It was 1pm start on a sunny yet chilly afternoon at the amazing Woodbridge Oval In Alfàs del Pi, a beautiful setting for a 30 over game. Our hosts had just installed a new artificial pitch in January, which was making its debut against us. We were offered the toss and captain Umer chose to bowl on it, to have a look at how it played.The Alfas innings was well anchored with the opening partnership between Crompton and Brown taking the home team score to 39 before Crompton was dismissed by our ringer Pandian. Spanish Captain Muñoz came in at No 3 and suffered a somewhat shaky start being dropped twice whilst in early double digits and hit on the shoulder by Pandian. Simon Eldridge took two wickets in two balls but was unable to complete his hattrick at the start of his next over. BICC paid the price for those drops as Muñoz opened up with plenty of big hits ending up on a rapid 108 before retiring alongside captain Pinnick (23*) to give the lower order a chance. It was not a chance that any of them took particularly well but nonetheless the score ended on a healthy 201.BICC bowling was in the most part good with little extras. Sam Phillipps had a tidy opening spell of 13-0 off 4 keeping the ball well pitched up. Simon with those 2 wickets for 24 with off-spin. Tom (1/26), Pandian (1/38) and Suraj opted to take advantage of the lively wicket with some shorter stuff. Leandro’s new medium pace bowling asked some questions of the batters and Umer and Hesh took a wicket apiece. An estimated total of 8 catches were dropped or ‘not arrived at’ (to not say, ‘run away from’) which was the main disappointment for the visitors, especially given how Muñoz scored an extra 80-odd after his first drop!After a nice array of sandwiches and hot tea, BICC innings kicked off with openers Pandian (40) and Bill Brooks (19) made cautious starts against some tight bowling from Walker and Malik. Shane Lightley chiseled out 34 anchoring from number 3 and top scorer captain Umer made 52 off 32 deliveries trying his best to get on top of the run rate. In the end with 50 needed off the last 4 overs it was too much to ask. Steady bowling and good fielding, including a great catch from captain Pennick at deep long on, were enough to see Sporting Alfas to victory. BICC ended up on 174/3.
Not many wickets for Alfas, with all three going to their first change bowlers of Morris (2/28) and Braithwaite (1/22) who proved hard to get away.
Catches win matches! The 12 of us headed into town for a curry in the evening. It turned out to be a quiet night for most of us…
Tom opened the batting and with a plane to catch he opted for the aerial route early doors adding a quick fire 3 before being caught via some cirrus cumulus. Shubh Deb was joined by No3 Umer, moved things forward to 80 after first ten overs, both ending with half centuries providing the most of the BICC runs. Shubh fell the ball after passing 50 and Umer was dismissed in the penultimate over.
That the third top scorer was Suraj and James with 4 shows how reliant we were on Shubh and Umer! A helpful contribution of extras took BICC to a modest but defendable 137 total.
Only five bowlers were used by Alfas, Aitor with 2/37 and pick of the bowlers Perman with 2/18 from his four overs.
There was another fine lunch spread served during the innings break, including pork pies today!
Sporting Alfas started about their task facing some good straight bowling from BICC, resulting in most of the top order being given out LBW. Some resistance came from Pernham (15) who was bowled by Sam having failed to pick up his off-cutter, the pick of the BICC attack finishing with 2 for 11. Pandian and Suraj also picked up wickets and Simon maintained good economy despite a failing knee.
The backbone of the Alfas innings was Crompton who accelerated his innings nicely, ending on 54 not out, with Malik and Tyler helping to keep the score moving. There was a little panic in the BICC ranks towards the end but they finished 21 runs short to leave us with our first victory of the year!
A great weekend was had by all. We played mini wacky races back up to Barcelona between three cars on the AP7 and the last Vueling flight back home (James’ trip home made easier following the confiscation of his oven cleaner!). Our thanks to Alfas for hosting us again for their season opener, great to see you again!
Bill Brooks & Sam Phillipps