La Manga shared a two match Twenty Twenty series with main rivals Sporting Alfas and as a result look odds on favourites to do the league and Twenty Twenty double in ECCL1 this season.
Kevin Laundon, the Sporting Alfas skipper and chairman provides reports from both games.
Sporting Alfas Cricket Club Sporting Alfas 1st X1 118 for 8 beat La Manga CC 20x20 114 for 8
Top of the table clash again between SACC and La Manga, this time in the T20 format and SACC needing to win both games. Electing to bat and short of players SACC set of against an unbelievable 5 man La Manga team as the umpires, rightly, enforced the 1pm start, the first over went for only 9 runs when youngster Ravi did his team proud, the rest of the team joined the game and the SACC bats men looked to set a serious total for the table topping visitors to chase, things looked good and runs game frequently for Muñoz and stand in opener Laundon. but on 42 Muñoz came back for a second and left Laundon to be run out.
As always one brings two and Muñoz followed by giving Talat his first wicket of the day. 43 for 2 from 7. Crompton and Fletcher both in good form this season then had the task of creating a total, unusually Fletcher was not timing the ball well and his wicket finally went in the 15th over for 11 from 26 balls. A massive collapse then occurred with Crompton watching Evans, Waqar, Roper, Brown and Taylor lose wickets with only 8 runs between them. Late arrival Dawes saved SACC blushes and saw out the final 2 over's. Crompton doing his best with a well taken 40 runs, but the SACC total a paltry 112. then the Umpires awarded 6 runs to be added as La Manga had taken too long to bowl the over's so a target of 119 to win was set.
SACC with a mammoth task started with Taylor and Crompton, La Manga opener´s found the lack of pace difficult to score against and wickets started to fall regularly after 5 over´s it was 2 for 17, after 10 over´s 4 for 42, 15 over´s 6 for 74. Maybe 118 was enough the crowd could sense the tension as 45 runs were needed from the remaining 5 over´s. Pennick fooled the dangerous Talat into skying one well taken by Crompton in front of the visitoring team player´s. Atif spanked Laundon´s second ball into the fence but gave Spencer the next one at deep long on. Brook senior now needed to take matters into his own very capable hands 3 over´s and only 20 runs needed. Laundon bowled tight one, only 3 from it leaving Fletcher the last over with 19 required, 14 came and SACC unlikely winners by 4 runs. T20 at its best. SACC 16 points La Manga 6 points.
The second game promised to be great. A special mention must be made about Second eleven and Spanish junior Roper who playing in his first T20 for the 1st eleven bowled exceptionally well 4 over´s for only 22 run´s and claimed the wickets of Munib and Farhat both Spanish senior players past and present.
La Manga, still stinging from the defeat in the first game, came to the middle with a nervous but very serious job to do, Openers Brook and Sajid went after anything off line and 15 runs came in the first 2 over´s, Sajid thinking of big totals sent one skyward off Laundon and a well positioned Dawes picked up an easy catch, 15 for 1. Pennick bowled his second over economically and after 4 only another 9 runs had been added.
Taylor was introduced and his normal very tight spell was required but this time it was the bat that won the battle and his 3 overs went for 34, Pennicks 3rd went for 17 so spin was called into the attack with the wrist spin of Crompton 4 overs for only 26 runs but importantly only 1 wicket fell.
With plenty of wickets in hand La Manga set to building a huge total and with help from the SACC fielders managed to reach a mammoth 209 for 4, Laundon and Spencer taking a wicket each during the onslaught. What a difference a tea break can bring, La Manga very happy with a high total that should win them the T20 League title.
Talat and Atif opened and bowled with serious venom the first 4 over´s gave SACC, 6 runs but claimed the wickets of Spencer and Muñoz. A serious task now lay ahead for the last 8 batsmen, but nothing could be done and only Crompton(26) Dawes(11) and Laundon(23*) reached double figures, for the second time today the young middle order collapsed like a deck of cards on a windy table. 7 runs for 4 wickets much work to be done for this format of the game.
La Manga gained 18 points for this formidable performance which gave them 24 points for the day, SACC managed only 4 points added to the 16 in the first game, 20 for the day so honours should go to La Manga for this T20 season.