What a difference a week makes. After being well and truely outplayed by Alfas last week at the Woodbridge Oval, La Manga returned to the top of their game and easily won their return league fixtures against their great rivals.
With an influx of Spanish internationals past and present on both sides La Manga won their toss and put the visitors in to bat. Spain´s opening bowler Talat Ali got the home side off to a cracking start leaving Alfas reeling at one for two with a fantastic display of quick bowling from his first couple of overs.
Alfas rallied a little with a 61 wicket partnership from Pennick and Fletcher but when Pennick mistimed Wambeek´s moon ball Alfas were back in trouble. The middle order failed to fire and it was left to skipper Laundon and the wily old professional Paul Taylor to nudge Alfas to a second batting point, and in turn, stop La Manga gaining maximum bowling points.
Talat Ali finished with figures of 3 for 6 from his nine overs which included four maidens. His brother Sajid Ali also bowled an economical spell of 2-21 from his allocation of overs as La Manga went into lunch in a confident mood.
Alfas came out fired up and skipper Laundon sent former Spanish junior Michael Garside back to the pavillion for nought to renew the hopes of the Albir club. However, a 61 run partnership between Sajid Ali and Nisar Ranjh took the sting out of the visitors as the home team strolled towards victory. Late hiccoups in the La Manga batting allowed Alfas to take five wickets and get two valuable bowling points
La Manga secured the win in the twentieth over earning 18 points in the process, whilst Alfas went back north with just 4 points.
Alfas are now 22 points behind La Manga with a game in hand. Both teams remain heavily in contention for the title with tricky fixtures on the horizon over the next few weeks.
Sporting Alfas report on the game by Alfas chairman Kevin Laundon
Sporting Alfas Cricket Club Sporting Alfas 1st X1 127 for 8 lost to La Manga CC 128 for 5
After last weeks thrashing La Manga asked SACC to set a score, this time around it was the La Manga bowlers who got on top quickly, Tarat removing Spencer (0) and Nadeem (0) in his second over, leaving SACC reeling on 2-2
Pennick and Fletcher then set about the task of rebuilding and both played very carefully to take the score to 62 from 21 very well bowled over's. Then Fletcher(21) who should not have been playing was at the wrong end and feeling sore when he gave Gareside an easy catch in the deep. Ex La Manga player Sunderland then helped Pennick get the score up to 96 before Wambeek gave Pennick his famous moon ball, high and leg side wide but Pennick unluckily found the only fielder behind square leg and left the field with a well taken 38 runs. this gave SACC junior skipper Brown the chance to join Sunderland but the return of Talat shook the youngster and he prodded one to short mid off.
Late arrival Crompton then joined Sunderland(12) only to watch him hit one skywards to Ravi at deep mid off who took the chance one handed and high in the air. with 15 over's left Laundon and Crompton had the chance of posting a good score but Crompton(1) gave away his wicket tamely, chipping one to short mid wicket.
This left Taylor and Laundon with 12 over's to face and a lowly 96 runs on the board. Sensibly both players did not take any chances and took the score past 125 to gain a second batting point. 127 for 8 from 45. never enough runs to bother a competitive La Manga team but cricket is a funny game.
La Manga openers Gareside and Sahid looked pleased to arrive at the crease chasing such a low total but Garside(0) found the edge and suddenly a game looked on. the arrival of Mizar changed things as he hit the ball to all sorts of unusual places and the score reached 50 very quickly, the introduction of Crompton removed Sagid(29) but the score board carried on rising, Farhat replaced him and his leg side pull shot kept the momentum in the home sides favor, until he gave Fletcher a sharpe chance which Fletcher took much to the delight of the away team. with only 10 runs required Spencer replaced Taylor and changed things around a little his off breaks causing the demise of Mizar who had reached 64.
Spencer then bowled Atif with a corker the batsman left wondering how the ball had got to his off peg. SACC had left things to late and Talet and Ravi finished the game in the 20th over. La Manga gaining sweet revenge and 18 points. SACC scrapped 4 points from a poor show but it makes thing very tight now at the top with both teams hoping that the other teams will take points from both Alfas and La Manga when they play them