UNITED ASIANS WIN THIS YEARS LADY TAVERNERS TITLE
A glorious weekend of Twenty20 cricket to raise money for the Lady Taverners charities saw United Asians prevail in the five team tournament with victory over local favourites La Manga. The tournament was buoyed by the presence of two former England cricket captains, Mike Gatting and Rachel Heyhoe-Flint, and by Sir Ian Botham´s daughter Sarah, who was honorary president of one of the teams The Barmy Army.
The first match of the tournament pitched Oslo of Norway against the Sinjuns of England. Oslo had showed their intentions the day before by demolishing a local team, Torreveija in a friendly, whilst the Sinjuns were return visitors who comprise of numerous players who work in the city in London. The Norwegian outfit ran ou easy winners to put the first points on the board.
Next up, simultaneously,were the United Asians against La Manga on the upper pitch and Sinjuns versus The Barmy Army on the bottom field. The United Asians were a mixture of Rolls Royce workers in Derby and friends from Bristol and they were impressive in easily disposing of the hosts.
The Barmy Army also scored 10 points from their first game at the expense of the luckless Sinjuns, who had 3 players from Falco CC in Tarragona, and Derek Riley from San Fulgencio guesting in this match.The final two games of day one saw Oslo take victory over the United Asians in a close scoring game and La Manga put a tick in the win column with a positive result against the Barmy Army.
Day two opened with a confrontation between United Asians and the Barmy Army. The Army put up a good fight and ran the tournament favourites close but poor time management by the Barmy Army resulted in penalty runs for the Asians to put the game out of the reach of Hugh James´s team.
The next two games played saw La Manga hammer Sinjuns and the Barmy Army overturn a shellshocked Oslo. Tariq Ali, who plays for promoted Alcorcon in the Spanish National League celebrated his recent national debut for Spain with a wonderful century off only 42 balls. This innings along with support from Shafique Ali and a stunning one handed catch in the field by Scott Simkins. The onlooking Gordon Strachan was suitablly impressed by what was without doubt the catch of the torneo.
The final games of the round robin section saw Oslo return to winning ways by defeating La Manga and United Asians win a one sided game over Sinjuns. These results mean´t that Oslo and United Asians had 3 wins from 4, La Manga and Oslo one apiece and the Sinjuns mained rewinless. The officials got their calculators out and by the smallest of positive run rate margins Oslo took 1st place in the group phase over the Asians, and courtesy of Tariq Ali´s innings the Barmy Army pipped La Manga for 3rd place. Sinjuns propped up the table, winless from all their matches.
Saturday evening La Manga club put on a gala dinner with Rachel Heyhoe Flint and Mike Gatting as guest speakers, they recited various stories from their playing days and hosted a question and answer session from the audience. Then followed a raffle and auction with several autographed bats, a free stay in the 5 star Prince Felipe and lots of other prizes. The combined auction and raffle raised over 700 Euros for the Lady Taverners on the night and it was still climbing as the weekend progressed.
(Mike Gatting speaking at the Lady Taverners, La Manga, Nov 2010)
Sunday saw finals day and it started with 4th place La Manga playing 5th place Sinjuns. The London side played with the spirit and compassion we have come to expect from them over the last two years, but they found Jimmy Morgan, the Spanish international in top form, completing a fine century off 54 balls. The openening bowlers for La Manga, Tanveer Iqbal and Talat Ali ripped through the Sinjuns batting with Tanveer getting an hat-trick to ensure an early finish to the game.
The win for La Manga gave them a semi-final berth against Oslo. In the game of the tournament the match went down to the last ball. Needing 15 off the last over La Manga had Graham Parker and Tanveer Iqbal at the crease. Heavy scoring off every ball resulted in La Manga needing 4 off the final ball. Tanveer Iqbal took a mighty sweep and managed to get a thick inside edge that raced down to the vacant fine leg boundary to become the match winning shot. The La Manga players and the local fans went ecstatic as the home team reached a 20twenty final for the second torneo in succession at La Manga.
The other semi final produced plenty of runs with the United Asians posting a challenging score when batting first. The Barmy Army and Tariq Ali in particular started like a steam train, matching the United Asians run rate. The crucial moment game when Ali holed out to a catch and the celebration from the United Asian team implied they knew they had got out the danger man. So it proved with the Asians booking a deserved place in the final quite easily in the end.
The final pitted La Manga against United Asians. La Manga batted first with the opening pair Sajid and Jimmy Morgan giving the hosts the start they wanted. However, both openers fell in quick succession and the usually dependent middle order failed to fire on this occaision. The skill and guile of the two Asian spinners Khalid and Kashif did the damage to restrict La Manga to 116 off their 20 overs.
La Manga started well with Tanveer and Taliq bowling with hostility and accuracy to dispose of the two openers. The middle order for the United Asians did what La Manga´s couldn´t this time around and chipped in with timely contributions to safely see the visitors home in what was a relatively easy victory in the end.
It was left to Rachel Heyhoe Flint, Mr Julio Delgado of La Manga Resort and the director of Spanish cricket George Wambeek to perform the final ceremonies. The umpires voted the United Asians allrounder Kashif Hussein the man of the tournament to give them a clean sweep of trophies. The event is already booked for next year and it is expected to be bigger and better than ever before. Anyone interested in competing in the tournament or requiring further information on the event please contact Cricket Espana.
(Closing ceremony of The Lady Taverners Charity Event, La Manga, November 2010)