|03/05/15||Ankush Lal||Catus||108||28/09/13||Patrick Dubois||Barbarians||4-16|
|04/05/14||Jason Armstrong||Catus||88*||09/08/12||Dom George||Armagnac||6-6|
|15/09/12||Marc Dalling||Shapwick||94||05/05/12||Dom George||Toulouse||4-27|
|18/09/11||Nick Allison||Lady Mead||105*||25/04/11||Ed Hamilton||No-Hope XI||5-16|
|07/06/09||Rob Bowyer||Armagnac||118*||31/05/09||Ken Miller||Toulouse||5-27|
Midi CC put the disappointing loss against Toulouse behind them with two fairly comfortable victories over Andorra CC in a friendly double header at their St Pons de Mauchiens home ground on 14 and 15 May.
Paul Rogers, at the helm in the absence of captain Ankush Lal, steered Midi home by eight wickets in a 40-over game, then followed it up with a 36-run victory over the tiny Pyrenees principality in a 20/20 match on Sunday.
Harshesh was the key batsman in the first encounter, hitting an unbeaten 51 after openers Nick Allison and Jason Armstrong laid a solid foundation for his swashbuckling innings as the home team chased a 142-run target.
But it was Midi’s young Frenchman, Pierre Zivanovic, who stole the show in the second match top scoring with 45 in an unfamiliar role as opener and helping Midi set Andorra a formidable target of 179, a run rate of nearly nine an over.
In fine but windy conditions, Andorra opened the batting in the first match, and it was another teenager, 17-year-old Dan Carrington, who shone for his team going in at number 10 with the visitors in desperate trouble at 53 runs for eight wickets.
Skipper Rogers was the principal destroyer, removing three of the Andorran top order in his first four overs. Unlike the previous week in the match against Toulouse, he found immediate line and length, beginning his spell with a wicket maiden and finishing with superb figures of four for 20.
Rogers was supported by fellow slow bowler Allison who removed most of the middle order and finished with a miserly four for 12.
But it was Rogers who finally despatched the dangerous Çarrington with a caught and bowled after the youngster had figured in an 88-run partnership with Daniel Le Mare who was last man out, caught by wicketkeeper David Amoros for 29 off Allison.
With a fairly modest target, Midi’s openers Allison and Armstrong decided to dig in and lay a foundation for a later onslaught. The Midi innings moved ahead at a snail’s pace with 25 posted in the first 10 overs.
Armstrong, returning after a year’s sabbatical, played some of his trademark glances as he progressed to 18 before falling to spinner Harry Cull, ushering in American import Ken Miller who hit a cameo 13 runs, with one enormous six, before making way for Harshesh.
Harshesh decided he had already taken a look at the bowling and with the solid resistance of Allison at the other end, carved a brilliant unbeaten half century which included five 4s and two 6s, sealing victory with eight overs to spare. Allison also remained unbeaten on 40 which included five 4s.
Midi’s run-chase task was made easier after the drinks break at 20 overs when a rain squall made the strip fairly treacherous and prompted the Andorran bowlers to change their run-up.
There was no hint of rain for the 20/20 match the following day and under a perfect, cloudless sky, Midi sent in the young brothers Zivanovic to open the batting for the first time.
It was an astute move by Rogers, for while younger brother Lucas went to a controversial slip catch by Cull, Pierre went on to hit his highest score, supported by Rogers who belted three 4s and four 6s on his way to a solid 42.
After he was bowled by Dan Carrington, the ageless Dom George joined Pierre, and smashed a quickfire 36 before opting to retire and give the lower order the chance to have a bat.
Pierre was the last out, hitting five 4s and two 6s on his way to a best-ever 45.
Ram Khumbar (11) and Ben Morgan (10) took the Midi score from 156 for four to 178 in the allotted 20 overs.
It was a score that Andorra never looked like surpassing and at 86 for eight after 15 overs, the outcome looked like an emphatic defeat.
But Harry Cull, 58 not out, and Australian Steve Jerome, 43, served up the most exciting stand of the weekend, hammering 56 runs in just over five overs to take the visitors score to a respectable 142.
Andorra voted Pierre Zivanovic as their man of the match, not only for his innings but also for bowling Jerome and returning figures of one for 20. But it was George with three for 12 and Gaurav, two for 19, who did the principal damage, with Joris Verdaasdonk also contributing with two for 24.
Midi Cricket Club came tantalisingly close to a dream start in their 2016 campaign against last season’s league champions Toulouse CC but a plethora of wides at the end handed the visitors victory by one wicket in a thrilling see-sawing match.
Midi won the toss on a fine, sunny day but gloom quickly descended on the St Pons de Mauchiens ground when the decision to bat saw four batsmen back in the pavilion for a disappointing 31 runs.
Openers Paul Rogers and Nick Allison both went cheaply for 8 and 5 and when Toulouse’ dangerous strike bowler Chris Srikanth sent back Harshesh for 5 and Gaurav for a duck in the same over, Midi were looking at a sub 100 score.
But new captain Ankush Lal and the ever-dependable warhorse Dom George (pictured above during his innings) steadied the Midi ship to lay the foundation for a reasonable target in the 40-over match.
The pair, who topped the batting averages last season, put on 56 runs before Ankush was caught and bowled by Rayhan for 43, a superb innings which included four 4s and a 6.
George battled on and though losing partners and retiring hurt for a spell with cramp in his thumb (sic), he top scored with 83 not out, steering Midi to 214 all out in the 38th over.
George’s innings included 13 4s and three imperious 6s. Ram Khumbar (11), Joris Verdaasdonk (7) and Lucas Zivanovic (5) all provided gritty resistance at the other end to help Midi pass the 200-run mark.
Skrikanth was the pick of the Toulouse bowlers with figures of 4 for 34.
Toulouse started their run chase at a gallop, hitting 39 runs in the first five overs and with the score on 132 for three and under half of the allocated overs bowled, looked on course for an easy victory.
But the introduction of slow bowler Gaurav stemmed the run flow and with the support of George, Rogers and Ram, Toulouse were pegged back and the wickets started to tumble.
Toulouse lost five wickets for 44 runs with Gaurav fittingly trapping top-scorer Pankaj LBW on 68 to have the visitors struggling on 166 for seven wickets, still 49 short of the winning target.
Midi were smelling the sweet scent of victory when the eighth wicket fell. With only 10 men in the side, Toulouse last two batsmen needed 39 runs.
But somehow Midi contrived defeat. Wides had already given notice that they would have a hand in the result and this proved to be the case. Fourteen were presented to Toulouse in the last few overs, the winning run not surprisingly going to this irksome extra.
Midi’s two best bowlers, George (2 for 36) and Gaurav (1 for 14), conceded only four wides in their 14 overs of the 47 conceded by the home team. Ram also contributed with 2 for 38.
Captain Ankush was not too disheartened by the defeat in his message to the team ahead of the friendly double-header against Andorra CC on 14 and 15 May.
“We lost but it wasn’t an easy match. A lot of pressure from the beginning. We all tried our best and that all counts first.
“Hats off to Dom for the great innings with the bat and bowl. He made us able to give a good fight! Gaurav was just amazing today who gave us a great comeback in the game with Ram. It was very close in the end.
“We needed to be more disciplined in the bowling (specially me). Extra runs ruined the day for us. And we lost our major wickets in the beginning. Going forward, let’s try to have more patience in batting and rely more on singles, doubles and ground shots.”
Saturday’s match against Andorra CC at St Pons starts at 1pm.
Midi CC goes into its first match of the season without strike bowler Patrick Dubois and reliable opener Jason Armstrong but is still confident that it can pull off a win at home to the formidable Toulouse CC at its home ground on Saturday, 7 May.
New captain Ankush Lal has a stronger squad this season and with former captains Paul Rogers and Dominic George in his line-up, the team has a wealth of experience to challenge last year’s Midi-Pyrenees/South division champions.
Midi recorded a record three wins in its 2015 league campaign – its 10th anniversary year – but was without key players in the away match to Toulouse and a total of 125 all out was simply not enough. The home side rattled off the runs in 25 overs losing only three wickets in the process. Midi had earlier lost the home game at St Pons de Mauchiens by a depressing 143 runs.
Toulouse lost only one of its matches in the southern pool last season and has long been Midi’s nemesis but the home club has had the pre-season luxury of regular practice sessions to sharpen both batting and bowling. Midi will also be heartened by Toulouse’s five-wicket loss to Catus CC in its first match of the season on 1 May.
The 40-over match starts at 1pm.