The Alicante Cup 2010
Man of the Moment: Kyle Roper proudly sporting his MoM trophy and wicket-taking ball
Report by Laurence McGarry,
15 December 2010
Kyle woke up early. It was still dark and it was dead quiet. He noticed the stillness immediately. When he had gone to bed the night before it had been pouring down. In fact it had been raining all day on Saturday; so much so that it had caused a river of water to come flooding through the house. No, there was as much chance of Sunday’s cricket match being on asEnglandmaking a second innings stand against the Aussies in the first Ashes Test. Kyle was sure that his chance to team up with his dad and his older brother Jamie and play against the infamous Intellectuals for the Alicante Cup had been washed away by the over night rain. But then again it did seem to have stopped raining and maybe there was still time for the pitch to dry out. “Yeah, and maybeEnglandcan bat all day without loosing a wicket – fat chance”, thought Kyle.
No, Kyle was sure that once again he’d missed out and he wouldn’t be able to show that even with his mere seven years of age he could bowl as good a line and length as any of the senior players in the Sporting Alfas team.
Given there was no point getting up on both counts – the chance of England still being at the crease and the cricket match being on – he decided to get some more shut-eye. Just as he was about to claim the winning wicket and the Alicante Cup for Sporting Alfas, his slumber was broken by his dad and the words “come on Kyle, time to make a move. Things looking good for our match andEnglandare 309 for 1 at the close, let’s see if we can match their performance today” Kyle couldn’t believe his ears or eyes:Englandstill batting and for the loss of only one wicket. Surely, that should be 301 for 9; and through a gap in his curtains he could see blue skies and sunshine. So it was off to Bonalba to play in the tenth addition of the Alicante Cup afterall!
Kyle knew it was going to be a tough match for the Sporting Alfas team, as they had quite a mixed bag of youth and experience and the not to be underestimated talents of Eve Dawes; a fair and feisty lady, who’s no man’s fool! Arriving at Bonalba Kyle was quite surprised at how dry the pitch was given the amount of rain and that apart from the odd squigy patch the outfield was in could condition too. Having made the toss, it was the Sporting Alfas skipper who elected to bat, knowing that the pitch tended to favour the team batting first. Kyle knew he would only be called on to bat at No. 11, he being the youngest and smallest in the side.While he was hoping his side would make a good score and therfore that he might not be needed, he was by no means perturbed by having to face the Intellectuals’ attack. And although initially the Alfas openers looked comfortable and edged the score along slowly but surely (Launden scoring 13 and later McKinstry top scoring for Alfas with 17), the innings ended with Kyle coming in as last man and making sure he was not out; thereby helping his side reach a reasonably respectable total of 70 runs.
Nevertheless, Kyle knew it was going to need some good, tight bowling and a couple of early wickets to keep his team in the match. Unfortunately, for Alfas the first wicket came too late with the Intellectuals already well on their way to reaching the required total; Shan shining with a solid 38 runs including 7 fours before being trapped Lbw by Taylor. Kyle was getting frustrated by it all and was itching for a bowl and at a chance to salvage something from the match. At last his chance came when he was called upon by his skip to test the mettle of the Intellectuals’ president McGarry who had come in at No.4. Kyle saw his first over end with only one run scored and McGarry luckily surviving an ardent LBW appeal. With no change of batting at the crease Kyle came up for his second over, more determined than ever to get a wicket before the winning score was reached. With his exceptional line and length he pinned McGarry down – the batsman visibly at odds with the young man’s skilled arm. Then, with his fourth delivery, Kyle finally shattered the floundering batsman’s stumps; claiming a memorable wicket and going on to end the over with a wicket maiden. Although, the match was won and lost shortly after, Kyle knew he had played his part in salvageing some pride for his team.
The match having ended with a victory for theIntellectuals CC, this only the second one in ten years, the final honour however went to Kyle, who was unanamously voted the worthy winner of the man of the match award. Not just for his steady bat and for not conceding his wicket but more for his steely bowling and the taking of the Intellectuals’ president’s wicket (with a totally unplayable ball) and finishing with impressive bowling figures of 2-1-1-1. At the end of the day a great game of cricket had been enjoyed by both teams; 143 runs were scored and 14 wickets were taken – none more important than that taken by Kyle!