A 50/50 Weekend for Madrid in Bonalba by Patrick Telford..
The weekend of the 14th and 15th May saw Madrid CC make yet another mammoth journey to the coast for a weekend packed full of T20 action. With most travelling down on the Friday, it allowed the team to be in good shape going into the first two games on Saturday against a tough La Manga/Torrevieja CC.
Day 1: Madrid CC vs La Manga/Torrevieja CC
Madrid won the first toss of the weekend, and elected to bat first. Madrid’s opening pair of Dan Walker and Anand Kaul got off to a watchful start before Kaul was bowled in the second over. The cautious start continued as skipper Galileo Finlayson-Blé (10) joined Walker (16) before both were removed by the impressive Paul Harvey. Harry Young (41) provided some much needed impetus into the innings as he ran well between the wickets and sent the ball to the boundary. Young was joined by Patrick Telford (19) with 5 overs remaining and the pair ran well between the wickets to get the score up to 137-5 after their 20 over stint. The pick of the bowlers was Paul Harvey taking 2-22 off his 4 overs, along with a catch to take the wicket of the powerful Joe Healey (11).
Madrid knew very well that the importance of early wickets would be key in this first game. After a bit of a watchful start from the opening pair of Tommy Knowles (51) and Ravi Panchal (19), the pair began to take advantage of some average fielding from the Madrid side and put away the bad ball when it came. The only sliver of hope came from an absolute beauty from the left arm of Akshay Sharma, removing Spanish international Panchal by clipping the top of his off stump. That’s where the good news ended for Madrid on this particular fixture, as Daniel Everett (32) and Knowles crossed the line with an over to spare, giving LMTCC a rather convincing first win by 9 wickets.
The second fixture against LMTCC saw Madrid win the toss again and, with the view to immediately right a few wrongs from the first game, skipper Gali elected to bowl first. From the last game, Knowles (19) rode is luck once more with a couple of dropped chances in the field before he finally found the safe hands of Dan Walker at point from the bowling of Gali. However, it was Panchal’s (82*) turn to wreak havoc on the Madrid bowlers as he smashed six 6’s and three 4’s on his way to a very well made 82*. Everett also continued his good form as he made 41 before being caught once more by Walker off the bowling of Aussie quick James Bentley. Panchal and Adam Alger (34*) finished off the innings in brutal style leaving Madrid the daunting target of 203 to win the second fixture.
Madrid got off to a blistering start in reply, with the in form Harry Young (65) and Dan Walker (12) hitting the ball to all parts. With the score at 107-3 with 7 overs to go, The Journeymen still had hope of taking something from this fixture. However, the departure of Young after some fine bowling from Alfie Court spelt danger for Madrid, as they lost some quick wickets and ended up falling well short, at 140-7. Connor Wood was the pick of the bowlers for La Manga with 3-18, and a useful cameo from Court with 2-25. Madrid ended up 63 runs shy of the target. All things considered, it would be fair to say that Madrid left some opportunities out on the field, but La Manga had the quality to punish them and come away with 2 deserved wins.
Day 2: Madrid CC vs Torre Pacheco CC
After an evening to contemplate what went wrong that day, Madrid wanted to right a few wrongs on the Sunday against Torre Pacheco CC. After some ground confusion, the first T20 began a little later than scheduled, and Madrid asked Torre Pacheco to bat first.
Skipper Gali changed ends for the opening Sunday fixture, and found his areas more consistently than the previous day, Akshay Sharma was also miserly from the other end. Runs off the bat were particularly hard to come by, with only Abbas (13) and extras (40, yes you read that right!) making double figures. The pick of the bowlers was without question El Presidente Jon Woodward, taking a majestic 3-3 in his 2 overs. Notable mention must also go to Akshay Sharma, only conceding 6 runs in his 4 overs whilst also snagging a wicket of his own. TPCC closed their innings on 80-7.
Madrid were looking to get this done and dusted as quickly as possible to boost their net run rate after the heavy defeats the previous day. Joe Healey and Dan Walker strode to the crease, with quick runs on their minds. Healey (20) was looking great until he shelled one to cover, with the sub fielder taking a brilliant low catch, and Walker (11) was run out in bizarre circumstances after a dropped catch from the bowler. This called for wicketkeeper/batsman David Stilton (16) and allrounder Guy Thistlethwaite (8) to steer the ship home with 6.2 overs to spare. The sole wicket taker for TPCC was Arun, returning figures of 1-24. Madrid ended up the winners by 8 wickets.
Between games, Madrid spoke about taking nothing for granted after the first game, a loss in game one can galvanise a team. Gali won his 4th toss of the weekend and again elected to bowl first. There was a much more composed start from the coastal side in the second game as they reached 35 for the first wicket. The youngster Sehnaz was wonderfully stumped by Stilton off the bowling of Patrick Telford. Abbas (21) soon followed suit after a good catch from James Bentley off the bowling of Finlayson-Blé. Some partnerships then began to flow, as the batsmen targeted Telford and Woodward, getting the ball to the boundary more regularly than the previous encounter. Some useful hitting from Amarjeet (32) and Jitender (29) got TPCC up to 131-8. The picks of the Madrid bowling were Telford with 3-23 and Woodward with 3-41.
Madrid’s reply got off to a sorry start, losing Young and Healey both for 1. However, the ship was well and truly steadied by Victor Medina (28) and Abdul Hakim (19) as they developed a patient and measured partnership worth 48 runs. With the score ticking along nicely, the required rate never got above 8, so Finlayson-Blé (21) and Telford (21*) knocked the ball around until Madrid were in touching distance. To throw a spanner in the works, Finlayson-Blé was run out by a lengthy direct hit after Telford called him through for a second run. That brought Woodward to the crease, who wasn’t in the mood for any nonsense, as he clattered his first ball down the ground for 6. In the penultimate over, Telford hit Jitender for two 4’s to bring the game home for Madrid taking the win by 5 wickets, making it 2 from 2 on the day, and 2 from 4 for the weekend.
As always, the games were played in a great spirit, and it’s always nice to play some good cricket in between the laughs of a coastal trip. Madrid’s next journey is to Alfas on 28th/29th May. Watch this space to see how they get on.
PATRICK TELFORD – MADRID CRICKET CLUB