Ibiza Cricket Club have won the Balearic Cup for the first time since 2007. A truly momentous occasion for everyone connected to the best cricket team in the Balearics. Let the celebrations begin, festoon the streets with bunting and flags and book the open-top bus for a tour of the island.
A squad of elite cricketers and supporters, led by Captain Graeme Cooper, sallied forth to Menorca last weekend with one intention in mind. To win the Balearic Cup for the island and return for tea and medals.
Friday 9th May. Losing the toss and put into bat, runs at first were going to be hard to come by. Mallorca failed to capitalise on early bowling pressure and a series of dropped catches began to sap their resolve. In fact the best catch of the day was when umpire J. Parmenter’s hat blew off and it was caught at silly mid-off.
Sam Feasey showed true resolve. A wise head on young shoulders he proved his worth as eventual Man of the Match. A carefully crafted 45 before being caught out inspired the team to follow his lead. A quick 32 from Johnno Gordon including five boundaries, Brad van Bylevelt, 27 and Andy Nicholas, 26 meant Ibiza built a commanding lead.
Captain Eric George then gambled on his young bowler Sacha Goonesekera and this plucky 14yr old Sri lankan began picking off the middle order, ending with figures of 3-36 making him Mallorca’s most valuable player. Ibiza closing the innings for 216 runs.
Mallorca in reply were matching Ibiza’ s run rate. In the 15th over captain Cooper instructed his bowlers that they would be replaced if they didn’t ‘buck up.’ These words clearly hit home Gordon captured two vital wickets, including that of danger man Ben Vickers, eventually ending with bowling figures of 2-22 and Sam Feasey 3-43. Despite a steady 39 from the young Goonesekera they were unable to match the runs set by Ibiza, who won the game by 32 runs.
Saturday 10th May. On the brink of bringing home the cup from the island of Lord Horatio Nelson’s former naval base, every player knew : Ibiza expects.
Winning the toss and electing to bat first, Menora began to regret that decision. From the first over they were put to the sword with an attacking bowling display of precision and guile led by fast pace bowler Paul Cruttwell. In the eventual 19 overs bowled not one wide or no ball was called and Menorca were skittled out for 101. Gordon 3-28, Cruttwell 2-15, including a wicket maiden, and Nicholas 2-15 the bowling highlights. The outstanding moment however was a first class catch by Sam Feasey in the slips. Diving to his left he caught the ball with both hands just off the ground. A truly fantastic catch and one of which he should be justly proud.
In reply, despite the loss of Jolyon Swinburn for 5, Feasey and Gordon steadied the ship and held their nerve. A stunning 68 not out for Man of the Match Gordon from 37 balls in 33 minutes, including 2 sixes and 12 fours secured victory by 9 wickets.
On a beautiful pitch, reminiscent of a village green in North Yorkshire, a magnificent tactical campaign had paid off. After six long years the cup was finally in Ibiza’s hands again
Man of the series Feasey commented “This is a moment that everyone involved in Ibiza Cricket Club will talk about for years to come. A proud moment for the players, supporters and everyone involved back home in Ibiza. It was an honour to be part of it”
At the championship dinner that evening Chairman Jeremy Parmenter thanked all the players, the chairman of Menorca CC, Andrew Manners, for hosting the event, the ground staff for producing a superb pitch. He further thanked The Rev. R.Short for his unstinting support, playing his last game for the club, Mrs Lyn Carpenter,Treasurer and then paused to remember Mike Lynch and Adrian Ireland, stalwarts of the club who passed away recently and who surely were there in spirit. Finally he thanked the sponsors of Ibiza CC, Barrington Sports, Ibiza Speedboats and San Antonio bar Plastik whose continued support will no doubt be required to defend the cup in Mallorca next May.
As the captain of the plane, bringing the triumphant team home announced over the loudspeaker, “Felicidades Capitano Graeme Cooper y todo la gente a Cricket Ibiza.”
Well done indeed. A weekend to remember.
Match report: D.Reynolds (Ibiza scorer)