Midi CC celebrates new ground at Pouzolles with two victories

Midi CC made the perfect start to the 2017 season at its new ground in Pouzolles with two emphatic victories – a 137-run defeat of Mansle CC in the expanded South-West Regional League on Sunday, 7 May, which backed up an easy win in the annual friendly against Andorra CC the previous day.

Midi, so used to heartache and pain in its league campaigns, can now travel to Bordeaux next weekend for a first away encounter with confidence high and cheered by the form of the club’s debutants.

Young Bangladeshi batsman Omit Iqbal helped lay the foundation for Midi’s crushing win over Mansle with an opening stand of 78 with Joris Verdaasdonk, who relished the rare opportunity of striding out at the top of the order after Midi won the toss on a blustery, cloudy day.

Omit smashed 75 runs, seven of them sixes, in his 10-over partnership with Verdaasdonk, who compiled 19 runs before being bowled by Rubesh.

Omit’s top score allowed Captain Ankush Lal (20), and two other debutants, Ripu Mohamed (30) and Syed Naeem Abbas (27), the breathing space to take the home team’s score to a formidable 220 for five wickets after 25 overs.

Though Mansle pegged Midi back in the latter stages of the 40-over match with some fine bowling from Captain Remi Rocher and Rubesh Muraleederan, the final score of 288 in 39 overs proved too daunting for the visitors who were rueing their wayward bowling which yielded a frightening 64 wides in an extras total of 85. Thirty of the wides came from boundaries.

Mansle started the run chase slowly and two early wickets had them struggling at 17 for two after seven overs.  Captain Rocher’s run out dismissal for the second wicket was bizarre.  The ageless Dom George took what looked like a spectacular diving catch at square leg only for the ball to spill out of his hands behind him. Rocher thought he was out, started walking and Ankush Lal taking a throw from wicketkeeper Harshesh Bhatt, who had retrieved the dropped ball, performed the simple task of taking off the bails.

Though opener Rob Tilbury tried to push the score along, after he was dismissed for a top score of 23, no other batsmen made double figures as Mansle slumped to 151 all out in 24 overs.  In contrast to Mansle, Midi conceded 30 extras, 23 of them wides.

Ankush followed up on his three wickets against Andorra the previous day with 4 for 39, supported by a late cameo from American import Ken Miller which yielded 2 for 6 in eight balls, one a sharp stumping by Harshesh. Strike bowler Naeem posted figures of 2 for 41 from his seven overs.  

Midi’s solid 162-run victory over Andorra CC the previous day was helped in large part by man-of-the-match Ankush who led by example hitting a brilliant 103 not out and taking three wickets for a miserly 11 runs as the home team set a formidable 283 run target in the 40-over match.

The visitors from the tiny Pyrenees Principality, who have made the opening match of the season a regular event on Midi CC’s cricket calendar, had no answer to Midi’s four strike bowlers, Naeem, Louis Parry, Ahsan Uddin and Ankush who had Andorra reeling at 50 for six before a late revival. A solid 30 from tailender Mike Howard pushed the score to a more respectable 120 in 30 overs.

Ankush was the pick of Midi bowlers while debutant Parry, a recent arrival in the Herault from Brighton in the UK, took 2 for 16 and also chipped in with a useful 21 in the Midi innings.

Lucas Zivanovic, a product of Midi’s youth programme, who has now won a regular place in the senior team, was the second top scorer behind Ankush, the young Frenchman spending over an hour at the crease for a well-crafted 25 runs.

The victory over Andorra, an annual game always played in great spirit, provided a good test for the home side ahead of their league match against Mansle.

The new Playrite track which had been laid a fortnight before, played well despite the lack of rain which hampered the setting of the concrete base. A dedicated group led by the new President James Luckes and former President Colin Trickett had toiled for more than a month to lay the foundation for the new track as well as mowing and rolling the huge outfield.

Go to the Midi Cricket Club site on Facebook for a gallery of photos from the weekend matches 

Pouzolles’ Mayor cuts ribbon to open Midi’s new ground

       Pouzolles Mayor cuts the ribbon

Players and committee, social members, supporters and interested locals were on hand at Midi Cricket Club’s new ground on Sunday to join in the celebrations and applaud the formal cutting of the ribbon by Pouzolles Mayor Guy Roucayrol to mark the club’s move from St Pons de Mauchiens

          I declare this ground open…

In a brief ceremony, Midi CC’s new President James Luckes thanked the Pouzolles Mairie for its generosity in providing the new venue and ensuring the survival of the Languedoc’s only cricket club. He also hoped that the Pouzollais would come along and support the club at its first home matches on the weekend of 6 and 7 May.

The ground opening on 23 April in perfect, sunny weather attracted nearly 100 people who feasted on fish and chips, had a drink, watched a semi-serious six-a-side match, had a drink and then had a go – and another drink – in a social game where the laws of cricket were variously applied. As one of the club’s faithful supporters observed: “It’s been a grand day.”

A hard-core group led by the new President and former President Colin Trickett had toiled for more than a month to lay a foundation for the new Playrite track as well as mowing and rolling the huge outfield.  A Pouzolles Mairie workforce turned up with tractors and strimmers three days before the launch day to help finish the job.

Midi President James Luckes thanks the Mayor

Midi had played at St Pons for nearly 10 years but had to move out last November when the local tambourin club was given the go-ahead by the St Pons Mairie to use the club’s ground for a sport which needs a large rolled earth strip. The club received an interest-free loan from France Cricket to help fund the new track at Pouzolles.

The season ahead has been given a significant boost with the decision taken at last November’s AGM of the region’s cricket governing body ACCSO (

   A good crowd turned up for the opening

Association des Clubs de Cricket de Sud-Ouest) to merge the northern and southern pools into one division bringing together eight clubs. Matches will be played in May, June and July.

Club Captain Ankush Lal is also excited about the forthcoming season with the new ground and reinvigorated league season. The club is hoping for a good crowd at its first home match – a friendly against Andorra on Saturday 6 May – and the first league match against Mansle on the following day.

“We hope the Pouzallais come along to the match against Andorra, we’ll have a BBQ, and the matches against the principality are always great fun and played in the right spirit,” said club Secretary Reg Gratton.

Definitely out – a scene from the social match

 

Midi gets ready for new ground launch on 23 April

Midi Cricket Club is preparing for the biggest day since its birth in the Languedoc 12 years ago – the official opening of its new ground and pitch in Pouzolles on Sunday, 23 April.

A group of stalwart committee  members and players, led by new President James Luckes and former President Colin Trickett, has been hard at work over the past month, mowing and rolling the former football pitch and laying a new track ahead of its first home league match against Mansle on Sunday, 7 May.

“It’s been a huge task,” said Mr Luckes. ”We have had to lay more than eight tonnes of gravel, sand, cement and lime for the 30 metre track base.”

With an interest-free loan from France Cricket, the club has been able to buy a new UK-made Playrite synthetic cricket surface which will be played on for the first time with a social friendly on 23 April –  an open day featuring fish and chips from 12 noon and a bar with beers, wines and soft drinks.

“It’s open to all and we particularly welcome the local people from Pouzolles who have made all this possible,” said Secretary Reg Gratton.

It was the Mairie of Pouzolles that stepped in to save Midi, the only active cricket club in the Languedoc, and provide the new ground after it lost its home at St Pons de Mauchiens.

Midi had played at St Pons for over 10 years but moved out last November when the local tambourin club was given the go-ahead by the St Pons Mairie to use the club’s ground for a sport which needs a rolled earth strip of at least 80mx15m.

“It was impossible to share so we decided we had to go and we faced the real threat of extinction until Pouzolles stepped in and offered us a ground in Route de Roujan,” said Mr Luckes.

The club built up a good relationship with the local community in St Pons and established a junior programme some years ago with the result that it now has two young French players as permanent fixtures in the senior team.

“We are keen to become part of the Pouzolles community, something we achieved in St Pons, and we are sure that there are not only a number of expatriates in the area keen on giving their support to the club, but also local French residents who will be interested in finding out about this strange English game,” Reg Gratton said.

Starting work on the new pitch

 

The season ahead has been given a significant boost with the decision taken at last November’s AGM of the region’s cricket governing body ACCSO ( Association des Clubs de Cricket de Sud-Ouest) to merge the northern and southern pools into one division bringing together a potential eight clubs. Matches will be played in May, June and July.

Club Captain Ankush Lal is also excited about the forthcoming season with a new ground and reinvigorated league season. But he said the club needed a strong squad of players and the recruitment of new blood was vital if the club was to succeed at its new venue. He was optimistic that the new location in Pouzolles would attract potential players to the team and urged anyone interested to come along to the practise sessions before the first home match on 7 May.

“These will be advertised on the website – midicricket.com – and anyone keen on playing for Midi is welcome.”

The new ground address is: Route de Roujan, 34480 Pouzolles,Third exit on first roundabout from Roujan, First right at Stade sign (about 100m).

Putting the finishing touches to the foundation

 

Clearing the track for the new base

Please let us know your fish and chip orders:reggratton@gmail.com

 

Midi CC wins Fair Play Award for 2016 season

Fair Play Trophy

Fair Play Trophy

Midi CC has won the 2016 Fair Play award for the southern pool of the ACCSO regional league,

The award presented to the club at the governing regional body ACCSO’s Annual General Meeting on 5 November in Damazan recognises the team that adheres best to both the practice and the spirit of cricket in its conduct during the league and cup season.

The umpires compiled the data which monitored provision of team lists before the toss, provision of scorers, promptness of fielding side on field, 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.

Midi has always stressed to its players that their matches should be played in the right spirit and the trophy is a welcome recognition of this.

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Midi CC looks forward to 2017 with a new ground and new President

Midi CC has completed its move to a new ground in Pouzolles and has elected a new President to oversee what should be an exciting 2017 season in an expanded South-West France regional league.

moving-in-to-pouzolles

Moving in to Pouzolles

An enthusiastic team of Midi stalwarts loaded up trailers, a van, a station wagon and a few cars for a nostalgic departure from the club’s home in St Pons de Mauchiens to the venue near Roujan just over 25km away.

 

Among the removalists was newly elected president James Luckes, who was involved in the birth of the club 11 years ago and has been a firm supporter ever since. He was optimistic that the Pouzolles move would herald a bright future after the uncertainty of the 2016 season with few fixtures and the loss of the club’s St Pons’ home.

“I think the move went well and the new facilities will be a great step forward for the club.  A bit of hard work to do, but I am sure it will all look great in due course,” he said.

The new committee, elected at the club’s AGM on 20 October, has been buoyed by the decision taken at the November 5 AGM of the region’s governing body ACCSO ( Association des Clubs de Cricket de Sud-Ouest) to merge the northern and southern pools into one division bringing together a potential eight clubs.

Secretary Reg Gratton welcomed the move, which will be trialled for a season. “The southern pool was reduced to three clubs in 2016 – us, Catus CC and Toulouse CC – which meant only four league fixtures. You got tired of playing the same old faces. An enlarged competition should attract more members and certainly excites the existing squad,” he said.

 

James Luckes

New President James Luckes

With only Andorra CC providing friendly opposition in 2016 – three UK clubs cancelled their planned friendly tours to the Languedoc – the season was disappointingly thin for Midi, given that it probably had its strongest ever squad.

 

With the new ground and a reinvigorated league competition, the club has launched a recruitment drive to lift the number of official supporters and, more importantly, advertise its presence in Pouzolles and surrounding villages. It costs only 10 Euros for an individual or a family to become social members. Membership forms are posted on the website – www.midicricket.com. The club is also undertaking a mailout over the next few weeks.

“We are keen to become part of the Pouzolles community, something we achieved in St Pons, and we are sure that there are not only a number of expatriates in the area keen on giving their support to the club, but also local French residents who will be interested in finding out about this strange English game,” Reg Gratton said.

With this in mind, the club plans to have a social curtainraiser at the Pouzolles ground before the season starts with a BBQ, a bar and friendly in-house match to demonstrate the finer points of the game. All the Pouzellais and Pouzellaises will of course be made welcome.

The Commune de Pouzolles newsletter has already carried an article welcoming the club to the village with a brief summary of the rules of the game and some action photos to whet the local appetite.

The club’s AGM not only elected a new President to replace Marc Dalling, who oversaw last year’s very successful 10th anniversary celebrations, but also a new Treasurer, Dom George, who takes over from David Amoros, and will retain his role as Fixtures Secretary. Both Marc and David were given a hearty vote of thanks for their work for the club over a number of years. Reg Gratton remains Acting Secretary. Other committee members elected were Club Captain Ankush Lal, Ken Miller, former President Colin Trickett, David Cole, Martin Haskins and Joris Verdaasdonk.

James Luckes, who moves into the President’s hot seat, lives with his wife Gillian in Roujan, just down the road from the new ground, and with others he helped founder member Robin Hicks convert the field in his backyard into Midi’s first ground.

He played in a number of the early practice sessions. “The highlight was being carted off to the Clinic Pasteur in Pezenas to have my head stitched up following a trip over one of the minor ‘hummocks’ in Robin’s outfield,’ he said.

One of the club’s early highlights was a visit from James’ Stand Club in Taunton, Somerset, in 2006 for a match against Midi on Robin Hicks’ ‘pitch’. “I cannot recall who won but I seem to remember that we had a damn good time and it was very hot.”

On his agenda as the new President is to organize a return fixture with The Stand Club next September.

 

 

 

Rogers rolls back the years but Midi fall to cup defeat at Catus

7 Paul Rogers drives brilliantly but his 73 was not enough to prevent a cup defeat to Catus

By Joe Whitworth

A 10-man Midi battled bravely at a sweltering Catus but were undone by the brilliance of an unbeaten century from Rahim to lose by seven wickets in the quarter-finals of the Blevins Franks South West Cup on Sunday, 17 July.

After winning the toss and electing to bat following the long drive to Catus, Ankush Lal opened with his vice-captain Paul Rogers in a re-jigged batting order.

The usually free-scoring skipper was dropped on nought but then only added one run before being trapped LBW. Next man in, Gaurav Chatterjee, was also dropped but gave Catus another chance and but also went for one.

At 17 for two and a long tail it was looking like a short afternoon’s work for Midi and an easy win for Catus..
However, Rogers dug in and with Harshesh Bhatt measuring attack and defence perfectly, the score moved to 96-2 before Harshesh (45) fell just short of what would have been a well-deserved half century trying to accelerate the scoring rate.

As Rogers moved past 50, Ram Kumbhar (3) provided support as did Joe Whitworth (5 not out). Rogers was finally out with two balls of the innings left for a majestic 73. Ken Miller faced two balls for no run.

Midi finished on a respectable 145 for six wickets. Karim was the pick of the Catus bowlers with three for 21, Shafik took two for 37 and Faruk one for 25.

With such a score to defend, an improvement on the measly 113 when Midi beat Catus earlier in the season, the away side were dreaming of a cup upset. Alas, it was just a dream.

Despite the early wicket of Ken Sutton for one, caught and bowled Rogers (1 for 26 from three overs) with the score on 11, Rahim stepped in to take the game away from Midi.

Ankush curbed the run rate with some tight bowling (0 for 11 from six overs) but otherwise Rahim feasted on the Midi bowling.

Midi did manage to dismiss Stirling for 18 with the score on 87 and Shafik for 11 with the score on 104. Both of these wickets fell to Gaurav (2 for 54 from seven overs).

Ram’s 0 for 35 didn’t reflect how well he bowled, the number of plays and misses and shots in the air falling safely away from the field, and Lucas Zivanovic impressed with his one over for five runs.

Pierre Zivanovic bowled one over for eight runs and Miller was four balls through his first over when the home side hit the winning runs.

But the day belonged to Rahim who ended on 104 not out to see Catus home by seven wickets with more than 10 overs to spare.

ENDS JW

Midi go down to Catus and lose chance of first league title

By Joe Whitworth

In the last league match at their picturesque St Pons de Mauchiens ground, Midi CC were haunted by familiar problems – dropped catches and the UMC (Usual Midi Collapse) – to lose by 97 runs.

Facing a stronger Catus CC side on 26 June than they had beaten away from home earlier in the month, Midi lost their chance of pipping Toulouse CC to the ACCSO Regional League Southern Pool title.

Batting first, Catus got off to a solid and rapid start but Midi hung in and were rewarded with the score on 44 when the indefatigable Dom George (1-51) picked up the wicket of Stirling, well caught by captain Ankush Lal.

The score was doubled before the next wicket fell, with Ankush (2 for 66) turning provider and wrecking the stumps of Shakib.

Boosted by those breakthroughs, Midi turned up the heat and Catus slipped from 112 for 2 to 175 for 7 with spinner Gaurav (4 for 37) the main man – despite numerous chances going down.

Vice-captain Paul Rogers kept Catus in check with 0 for 32 from his allotted 8 overs, while Midi’s American import Ken Miller finished with 0 for 39 but it was Ram Kumbhar with 3 for 28 who wrapped up the tail at the end, although Catus added a vital 40 runs for the last wicket.

The top scorer was Bappy who hit 80 including one six caught by an opposition player next to the scorers which prompted the frustrated George to remark: “That’s how to catch Midi!”

Facing a tough target of 270, Midi made a steady start but the usually dependable Jason Armstrong (2) fell with the score on 17.

Fellow opener Rogers was looking comfortable until he forgot it was a game of cricket and not football, deflecting a leg-side ball on to the stumps, with skill the English football team only wish they had. He went for a solid 25 and Midi were on 59 for 2.

Midi continued to battle on, but every time a partnership looked to be forming, with Ankush proving immovable at one end, the home side lost a wicket – Harshesh Bhatt (7), George (10) and Gaurav Chatterjee (14) all threatening a big score before losing their wickets to leave the home side struggling at 149 for 6.

Ankush’s almost single-handed attempt to drag Midi over the line ended when he was out for 77 but it was a true captain’s knock and followed his top scores at Midi’s previous two matches.

Ram (4), Miller (1) and Joris Verdaasdonk (2) were then dismissed and the less said about your correspondent’s innings at number 11 the better, but he left Pierre Zivanovic stranded but unbeaten on 1.

For Catus, Karim, Rahim and Artic picked up two wickets each but Shafik was the star with 4 for 34 to dismiss Midi for 172, 97 runs short of the target with just less than 10 overs to be bowled.

Midi finished their league campaign with two wins and two defeats ahead of their cup and friendly campaign later in the season.

ENDS JW

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Rampant Rogers shines as Midi upset Catus

Vice-captain Paul Rogers produced a master class of swing bowling to inspire a shock victory for Midi over Catus CC on an away weekend which also brought defeat at the hands of Toulouse CC.
The strike bowler wrecked the Catus top order as the home side chased Midi’s meagre total of 113, returning season best figures of 5 for 28 in overcast conditions with slow bowler Gaurav Chatterjee mopping up the tail with a superb four-wicket spell which yielded only three runs.
But it was Rogers who helped erase the memory of the previous day’s thrashing by last year’s league champions Toulouse after Midi had crawled to 113 against Catus, reaching three figures thanks to captain Ankush Lal, who led by example, top scoring in both matches.
Catus went down by 52 runs as Midi turned round a poor performance in the field against Toulouse, with wicketkeeper Harshesh Bhatt outstanding in snapping up two catches and effecting a vital stumping.
Midi’s astonishing victory gives the club a chance of winning the ACCSO Regional League Southern Pool for the first time with a return match against Catus CC on 26 June now looming as the most vital in its 11-year history.
Sadly, if Midi win at home it could mark the last league match at St Pons de Mauchiens as the club must search for a new ground after the Mairie elected to lay a rolled earth Tambourin strip on the oval, making cricket almost impossible.
In gloomy conditions, with rain a constant threat, Midi won the toss and decided to bat against Catus, a team who had beaten the formidable Toulouse by five wickets in their only other league match this season and who had never lost to Midi at home.
The miserable record on the road looked set to continue with Midi’s top order crawling to 42 in 11 overs, bogged down by tight bowling from the home side, particularly Artik whose four-wicket haul included opener Rogers for 2 and club stalwart Dom George who grafted a dogged 8 as he and Ankush added a vital 53 runs after Midi had slumped to 49 for four.
It was Ankush who once again saved the day for Midi, moving to 53, with two sixes and five fours, before falling LBW to Rahim and triggering a dramatic Midi collapse which saw the last six wickets tumble for only 9 runs.
Harshesh was the only other batsman to make double figures (15) and Midi’s five ducks had the Catus team licking their lips at another dismal drubbing.
But the wily Rogers had other ideas. His first over removed the two openers and three overs later he despatched another two, supported by George who clean bowled the dangerous Rahim, who had top scored with 97 against Toulouse.
Catus slumped to 34 for six and looked hard pressed to make a half century. But their lower order batsmen Andy Pound and Steve Taylor staged a mini revival before Gaurav mopped up the last four batsmen with a two-over spell that yielded only three runs.
Midi’s stunning win was in sharp contrast to a lethargic display against Toulouse on the Saturday when Midi let the home side off the hook, conceding 170 runs in the last 20 overs. Ram Khumbar returned Midi’s best figures with 3 for 58.
Midi never looked like chasing the 294-run winning target and with half the side back in the pavilion with 124 runs on the board and 27 overs gone, respectability was the only option.
Ankush top scored with 44 in the 149-run total and only Gaurav (14), Harshesh (13), Rogers (12) and Marc Dalling (10), made double figures in the 144-run defeat.
Midi scorer Reg Gratton who has chronicled his team’s mostly painful league exploits on the road over the last six years promptly labelled the Catus victory as a high point and noted that this away weekend was one of the few when the club were able to field a full side on both days.
Midi also had both outgoing President Marc Dalling and Treasurer David Amoros on hand to watch Midi’s remarkable result. The victory follows the club’s record three league wins in the 2015 season – one over Catus at home – and confirms the view that Midi has the strongest squad in its history.
“This result makes it even more vital that the club survives and our top priority now is to find a new ground to allow the club to continue,” said President Dalling.

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Midi CC at the double against Andorra despite late resistance

Midi CC put the disappointing loss against Toulouse behind them with two fairly comfortable victories over Andorra CC in a friendly double header at their St Pons de Mauchiens home ground on 14 and 15 May.

Paul Rogers, at the helm in the absence of captain Ankush Lal, steered Midi home by eight wickets in a 40-over game, then followed it up with a 36-run victory over the tiny Pyrenees principality in a 20/20 match on Sunday.

Harshesh was the key batsman in the first encounter, hitting an unbeaten 51 after openers Nick Allison and Jason Armstrong laid a solid foundation for his swashbuckling innings as the home team chased a 142-run target.

Pierre20/20 man of the match Pierre Zivanovic wearing the Andorra cap presented by captain Jon Houghton.

But it was Midi’s young Frenchman, Pierre Zivanovic, who stole the show in the second match top scoring with 45 in an unfamiliar role as opener and helping Midi set Andorra a formidable target of 179, a run rate of nearly nine an over.

In fine but windy conditions, Andorra opened the batting in the first match, and it was another teenager, 17-year-old Dan Carrington, who shone for his team going in at number 10 with the visitors in desperate trouble at 53 runs for eight wickets.

Skipper Rogers was the principal destroyer, removing three of the Andorran top order in his first four overs. Unlike the previous week in the match against Toulouse, he found immediate line and length, beginning his spell with a wicket maiden and finishing with superb figures of four for 20.

Rogers was supported by fellow slow bowler Allison who removed most of the middle order and finished with a miserly four for 12.

But it was Rogers who finally despatched the dangerous Çarrington with a caught and bowled after the youngster had figured in an 88-run partnership with Daniel Le Mare who was last man out, caught by wicketkeeper David Amoros for 29 off Allison.

With a fairly modest target, Midi’s openers Allison and Armstrong decided to dig in and lay a foundation for a later onslaught. The Midi innings moved ahead at a snail’s pace with 25 posted in the first 10 overs.

Armstrong, returning after a year’s sabbatical, played some of his trademark glances as he progressed to 18 before falling to spinner Harry Cull, ushering in American import Ken Miller who hit a cameo 13 runs, with one enormous six, before making way for Harshesh.

Harshesh decided he had already taken a look at the bowling and with the solid resistance of Allison at the other end, carved a brilliant unbeaten half century which included five 4s and two 6s, sealing victory with eight overs to spare. Allison also remained unbeaten on 40 which included five 4s.

Midi’s run-chase task was made easier after the drinks break at 20 overs when a rain squall made the strip fairly treacherous and prompted the Andorran bowlers to change their run-up.

There was no hint of rain for the 20/20 match the following day and under a perfect, cloudless sky, Midi sent in the young brothers Zivanovic to open the batting for the first time.

It was an astute move by Rogers, for while younger brother Lucas went to a controversial slip catch by Cull, Pierre went on to hit his highest score, supported by Rogers who belted three 4s and four 6s on his way to a solid 42.

After he was bowled by Dan Carrington, the ageless Dom George joined Pierre, and smashed a quickfire 36 before opting to retire and give the lower order the chance to have a bat.

Pierre was the last out, hitting five 4s and two 6s on his way to a best-ever 45.

Ram Khumbar (11) and Ben Morgan (10) took the Midi score from 156 for four to 178 in the allotted 20 overs.

It was a score that Andorra never looked like surpassing and at 86 for eight after 15 overs, the outcome looked like an emphatic defeat.

But Harry Cull, 58 not out, and Australian Steve Jerome, 43, served up the most exciting stand of the weekend, hammering 56 runs in just over five overs to take the visitors score to a respectable 142.

Andorra voted Pierre Zivanovic as their man of the match, not only for his innings but also for bowling Jerome and returning figures of one for 20. But it was George with three for 12 and Gaurav, two for 19, who did the principal damage, with Joris Verdaasdonk also contributing with two for 24.

 

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Midi’s hopes of a dream start doomed by a wides’ nightmare

Midi Cricket Club came tantalisingly close to a dream start in their 2016 campaign against last season’s league champions Toulouse CC but a plethora of wides at the end handed the visitors victory by one wicket in a thrilling see-sawing match.

Midi won the toss on a fine, sunny day but gloom quickly descended on the St Pons de Mauchiens ground when the decision to bat saw four batsmen back in the pavilion for a disappointing 31 runs.

Openers Paul Rogers and Nick Allison both went cheaply for 8 and 5 and when Toulouse’ dangerous strike bowler Chris Srikanth sent back Harshesh for 5 and Gaurav for a duck in the same over, Midi were looking at a sub 100 score.

But new captain Ankush Lal and the ever-dependable warhorse Dom George (pictured above during his innings) steadied the Midi ship to lay the foundation for a reasonable target in the 40-over match.

The pair, who topped the batting averages last season, put on 56 runs before Ankush was caught and bowled by Rayhan for 43, a superb innings which included four 4s and a 6.

George battled on and though losing partners and retiring hurt for a spell with cramp in his thumb (sic), he top scored with 83 not out, steering Midi to 214 all out in the 38th over.

George’s innings included 13 4s and three imperious 6s. Ram Khumbar (11), Joris Verdaasdonk (7) and Lucas Zivanovic (5) all provided gritty resistance at the other end to help Midi pass the 200-run mark.

Skrikanth was the pick of the Toulouse bowlers with figures of 4 for 34.

Toulouse started their run chase at a gallop, hitting 39 runs in the first five overs and with the score on 132 for three and under half of the allocated overs bowled, looked on course for an easy victory.

But the introduction of slow bowler Gaurav stemmed the run flow and with the support of George, Rogers and Ram, Toulouse were pegged back and the wickets started to tumble.

Toulouse lost five wickets for 44 runs with Gaurav fittingly trapping top-scorer Pankaj LBW on 68 to have the visitors struggling on 166 for seven wickets, still 49 short of the winning target.

Midi were smelling the sweet scent of victory when the eighth wicket fell. With only 10 men in the side, Toulouse last two batsmen needed 39 runs.

But somehow Midi contrived defeat. Wides had already given notice that they would have a hand in the result and this proved to be the case. Fourteen were presented to Toulouse in the last few overs, the winning run not surprisingly going to this irksome extra.

Midi’s two best bowlers, George (2 for 36) and Gaurav (1 for 14), conceded only four wides in their 14 overs of the 47 conceded by the home team. Ram also contributed with 2 for 38.

Captain Ankush was not too disheartened by the defeat in his message to the team ahead of the friendly double-header against Andorra CC on 14 and 15 May.

“We lost but it wasn’t an easy match. A lot of pressure from the beginning. We all tried our best and that all counts first.

“Hats off to Dom for the great innings with the bat and bowl. He made us able to give a good fight! Gaurav was just amazing today who gave us a great comeback in the game with Ram. It was very close in the end.

“We needed to be more disciplined in the bowling (specially me). Extra runs ruined the day for us. And we lost our major wickets in the beginning. Going forward, let’s try to have more patience in batting and rely more on singles, doubles and ground shots.”

Saturday’s match against Andorra CC at St Pons starts at 1pm.