Midi go down to Catus and lose chance of first league title

By Joe Whitworth

In the last league match at their picturesque St Pons de Mauchiens ground, Midi CC were haunted by familiar problems – dropped catches and the UMC (Usual Midi Collapse) – to lose by 97 runs.

Facing a stronger Catus CC side on 26 June than they had beaten away from home earlier in the month, Midi lost their chance of pipping Toulouse CC to the ACCSO Regional League Southern Pool title.

Batting first, Catus got off to a solid and rapid start but Midi hung in and were rewarded with the score on 44 when the indefatigable Dom George (1-51) picked up the wicket of Stirling, well caught by captain Ankush Lal.

The score was doubled before the next wicket fell, with Ankush (2 for 66) turning provider and wrecking the stumps of Shakib.

Boosted by those breakthroughs, Midi turned up the heat and Catus slipped from 112 for 2 to 175 for 7 with spinner Gaurav (4 for 37) the main man – despite numerous chances going down.

Vice-captain Paul Rogers kept Catus in check with 0 for 32 from his allotted 8 overs, while Midi’s American import Ken Miller finished with 0 for 39 but it was Ram Kumbhar with 3 for 28 who wrapped up the tail at the end, although Catus added a vital 40 runs for the last wicket.

The top scorer was Bappy who hit 80 including one six caught by an opposition player next to the scorers which prompted the frustrated George to remark: “That’s how to catch Midi!”

Facing a tough target of 270, Midi made a steady start but the usually dependable Jason Armstrong (2) fell with the score on 17.

Fellow opener Rogers was looking comfortable until he forgot it was a game of cricket and not football, deflecting a leg-side ball on to the stumps, with skill the English football team only wish they had. He went for a solid 25 and Midi were on 59 for 2.

Midi continued to battle on, but every time a partnership looked to be forming, with Ankush proving immovable at one end, the home side lost a wicket – Harshesh Bhatt (7), George (10) and Gaurav Chatterjee (14) all threatening a big score before losing their wickets to leave the home side struggling at 149 for 6.

Ankush’s almost single-handed attempt to drag Midi over the line ended when he was out for 77 but it was a true captain’s knock and followed his top scores at Midi’s previous two matches.

Ram (4), Miller (1) and Joris Verdaasdonk (2) were then dismissed and the less said about your correspondent’s innings at number 11 the better, but he left Pierre Zivanovic stranded but unbeaten on 1.

For Catus, Karim, Rahim and Artic picked up two wickets each but Shafik was the star with 4 for 34 to dismiss Midi for 172, 97 runs short of the target with just less than 10 overs to be bowled.

Midi finished their league campaign with two wins and two defeats ahead of their cup and friendly campaign later in the season.



Rampant Rogers shines as Midi upset Catus

Vice-captain Paul Rogers produced a master class of swing bowling to inspire a shock victory for Midi over Catus CC on an away weekend which also brought defeat at the hands of Toulouse CC.
The strike bowler wrecked the Catus top order as the home side chased Midi’s meagre total of 113, returning season best figures of 5 for 28 in overcast conditions with slow bowler Gaurav Chatterjee mopping up the tail with a superb four-wicket spell which yielded only three runs.
But it was Rogers who helped erase the memory of the previous day’s thrashing by last year’s league champions Toulouse after Midi had crawled to 113 against Catus, reaching three figures thanks to captain Ankush Lal, who led by example, top scoring in both matches.
Catus went down by 52 runs as Midi turned round a poor performance in the field against Toulouse, with wicketkeeper Harshesh Bhatt outstanding in snapping up two catches and effecting a vital stumping.
Midi’s astonishing victory gives the club a chance of winning the ACCSO Regional League Southern Pool for the first time with a return match against Catus CC on 26 June now looming as the most vital in its 11-year history.
Sadly, if Midi win at home it could mark the last league match at St Pons de Mauchiens as the club must search for a new ground after the Mairie elected to lay a rolled earth Tambourin strip on the oval, making cricket almost impossible.
In gloomy conditions, with rain a constant threat, Midi won the toss and decided to bat against Catus, a team who had beaten the formidable Toulouse by five wickets in their only other league match this season and who had never lost to Midi at home.
The miserable record on the road looked set to continue with Midi’s top order crawling to 42 in 11 overs, bogged down by tight bowling from the home side, particularly Artik whose four-wicket haul included opener Rogers for 2 and club stalwart Dom George who grafted a dogged 8 as he and Ankush added a vital 53 runs after Midi had slumped to 49 for four.
It was Ankush who once again saved the day for Midi, moving to 53, with two sixes and five fours, before falling LBW to Rahim and triggering a dramatic Midi collapse which saw the last six wickets tumble for only 9 runs.
Harshesh was the only other batsman to make double figures (15) and Midi’s five ducks had the Catus team licking their lips at another dismal drubbing.
But the wily Rogers had other ideas. His first over removed the two openers and three overs later he despatched another two, supported by George who clean bowled the dangerous Rahim, who had top scored with 97 against Toulouse.
Catus slumped to 34 for six and looked hard pressed to make a half century. But their lower order batsmen Andy Pound and Steve Taylor staged a mini revival before Gaurav mopped up the last four batsmen with a two-over spell that yielded only three runs.
Midi’s stunning win was in sharp contrast to a lethargic display against Toulouse on the Saturday when Midi let the home side off the hook, conceding 170 runs in the last 20 overs. Ram Khumbar returned Midi’s best figures with 3 for 58.
Midi never looked like chasing the 294-run winning target and with half the side back in the pavilion with 124 runs on the board and 27 overs gone, respectability was the only option.
Ankush top scored with 44 in the 149-run total and only Gaurav (14), Harshesh (13), Rogers (12) and Marc Dalling (10), made double figures in the 144-run defeat.
Midi scorer Reg Gratton who has chronicled his team’s mostly painful league exploits on the road over the last six years promptly labelled the Catus victory as a high point and noted that this away weekend was one of the few when the club were able to field a full side on both days.
Midi also had both outgoing President Marc Dalling and Treasurer David Amoros on hand to watch Midi’s remarkable result. The victory follows the club’s record three league wins in the 2015 season – one over Catus at home – and confirms the view that Midi has the strongest squad in its history.
“This result makes it even more vital that the club survives and our top priority now is to find a new ground to allow the club to continue,” said President Dalling.