as Midi finished with 148 for only three wickets
down.

Midi’s stint in the field was not a pretty sight with runs conceded as injured players
struggled to return balls and the young Zivanovic brothers being asked to cover
every blade of grass on the oval.

Captain defiant Rogers, who had elected not to bat, bowled a courageous four overs
and took one wicket in conceding 22 runs while Pierre Zivanovic snared two wickets
for 31 runs supported by brother Lucas who took one for 14 in an attempt to peg
back Armagnac.

Lucas also took two brilliant catches to remove the openers and it seemed that a
miracle was in the offing when Midi went into the last two overs with four wickets
down and 19 runs needed.

But, having been earlier warned by the umpires that penalties would be exacted if
Midi could not meet the over rate requirements, Midi suddenly found themselves with
Armagnac facing a new target of 14 runs when five runs were added to its score.

It was a body blow and arguably turned the match in Armagnac’s favour. The
winning runs were scored in the last over with three balls to spare.

Dalling, who had taken over as captain from the ailing Rogers, decided to forfeit the
following 20/20 match against Toulouse concerned that his players might compound
their injuries and that Midi were not in a position to make a match of it.

He was also aggrieved that Midi had lost on a penalty-runs decision that was more
akin to a one-day international than a friendly club match.

“We know that there are rules, but we feel that this was not in the spirit of the game
and we will accordingly be writing to the Association des Clubs de Cricket du Sud-
Ouest (ACCSO) to express our concern and disappointment that the umpires should
act in this manner.”

Dalling was impressed by the team spirit shown at the weekend despite the injuries.
“Congratulations everyone for this weekend,” he said in an email to the players. “We
may not have won but I was impressed by your courage, your motivation and your
refusal to give up when all seemed to conspire against us.

“Special thanks go to Paul, Ram and Harshesh for playing through the pain barrier,
Reg for his efforts, Ankush for showing us how it’s done with the bat and last but not
least the Zivanovic brothers who fielded in everyone else’s place.”

On-fire Midi moves into second place after dramatic victory over Catus

Midi CC rewrote its record books on Sunday, 14 June, with an unprecedented third victory in its 2015
league campaign to move to the giddy heights of second place in the Midi-Pyrenees/South division.

Midi secured 28 points in its 17-run triumph over the formidable Catus CC on its St Pons de
Mauchiens home ground and with one match remaining – away to table toppers Toulouse on 20
June – has a chance to secure a best-ever finish in its 10-year history.

Midi can once again give thanks to trusty opener Nick Allison whose carefully grafted 38 provided
the bedrock for Midi to post a season highest 255 for only three wickets with all the top order
contributing solid scores led by Harshesh Bhatt who remained unbeaten on 49.

In reply, Catus started disastrously but a run surge by Rahim (67) and Rob Allen (65), who put on 108
in a fifth wicket partnership, took the visitors uncomfortably close to the 256-run target. However,
captain Paul Rogers and wily warhorse Dom George both picked up three wickets to help dismiss the
visitors for 238.

Midi won the toss under a thundery, grey sky and Rogers decided to bat. Under the clearing skies,
Allison and Rogers painstakingly put together a solid opening partnership of 55 in 10 overs with
Rogers first to go, departing for 30 with seven fours, from a catch well taken in the deep.

Rogers, who had threatened a huge score in Midi’s last match success against Armagnac-Bigorre,
was on top of the bowling from the start, but once again managed to pick out a fielder when the
stage seemed set for a season-defining innings.

In contrast, the indomitable Allison again settled into his anchor role, allowing first Ankush Lal, who
hit seven fours in his 44, then Harshesh (49 not out, with six fours and a six) and Dom George (30 not
out with five fours) to set Catus a formidable target in its 40-over run chase.

Allison, who top scored with 61 against Armagnac, was again at the crease for nearly two hours for
his 38 runs. While Allison held the innings together, Catus did not help its cause with extras taking a
bow as the highest scorer – led by wides on 50 as the largest contributor.

Catus began its innings disastrously with second slip Ben Morgan taking a superb catch a whisker
from the ground off inspirational veteran George’s first ball.

It quickly got worse for Catus when Rogers had Australian opener Ken Sutton brilliantly stumped by
returning wicketkeeper Martin Eede for only four to have the visitors in trouble at 13 for two.

When Rahim and Rob Allen came together with the score at 78 for four, Rogers had to juggle his
bowlers to stem the run flow and it was only Ram Kumbhar who seemed able to keep them in check.

Ram, who finished with miserly figures off one for 31 off eight overs, got his reward when top scorer
Rahim (67) edged a catch to Eede to bring an end to the century partnership and set Midi on course
for an historic victory.

Allen however remained a threat and with Midi’s fielding suffering the jitters, with a missed run out
and a couple of dropped catches, Catus moved inexorably closer to the winning target.

But in what was a defining moment of the match, Midi’s talented young fielder Pierre Zivanovic took
a sensational running catch in the deep from an Allen hook off the bowling of Patrick Dubois to send
him back to the pavilion with 19 runs to win and only 12 balls remaining.

It was a reflection of Midi’s great current spirit that the whole team ran towards Zivanovic, Dubois
leading the way and going down on his knees to salute the brilliant catch.

With Allen now back in the pavilion, it was left to the dependable George to finish off the job. He
removed the last two wickets in successive balls in the 39 th over, both clean bowled, to finish with
figures of three for 36.

But it was captain Rogers who took the bowling honours with figures of three for 32, in particular
removing the dangerous opener Sutton who has in the past feasted off Midi’s bowling and proved
the cornerstone for previous victories.

“Another great team effort” was how Rogers described Midi’s triumph and looked forward to the
match the following weekend against Toulouse with what is arguably the strongest team Midi has
fielded away from home.

Midi President Marc Dalling was on hand to watch his club’s latest triumph and will be in the squad
next weekend for the last league match against Toulouse.

Historic Midi league victory to mark 10th anniversary season

Talismanic Frenchman David Amoros helped guide Midi CC to a dramatic last-gasp
one-wicket victory against Armagnac-Bigorre on its St Pons de Mauchiens home
ground on Sunday.

The triumph marked the first time the club had won two league matches in a season
in its 10-year history and sealed what captain Paul Rogers described as “a great
team effort where every single player chipped in with a contribution, especially in the
field”.

Armagnac won the toss on a fine, sunny day and looked set to take its score past the
300 mark with top-order batsmen Hemchandar and Sriram compiling a 164-run
stand on a super quick outfield after Patrick Dubois had struck early with no score on
the board thanks to a sharp second-slip catch by Rogers.

But Midi did not panic and an inspired Dubois removed Hemchandar (64) and new
batsman Satish in successive overs, both again snaffled by Rogers, his third effort
an incredible one-handed effort on the boundary.

Dubois then had top-scorer Sriram (80) leg before with the score on 181 to give him
impressive figures of four for 42 from his allotted eight overs.

A late cameo from Chaitanya who hit five fours in a breezy 26 pushed the Armagnac
score along to a competitive 246 for seven wickets.

While Dubois took the honours with the ball, it was club stalwart Nick Allison who
provided the foundation for Midi’s victory with the bat.

His two-hour stay at the wicket as opener yielded 71 runs, with 12 fours, and when
he was out fourth wicket down in the 34 th over with the score on 214, Midi looked to
be heading to victory.

Allison was ably assisted by Harshesh who hit 39 which included the game’s only
six.

With Allison gone and 32 runs to win off the remaining six overs, Midi hit the self-
destruct button.

Last-wicket partners Joris Verdaasdonk and David Amoros were presented with the
nailbaiting task of scoring 10 runs for victory after two disastrous, some would say
farcical, runouts which sent grizzled veteran Dom George and Ram Khumbar back to
the pavilion.

Amoros, whose wicketkeeping had been exemplary, was untypically cool headed as
he dispatched a boundary to set up victory from a wide ball, an appropriate finale as
Armagnac generously gifted Midi 46 wides to help the home side achieve its target.

Midi’s triumph followed an away win over Armagnac in early May where new recruits
Ankush (108) and Harshesh (28) provided the backbone for a score of 231 and a 60-
run victory.

Midi’s next game will be at home on 14 June against Catus CC who won by 53 runs
at Seissan last month.

It’s a game that Rogers is desperate to win. “Everybody who went to Catus was
gutted. We definitely have a point to prove to them but more especially to
ourselves. On the 14th we will have no excuses.”

Club President Marc Dalling was also enthused by Midi’s performance. “This is the
first time we have won two league matches in the same season and bodes well for
the future. We need to keep the momentum going against Catus now on the 14th.
We know that victory is possible and we must do everything possible to beat them.”