New captain confident of building on last season’s best-ever campaign

New Midi Cricket Club captain Ankush Lal is confident that the club can build on its successful 2015 league campaign, boosted by a stronger squad and the return of former leading players Jason Armstrong and Rob Bowyer.

Ankush, who takes over from Paul Rogers, was instrumental in taking the club in its 10th anniversary year to an unprecedented three league victories with a batting average of 43.88, which included a century against Armagnac-Bigorre CC.

“I am very pleased about our performance in the last season,” he told the club’s website. “it was a collective effort which gave us some great results. This year we know we have everything in place to win our division!”.

The club will have seasoned veteran all-rounder Dom George on board again to support Ankush. George topped the club’s league batting averages last season with 54.50 runs and was second in the bowling averages behind the club’s South African import Patrick Dubois, who is also expected to be a major threat again as the main strike bowler.

The other welcome news is that Dubois’ fellow South African Jason Armstrong will be back in the club fold after taking a sabbatical in 2015. Armstrong had made the opening slot his own and provided the cornerstone to a number of Midi innings during the 2014 season.

The pre-season weather has also been kind to the club which has been able to organise Sunday practise sessions at its St Pons de Mauchiens ground from early February. One enthusiastic participant has been all-rounder Rob Bowyer whose name sits proudly in the club’s hall of fame with an unbeaten 118 against Armagnac in 2009.

Following an early March practice which attracted 13 players, Ankush felt that the club would be in a much better position to field a complete team for its away league matches this season. “Failure to field a full team had a considerable impact on our results. With the return of Jason, the joining of Gaurav and with more pre-season practice than last year, we will definitely see a big improvement in the quality of our cricket,” Ankush said.

The club has a true multi-ethnic mix with players of Indian, South African, English, Dutch, American and French extraction. The weight of experience in the club will be boosted by the raw experience and enthusiasm of its two French youngsters, Pierre and Lucas Zivanovic, products of the club’s junior programme who have made great strides every season and whose quicksliver fielding has saved the club scores of runs.

The club opens its league campaign on Saturday, 7 May at home to Toulouse CC following the 2016 season curtainraiser Family Day on Sunday 24 April at St Pons. Players. family and friends of the club are all invited to a BBQ and a social cricket match in the afternoon.

The Toulouse match will be followed by a friendly double-header on May 14/15 against a touring team from Andorra who enjoyed their weekend at St Pons so much last year, they want to do it all again in 2016. “The club always makes touring teams very welcome and they appreciate our hospitality,” said Club President Marc Dalling. “We also had two very competitive matches against them.”

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Midi CC marks its 10 years with a celebration dinner

Midi Cricket Club marked its 10th anniversary year in style and with pride, bringing together captains, presidents, players – past and present – for a celebration dinner in a Valros restaurant in mid-December.

Current President Marc Dalling set the scene for the evenng with a welcoming speech to more than 30 guests that recalled Midi’s birth in Robin Hicks’ rather large back garden but also looked forward with confidence to a healthy future for the only cricket club in the Languedoc.

Here are some extracts from his speech:

“Firstly, special thanks to some of you who have come great distances – Paul (Rogers) and Isabelle from the P.O. of course, Richard Thompson and his good lady Paule from the Vaucluze. The prize for the most committed to Midi Cricket Club must go to Ginny and Stuart who have come all the way from West Sussex.”

“So, 10 years have gone by since the beginnings of the club, 10 years since that first practice seassion at five-thirty on Tuesday, 13 September on what was more or less Robin Hicks’ front garden. This was to be the first of any very enjoyable and friendly days in Roujan. I remember especially flamboyant Sunday afternoons spent playing in front of what now seems to be large crowds of cheering spectators, at least one sipping champagne out of silver goblets!

“I’ve spent a couple of days looking at emails and minutes of past committee meetings and far from being the tedious, endless mutterings of people who wished they were elsewhere that I thought they were going to be, they were actually very revealing of the state of mind of those who had been mad enough to think that cricket in the south of France would work.

“I could, and indeed, I was going to bore you with all the facts surrounding the birth of our club, who was at the first meeting, first practice etc. Some facts are important to state. It’s essential to recognise the drive and spirit shown by our first President, Robin Hicks. It’s also essential that the name of Peter Sandison be praised for having the idea in the first place and for being our first captain.

“It would also be wrong to forget the Poszwoskis, Paul and Mel, for their sterling efforts and the beginning, the Goslings for their contribution, Jackie Devereux for her design of our logo and of course, Ginny, for her help in organising sponsors.

“There are many other names who should be mentioned, several of them are here this evening. I thank them all on behalf of the club for all they have done for the club.

“Two things though struck me very deeply when going through those old memos and notes: The first is the astounding energy people put into the club – meetings and meetings to set it up and make sure it worked. The second is the rather unstable nature of the club in its first year. Within 18 months, we were up to our third President with Teddy Hutton having stepped into the breach when Robin decided to move on to new ventures and retiring gracefully to allow Colin Trickett – who is here tonight with wife Bobby – to step in.

“We also lost our captain and founder member almost as soon as we started, and Dom, not for the last time, saved the day. Colin rapidly steadied the ship, and with help from David Cole, John Holmes and the other members of the committee, found us a new ground in St. Pons and a secure future. When he stepped down in 2013, it is safe to say the club was in a very healthy position, financially as well as in its solid membership.

“And what about now, 10 years on? The club has continued to be a stable affair. Our finances are good and our membership too. Our events have become annual fixtures in the local social calendar and we are lucky to have a regular, thriving cricket bar run by David Cole and Joy Powell.

“On the sporting front, results are also improving and the team continues to be an international pool of talent with origins from Holland to South Africa, from Spain to Serbia, from Ilkeston to India.”