Rogers’ 66 not enough to save Midi from home league defeat

All-rounder Paul Rogers finally found form with the bat but his breezy top-scoring 66
was not enough to save Midi CC from their third league defeat of the 2014 season,
going down by 51 runs at home to Armagnac-Bigorre CC on Sunday, 18 May.

Opener Rogers, whose tight, consistent bowling has been in sharp contrast to a
disappointing run with the bat, thrashed four sixes and eight fours to put Midi in a
strong position in chasing the visitors’ target of 241 in the 40-over match.
When he left, LBW to Sudhir with the score on 92, it was left to the dependable Nick
Allison to steer Midi to victory and revenge for their defeat to Armagnac-Bigorre by
five wickets the previous weekend at Seissan.

But in a rerun of a familiar script, while Allison provided the bedrock for Midi’s
innings, the team imploded once again at the other end with the Usual Midi Collapse
(UMC), plummeting from 139 for four to 143 for eight.

Midi CC, who opened their campaign in the Midi-Pyrénées/South Division with their
first win in four years, are now in danger of once again propping up the table in the
four-team competition after three subsequent losses.

While they still sit in second place on 38 points after four matches behind Armagnac-
Bigorre on 54 points, Toulouse CC (29 points) and Catus CC (30 points) have played
only twice.

Midi went into the match at St Pons de Mauchiens against Armagnac-Bigorre
confident they could reverse the result of the previous Sunday with the return of
some key players and home ground advantage.

After losing the toss on a sunny day, Rogers once again provided the bowling
spearhead, and supported by fellow spin bowler Neeraj Obhrai, pegged the visitors
back, limiting their openers to a scant 28 runs after eight overs for the loss of one
wicket.

But opener Sriram, top scorer the previous week, once again emerged as Midi’s
nemesis, steering Armagnac-Bigorre to 201 for four before falling LBW to Patrick
Dubois for 89.

He was ably supported by Preetham who clouted 45 before becoming Dubois’ third
victim when Ram Kumbhar took a stunning catch on the boundary rope.

The visitors progressed to 240 for seven wickets, and while it was Rogers (1-34)
Neeraj (0-32) and Ram (0-35) who were able to contain the scoring from their
allotted eight overs it was Dubois with four for 67 and Dom George with two for 53
who did the damage.

Midi started their innings steadily, openers Rogers and Jason Armstrong taking the
score along to 27 before Armstrong went for six. Allison joined Rogers and the pair
moved the score quickly along to 97 before Rogers went.

Senior pro George then went quickly for a duck, followed by Neeraj who fell to a
wonder catch by bowler Sudhir for five.

Captain Alex Lalljee stopped the rot, dug in and compiled a handy 13 before being
bowled by Preetham with the score on 139.

The UMC then put paid to any hopes of a Midi victory, Martin Eede (0), Ram (0) and
Dubois (0), all falling to Tony Hands within the space of two overs.

Some late support for Allison from Joris Verdaasdonk (9) and David Amoros (six not
out) took the score along to a respectable 189 but well short of the 241 target. Allison
was the last wicket to fall, bowled for 60 by Gohel Abishek, his innings including 10
fours.

Midi now have to regroup for a vital home match on 31 May against Toulouse CC
who beat them by only one wicket in the match at Seissan on 10 May.

Midi’s road trip hits brick wall after first league victory

Midi CC, buoyed by a season-opening one-run victory over the formidable Catus CC,
embarked on their first road trip of 2014 with hopes high, but soon learnt that life at
the top can be short lived, going down by one wicket in a desperately close match to
Toulouse and then by five wickets to Armagnac-Bigorre.

Midi faced their first double header with the rare distinction of first place in the Midi-
Pyrénées/South Division after picking up 27 points at home the previous weekend.
While realists pointed out it was the division’s first match of the season, Midi had a
week to bask in the glory of a first league victory in four years.

But Midi ominously headed west to Seissan on 10 May with a depleted bowling
attack in the absence of the in-form Patrick Dubois and spinner Neeraj Obhrai and
with warhorse all-rounder Dom George playing with an injured ankle.

Vice-captain Paul Rogers stepped in as captain for Alex Lalljee and immediately had
to explain to his team why he lost the toss against Toulouse and Midi had to bat first
in the 40-over match on a cloudy but fine day.

It didn’t get any better for Rogers when he fell LBW to Philippe Fermanel in the
second over for a duck leaving Jason Armstrong, who survived a catch off a no ball
in the same over, to hopefully provide another foundation for Midi’s innings.

The man of the match against Catus with a stirring 88 not out was joined by Nick
Allison and the pair plodded along to 37 after 10 overs, the run rate not helped by a
slow outfield which saw Armstrong’s fine glances and cuts restricted to singles.

Just when it seemed that Midi had survived the early onslaught from Christophe
Srikanth, Fermanel and Mitish, Armstrong was well bowled by Rajesh for five and
Midi were 42 for two after 14 overs.

Allison, whose partnerships with Armstrong have been a feature of Midi’s season so
far, was the only batsman at ease with the Toulouse attack and as he accumulated
the team’s highest score, he watched helpless in the face of the Usual Midi Collapse
(UMC).

George departed for eight, Martin Eede followed on five, both victims of an on-fire
Skrikanth who went on to destroy Midi’s middle order, sending back President Marc
Dalling (0), Ram Kumbhar (0) in the same over with the score on 72, then removing
American import Ken Miller (0) in the next.

Midi had slumped from 58 for two to 72 for seven and only some dogged late support
for Allison from Joe Whitworth (5 not out), supported by David Amoros (5) and Pierre
Ziavanovic (5), enabled Midi to post a three-figure target of 101.

Allison’s was the eighth wicket to fall, another Skrikanth victim, but he had scored a
vital 38 with four fours, the only Midi batsman to post double figures ahead of
George (8) and five other batsmen weirdly on five apiece. Skrikanth finished with the
remarkable figures of six for 16 runs.

A crushing defeat looked in the offing but George and Rogers pegged back the
Toulouse openers and Pierre Zivanovic took a brilliant skied catch off Rogers’ first
over to give Midi some early hope.

Rogers’ tight bowling was matched by Midi in the field and he got his second wicket,
caught by Ram, to restrict Toulouse to 32 for two after 10 overs.

Rogers was joined in the bowling attack by Ram whose shorter run has oddly
produced genuine pace and direction and he bowled Amit Singh on 18 to leave the
home side tottering at 34 for three.

Rogers’ inspired spell had Toulouse foundering, and he took another two wickets,
one a tumbling catch at point by George, which saw half the home side out for only
41.

Midi were beginning to dream the impossible dream when Ken Miller struck to
remove Mitish for four with the score on 47.

But they had not reckoned on Skrikanth who followed up his brilliant bowling spell
with a solid innings that edged Toulouse towards the target.

Rogers had to ring the changes with his occasional bowlers after he, Ram and
George had bowled their allotted eight overs. The score moved to 81 for eight when
Dalling atoned for his duck with the wicket of Fermanel, caught again by Ram at
extra-cover from a ball that even the President admitted left a lot to be desired.

The last wicket pair faced a target of 20 and, with overs to spare, sensibly moved the
score along slowly and it was man-of-the-match Srikanth who broke Midi’s hearts
with a match-winning four off Miller and his team’s high score of 38 not out.

Rogers was the pick of the bowlers with exceptional figures of four for 10 runs while
George took two for 26 and Ram one for 13, the trio getting Midi so close to their first
win on the road for nearly five years.

Midi, rightly aggrieved that they hadn’t finished off the job, had – for them – a
subdued night on the town (Auch) before confronting Armagnac-Bigorre on a day
that dawned with rain and a possible cancellation.

Midi went into the match without George who decided not to risk further damage to
his ankle so had a further reduced bowling attack against a team who are arguably
the strongest in the division having recruited a number of players from last year’s
champions, Noé-Gascogne, who no longer play.

Under an overcast sky, Midi won the toss and Rogers boldly decided to bat, his
audacity heightened by the quick loss of four wickets for 24 runs – Dalling and the
Captain himself for two runs and runmakers Armstrong and Allison for two and three
runs respectively.

With opening strike bowler Preetham taking the first three wickets and threatening to
run through the side, Midi needed a miracle in the shape of a thunderstorm or similar
climatic intervention.

Alas, the gods served up the UMC (Usual Midi Collapse) and Midi plummeted from
41 for four to 45 for eight with wides providing the only scoring sideshow for the
beleaguered visitors.

The ever improving French junior Pierre Zivanovic injected the one bright note into
the sorry litany of failures with a breezy 12, the only player to score double figures,
taking the final score to 70 before he was out LBW.

Midi went into the defence of the moderate target without wicketkeeper Eede who
tweaked a calf muscle in his innings. Dalling stepped into the breach as Eede nursed
the injury with a frozen paella kindly donated by Rogers from his mobile home fridge.

Armagnac-Bigorre were never really threatened in their run chase after the opening
stand posted 34 runs. A brief lapse of focus saw the home side slip from 55 for two
to 64 for four but they eased to a five-wicket victory with 22 overs to spare.

Rogers was once again miserly, returning one wicket for 10 runs off four overs, while
Pierre’s younger brother Lucas surprised everybody, particularly batsman Andrew
Gatsby, with a first ball clean bowled and figures of one for five off 1.2 overs.

Midi can take encouragement that next Sunday’s return match against Armagnac-
Bigorre at St Pons de Mauchiens will be much more competitive with the return of
some key players and home ground advantage.

President Dalling was heartened by Midi’s application in the field in both matches
and was confident that the team would surprise Armagnace-Bigorre after the
weekend setback.

Wild scenes as Midi seal victory in league season opener against Catus

Wild scenes of jubilation erupted on Sunday as Midi CC’s French talismanic fielder
David Amoros took a rasping catch at extra cover to seal a dramatic one-run win for
the home side against Catus CC in the opening league match of the 2014 season.
Midi, who had not won a league match in the Midi-Pyrénées/South division for more
than three years, delightedly mobbed Amoros as the visitors’ last pair looked set to
overhaul Midi’s score of 215 for only three wickets after accumulating 20 runs.
But Midi’s long drought ended in style when young league debutant Lucien Calkin
forced a rash shot from Catus’ last man Ibrahim and Amoros snared the sharp
chance.

Midi’s shock win owed much to the home side’s South African connection – Jason
Armstrong top scored with 88 not out and Patrick Dubois took four for 35 – and new
coach Martin Eede who has injected much-needed belief in a team looking back on a
2013 season that yielded only two wins in 13 league, cup and friendly matches.

Calkin, Midi’s France Under-19 international, also announced his league arrival after
climbing from his sick bed, with a jaunty 16 not out and a vital 3 for 31, unexpectedly
good figures for the young cricketer who plays wicketkeeper for the national side.
Midi, who have never beaten Catus in league or cup, won the toss on a fine, sunny
day at the St Pons de Mauchiens ground on 4 May and the opening pair of vice-
captain Paul Rogers and Armstrong made a steady start until Rogers departed in the
fifth over with the score on 26, bowled by Karim for 12.

Nick Allison joined Armstrong and resumed where they had left off the previous week
when they put together a partnership of 133 in Midi’s friendly match against the Oslo
Aliens.

Armstrong, the quiet accumulator, whose most prized possession is his wicket,
rightly decided that staying at the crease was paramount and with this in mind the
run rate gave new meaning to snail’s pace – seven overs yielding nine runs as the
pair progressed to 50 in the 14 th over.

But the resilience paid off with the score quickly moving to 88 in the 20 th over when
Allison fell to Farouq for an uncharacteristically stoic 11.

With the sprinkle of spectators confused by the absence of the UMC (Usual Midi
Collapse), former captain and senior pro Dom George joined Armstrong and the pair
set about giving the visitors a score to chase in the 40-over match.

Armstrong, happy to progress in singles as the visitors moved fielders to the
boundary, provided the foil for George who plundered the bowling for 66, hitting nine
fours and a six before being bowled by Shafiq with the score on 193.

With only two overs remaining, Calkin was the perfect incoming batsmen, hitting two
fours and a six in a quickfire innings that took Midi to 215 for three wickets, their first
200-plus score in league matches in three seasons.

Man-of-the-match Armstrong, who scored 49 against the Oslo Aliens, hit 11 fours in
a chanceless innings and rightly earned loud applause from his teammates for a job
well done.

Slow bowlers Rogers and Nareej Obhrai opened the bowling for Midi a move by new
Captain Alex Lalljee that surprised the visitors who stuttered to 25 in six overs before
Richard Harris was caught by Calkin off Obhrai for 10.

With all of Midi’s bowlers, except Rogers and Joris Verdaasdonk, gifting the visitors a
raft of wides, Midi looked to be set on a familiar path of self-destruction.
But Dubois, whose opening two overs must have delighted the opposition, pulled
himself together and with Catus seemingly cruising on 79 for one after 14 overs,
produced a beautiful ball to bowl Australian Ken Sutton for 27.

Midi’s fielding tightened up after a dropped catch and a stumping chance, and
Dubois and George had Rofiq, Shafiq and Rob Allen back in the pavilion and half the
side out with the score on 131 and 20 overs gone.

Catus never really recovered and when Dubois took his fourth wicket to remove
danger man J.Patras, a lofted catch in the deep coolly taken by Joris Verdaasdonk,
Midi dared to dream that an almost unheard of league victory was theirs for the
taking.

Three quick wickets took the visitors from 175 to 184 for nine – two from Calkin, one
from George – and with the last pair needing 22 to win, Midi could be forgiven for
prematurely celebrating a famous victory

But Ibrahim had other ideas and, throwing caution to the wind, strange when Catus
had overs in hand, took his bat to Calkin before Amoros carved his name in the
record books. Amid the last-wicket mayhem, Verdaasdonk produced a niggardly
penultimate over under pressure yielding just one run.

Dubois was the pick of Midi’s bowlers with four for 35, Calkin returned three for 31,
George two for 51 and Obhrai 1 for 43. Wides had another field day, adding 37 runs
to the Catus score.

Midi’s victory should put them in the right frame of mind for their road trip this
weekend to Seissan and a double header in the league against Toulouse CC and
Armagnac-Bigorre CC. Captain Lalljee expects to field a full team for both matches,
an unusual occurrence and one which might produce a rare victory away from home.

Midi CC win but Barbarians XI clinch the Beziers – Cap d’Agde Airport Cup

Midi CC wound up the hosting of the region’s first three-team cricket tournament with a convincing eight-wicket victory over UK visitors Red Square Lions but the weekend spoils went to a Barbarians XI whose two wins gave them the title of champions as the first holders of the Beziers Cap d’Agde Airport Cup.

The Barbarians’ triumph on the first two days of competition on 27 and 28 September on Midi’s home ground at St Pons de Mauchiens owed much to the batting prowess of James Millinship whose 91 not out against Red Square Lions and 67 against Midi earned him the Player of the Series award.

Millinship’s 133-run partnership with Nick Allison (43), on loan from Midi, in the opening match against Red Square Lions took the Barbarians to 153 runs for only two wickets, and a quickfire 28 from Patrick Dubois set a formidable target of 257.

Despite the threat of a deluge on a dull, overcast day, Red Square seemed up for the task and openers Adam Barnes (41) and Dan Roper (49) gave the London-based visitors a solid foundation as they moved to 129 for one after 21 of the allotted 35 overs.

But once Barnes, Roper and Luke Templeman (32) had departed, the Lions’ run rate slowed and although they surpassed their best-ever limited overs score with 212, it was not enough to challenge the Barbarians who won the tournament’s first encounter by 44 runs.

Best bowler for the Barbarians was Paddy Hamill who took three for 30 in a tight six-over spell.

While scorer Reg Gratton, an ardent Leyton Orient supporter, initially wanted to award the Man of the Match award to Dan Roper, when he had learnt of his 10-year role as the Orient’s mascot Theo the Wyvern, ultimately sense and justice prevailed and Millinship was adjudged Player of the Match with his unbeaten 91.

Millinship, Hamill, Phil Palfreyman and Lauren Chamberlain, from the Queniborough CC club just north of Leicester, formed the backbone of the Barbarians team, with former Midi stalwart Greg Hannaford as their captain.

The weather was ever more grim and threatening on the second day of competition as the Barbarians were sent into bat after Midi won the toss.

With most of the Barbarians snarled in traffic on Pezenas market day, Nick Allison was joined as opener by Kevin Gatsby, publisher of the Herault Times, one of Midi’s partners.

Gatsby, who hadn’t played cricket for 15 years, proceeded to hit two searing fours before getting stumped but his stay at the wicket allowed precious time for the arrival of the Barbarians and in particular Millinship who provided the heart of the innings, helping to push the score to 163 for five before falling to a brilliant ball from Midi’s Dutch import Joris Verdaasdonk.

Millinship had support from downunder in the shape of Australian visitor Shaun Molloy who hit a sparkling 39, which included two sixes and four fours, before being comprehensively bowled by captain Dom George

Once again it was George who stemmed the run flow and produced the best bowling figures, a niggardly 3 for 25 off six overs, which included a great catch by Alex Lalljee running in from the deep.

With the match reduced to 30 overs because of the threatening skies and niggling drizzle, Midi’s 175-run target still seemed obtainable until Patrick Dubois, buoyed by his cameo innings of the day before, scythed his way through Midi’s top order.

Dubois removed openers Marc Dalling and Jason Armstrong, then Neal Atkinson and Ken Miller in a withering spell which produced tournament best figures of 4 for 16.

His final dismissal of Midi’s American import Ken Miller was the most bizarre of the weekend and particularly confusing for Miller’s mum who had never witnessed this strange game before and thought cricket was a sort of grasshopper.

Donning a pair of gloves made slippery by the wet conditions, Miller’s first delivery saw bat not ball go skywards and, wandering out of his crease in abject confusion, his bails were removed and in the true spirit of social cricket, he was sent on his way.

To the rescue came captain George and ably supported by Verdaasdonk, the pair took the score from 47 for five to 87, despite a rain delay during the partnership.

Verdaasdonk finally went for 19 bowled by Dean Molloy, Shaun’s younger brother, but George battled on, finally falling for 49, one short of his 50, but not enough to bring Midi victory, the Barbarians winning by 37 runs.

After Dubois, Shaun Molloy capped a good all-round performance with figures of three for 17 but it was George who was rightly named Man of the Match.

Despite a dire weather forecast of thunder, lightning, hail and the kitchen sink, the morning was bright and sunny for the final match between Red Square Lions and Midi.

The Lions batted first and once again Adam Barnes (42) and Dan Roper (31) proved impregnable but dogged as they progressed to 53 after 10 overs, with Midi opening bowler Joe Whitworth putting the brake on their scoring, conceding only nine runs in his first four overs.

A brilliant throw from the deep by Jason Armstrong ended Barnes’ innings and though both Charles Seville (32) and Bill Ridgers (37) accumulated runs, the scoreboard ticked over sedately, with captain George again proving difficult to put away with his seven overs producing figures of 1 for 20.

A jaunty sixth wicket partnership between Mike Jakeman (10) and Sam Fox (10) enabled the Lions to set Midi a target of 180, a target made easier after an unexpected tea break deluge which made bowling conditions difficult, nay almost dangerous, with the umpires deciding to bowl from one end with the aid of sawdust.

Sawdust aside, Midi opener Jason Armstrong was a man on a mission. Having regularly lost his wicket this season when seemingly on the way to a big score, he produced a chanceless innings, hitting 12 fours on his way to 81.

The opening stand of 78 with Alex Lalljee (25), laid the foundation for the Midi win which President Marc Dalling fittingly helped to finish off with an unbeaten 29, to give the home side victory by 8 wickets.

Armstrong was named Man of the Match for his highest score of the season and the main contribution to one of Midi’s rare victories in 2013.

Before the well-attended post-match barbeque, in presenting the trophies sculpted by Midi’s very own Nick Allison, President Dalling announced that the tournament would now be an annual competition on the Midi CC calendar and the club had already teams lined up for 2014.

Dalling also thanked the three umpires, Colin Trickett, Martin Eade and Roger Linsley for their officiating over the three days.

Patrick Dubois, in a pythonesque postscript to the tournament, apologised for not being available on the last day – a reptile convention had taken precedence.

Midi CC is now partnered with Cancer Support France, a local organisation providing support in English for those affected by cancer. Help raise funds for CSF by taking part in the Walk for Life being held this year in the Montagnac area on Sunday, 29 September. For further information visit the CSF website: www.csf-languedoc.com

Midi welcome captain’s return with raft of dropped catches

UK visitors Shapwick Occasionals snuffed out Midi CC’s hopes of celebrating the return from injury of captain Dom George by beating the home team in both matches played at St Pons de Mauchiens on 14 and 15 September.

George, whose broken finger ruled him out for a month before the summer recess, joint top-scored in the first 35-over match and returned the best bowling figures in the second, but his troops failed to rally to the cause and Midi went down by 70 runs and three wickets.

While Midi were never in contention in the first of the double-header games after Shapwick set them a winning target of 178, a raft of dropped catches and sloppy fielding in the second thrilling encounter allowed the visitors to overtake Midi’s competitive score of 187 with three overs to spare.

Midi’s first match of the September season of social friendlies started on a sobering note on a warm, sunny day with Shapwick’s openers, Pete Royall and Richard Edwards, compiling 71 runs before Nick Allison, in his first appearance of 2013, caught and bowled Royall for 17.

New recruit, Ramhari Kumbhar, followed up with his first Midi wicket, caught behind by wicketkeeper Marc Dalling, to reduce the visitors to 82 for two. Ramhari is doing a PhD in human genetics in Montpellier but his interest in playing for Midi has nothing to do with stem cell research on how to produce a winning cricket team.

Midi slowed the visitors run flow and with the introduction of George, who took two wickets for 15, and a second wicket for Ram, who ended with two for 24, saw Shapwick complete their 35 overs with 177 runs.

Midi President Dalling, recalling his epic innings of 94 against Shapwick last season when honours were even, started the run chase like a train, hitting three fours in Royall’s second over, before derailing himself leg before wicket to Robert Blackwell on 17.

Fellow opener, Jason Armstrong, who has provided Midi with a dependable backbone this season, tried to steady the home ship, but had to confront the curse of the UMC (usual Midi collapse), watching helpless as the home side were reduced to 51 for five, before he also succumbed on 17 to leave Midi on 53 for six.

A late flurry from George (17), ably assisted by Joe Whitworth who finished on 11 not out, took Midi past three figures to 107, a score which no doubt ensured a good night’s sleep for the visitors from Somerset ahead of Sunday’s match.

Armstrong once again provided Midi with a solid start when they batted first in the second match on another bright, sunny day and for once he kept pace with the frenetic Dalling as the pair compiled an opening stand of 35 runs in six overs before Dalling was stumped on 19.

After Armstrong was dismissed for 20 with the score on 48, Allison (27) and Ben Morgan combined for Midi’s best partnership of the weekend, taking the score to 122 before Morgan fell on 44, a score which included seven fours and a six.

George again showed his value as both batsman and bowler, linking up with Morgan and Alex Lalljee to move the score along before an unfortunate runout at the bowler’s end sent him back to the pavilion on 22.

Lalljee progressed to 25, a score which included an effortless six much to the amazement of son Felix, and helped Midi set Shapwick a winning target of 188.

Shapwick started disastrously after a brilliant throw from Armstrong in the deep sent Edwards back to the pavilion with the score on four.

Shapwick were groggy but Midi, instead of going for the jugular, opted to offer the visitors a winning window by dropping six catches before the drinks break, allowing Shapwick the luxury of passing the hundred mark with only three wickets down after 18 overs.

George’s introduction to the bowling attack gave Midi a sniff of victory and with four wickets in four overs, assisted by two brilliant catches from Patrick Dubois running in from the deep, Shapwick collapsed to 146 for seven.

But in a nail-biting finale, Royall (22) and partner Mike Evans (16) dug in and their 43-run partnership took Shapwick home with three overs to spare.

While George was the best of the Midi bowlers with four for 29, man of the match was Shapwick’s David Crosier who scored 43, while man of the series over the two matches was the visitors’ Mike Evans.

In the absence of our traiteur Ken Miller, George hosted a post-match BBQ for the visitors who have already indicated they will return again next year, this time as part of the planned triangular tournament in September.

Midi CC is now partnered with Cancer Support France, a local organisation providing support in English for those affected by cancer. Help raise funds for CSF by taking part in the Walk for Life being held this year in the Montagnac area on Sunday, 29 September. For further information visit the CSF website: www.csf-languedoc.com

Catus cut short Midi cup campaign with 118-run victory canter

Midi Cricket Club, bruised by Catus Cricket Club’s emphatic nine-wicket victory in their last
league match of the season, battled bravely against the same club at St Pons de Mauchiens
a week later, but still went down by 118 runs to end a short-lived Siddalls Cup campaign.

However their 2013 league and cup season ended on an optimistic note with Joris
Verdaasdonk and Midi’s man-of-the-match Joe Whitworth putting together an unbeaten 40-
run eighth-wicket partnership as Midi vainly chased Catus’ 257 target.

Midi finished on 138 for seven after captain-for-the-day Paul Rogers top scored with 39,
having turned round a disastrous Midi start which saw the four top-order batsmen back in the
pavilion with only 18 runs on the board.

Catus won the toss on a hot, fine Sunday and. with four players still making their way to the
ground, decided to bat first in the 35-over match.

With Midi’s attack still short of captain Dom George, recovering from a broken finger, Patrick
Dubois and David Mickleborough opened the bowling and it was the South African Dubois
who struck first with the score on 21, opener Rob Allen caught by the reliable French
youngster Pierre Zivanovic.

But having pegged Catus back in the early stages, Midi were left to rue two dropped catches
off Rahim, who went on to score 33, and a missed run out chance, allowing the visitors to
move past a century with only two wickets down.

Catus consolidated and moved past 150 for three wickets before Whitworth came on to
claim two victims in consecutive overs – Mark Beard, caught by Rogers on 21, then topscorer
Shafiq, bowled for 42. Whitworth lulled both batsmen into a feeling of security by
sprinkling six wides across the two overs.

Whitworth then picked up his third wicket with the score on 201, caught by wicketkeeper
David Amoros, to give him figures of three for 42 from his allotted seven-over spell.

The ever-dependable Ken Miller also picked up two wickets for 41 runs, with Verdaasdonk
(1-22), Dubois (1-60) and Ben Morgan (1-34), also chipping in, but Catus were able to set
the home side a formidable 257-run target for victory.

It all started very badly for Midi with Catus’ opening strike force, Karim and Rahim, sending
back the first four batsmen with only 18 runs scored. It was left to Rogers and Dubois to
steady the ship and they took the score along to 41 before Dubois (12) gave Rahim his
second wicket.

With victory slipping away, Midi were looking for respectability and Rogers, leading from the
front, grew in confidence and with support from Miller (13), Verdaasdonk (26 not out) and
Whitworth (12 not out), the home side were able to post 138 runs.

Rogers had looked well set in his second match after his return from his Central American
adventures but was sent on his way on 39 when given leg before by Shafiq bowling round
the wicket, a decision not often seen in Costa Rica.

Midi now go into their summer slumbers ahead of their September social season, launched
with the President’s Day festivities on Sunday, 8 September.

Thanks go to Joe Whitworth for putting together the tea at short notice and David Amoros
and Reg Gratton, for undertaking the mowing and, regrettably, giving Catus, a very fast
outfield.

Midi CC is now partnered with Cancer Support France (www.cse-languedoc.com), a local
organisation providing support in English for those affected by cancer.

Midi wind up league campaign with defeats on the road

Midi Cricket Club once again successfully defended their long losing streak on the road with
defeats against Noe-Gascogne CC and Catus CC in a weekend league double-header at the
Catus home ground near Cahors on 22 and 23 June.

The double loss keeps them rooted firmly at the bottom of the Midi-Pyrénées/South division
of the Siddalls Regional League with six defeats from six matches to wind up their 2013
league campaign.

After their confidence-boosting first win of the season the previous week in a friendly against
Bedouins CC, Midi CC were hoping for a change of fortune on the first road trip of the
season.

Batting first in both matches, Midi had the chance to give their bowlers scores to defend, but
despite (for Midi CC) lengthy stays at the wicket in both matches, particularly from the
dogged Jason Armstrong and captain for the weekend, Alex Lalljee, the runs simply did not
flow.

Armstrong was the backbone of the innings in Midi’s first match against Noe-Gascogne but
although his top score of 21 accumulated over 20 overs helped his team to a reasonable
score of 110, Noe-Gascogne ultimately cruised home by 4 wickets after an early scare when
three of their top order were back in the pavilion with only 44 runs on the board after half the
allotted 40 overs.

Lalljee’s patient top score of 13 in his hour at the crease against Catus CC found support
from only Ken Miller (11) and the 46-run target took the home side only five overs to
overtake for an easy nine-wicket victory.

Midi were once again below strength for their trip away from St Pons with captain and
leading run scorer Dom George still recovering from a broken finger, Roger Hartill nursing a
strained calf muscle and David Mickleborough and Joris Verdaasdonk unavailable.

But at least they were able to welcome back Paul Rogers after his Central American
adventures, and he quickly repaid his return to the side with two slip catches – one a brilliant
take low down to his right – and a wicket, which gave Midi a smidgeon of hope that they
might break through eight-man Noe-Gascogne’s defences for a first on-the-road win.

But middle-order batsmen Pierre and Yoji steadied the Noe-Gascogne ship and a
partnership of 72 saw them safely home. Lalljee (1 for 10 in five overs), Patrick Dubois (1 for
21 in six overs) and Rogers (1 for 26 in four overs) were the pick of the Midi bowlers.

Midi had determinedly battled to 110, thanks to Armstrong, some middle-order support from
Miller (16) and Dubois (11), and some generous Noe-Gascogne bowling which produced 36
wides, nine in the first two overs.

The Sunday match against Catus was painfully one-sided thanks to the UMC (usual Midi
collapse) and a batting order that ended at nine, with scorer Reg Gratton bringing up the
rear.

After laboriously toiling to 31 for three after 26 overs, Midi lost their last five wickets for 14
runs, to leave the run-hungry Gratton on a neatly compiled 0 not out.

Catus CC man-of-the-match Richard Harris finished with 2 for 6, one a curious bowling of
Miller who was given out when a bail dislodged itself from the wicket with the batsman aware
of no apparent intervention by the ball.

Catus CC were in no mood to hang around and with both Dubois and Miller unable to find
the line and length of the previous day, Harris proceeded to hit an unbeaten 28 – the winning
shot a huge six off Dubois – to help seal an easy home side victory. Miller took the only Midi
wicket at the cost of 21 runs from his two overs.

Midi now face a Siddalls Cup match against Catus CC at their St Pons de Mauchiens ground
on Sunday, 30 June, and will be hoping that captain Dom George will make his return from
injury to provide some inspiration for his team after the disappointing away weekend.

Thanks go to Midi President Marc Dalling and Ken Miller for driving duties and the Cahors
Auberge de Jeunesses for providing a toilet flush in the team dormitory that would have
woken the dead and probably contributed to Midi’s abject failure against Catus. Also thanks
again to Colin Trickett for making the long trip and providing his usual impeccable umpiring
in the Catus match.

Ken Miller inspires a famous Midi victory over Bedouins

American import Ken Miller inspired Midi Cricket Club to a famous victory and the first of a
frustrating rain and injury blighted season with a quickfire 35 and a three-wicket haul to give the
home side sweet revenge over UK touring side Bedouins CC at St Pons de Mauchiens on Saturday, 15
June.

Man of the match Miller, nursing an infected finger, helped Midi to set a more than respectable
target of 203 – their highest score of the season – with a flurry of fours and sixes – and then opened
the bowling to help send the Bedouins crashing to 57 for six before a late stand helped them recover
to 131 all out.

Midi’s 71-run victory was their first in six matches and was all the more creditable as they took the
field without injured all rounders Dom George (broken finger) and Alex Lalljee (injured shoulder) and
veteran spinner David Mickleborough (dicky knee).

Marc Dalling, captain for the day in the absence of George, set the perfect example for his team with
another solid opening stand of 43 with Jason Armstrong, hitting 30, including five fours, before
unluckily hitting his wicket when the ball flicked off his bat, on to his helmet, then on to the stumps.
Midi’s scoring stalled but thankfully, but much to the surprise of their long-suffering supporters (Sid
and Doris Bonkers and a dog named Kevin,), who were expecting the UMC (usual Midi collapse), the
home side dug in.

Roger Hartill, playing his first game of the season, scored a resolute 17 before retiring hurt with a
torn calf muscle, and supported by Joe Whitworth, who put in his best batting performance for the
club, paved the way for Miller to produce the cameo innings of the season.

Traiteur Miller, who said afterwards his innings was one for the kipper, smashed five fours and two
sixes for his highest score of the season and the best entertainment seen at the home ground since
Marc Dalling’s brilliant 94 last September.

Whitworth, at the other end, provided an ideal foil and rarely looked like getting out, finishing not
out on 28, by far his highest score of the season. Talismanic Frenchman David Amoros chipped in
with a jaunty 17 to help take the Midi score past 200.

For once Midi were able to take to the field with a score to defend, and with an inspired Miller, the
Bedouins, who beat Midi by 34 runs last season, were soon in trouble.

Patrick Dubois, celebrating his first year with the club, removed opener Rob Gillam in his second
over, then French youngster Lucas Zivanovic produced a fine throw from the deep for keeper
Amoros to run out fellow opener Peter Williams and find the Bedouins struggling at 27 for two.

In stepped Miller and in a three-over spell he sent the rest of the top order back to the pavilion at
the cost of only five runs. The Bedouins crashed to 57 for six when Lucas’ older brother Pierre
tempted the threatening Hardy into a rash shot to give Dalling one of two catches.

With half the allotted 35 overs gone, the Bedouins were looking at scoring over 10 runs an over for
victory and while a seventh wicket stand of 86 gave the score some respectability, the visitors never
looked like chasing down Midi’s target.

In the absence of George, Lalljee and Mickleborough, occasional bowlers Armstrong, Whitworth and
Dalling all stepped in to provide back-up for Miller (three for 15) and the miserly Dubois (one for 20).
Armstrong picked up two wickets for 25 in his four-over spell, while Whitworth, his confidence
boosted by his innings, produced a consistent line and length to record figures of 0 for 25 in his six
overs. Dalling’s five overs also conceded only 26 runs.

Midi’s victory was the ideal preparation for two tough matches on the road on 22 and 23 June,
against the formidable Noe-Gascogne CC and Catus CC.

Many thanks to Colin Trickett for his usual impeccable impiring, to Jason Armstrong for providing the
tea and to Reg Gratton for his seven-hour stint on the mower. Don’t ask him the difference between
2.5, 1.5 and 0.5.

Midi falter again against Catus after solid start

Midi CC looked set to prosper on the confidence of a narrow defeat to Toulouse CC in their previous
league match but after posting their best opening partnership of the season, the home side
foundered once again with Catus CC cruising to an eight-wicket victory on Sunday 26 May.

After several changes to the fixture schedule, what was supposed to be a double header ended up as
a league match only, with the Siddalls Cup game against Catus now to be played on Sunday 30 June.

Put into bat first, Midi started in solid fashion with a 55-run opening partnership but then the
wickets tumbled and Catus were set a moderate target of 136 runs.

The visitors’ Catus top order were in no mood to hang around and with their youthful side fresh
from a recent victory against perennial league champions Noe Gascogne, they took the game to
Midi from the first delivery, sealing victory in only the 16th over of the 40-over match.

The fourth defeat of their league campaign was disappointing for Midi who were bouyed by the
return of their injured captain Dom George and were in the mood to post their first victory of the
season

The rain of recent weeks had stayed away and openers Jason Armstrong (24) and Dalling (43) made a
solid start under blue skies. Their partnership of 55 provided a decent platform against some pacey
and accurate bowling from Catus’s opening bowlers. Armstrong was eventually dismissed just before
the drinks break.

Dalling and Lalljee (11 took the score along to 82 until Dalling was caught in the deep following a
flurry of boundaries. Next in was captain George (28) who picked his way through the first few
deliveries with well-placed singles as the scoreboard ticked over at a reasonable rate.

When Lalljee was bowled by Rofik, the ball ricocheting off his pads, Midi were in need of a solid
middle order partnership but as so often in the past, wickets tumbled and Midi lost five batsmen for
12 runs, including two first-ball ducks.

A late flurry of boundaries from the resilient George and Mickleborough helped push the scoring
rate up late on as Midi finished on a below par 135 all out.

A delightful tea was provided by Ken Miller, highlights including some deceptively tangy chicken
wraps. The hope was this would give Midi a kick at the start of their session in the field and make
some early inroads into the Catus top order.

Midi began with focus, but with Catus eyeing up the short boundaries square of the wicket they
quickly took the game away. They raced to 50 in five overs with Shafik (36) throwing the bat with
abandon.

Keeble (52 not out) at the other end played a fine innings, with some beautiful off-drives and several
clips behind square leg for four.

The Midi bowlers were quickly rotated to mix things up in an effort to stem the flow of runs. There
were also several big efforts in the field, George and Patrick Dubois launching themselves to make
stops as Catus peppered the outfield.

Catus reached their target of 136 in 15.4 overs with Midi left rueing a few early chances that didn’t
go their way, and which may have made a difference in slowing the Catus charge.

Onwards and upwards, Midi’s next game is against touring team Bedouin CC on Saturday 15 June. A
victory would see off those mid-season blues and give some confidence for the away weekend
double header on 22/23 June.

Practice continues…

Dubois spell brings Midi close to victory over Toulouse

Patrick Dubois produced Midi CC’s best bowling spell of the season to bring his
team close to an upset victory over Toulouse CC in a league match at St Pons de
Mauchiens on Saturday 18 May.

Dubois, who spearheaded the bowling attack in the absence of injured captain
Dom George, removed two of the visitors’ top-order batsmen in his first three
overs to send the visitors crashing to 16 for three wickets as they chased Midi’s
moderate score of 141.

When American import Ken Miller struck in his second over with the score on 38,
Midi seemed set to produce their first win of a disappointing, rain-blighted
season.

But a vital dropped catch on the boundary and a few grounded half chances
enabled Toulouse youngster Samuel Johnson and veteran Neil Warren to steady
the ship and, with a seventh wicket partnership of 53, they helped steer their
team home by three wickets.

Dubois, who rarely strayed from a tight line and length, returned his season’s
best figures of three for 21 in a seven-over spell while both Miller, with two
wickets for 27 and the returning David Mickelborough, with one for 22, gave him
able support.

Midi, who went down to Toulouse by 73 runs in their first league match of the
season, won a vital toss on a rain-affected ground and captain for the day Alex
Lalljee wisely elected to bat, quietly confident that the Toulouse opening strike
force would struggle on a slippery run-up.

Samuel Johnson, who had blitzed Midi in their previous match with four wickets
for seven runs, quickly shortened his approach after sending down two wides in
his first over and Midi’s openers Marc Dalling and Lalljee were able to capitalise
on the opening bowler’s uncertainty.

Marc Dalling, whose aim this season is to reach double figures in every innings,
kept to his target once again while Lalljee provided the solid foundation for Midi’s
best start of the season.

Midi put on 38 runs before Dalling was bowled for 14 by Toulouse’s best bowler,
Philippe Fermanel, while Lalljee helped push the score along to 76 for two before
going for 12.

George, whose ankle injury precluded him from fielding and the captaincy, had
shared a partnership of 29 with Lalljee but when he departed after top scoring
with a brisk innings of 30, Midi then provided their faithful supporters (Sid and
Doris Bonkers and a dog named Kevin) with the UMC (usual Midi collapse).

From a creditable 90 for three after 20 overs, Midi sank to 109 for eight, three
wickets falling to Fermanel who finished with four for 26.

Only Miller resisted the Midi surrender, hitting three fours and an outrageous six
for a creditable 27 in what he described afterwards at his media conference as
his longest-ever stay at the wicket (plate appearance).

Miller was the last to go, leaving Reg Gratton, who had handed over scoring
duties to brother Terry, stranded on a neatly compiled 0 not out.

Midi, in low spirits after the thumping 147-run home defeat by Noe Gascogne
the week before, visibly lifted as they pressed Toulouse from the start of their
innings for a first win of the season.

The whole team responded to wicketkeeper David Amoros’ inspired performance
behind the stumps and the enthusiasm shown in the field by the two French
youngsters, Pierre Ivanovic and Rashid Hriri.

Thank you to Dom George for providing the splendid tea and Colin Trickett for
his expert umpiring.