Join us at Pouzolles on Midi Cricket Club President’s Day on Sunday 24 June 11am – 4pm
Fun & Games for adults and children will include target golf, croquet, batting and bowling competition, welly throwing, skittles, lucky dip, raffle with great prizes, social cricket match, CSF book stall and other retails stands
Food & Drink will include a BBQ, Mr Fish & Chips, beer (English and local), wine and soft drinks.
Where we are: Route de Roujan. Pouzolles, 34480. There will be signage from the Pouzolles roundabout.
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.
After going through its first season unbeaten at the club’s new home in Pouzolles, Midi CC suffered a first defeat in the Blevins Franks South-West Regional League, going down to old rivals Toulouse by 83 runs on Sunday, 20 May.
Midi scored a record 375 runs in the home win over Toulouse last season but was never in the hunt in this match after the visitors posted 280 for nine wickets from its 40 overs.
Midi, who finished a respectable fourth in last year’s league campaign, had gone into the first game of the 2018 season on the back of some regular practice under the expert tutelage of its American marquee player Ken Miller but some early wayward bowling and a few dropped catches allowed Toulouse openers Darshan and Rayan to lay the foundations for an emphatic victory.
It took a brilliant catch from resident Dutchman Joris Verdaasdonk off his own bowling to break the opening partnership sending back Rayan on 52 with the score on 110.
Darshan was next to go bowled by Miller with the score on 130 but with a run rate of nearly eight an over, Toulouse looked set for a formidable score. Miller, who took 2 for 22 off his five overs, Verdaasdonk (1 for 20) and captain Dom George (1 for 19) slowed the run rate down with the veteran all-rounder taking the vital wicket of Tanjil after a quickfire 48.
However, with grey skies moving in and thunder rumbling in the distance, a middle order burst produced eight sixes and took the Toulouse score to 280. It could have been more but for pace bowler Sher Ahmad who took three wickets in two overs in his second spell and ended with three for 50.
The rain threatened but never materialised and Midi, with four new players in the side, decided to play themselves in, the openers Biff Batstone and Shakeel Akram grafting a studious 35 in the first 10 overs before Batstone fell for three.
Shakeel stepped up the tempo in his first match for the club but Midi was always behind the run chase. When Shakeel departed after a solid innings of 63, which included four sixes, it was left to Ben Morgan (18) and Louis Parry (17) to shore up the innings and step up the run chase. But once they were gone and with the score on 152 for six wickets, Midi faced the nigh impossible task of scoring 129 runs off the last nine overs.
Miller (13) and George (19) edged the score towards respectability but Midi finally fell for 197 with George clean bowled and Mark Hayden stranded on five not out.
The match was technically a home match for Toulouse as their own ground was unavailable and it could be argued that as Midi was therefore playing an away match its unbeaten home record was still intact. But that’s ridiculous. Fortress Pouzolles is no more.
Midi will now have to lift its game for the second league match of the season, a home fixture against Eymet CC on Sunday, 27 May, but to be played at the Catus CC ground to lessen the travelling distance.
Dom George has returned to the captaincy of Midi Cricket Club for the third time in the club’s history following the departure of Ankush Lal and he will be leading his team out for the first match of the 2018 league campaign against old rivals Toulouse at the home ground in Pouzolles on Sunday, 20 May.
George, who has been a major force in the club both on and off the field since its inception in 2005, is hoping that the new recruits and pre-season practise sessions, impossible last season because of bad weather, will help the club improve on its fourth place finish last season in the Blevins Franks South-West Regional League.
“We were very close to winning it last year and despite losing Ankush, I think with the new blood we have a very good chance of finishing higher than last season,” he said.
Midi were unbeaten last season at the new ground in Pouzolles, and have been buoyed by the response to the recruitment campaign among the local expatriates in the close season.
The 40-over match against Toulouse starts at 1 pm and given that last season’s home victory saw Midi score a record 375 runs in its innings, the club is hoping for good support. The bar will be open serving beer, wine and soft drinks.
Midi Cricket Club’s first major event aimed at diversifying its activities to become a genuine sports and social club for the expatriate community was deemed a resounding success after a darts night in Pouzolles on 22 February attracted nearly 30 people to play a game, feast on a variety of pies and down an English beer or a glass of wine.
The event, held in the Salle des Fetes kindly provided by the Pouzolles Mairie, was won by Ron Bennett of Autignac, who conquered all in a knockout competition to take home a gift voucher for Le Wine Shop in Pezenas. Beaten in the final was Anton Banulski, a new social member who has moved to the area from Melbourne in Australia.
Terry Gratton, the tournament referee, presided over a 301 competition with three dart boards in play. Club captain and Treasurer Dom George called on his catering skills and, with the aid of a pie-making machine, delivered three types of pie – the meat and potato being voted the favourite.
Club President James Luckes, who has been the driving force behind the club’s initiative to broaden its activities and expand its membership, was particularly pleased by the turnout for the evening and proposed that another similar event be held before the league season starts in late April.
The new ground in Pouzolles, to which Midi moved in late 2016, is now firmly established as the home of the only cricket club in the Languedoc and it was therefore appropriate that the club’s non-cricket activities be held in the village, whose Mayor Guy Roucayrol has shown great hospitality to the club.
“It is an excellent venue which I am sure we can use for other types of events,” the President said.
Among the number of thank-you emails received by Secretary Reg Gratton there was a suggestion that a regular darts evening could also include bar games like dominoes, bar skittles and Scrabble. The club social committee will consider this at its next meeting in March.
Midi CC has re-elected James Luckes as its President and, after a successful inaugural year in which he oversaw the move to a new ground and better facilities at Pouzolles, he pledged to help the club broaden its activities and expand its membership in what could be a watershed year.
He told the club’s Annual General Meeting in Pezenas late last month that the new ground was now firmly established as the home of the only cricket club in the Languedoc and would hopefully continue to be so for the foreseeable future.
“The committee is also now pursuing a new plan for Midi CC to become more of a sports and social club that will encourage other sporting and non-sporting activities to take place at Pouzolles,” he said.
With this in mind, the club had a presence at the annual Cracker Fair in early December at the Abbaye de Valmagne and those club members who staffed the stand reported great interest in the establishment of darts, croquet and petanque clubs under the club’s umbrella. The first such event would be a darts and pie evening in Pouzolles in February.
Anyone wanting to sign up as a social member of the club in order to participate in any of the club’s new activities should go to the club’s website (midicricket.com) and complete the application form.
The move to Pouzolles from St Pons de Mauchiens late last year had reaped its benefits on the pitch with the club unbeaten in its first season with five matches won at home – three league and two friendlies. ‘Fortress’ Pouzolles also produced a few records – a huge 375 runs in 37 overs in a league victory over Toulouse which included a record 232-run partnership between Harshesh Bhatt who scored 130 and Naeem Abbas who hit 119.
Midi’s fine form at home produced a creditable fourth place finish in the expanded eight-team Blevins Franks South West Regional League.
Midi played seven league matches and won four and could have finished second if they had beaten Eymet in the last game of the season. Eymet’s win gave them the league title. The eight-team format will continue in the 2018 season.
Sadly, the club has had to say goodbye to its captain Ankush Lal who has gone north to study for an MBA and to leading batsman and wicketkeeper Harshesh Bhatt who has also left to further his studies in Nice.
Both became popular members of the club and contributed in large part to Midi’s success on the field. Ankush in particular contributed to Midi’s successful move to Pouzolles and in ensuring that the club conducted itself according to the spirit of the game on the field.
At its AGM, Reg Gratton was re-elected as Secretary, Dom George remains Treasurer, Ken Miller retains his role as Vice-President and former President Colin Trickett, Joris Verdaasdonk and Terry Gratton remain as ex-officio committee members. Mark Hayden and Louis Parry were also welcomed as new committee members, the former taking over the role of Fixtures Co-ordinator from Dom George.
It was decided that long-time Midi stalwart Dom George would assume the role of captain to replace Ankush Lal for the 2018 season, the AGM believing that a watershed year for the club needed someone who had experience and long involvement with Midi both as player and committee member.
The AGM consensus was that the club had to focus on recruiting both new playing and social members for the 2018 season in order to survive – it needed more local expats to join as players to forge a better balance with its South Asian players, who made up the majority of the team in the 2017 season.
It was therefore agreed that the membership fee for full members would be set at 30 Euros, reduced from 60. This would make it more attractive to become a player. It was also agreed to retain social membership fee at 10 Euros.