Club from Nimes to play league cricket next season

Cricket continues to thrive in south-west France with a new club from Nimes playing in the Blevins Franks ACCSO South-West League next season, joining Midi Cricket Club as the second team in the Languedoc.

“This is great news,” said new Midi Cricket Club President Reg Gratton. “They will be sharing our ground at Pouzolles next season before they get their own ground in Nimes, so there will be more matches to come and watch.”

Midi CC has for many years existed as the only active club in the area with Toulouse CC the closest team in the southern pool of the ACCSO League. The club moved from its ground in St Pons de Mauchiens to Pouzolles three years ago.

Gratton is confident that another club in the area will further enhance interest in cricket and attract more playing members and supporters.

After a fairly disappointing season in 2019, Midi are looking forward to a league campaign next year which will involve five teams in two pools – northern and southern – with each group playing home and away. The winners of each group play a one-off final. Midi will be in the southern group, with Catus, Toulouse Bears, Toulouse Wolves, and newcomers Nimes.

The league season begins on Sunday, 26 April, with Nimes playing Midi at Pouzolles but the club are hoping to arrange a friendly against them some time in early April ahead of the start of the league campaign.  

In his review of the past season, retiring President James Luckes told the Annual General Meeting in late November that the unexpected departure of three players for professional/personal reasons – including the Vice-Captain Naeem Abbas – left Midi unable to fulfil any of the return fixtures.

It also caused the club’s withdrawal from the cup/plate competition. In all, Midi played a total of eight matches in 2019: four league matches, winning three and losing one; two competitive T20s, winning one and losing one; and two friendlies, winning one and losing one. After winning their first three league matches and sitting on top of the southern pool table, Midi finished the season second from bottom.

As for friendlies in September and October, bad weather reduced an intended two-day fixture against Clapham in Cricket to a T20, which on the day was further reduced to a 16 overs-a-side game. In difficult conditions, Midi secured a dramatic win off the final ball. The following weekend, in perfect weather, Midi hosted Greystones CC from Ireland, who proved to be strong opposition. Two other planned friendlies, against Lobsters CC from the UK, and Andorra, were cancelled as neither Lobsters nor Andorra had enough players.

Looking ahead to the 2020 campaign, James Luckes told the AGM that Midi had to step up recruitment in the close season and would be running a promotion through expat websites to get more members. 

The AGM elected Reg Gratton as the new President, Mark Hayden as the new Secretary to replace Gratton while Dom George remained Treasurer and club Captain. Ken Miller was re-elected as the club Vice-President.

In his report to the AGM, Reg Gratton highlighted that umpiring had become a serious problem with the number of qualified umpires dwindling and aging and threatening the very existence of competition in 2020. Midi were fortunate in having two qualified umpires and would hopefully add two more to the list with new Secretary Mark Hayden and Chris Drommett agreeing to go on the ACCSO umpires’ course early next year. 

Gratton thanked the outgoing President James Luckes for his role at the helm of the club over the last three years. He had added a whole new dimension to the club, particularly in his overseeing of the move to Pouzolles which could so easily have heralded the club’s demise. His legacy would not only be the new strip which he personally supervised including the buying and delivering of the sand, cement, lime and gravel but also the erection of what are now called the Luckes Sightscreens, almost Heath Robinson in design but hugely effective. The two mowers also owed him a debt for their longevity.

Irish visitors Greystones beat Midi in T20 final over thriller

Irish visiting team Greystones secured a thrilling victory over Midi Cricket Club with the winning runs scored in the last over of their Twenty20 match played at Pouzolles on Saturday, 28 September.

 After the previous weekend’s near washout, conditions could not have been more different for the second of Midi CC’s autumn series of international friendlies.

After Midi’s victory over Clapham-in-cricket, Midi chose to bat against the County Wicklow club  on a perfect late September sunny afternoon. The visitors made an early breakthrough when opener Ben Morgan was deceived by a slower delivery and clean bowled in the second over.

Midi’s top order however recovered well from this setback, and a third-wicket partnership of over 60 between Shakeel Akram and Warren Dauncey took Midi to a score of 99 for the loss of just two wickets in the ninth over. Midi looked well set to post an imposing target, but then Shakeel, Dauncey, and captain Louis Parry were dismissed in the space of just six balls without a run being scored.

Returning Midi stalwart Marc Dalling was joined at the wicket by last week’s hero Joris Verdaasdonk. When Dalling was dismissed for a gritty 3, Verdaasdonk was joined at the crease by newcomer Faaiz with five overs left.

Together, they seized the initiative back from the Greystones bowlers.  With the support of Verdaasdonk (31 not out), Faaiz plundered 37 not out from just 15 deliveries, including three 6s and four 4s.

This set Geystones a target of 185, and their opening pair of Daniel and Sharma rose to the challenge, putting on 68 for the first wicket before Daniel was dismissed in the eighth over. Sharma and incoming batsman Harry Kirk continued to score quickly, and brought the total to 116 in the 12th over before Sharma was dismissed for 48.

Midi’s bowlers now put a little more pressure on the Greystones batsmen and wickets began to fall more frequently, with Dauncey taking three for 32 from his four overs.

It set up a dramatic finish with Greystones needing four runs from the final over. However, Kirk quickly removed any suspense by hitting the first ball of the 20th over for six, securing both his own half century and a four-wicket victory for his team.

Result: Midi CC 184 for 5 from 20 overs, Greystones CC 187 for 6 from 19.1 overs.

Mark Hayden

Midi CC triumph in last-ball thriller against UK touring side

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).


Mark Hayden


Damazan beat Midi by 61 runs to end unbeaten league run

Damazan CC ended Midi CC”s three-match unbeaten league campaign with a 61-run victory at their home ground on Sunday, 16 June, but the Herault’s only cricket club remain at the top of the ACCSO southern pool of the Blevins Franks Southwest Regional League 10 points clear of their nearest rivals.

However, with only two matches played, compared to Midi’s four, unbeaten Damazan are now the biggest threat to Midi winning their first-ever league title.  

In the bucolic surroundings of their ground, Damazan won the toss and chose to bat first on a perfect afternoon for cricket. Midi’s opening bowlers gave little away, restricting Damazan to just 27 runs from the first 10 overs, which featured an opening spell of three consecutive maidens from Waseem Akhter, who finished with figures of 0 for six from 6.2 overs.

Midi’s change bowlers proved more to the Damazan batsmen’s liking, however, and the opening partnership passed 50 before Louis Parry struck twice in one over, the first with the help of a superb one-handed take from captain Naeem Abbas at cover, the second when Dutch import Joris Verdaasdonk safely pouched a steepling catch at mid-on.

Damazan’s batsmen continued to score rapidly, however, with Ahmed (58) and Shahid (22) making full use of some loose Midi bowling.

At 106 for three wickets after 18 overs, Damazan seemed set to post an imposing total, but quick wickets either side of the drinks break saw Midi reduce them to 126 for seven. The Damazan tail then wagged, to leave Midi facing a target of 171 from 41 overs.

Midi’s run chase got off to the worst possible start, when Chris Dommett was bowled for 0 off the third  ball of the first over. Ben Morgan and the prolific Shakeel Akram brought the score to 37 from 10 overs before Damazan’s Gagandeep Singh tempted Morgan into an overly ambitious lofted drive, and then bowled Verdaasdonk in the same over. Singh would finish with figures of five for 16 from seven overs.

Midi’s in-form batsmen, Shakeel and Sher Ahmad, found it difficult to make progress against some accurate Damazan bowling, with just two boundaries coming between the 7th and 19th overs, and Shakeel progressing from 20 to 30 entirely in singles. Nevertheless, they had brought the total to 64 before Sher was dismissed on the stroke of the drinks interval.

Midi’s hopes of reaching Damazan’s total suffered a further blow when Shakeel pulled a muscle running a quick single, and had to retire hurt, having scored 38. Nevertheless, Warren Dauncey, with support from Parry, brought the score to 106 for five before he was out to a smart stumping.

This brought the injured Shakeel back to the wicket with Midi still believing they could pull off a victory and keeping their unbeaten league record intact. Unfortunately, Shakeel was bowled first ball on his return, and Midi’s remaining wickets fell rapidly to finish 109 all out, giving Damazan a comfortable victory.

Overall, too many of Midi’s batsmen got out too cheaply: while seven of Damazan’s batsmen reached double figures, seven of Midi’s did not.

The return fixture against Damazan at Midi’s home ground in Pouzolles on Sunday, 7 July, is likely to be crucial in deciding who wins the southern pool of the ACCSO league in 2019.

Mark Hayden 

Midi make it a hat-trick of league wins and stay top of the table

Midi CC made it three league wins out of three as striker bowler Sher Ahmad blew the TCC Bears away with six wickets for 18 runs after new recruit Chris Dommett laid the foundation for the victory with a top score of 56.

Man-of-the-match Sher also contributed a handy 39 as Midi compiled a solid 257 runs for eight wickets from their 40 overs after being sent in to bat on their home ground in Pouzolles on Sunday, 19 May.

The result puts Midi at the top of the southern pool table in the Blevins Franks South West Regional League on 30 points – 20 points ahead of second team Catus CC who have played two and lost one.  Midi’s next match is a return against the Bears at Toulouse on 9 June.

Sher blasted out the Bears’ top order in a devastating opening two overs  which reduced the visitors to 12 runs for four wickets.

Though they recovered after a fine  72-run sixth-wicket stand between Michael John (52) and Darshan Ramesh (46) which took the score to 127, two late wickets from American import Ken Miller, a brilliant catch in the covers from Shakeel Akram off the slow bowling of Dom George, and two more wickets from Sher mopped up the Bears’ innings. They were finally dismissed for 149 to lose by 108 runs.

Miller finished with two for 27,  Shakeel with one for 29 and the wily George with one for 37.

But it was the contribution of Midi’s batsmen led by Dommett and Sher which set up Midi’s victory.

Going in as opener Dommett lost Abdul Adnan (4) and Naeem Abbas (6) cheaply but was joined by the prolific Shakeel who scored 27 before being bowled, then by Sher who helped move the score along past 130 before getting out LBW to Michael John.

Dommett hit five 4s and two 6s before being bowled by Darshan.  A late cameo innings of 30 from Safi Kashifa helped by an unbeaten 18 not out from a dogged Joris Verdaasdonk took the Midi score along to 257 – a target which proved impossible for the Bears to run down.


Midi win one, lose one, in triangular T20 and fail to reach final

Mid CC’s triangular T20 tussle with the Wolves and Bears from Toulouse CC in the ACCSO Southern pool ended in a three-way tie on Sunday with each team winning and losing one match.

But based on runs per over, the Wolves mauled their opponents and made it through to the Blevins Franks T20 finals on 2 June and will play Damazan CC from the Northern Pool.

After the Wolves had beaten the Bears in the Toulouse derby, Midi took the field against the Bears. Midi’s captain  Dom George won the toss and decided to bat. Clean striking from Joris Verdaasdonk (34), supported by Ben Morgan (17) and Kashifa Safi (13), saw Midi race to 61 for one after just six overs.

Midi’s Dutch import Joris Verdaasdonk strikes a four in his innings of 34 v the TCC Bears

However, Midi’s middle order found it difficult to come to terms with the variations in line and length sent down by the Bears’ bowlers, and the middle third of the innings produced just 38 runs for the loss of four wickets. Mark Hayden’s dismissal for a painfully-compiled six allowed the tail to wag in the final overs, with a quick-fire 14 not out from Waseem Akhtar helping Midi to post a reasonably competitive total of 146 from their 20 overs.

Midi’s quick bowlers then made good use of the skiddy plastic pitch at Toulouse to reduce the Bears to 37 for three after eight overs. The Bears’ batsmen found Midi’s medium pacers more to their liking, however, with fully one-quarter of the required runs coming off just two overs from Naeem Abbas and Verdaasdonk.

The Bears’ Rama (51), supported by Michael (42 not out ) brought the score to 140 before Rama was run out in the 19th over with the Bears just six short of their target. Possibly a little belatedly, Midi brought the field in to cut off easy singles, but Michael responded by striking two boundaries off the final over to give the Bears victory with three balls to spare.

Midi’s narrow defeat left the team a little deflated. The Wolves took advantage of this, opting to bat first in the day’s third and final match, and they put a 100 runs  on the board inside the first 10 overs, for the loss of just one wicket.

Helped notably by Waseem’s tidy spell of one for 26 from his four overs, Midi managed to stem the flow of runs somewhat in the second half of the Wolves’ innings, to restrict them to a nonetheless challenging total of 173 for two. Wolves opening batsman Peter Jarvis added an unbeaten 82, building on his undefeated score of 95 in the earlier match against the Bears.

Midi started their innings briskly, with Morgan (28) at the top of the order again providing a solid foundation. While keeping up with the required run rate of almost nine an over proved not to be a problem, the loss of two wickets through run outs left Midi on 66 for four after eight overs, raising the prospect that they might be bowled out inside their allotted 20 overs.

However, a magnificent innings of 80 from Ahmad Sher, including eight sixes and five fours, turned the innings around. When he was dismissed with the total on 154, Midi needed just 21 runs from the final four overs. As the evening shadows stretched across the pitch, captain Dom George nudged and French cut his way to 17 not out, before Louis Parry achieved a career first by striking the winning run from the second ball of the final over.

Mark Hayden

Midi CC win again to maintain unbeaten start to season

Midi CC’s batting star Shakeel Akram once again guided his team to a second successive victory, his 90 not out providing the foundation for a convincing seven wicket win over the TCC Wolves on Sunday.

Midi, who beat Catus CC in the opening match of their 2019 league campaign, won the toss at their wind-blown Pouzolles ground and captain Dom George sent the Toulouse side in to bat.

A three-wicket haul from Ahmad Sher, another two from Shakeel and two stunning runouts by Waseem Akhtar, limited the visitors to a moderate 179 runs all out from 35 overs.

The home side lost Warren Dauncey (4) and Naeem Abbas (4) cheaply but Shakeel, coming in at number three, shored up the innings, and unlike his rampaging century against Catus the previous weekend, he studiously compiled runs at the start as he sized up the bowling.

With able support from Sher Ahmad (28 not out) and Abdul Basu Adnan (20), Shakeel hit 12 fours and four sixes to ensure that Midi would start their campaign in the Blevins Franks South West Regional League with two wins out of two.

With TCC Wolves batting first, opening strike bowler Sher got Midi off to a great start by removing TCC Wolves’ opening bat Peter Jarvis with a vicious swinging first ball then followed it up in his second over with the wicket of Edrees Zahiry to reduce the visitors to 8 for two wickets.

The Wolves then started piling on the runs and looked capable of setting Midi a competitive 200-plus target but the veteran campaigner George then removed Tanjil Haque LBW on 32, Shakeel had Sriram Balasubramaniam leg before on 21, then Waseem executed an incredible underarm direct hit from fine leg to run out top scorer Sharif Uddin on 32. With slow bowler Warren Dauncey removing Uchchhal Bandyoppadhay on 3 for what can only be described as a donkey drop, Wolves were struggling at 129 for six.

Sher and Shakeel picked up another wicket apiece, Waseem then removed young George Jarvis for a patient 21 and finally wrapped up the innings with a brilliant run out from his own bowling. Sher ended with a creditable three for 26 while Shakeel followed up his six-wicket haul against Catus, with two for 23.

George used eight of bowlers to give as many of the team as possible a chance to participate but it was the strike bowlers – Sher and Shakeel – who did the damage.

Midi’s run chase started bizarrely with opening bowler Raffi Seyal conceding 12 runs with a mixture of wides, a no ball and loose deliveries.

Raffi finally pulled his bowling together in his third over to remove Naeem Abbas for four after Warren Dauncey had been caught also for four off the bowling of Sam.

Shakeel then came in and with support at the other end from Adnan and Sher the score moved towards the winning target, the Wolves not helping their cause by having three bowlers removed from play for bowling over shoulder height after receiving a warning from the umpire.  

Midi CC open league campaign with victory over Catus

A fine century and a six-wicket haul from all-rounder Shakeel Akram spearheaded Midi Cricket Club to an impressive 105-run victory on Sunday, 21 April. over old rivals Catus CC and marked a perfect start to their 2019 campaign in the Blevins Franks South West Regional League.

On a damp, rain sodden day in Catus, Midi captain Dom George won the toss but quickly wondered if the decision was the right one as he saw his top order fall on the willow, slumping in true Midi fashion to three wickets for 16 runs –  Sher Ahmad (1), Akhter Waseem (0) and Syed Naeem (2), all removed by strike bowlers Karim Khan and Ahmed Imran.

The Catus ground, so often a graveyard for Midi in past seasons, had initiated the last rites and an early drive back to the Herault on Easter Sunday seemed the only bright prospect for the visiting side who were playing with only 10 men.  

Midi CC after the 105-run victory over Catus

But Shakeel, playing his second season with the club, had other ideas and brandishing his bat with venom, provided the ideal anchor. Almost from the first ball he faced, he advanced down the wicket to show the opposition that he was up for an onslaught on the Catus front-line bowlers.

With able support at the other end from Ben Morgan, who crafted a studious 9,, the battle-scarred warhorse George (17)  and new South African recruit Warren Dauncey (17), Shakeel  set about the Catus bowling.

Before falling to a catch in the deep for 109 runs, he blasted eight sixes and seven fours, to help Midi post a competitive 183-run target from 38.1 of the allotted 40 overs..

In reply, Catus lost three early wickets for only seven runs with Sher and Naeem doing the early damage before Shakeel stepped in, removing the danger man, Rahim Khan for 25. He then despatched the last five batsmen for a total of nine runs – three clean bowled and two caught. With man-of-the-match Shakeel proving to be almost unplayable, Catus slumped to 77 all out.

Shakeel finished with impressive figures of six for 15 and with the other three strike bowlers all contributing, captain George was looking ahead optimistically to Midi’s league season in the revamped Southern Pool which now has five teams in the league competition. “Catus are never easy to play on their home ground, and we showed with both bat and ball, that we will be competitive this season,” said George.

Midi’s next match in the Blevins Franks South West Regional League is at the club’s Pouzolles ground against TCC Wolves on Sunday 5 May. Start will be at 1pm.


Midi CC wins Fair Play Award for second time in three years

Midi Cricket Club has won the 2018 season Fair Play Award for the Blevins Franks Southwest Regional League – the second time it has received the honour in the last three years.

The award, which carries a 200 Euro prize, was presented to the club at the ACCSO Annual General Meeting on 10 November in Damazan and recognises the team that adheres best to both the practice and the spirit of cricket in its conduct during the league and cup season.

It was noted that Midi gained five Sporting Bonus points for a player walking when the umpire was unsure if he was out. In this case it was Midi captain Dom George who set a fine example to his players that matches should be played in the correct spirit.

The umpires compile the data which monitors provision of team lists before the toss, provision of scorers, fielding side on field promptly, respect for over rate, absence of sledging, applause for incoming batsmen, silence during run-up, absence of dissent, absence of excessive/orchestrated appealing and positive player attitude towards umpires.

Next season the Fair Play Award is to be re-named the Sportsmanship Award.

ACCSO, which governs cricket in this region, also agreed at its AGM to revert to two pools for the league  – North and South – with semi-finals and final to decide the overall winner.

Midi will be playing in the South pool with a likely two sides from Toulouse CC and Catus CC on a home and away basis. The long distances involved in playing in one division last season resulted in matches being forfeited and contributed to Midi finishing last in the league. The match format will be changed and will be no more than 75 overs with a new points structure.

It was also agreed to continue with a T20 tournament with pools of three teams where possible. The Blevins Franks Cup with a 35-over format would also be re-introduced with a Grand Final at the end of August as a major sponsor’s event. A plate competition would run in parallel.

ACCSO also agreed to continue with pink balls which were introduced last season with the caveat that teams could choose the colour of the ball to be used on their ground. Catus had complained that the pink ball became unplayable after being fished from the river that runs by their ground.

Most of the other clubs however felt that the use of pink balls last season had been a success – they were much more easy to see and also to find when hit out of the ground.

Midi CC Annual General Meeting on 15 November


Thursday, 15 November, at 18:30

Le Wine Shop, 65 Avenue de Verdun, Pézenas

Midi Cricket Club has embarked on an ambitious programme to involve its members and supporters in a wider range of activities beyond cricket.

While the club will continue to play both league and social cricket in the 2019 season, we also want your help in supporting regular social nights.

We have already held two successful darts, pies and beer nights in Pouzolles this year with another two planned for 5 December and 6 February. We have a Retro Night at the Pouzolles Salle des Fetes on Saturday, 3 November, and urge you to come along and enjoy the night with a live band, as well as food and drink from the 50s/60s era. We also plan a social softball event in the New Year at our Pouzolles ground.

So if you are interested in helping to ensure the long-term health of the club, come along to the AGM on 15 November and have your say on how we can continue to play a role in the life of the expat community.

The club has booked a stand at the annual Cracker Fair on 24 and 25 November at Abbaye de Valmagne in order to generate membership and provoke interest.

At the AGM we will be electing the committee to take us into an enduring future. We will also be looking to co-opt people on to our permanent social and events committee to help steer the club in its new direction.

Please email the secretary at
of your intention to attend this meeting and send any items to add to the AGM agenda which will be circulated ahead of the meeting.

Afterwards, an apéritif will be offered by the club