Levante beat La Manga II last weekend to give the Murcia based club their first league defeat. Four clubs still have a realistic chacnce of winning the title as we get to the business end of the season. Thanks to Levante CC for the following report on the game against La Manga.....
A scintillating performance with the ball helped Levante CC to exact revenge on La Manga CC, three weeks after suffering a heavy defeat to the same side in Murcia.
Having made the three and a half hour journey to Valencia, La Manga skipper for the day Mark Copperwheat was delighted to win the toss and had no hesitation in deciding to have a bat. That was as good as it would be for the visitors who had one or two key batsmen missing and were playing on the Levante CC wicket for the first time. With a very flat track at their home ground in the resort of La Manga, the bounce and pace at the VCG surprised a number of their batsmen.
Levante's opening bowling partnership of Andrew Pilkington and Rhys Hoy got the side off to a typically solid start with some fine pace bowling. Although the 8 overs opening spell had failed to produce a wicket, the La Manga openers were visibly shaken by a number of well directed short balls and had only managed 7 runs between them. Dave Tivey replaced Hoy and took a wicket in just his second over.
To the delight of Levante, the man out was Kev Buckley who had batted for two and a half hours against them in La Manga. A couple of run outs in quick succession then put Levante in a commanding position with the score at 18 for 3. Hoy replaced Pilkington at the road end for his second spell and he didn't disappoint as he ripped through the La Manga middle order.
First he had Paul Davis caught at wide mid on by a juggling Noon who finally took the catch at the fourth time of trying closer to midwicket than his original position, and then he bowled Stefan Rumistrzenwicz with a peach of a slower ball. 25 for 5 soon became 25 for 6 as Mark Copperwheat spooned another well placed slower ball by Hoy to the hand of Noon who was again at mid on. Akash Panchal(27not out) did provide some resistance but at the other end he was running out of partners.
Hoy, now bowling with supreme confidence took two wickets in as many balls in identical fashion. First to go was Graham Olyphant and then Matt Copperwheat, both offering chances that were superbly taken by Rich Graham at short cover. Rupert James, the La Manga youngster, survived the hat-trick ball despite edging the ball just short of slip. He wouldn't survive for much longer though, as Hoy rounded off his superb day by bowling the youngster with a fuller delivery.
After taking 6 wickets for 21 runs in 9 overs, Hoy was given a much deserved rest and was replaced by Matthews. In his first bowling appearance for the club, Matthews first bowled a good maiden and then wrapped up the innings with last man Rico. The last wicket partnership of Harry "Rico" Phull and Akash Panchal did earn La Manga a bonus point as they took their side from 42/9 to 76 all out
It was a magnificent bowling and fielding performance from the Valencia based side. Led by Rhys Hoy, now becoming a key figure for the club, and backed up by the other bowlers and all the fielders, it was by far and away the best performance of the season. Also pleasing was the fact only 3 wides were bowled and wicketkeeper Eaton had made it three games in a row without conceding a bye
They weren't going to rest on their laurels though as chasing in near 40c heat can be exhausting and difficult. A mix up between openers Green and Morgan almost led to a run out in the first over, but the La Manga fielders couldn't take advantage. Morgan, having timed a beautiful leg side boundary to perfection a couple of deliveries earlier then drove one straight to cover.
At 8/1 La Manga sensed an opening but Agnew and Green settled things down. Playing carefully they took the score to 38 when Agnew was wrapped on the pads in front of his stumps. Skipper Noon joined Green(24) at the crease but the latter was caught off the bowling of Davis. At 47/3 Levante still needed 30 runs to win but Burchell and Noon saw the team home comfortable to record an excellent win.
The win puts Levante right back into contention at the top of division two in their first season. They now sit in second place, just two points behind La Manga with both teams having three games remaining. With Madrid and Alfas also on the heels of the leaders, it promises to be an exciting conclusion to what has already been a fantastic season.
There really was only one candidate for motm despite a great team performance in which everyone played a part. Rhys Hoy goes into the Levante record books with the clubs best ever figures 6/21.
Thanks to La Manga for making the trip to Valencia and playing the game in a fantastic spirit
And as always thanks to the umpires John Howden and new guy Keith. Thanks also to club member Tony Little for coming down and scoring for us.
|K. Buckley||ct Matthews b Tivey||2|
|Del Larkins||run out (R.Graham)||8|
|B. Buckley||run out (S.Burchell)||3|
|Mark Copperwheat||ct Noon b Hoy||11|
|Paul Davis||ct Noon b Hoy||0|
|Stefan Rumistrzenwicz||b Hoy||0|
|Akash Panchal||Not Out||27|
|Graham Olyphant||ct Graham b Hoy||4|
|Matt Copperwheat||ct Graham b Hoy||0|
|Rupert James||b Hoy||0|
|Harmit Phull||b Matthews||17|
1nb 3w 5b 1lbfor 3 wickets
|Mark Green||ct Matt Copperwheat b Davis||24||3|
|Rhys Morgan||ct Mark Copperwheat b Akash||5||1|
|Richard Agnew||lbw b Davis||11||1|
|Jason Noon||Not Out||15||2||2|
|Scott Burchell||not out||12||1|