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.