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MALLORCA WIN THE BALEARIC CUP
 
13th May 2014

MAJORCA DAILY BULLETIN BALEARIC CUP - REPORT COPY BY FRANK LEAVERS

MALLORCA BATTLE TO SNATCH ‘THE BALEARIC CUP’ AWAY FROM IBIZA CC IN TENSE FINAL GAME

Where to start? Good advice is to start at the beginning and then work forwards; unfortunately I don’t have the time or the space to do that, so I will write this report the other way around! After a fascinating Friday and Saturday of highly competitive cricket the destination of this most prized ‘pot’ still hung in the balance.

On Sunday at the cricket club ground in Magalluf, trophy holders Ibiza CC were taking on the hosts Mallorca CC in the final ‘rubber’ of this three-way tournament. Each team had taken on…. and beaten Menorca CC in the previous two days and this was the crunch match! As Mallorca opening batsmen Hijazy Jazeen and Paul Muckleberg nervously stretched and jogged their way to the middle all eyes were on what proved to be a hard fought contest.

Hijazy (aka Jazzy) has been in the form of his cricketing career just lately, and Paul Muckleberg is a top class opener and although he hasn’t played much cricket lately, this pairing would need to build a ‘base’ if Mallorca were to win the game.

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Both men delivered. With Jazzy the more expansive and with Muckleberg’s compact style, both batters looked relatively untroubled until Jazzy was caught & bowled by Swinburn for (30) hard fought runs. Strangely enough Muckleberg was to perish in much the same fashion but the bowler this time was Gordon……”Mucks’ had accumulated (44) and was obviously eyeing a half century on his return to Mallorca’s colours.

Ben Vickers was next at the crease, and because of his reputation as a fine batsman much was expected of him. Similarly, in  Sascha Goonesekera at the other end, surely there would be a lot of aggressive batting to admire in the coming overs?

In truth, it wasn’t to be their day; both men batted briskly, but first Vickers was caught before he really got ‘going’ for (17) runs off of the bowling of a joyous Swinburn, and then  Ibiza’s Cooper sent young Sascha back to the hutch for a promising (18) runs.

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KHALID MAKES HIS MOVE

At this stage Mallorca were 129 for 4 with 23 overs played……..OK but not brilliant, most certainly as Ibiza were very busy in the field and clearly ‘up-for-it.’ Khalid was next in and he was joined by wicket-keeper skipper Gareth Davis……then all of a sudden things started to go awry.

Davis and middle order anchor-man Jon Barrett came and went very quickly thanks to Gordon and Cruttwell for (10) and (5) respectively and the score stagnating on 144 for 6 wickets. By the time Pakistani youngster Usman joined his fellow countryman Khalid, it would be a brave man who would predict a score of 210-220 at the very best.

In some ways Khalid’s innings could be described in two parts. On his way to his first 50 he glided the ball around the ground with his usual assured elegance; then when he moved beyond his fifty he slowly stepped up the pace with his bat and by the end of his brilliant innings of (109) was flogging the Ibiza attack to all-parts of this big ground like a latter-day Imran Khan before he was caught off the bowling of Cooper near the death.

Both Khalid’s were brilliant! He was ably assisted by Usman who kept calm and worked the ball around neatly before he was another victim of the tireless Cooper. The last few overs were a mad scramble as a limping Wes Walker (groin strain!…..I’ve always wanted to write those words!) was bowled off his pads for a duck and it was left to Cook and Munir to complete the innings.

The final score; a surprisingly impressive 267 for 9 off 40 overs. Now to defend it! Cooper with 4 wickets, Swinburn and Gordon collecting 2 wickets apiece were the pick of Ibiza’s attack that at one stage had Mallorca CC on the ropes.

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GORDON LASHES THE MALLORCA ATTACK After the tea interval it was Ibiza’s opportunity to put out a warning…..and boy did they! In Jonno Gordon they have a brilliant cricketer and as he started the innings with partner Boe his intentions were quite clear.

From the off he knew that to win this game Ibiza had to start well, and after getting a couple of ‘sighters’ in he let fly. I am not talking about slogging here, or hitting and hoping, what Gordon was doing was ‘destroying’ an attack.

I have watched more cricket in Mallorca than I care to remember, but his innings was up there with one or two of the best of them. With Boe (1) and Van Byfeld (16) replacing his opening partner, he drove, hooked and cut the ball to all parts. And Mallorca were worryingly starting to lose their shape. However, with the ‘drinks’ interval just a few balls away Jonno Gordon lashed a ball from Barratt and Ben Vickers took a ‘pressure’ catch to rid Mallorca of their tormentor.

I took it to be because of pure relief that Gordon was not clapped by Mallorca fielders for his fantastic knock……the only possible excuse for their lack of common cricketing courtesy. Yes, these things do matter!

At the drinks break I noticed that skipper Gareth Davis and Club Captain Eric George (12th man) got the Mallorca boys into a huddle. From what I was told……..the riot act was read to them, not because a couple of chances were ‘decked,’ but because heads were dropping as Jonno Gordon was setting about them.

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MALLORCA GET ON TOP…AT LAST This was to be another innings of two halves, if you will forgive me the sporting cliché? In the final 20 overs Mallorca looked a different team. After Gordon’s demise Ibiza stuck to their guns, there were solid contributions from Swinburn (28) and Gooda (18) but by this time Mallorca had got their ‘mojo’ back from whence it had gone.

With Barratt and Munir now bowling tightly and grabbing a couple of wickets apiece and Goonesekera impressing with a 3 wicket haul, confidence and discipline returned to the team.

As Martin Makepeace was adjudged LBW off the bowling of Munir…… that was the end, The Balearic Cup was in the hands of Mallorca CC once again.

For those of you who thought that this was a straight forward victory, you can think again. As a Mallorca CC man through and through….I can tell you this with certainty; if Jonno Gordon could have stayed at the crease for another 5 to 7 overs, the result may have been very different indeed. That being said……the best team won the cup and hooray for that.

Well done boys. I would like to name a few blokes who should be mentioned in despatches. Menorca’s Cockcroft who hit a very fine (73) against Mallorca on Saturday, similarly Ben Vickers with a typically punchy (93) in that same game…… plus all the umpires who stood for 80 long overs across the three matches. Thanks also to Richard and Dee the Mallorca CC stewards for all their hard work.

Next year Ibiza……..can’t wait.

AND FINALLY……. On Saturday night almost eighty cricketers were entertained by a fantastic speech by best -selling author Lord Jeffery Archer at the tournament dinner at Mood Beach Club & Restaurant.

Lord Archer is a cricket ‘nut’ and so there were plenty of laughs during his speech. Lord Archer did the ‘gig’ for free after only arriving on the island at 4pm. The poor man must have had at least 500 photos of him taken with random cricketers from across our islands.

Thank you Lord Archer.

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