Midi CC looked on track to record its first win of the league season when set a moderate 173-run target for victory against Eymet CC on Sunday, 27 May, but a dramatic collapse saw it fall 57 runs short and slump to a second consecutive loss.
Midi’s score of 104 for five wickets off a mere 15 of its allotted 40 overs, had the club well ahead of the required run rate, with half of the wickets in hand.
But the reintroduction to the Eymet attack of opening fast bowler Uddin prompted a collapse that might even make England’s Test cricketers blush. Uddin’s pace proved too much for Midi’s lower order and the last five wickets fell in less than four overs, with just 12 more runs added to the total.
Midi’s dismissal for 116 followed a 83-run loss to Toulouse at the Pouzolles home ground the previous Sunday and puts it at the bottom of the five-team Blevins Franks South-West Regional League while Eymet’s victory puts it top with two victories from its first two matches.
After a delayed start due to an early morning shower at Catus – the agreed venue to ease the travelling distance between clubs’ home grounds – and the late arrival of the opposition and both umpires from Eymet, Midi’s stand-in captain Paul Rogers put the opposition into bat under leaden skies.
Rogers’s tactic of unsettling the Eymet top order by opening the attack with slow bowlers Ken Miller (2 for 14 from 8 overs) and Naeem Abbas (2 for 10 off 4 overs) paid off, as Eymet were struggling at 24 for three wickets after the first 11 overs.
However, Eymet’s middle and lower order batsmen fought back, but a much-improved bowling performance from Midi – although at 53, extras were the top scorer – saw Eymet restricted to 172 for nine off its 40 overs.
As the sun came out and the outfield began to dry, the target looked well within Midi’s reach. However, by the end of the first over of the innings, it had become more challenging, with two batsmen already back in the Catus outdoor pavilion.
First American import Miller, promoted up the order to try to ensure that Midi kept the run rate ticking along, was unable to cope with the additional pace and bounce of the new ball, skying a chance to second slip for a duck.
Then Sher Ahmad, having glanced his first ball for four to the third man boundary, tried to repeat the shot to the third delivery he faced, only to see the ball snaffled up by the Eymet slip cordon.
With the help of the Abbas brothers, Naeem and Shajar, Shakeel Akram counter-attacked, with Shajar’s performance with the bat drawing comparisons with his countryman, Pakistan’s great Inzamam-ul-Haq.
While all three were dismissed in the mid-twenties, just when they looked set to take the game away from Eymet, Midi’s score of 104 for five meant a very gettable 69 runs were needed off 25 of its allotted 40 overs, well ahead of the required run rate.
However, Uddin’s reintroduction sparked the collapse and he finished with six wickets for 27 runs. Midi now faces the arduous journey to Mansle in the Charente in the third league fixture.
Result: Eymet 172 for 9; Midi all out 116; Eymet win by 56 runs.