Midi Cricket Club’s first match of their autumn series against touring UK side Clapham-in-cricket was washed out on Saturday, 21 September, but a second game the following day, with overs reduced by the wet weather, ended in a thrilling last-ball victory for the home side at their ground in Pouzolles.
Clapham batted first in the re-arranged T20 game in gloomy, overcast conditions, Midi’s opening bowlers, Sher Ahmad and stand-in captain Louis Parry, initially had difficulty in controlling the swinging ball. However, Sher soon found his line and length, and in the fifth over clean bowled Clapham’s opener, the dangerous Josh Shinner.
Thereafter, Clapham’s batsmen accumulated runs steadily, and when the 100 came up in the 15th over for the loss of only four wickets, they seemed well placed to set an imposing target.
But then Parry then turned to guest player Taylor, who took two wickets of the fifth and sixth balls of his first over. At this stage, the rain, which had been falling gently for most of Clapham’s innings, started to fall heavily, bringing a premature end to their innings, and denying Taylor the opportunity of recording the first hat-trick at Pouzolles.
After the rain stopped, the game was reduced to 16 overs each side, leaving Midi a target of 108. Their chase got off to the worst possible start, when Chris Dommett was dismissed first ball by a delivery that skidded off the damp wicket.
Shakeel Akram was joined at the wicket by Sher, and together they tried to counter-attack. However, the slow outfield made scoring difficult, and their dismissal in successive overs left Midi at 37 for three. Parry was then joined at the wicket by Taylor, for what proved to be the key partnership of the match. Together they brought the score to 91 before Parry sportingly retired on 20 not out, leaving Midi to score 17 runs off the remaining three overs.
His gesture risked backfiring when, in the next over, first Malcolm, and then Taylor (who top-scored with 36), were beaten by the flight of Clapham’s spinner Rich, and were both out stumped. Fortunately, Midi’s incoming batsmen were the experienced American import Ken Miller and the mercurial Dutchman Joris Verdaasdonk.
As the rain started falling again, Midi needed seven runs to win off the last over. Miller managed to strike a single off the third ball of the over, and Verdaasdonk struck a boundary off the fourth, leaving Midi needing two runs off the final two balls of the game.
Verdaasdonk was unable to make contact with the fifth ball. Off the final ball of the game, his cover drive initially seemed to be placed too close to the Clapham fielder, before he lost his footing on the slippery outfield, allowing Midi’s batsmen to scamper home for two runs and a dramatic victory.
Next Saturday, 28 September, Midi’s autumn series continues with a match at Pouzolles against Greystones, from Ireland.
Result: Clapham-in-cricket -107/6 (16 overs), Midi – 108/5 (16 overs).