Eymet shatter Midi’s dream of second-place finish in league

Midi CC’s dream of a second-place finish in the Blevins Franks Regional League was brutally shattered by Eymet CC on Sunday 30 July with a nine-wicket mauling which gave them the title at the expense of Bordeaux-Giscours.

Midi CC came into the match on neutral territory in Toulouse in fourth position after a dramatic one-wicket win over Catus CC the previous Sunday.

Once again, after deciding to bat first, Midi’s lower order came to the rescue after their three leading run scorers failed to fire and half the side were out for only 47.

But this time the recovery led by Shajar Abbas who top scored with 35 and Tahir Mohammad, who was undefeated on 25, was not enough and Eymet, who had been sitting one above Midi in the league table, chased down the 156-run target with more than half of the allotted 40 overs remaining.

Midi had won the toss but the decision to bat backfired when both Captain Ankush Lal and Naeem Abbas fell for ducks and Harshesh Bhatt was bowled for 15. Only dogged opener Paul Rogers provided any resistance and it was his resolute defence of his wicket at one end which allowed Midi to post a reasonable score.

The Midi stalwart was finally out for 21, the eighth wicket to fall, having stayed at the crease for nearly two hours, caught at deep mid-wicket off spin bowler Tim Chancellor who returned Eymet’s best figures of five for 24.

It was Rogers who gave Midi some early hope when he had Eymet opener David Horlock caught by Shamraiz Arif Muhammad with the score on 19 but sadly that was all the opposition could offer Midi as wayward bowling provided them with a feast of runs.

Opener Ed Nicolson hit an unbeaten 70, which included four sixes and eight fours, supported by Ahmed Jewel who was not out 62.

Midi’s bowling figures do not make for pretty reading and your correspondent will not be sharing them with his readers.

The defeat however should not detract from a very successful Midi season, the first in the expanded eight-team league ended with Midi finishing in fourth position with four wins and three defeats – three wins coming at the new ‘fortress’ home in Pouzolles where Midi are now undefeated after also beating Andorra CC in a friendly in early May.

High points of Midi’s season were the one-wicket victory away to Catus where all seemed lost until the tail wagged and the incredible home win over Toulouse where Midi racked up a record 375 runs which included a record 232-run partnership between Naeem (119) and Harshesh (130).  Sadly, the match was curtailed by rain with Midi eventually winning on superior run rate.

For final league table and full results go to: http://www.cricket-sw-france.org/accso-tournaments/tournament-results-2017-1/.

Midi beat Catus for first away victory of the season

Midi CC’s tail-enders produced a breath-taking comeback to defeat Catus CC by one wicket on Sunday 23 July to land the club’s first victory away from home this season and keep alive their  hopes of finishing as runners-up in the Blevins Franks Regional League.

Midi have now moved up to fourth spot in the table and if  they beat third-placed Eymet CC on Sunday they will wind up the season second behind Bordeaux-Giscours, a great finish in the expanded eight-team competition. 

All looked lost against Catus when, chasing a moderate target of 159, Midi sank to 82 for six wickets with their three best performing batsmen – Captain Ankush Lal, Harshesh Bhatt and Naeem Abbas – all out, only Ankush (20) getting into double figures.

But for once the Midi tail took up the challenge and Omit Iqbal and Ajmal Ajmal, coming in at number seven and eight, destroyed the Catus bowling, hitting eight sixes as the score accelerated to 146 for eight, only 13 runs from victory with 10 overs to spare.  

Omit, who had scored 75 earlier in the season, was the first to depart on 30, bowled by Shaqib, followed by Ajmal with the score on 146, beaten by Catus best bowler Rahim, but not before he top scored with 33.
 
The stage was set for a nail-biting finale but Shamraiz Arif Muhammad and Tahir Mohammad were resolute and took the score to a tied 158 when Shamraiz was bowled by Rahim for 11. There was more drama when Tahir survived an LBW appeal before hitting the winning boundary and leaping in the air in wild celebration. He finished with 10 not out.
 

Catus had earlier won the toss and decided to bat and would almost certainly have set Midi a smaller target if the visitors had not dropped three relatively easy catches in the deep, two off their highest scoring batsmen, Bappy, who hit 56, and Rahim who was dismissed for 41.

Midi had Catus deep in trouble at 19 for four before Bappy and Rahim steadied their ship with a 94-run partnership.

They were both victims of Naeem, who wisely discarded his medium pacers for off spin to record four for 35, his best figures this season.

Midi’s other three main bowlers all chipped in with two wickets – Shajar with two for 36 off seven overs, Ankush with two for 37 off seven overs and Paul Rogers with two for 48 off five.

Midi have now won four of their six league matches, three of them at Fortress Pouzolles, where they are unbeaten, and were standing fifth in the tight eight-team league on 89 points before the Catus match. For the latest table and results go to:  http://www.cricket-sw-france.org/accso-tournaments/tournament-results-2017-1/