Alfas travelled down to Pinatar on a late August Sunday to find a waterlogged pitch and unplayable crease!! Due to a malfunction in the Sprinkler system, the crease was submerged and play was delayed an hour and a half while a Coconut mat was sought and laid out and play eventually got under way at 12:30, both captains agreeing to make a game of it come what may instead of settling for a no result.
Winning the toss, Alfas inserted Pinatar which gave a slight advantage to the visitors as they could watch the opposition bat and get a feel for the pitch.
The first 5 overs showed that this would not be a high scoring game and Pinatar were 4/0 off 5 before Alfas made the breakthrough in the 6th over. Bash Ali keeping the ball straight and castling the Pinatar skipper Buckley for 3.
New Batsman Ravi Singh had a huge let off 2nd ball as, after facing one, he decided to camp out nearly half way down the track. He missed the ball and Byrne threw down the stumps only for the Umpire to dismiss the appeal....His repreve was short lived however as in the 10th Over he flashed at one from Bash and could only look on in despair as the Bowler dove to his left and took a return catch, Singh dismissed for 10, Pinatar 12/2 off 10.
Big hitting G. Singh was in next and quickly into his stride with a few 4's and a mighty 6, but, moving the safe handed Abdul back to the boundary rope paid off as Singh hit one too many high in the air and the catch was taken safely, Singh gone for a quickfire 24 off the bowling of 1st change Waqar.
Hamza coming on at the other end after an injury cut short Ahmed's spell after 2 overs was not to be left out and with the last ball of his 1st over, finally ended Panchal's dogged resistance, the opener getting bowled for 14, Pinatar 56/4 off 20. That wicket brought Hennessey to the crease and it was apparent from the off that this was a good player, his eventual 40 showing that to be the case. Hennessey had to stay around with the "tail" so much as it is in this dangerous Pinatar side.
Bittu Singh was the next to go, the pitch not doing him any favours and he could not get to grips with the way it was playing, eventually getting bowled by Waqar for 0. Hamza struck again shortly after, getting S. Singh (3) to sky one which Waqar settled under and, for a change, held on to! Hamza's next over saw another victim, this time I. Singh (1) getting clean bowled and Pinatar were 68/7 off 26.
However, Hennessey found a good partner in S. "Garry" Khan and together they pulled, prodded and poked Pinatar up to and over the 100 mark, Hennessey in one over popping 3 balls over the bowler's head but to short of the exasperated 'skipper Perman who did not know if he should stick or twist out in the deep.
The partnership was finally broken however as J. Perman got Khan (15) to miss a straight one and get bowled, Pinatar up to 112/7. Hennessey put on some more with the defensive B. Buckley until finally skying a catch to Peter Wright at point, all his years of experience counting under the high ball to give Perman his 2nd wicket. In the end, Buckley and Abbas held out to deny Alfas the final bowling point and Pinatar closed their innings on 131.
Tea was served with the menu stating you could have any kind of sandwich you wanted, as long as it was Tuna! After some tuna time, the match resumed and Peter Wright and Jack Perman strode out to bat.
Tight bowling and clear heads from the batsmen made the chase into a great chess match at the start of the innings, Abbas giving nothing away easily and Ravi Singh at the other end being economical as well. However, a quick single turned into terror for Peter Wright as he grounded his bat into his own middle stump and had to come off retired Hurt to get his wind back and perform an extraction of delicate parts!
Abdul joined Perman at the crease and together they moved the score onto 72 before Abdul was adjudged LBW off the 1st ball of B. Singh. Peter Wright, by this stage, had managed to get his wind back and joined Perman again out in the middle, adding another 20 to the total before Perman, within 3 of his 50, was caught on the boundary looking to bring it up in style. 92/2. 92 proved to be a bad number for Alfas as 3 maidens in a row and another wicket, Wright falling for 10 to Abbas slowed the chase a bit and sent Alfas back to Nervous wandering around the pitch.
Cooper however, got into his groove and hit a couple of boundaries to ease some pressure on the scoreboard before being bowled by a beautiful delivery by Abbas for 9. Alfas on 116/4 off 32, still plenty of time to get the last 16 with Byrne joining Hamza.
With some attentive running turning wides into doubles, Alfas ended up home comfortably with 4.5 overs to spare.
19 points for Alfas to give them a slight advantage over Pinatar in the race for the title and all eyes will turn to Pinatar vs Valencia Stars in their upcoming match.
Kevin Laundon - Sporting Alfas Cricket Club.