UK ASIANS BEAT HOSTS LA MANGA TO WIN THE TAVERNERS
A weekend of fantastic cricket culminated in a thrilling final which saw the UK Asians squeak home by 4 runs to capture the 2011 Lady Taverners trophy
Six teams competed in this years prestigious event with two teams from the UK and one from Switzerland joining three local teams. Each team played four games with the top four playing off in the semi finals for a place in the final.
Friday morning pitted Sinjuns from London against the UK Asians who predominantly come from the Blackburn and Bolton region of the United Kingdom. Sinjuns batted first and posted 124 all out from their full allocation of overs. In reply, the UK Asians made light work of their run chase and knocked it off for the loss of only two wickets in the 16th over.
On the bottom pitch at the same time La Manga were claiming their first points at the expense of Andalucia. La Manga posted 174 for 4 and Andulcia fell 60 runs short, being finally bowled out for 114.
Next up for La Manga was the eagerly anticipated re-match with the UK Asians. Both teams had reached he final of the La Manga Twenty20 the month before when the match ended in a tie. This time it was the turn of La Manga to claim the spoils chasing down 143 with 2 balls and 4 wickets to spare.
Meanwhile on the other La Manga pitch the Swiss Cricket Association were begining their tournament campaign against Andalucia. Things did not go to plan for the Swiss as they struggled to cope with the La Manga pitch and Andalucia ran out comfortable 10 wicket victors with Nushan Alwis starring with a fine 69 not out
La Manga´s played their third game of the day to accomodate the late arrival of Alcorcon and this was a one sided affair against Sinjuns. La Manga posted a tournament high score of 226 for 3 with Joel Brook, Sajid Ali and Munib Ranwaj all amongst the runs. Sinjuns reply capitulated to 133 for 9 to give the hosts their third successive win and put them on top of the table after day one.
Day two saw the Swiss Cricket Association v UK Asians and Alcorcon v Andulucia as the first matches of the day. Alcorcon scored 141 all out off 19.1 overs but the Andalucia batting could not reproduce the form it showed against the Swiss and they were bowled all out for 101 in 19.2 overs.
On the other pitch the Swiss lost their second consecutive game, losing by 7 wickets to the UK Asians. Ovais Yousef was the major difference between the sides, scoring a fine 62 for the victors.
Sinjuns then entertained Alcorcon but still failed to find that elusive win. Sinjuns were all out for 125 and the Madrid based outfit knocked off the runs with 2.2 overs to spare.
La Manga played the Swiss on the other pitch in their last group game and they maintained their 100% record and ensured top spot in the semi final draw. La Manga scored 177 for 7 with Jim Morgan looking in fine form before he was run out for 44. Swiss CA had no answer to the bowling of Spanish international Sajid Ali who took 3 wickets for 1 run as La Manga ended winners by 56 runs.
Sinjuns then came agonisingly close to the victory their hard work and endeavour deserved but in a close fought match they finally lost out by 9 runs to Andalucia.
The final match of the day put Alcorcon against the United Asians. The teams looked well matched onpaper but it was a one sided affair with UK Asians easily winning the game, knocking off the 158 required in 15.5 overs. Asif Bhojani was the UK Asians hero with a fantastic 79 not out.
Day 2 ended with La Manga confirmed in the semi final and the luckless Sinjuns out of the competition. The other 3 semi final places were still very much alive for the UK Asians, Alcorcon, Swiss CA and Andalucia.
Saturday evening the teams were treated to a fantastic Gala Dinner, flamenco dancing, from both players and professionals alike, and excellent speeches from the two celebrity guests Mike Gatting and Rachel Heyhoe-Flint. There was also a raffle and auction that raised well over 500 euros for the Taverners charities.
Day 3 started with the final group game between Alcorcon and the Swiss CA. Calculators were at the ready as run rate was a factor for the 3 remaining semi final berths up for grabs. Alcorcon made 121 all out which meant that the Swiss CA had to surpass the Alcorcon total by the end of the 9th over. This proved too arduous a task for the Swiss and despite winning the game in the 16th over it was them that missed out on a semi-final contest because of their inferior run rate.
The semi finals saw the 3 Spanish clubs and UK Asians in contention. La Manga (1st) played Andulucia (4th) and Alcorcon (3rd) played 2cd place UK Asians simultanously on the other pitch.
Alcorcon and La Manga batted first and both scored 186 runs in their innings. A daunting chase for both Andalucia and UK Asians.
On pitch 1 Andalucia fought bravely but fell 27 runs short of the La Manga total. Sajid Ali, again showed his quality for La Manga putting on 133 for the 1st wicket with fellow opener Joel Brook and then he took 4 for 10 with the ball to get the man of the match vote.
On the bottom pitch things turned out differently with the UK Asians scoring 188 for 3 off 17.4 overs. A fine 81 from Saif Bhojani and an unbeaten 4th wicket partnership of 47 between Naeem Ashraf and Patrick Gallagher ensured the final all the spectators wanted.
The final did not dissapoint. UK Asians batted first and put on the board a challenging total of 177 for 7. The Bhojani brothers again showed their promise with Asif scoring 45 and Saif hitting 70.
La Manga lost Joel Brook early but a 2cd wicket partnership of 98 between Jim Morgan and Sajid Ali put the hosts in the driving seat. However the loss of both players at 144 in the 17th over lead to panic in the La Manga ranks and quick wickets fell as runs got increasingly difficult to find.
The tension mounted and with Tanveer Iqbal requiring 4 to draw off the last ball the excitement was at fever pitch. With the last ball the UK Asian bowler clean bowled the Spanish international to give the visitors a 4 run victory.
It was Rachel Heyhoe Flint to present the trophies and tournament referee to close the ceremonies as the sun came down on three days of fantastic cricket. Plans are already in hand for another Taverners next year, and any teams interested in playing in next years tournamnt are asked to contact George Wambeek on firstname.lastname@example.org