Levante CC hosted their first ever touring side from Britain last weekend, and here is an edited report from Orange CC of Leeds on their first game of their two match tour. Thanks to Simon Allen for the report..
Who likes early morning church bells? Nobody. Who likes the chime of a teaspoon clattering the side of a teacup at 9am? Nobody. Who likes a nine wicket defeat in 30 degree heat? Nobody.
A skin full of booze, the Catholic church and one thirsty Muslim with an overly aggressive hot drink stirring motion were not the best foundations for Orange's debut tour match against Levante CC in sunny Valencia.
After the rude awakenings and having dined on a breakfast of squid sandwiches and crisps, the Orange alcoholic cloud puffed and panted its way to an astro-turfed baseball pitch where a makeshift cricket ground was being constructed.
Their opponents looked very professional (they all had team caps) Tony Thacker's "they won't be very good" statement was, like his bowling, wide of the mark. Fearing his side weren't "mentally ready" for three hours of fielding in the baking heat, skipper Simon Ashberry opted to bat.
His teammates then forced him to open with Chris Flynn, who had found some enthusiasm from the pit of his stomach and wanted to use it before it departed. The duo took the field as the sun reached the hottest point of the afternoon.
In the outfield a hairy porpoise appeared......Orange mascot (downgraded from kitman) Ray Theakston had taken his top off. Ashberry and Flynn rode their luck against a dangerous pace attack, but managed to put on a handful of runs before Levante took their first scalp. Ashberry (6) scooped a delivery high into the air and Levante's skipper Jason Noon took a fantastic catch at the second time of asking.
Flynny was joined by Richard Toms (5) and Steve Laws (7), who sadly were no match for the bowling, before he was caught for a hard-fought sweaty 19. Thankfully Levante were forced to rest their opening attack but the change bowlers were still handy (Bill Bailey lookalike Scott Burchell told us later he'd played for the Spanish national side) and managed to remove Jeff Dunster (2), Javed Rehman (2) Zahoor Hussain (0), before Dan Taylor (46) and Bobby Davidson (28no) moved the score from embarrassing to respectable. Dan smacked an impressive eight fours and was incredibly unlucky not to make a half century as his crashing shot managed to find a fielder lurking by the boundary fence.
Poor old Bobby wasn't able to add to his score, left high and dry as the opening bowlers returned to mop up tail-enders Taz Sadiq (4) and Scott Allen (2) in professional fashion. 133 off just fewer than 30 overs, ok but not great. Spirits were low as Orange took to the field but remarkably it didn't show in the bowling.
Levante scored just six off the first five overs and then 18 off ten. Taz (4-0-9-0) Jeff (3-2-4-0) Dan (5-0-17-0) and Simon (3-1-7-0) doing a fantastic job in difficult conditions on a felt pitch, laid across expensive wood with an unusual rubber run up. However this being a forty over match, Levante started to apply some pressure as Orange wilted in the heat. Kakkad (35no), Little (35no), Hunt (28), Noon (19no) eventually rattled up the runs in just under 30 overs.
Despite the impressive bowling Orange only managed to take one wicket. Zahoor took the honour as Hunt dispatched him to the boundary only to find the safe hands of Tomsy. As they lay sprawled out on the field after the match Orange were left to reflect on what might have been. But I doubt an early night, thirty less beers, no cathedral bells, Jav not making a hot drink, ignoring the bottles of beer whilst playing and not chatting to the female sunbathing spectator would have helped......would it?