It was a busy weekend at the Mallorca Cricket Club ground on the outskirts of Magalluf as MCC were entertaining Beacon CC from the Birmingham League on both Saturday and Sunday. With the sun high in the sky on both days the teams produced some great competitive cricket.
Mallorca’s Saturday X1 skipper Gareth Davis lost the toss and Beacon CC opted to bat first on a very warm day. All seemed serene as Beacon proceeded to 22 runs before Reece ‘played around’ a straight ball from Babar and this triggered off a mini-collapse whereupon Pickford (11) and Bishton (1) soon followed with only 38 runs on the scoreboard.
With only opening batsman Pugh holding firm, wickets continued to tumble around him for not very much. Both Whitrick (0) Howarth (5) and Garbett (0) came and went before some sort of batting stability was established. Part of the problem was that Mallorca’s young 19 year-old bowler Usman, was carving his way to taking 4 wickets by ‘spearing’ his deliveries at the batsman on a ‘yorker’ length and then mixing it up with the occasional quick, short ball, that had Beacon CC’s best batsmen hopping around in the crease. This boy is a real find!
When Puegh was eventually out for a steadfast (29) with the score on 63 for 6 the partnership of the innings came together. Higgins and Leslie batted sensibly and started to push the Mallorca bowlers back a little, building momentum both men mixed judicious singles with thumping 4’s with Higgin in particular lifting two huge 6’s over the ropes.
From struggling to make 100 in their innings these two dragged Beacon CC to respectability. Higgin eventually made an impressive (62) before falling to a catch behind taken smartly by Davis off Babar and Leslie (32) perished caught & bowled Khalid. The end of the innings came off 38 overs with a very ‘getable’ 163 on the board. A quick word regarding MCC’s grounding……..it was excellent with Steve Jury outstanding.
THE ‘AUSSIE’ RULES! With hardly any wind blowing across the ground, when Mallorca commenced their innings it was very warm indeed particularly for early April. Club stalwart Hijazzy Jazeen and the left handed Khalid opened up for MCC before Howarth bowled the dangerous Khalid (15) before he properly settled; an omen of things to come perhaps?
When wicketkeeper and skipper Gareth Davis ‘feathered’ a touch to the opposing wicketkeeper a few Mallorca members on the terrace shifted uneasily in their seats. Indeed, as Jazeen was adjudged LBW for an expansive (23) it looked that this game would be a lot closer than some had thought just 30 minutes before. Before Jazeen departed, he was batting with Darren Papalexion, a talented Aussie/Greek yachtie who is in his second season for the club.
Right from the start Papalexion showed his positive intent, that is not to say that he was reckless, just the fact that if the ball was ‘there’ he struck it cleanly and confidently. With support most notably from Fiaz (14) Papalexion set about the Beacon CC attack scoring (78) before being bowled by Phillips. He hit 14 x 4’s in his innings, many of these runs through beautifully timed cover drives on the ‘posh’ side, a shot that his becoming his signature stroke.
Mallorca passed Beacon CC’s score after 24 overs in the field, and although this victory seemed straightforward enough, there were times when the wheels could have come-off for MCC particularly before the ‘Aussie’ took the game away from the visitors. It also has to be said that most of the marginal umpiring decisions did seem to go against Beacon CC.
THE SUNDAY GAME Beacon CC won the toss and seemed determined to avenge their defeat at the hands of the Mallorca CC’s Saturday X1. With that defeat out of the way and with the ‘knowledge’ of how to play cricket on the Magalluf grounds ‘tricky’ surface under their belt, many a good judge would have put a few bob on Beacon CC levelling the score in this Sunday X1 fixture.
In batting first Beacon CC made a solid if unspectacular start, but it was when middle order batsmen Cook and Reece came together at 5 & 6 when things really started to get interesting. Both men played very well indeed, with each scoring (47) runs apiece to shore up a challenge that demanded that Beacon CC make at least 220 runs off 40 overs….which is about par for the course at the Magalluf ground.
With Bishdon (32) Pickford (28) and Puegh (13) making good late runs, when their innings came to an end Beacon CC had scored 237 for 9 a very solid total. The wickets taken by MCC’s bowlers were democratically spread among the bowlers with Goonesekera and 15 year old Saad the pick of the bunch.
ANOTHER CENTURY FOR KHALID When it was Mallorca’s time to bat Usman opened with Yasir and after losing his partner early in the innings Usman went on to make a classy maiden half century for his new club. Given the fact that Usman had bowled brilliantly during the Saturday game, this knock gave a little synergy to this young man’s good all-round game. He is definitely one to watch.
After the fall of the early wicket, elegant stroke maker Khalid came to the middle and then set about tormenting the tiring Beacon CC attack. Usman was finally bowled by Howarth for (55) and suddenly wickets started falling at an alarming rate. Luckily for Mallorca Khalid was in peerless form as he played shots all around the ground.
After a bright start Goonesekera was bowled by Phillips for (26) and it was very clear that the young man was annoyed with himself as he returned stony-faced to the clubhouse. Good; I like it when talented young players take their cricket seriously.
It was pretty obvious that for Mallorca to win Khalid needed to stay in the middle, and to this end the MCC ‘tail’ did their job, although the final five players only scored 26 runs between them, they did enough to stay there and protect Khalid for his final assault on Beacon CC’s total.
An exciting finale ensued, with Khalid securing his second century in a week and with the last two batsmen at the crease, Beacon’s total was reached with a very nervy over to spare. Beacon CC’s Howarth and Cook were the pick of their bowlers with (2) and (3) wickets apiece whilst Khalid scored an almost flawless 106 not-out and once again MCC’s new breed of youngsters had proved their worth.
Readers will have noticed that Mallorca Cricket Club have recruited to its playing ranks some very keen and talented young men from the Indian sub-continent living here in Majorca. This has not been a policy that the cricket club has consciously developed; but the truth of the matter is that these young guys are keen, committed, and love the game.
If you have ever played the game, or wish to do so, contact me at [email protected] and you will be made most welcome. Hey, sport is about more than just watching endless football matches on the television you know!
Mallorca Cricket Club