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General Cricket


by: conrad_a_bedford


Spanish over 40´s Cricket team Victorious in Denmark

This year the Spanish over 40s team travelled to Denmark to compete in the annual Quadrangular tournament, an international tournament fought out by 4 teams, Denmark (Dansk XL), England (Forty club XL), Holland (SGS XL) and Spain.

In the past two years, in Spain and Holland the Spanish team successfully won the T20 competition and were keen to make it a hat trick of wins in Denmark. Importantly though, the squad were also aiming to make a strong challenge for the more prestigious 45 over competition which it always failed to perform in.

Perhaps this was to be their year, the weather was doing its bit to help, with daily temperatures between 32/35c, it was as if they were playing in the baking sun in Spain.

After many flight delays, cancellations, thankfully all the players arrived at the venue in Koge, 45 minutes from Copenhagen on the 23rd July, for their first game in the 45 over competition. It was not going to be an easy start, they were up against the team from the UK. 

After many flight delays, cancellations, thankfully all the players arrived at the venue in Koge, 45 minutes from Copenhagen on the 23rd July, for their first game in the 45 over competition. It was not going to be an easy start, they were up against the team from the UK. 

With drinks scheduled every 10 overs due to the extreme heat wave that had set in, the Spanish side were to field first and hoping to bowl out the English early so not have to stand out in the heat for the duration of 45 overs. However, despite a very tight spell from the opening bowlers, H James and H Phull, the batsman rode their luck a little and gave the UK forty club a slow, yet decent start. Opener J Thornton made a steady and patient innings of 90 before he was run out brilliantly by A Tocher. Once he was gone the Spanish team had their tails up and fine bowling from A French and a P West, both taking 3 wickets each, had England all out for 219) in 44 overs.

It was an excellent effort in the field, and a target that the Spanish team were confident of chasing down. After losing their captain K Laundon early, S Simkins (28) and D Williams (41) steadily kept the score ticking. The fielding side used its wealth of skill and talent to take these key wickets which left it to A French (46) and M Webb to try and get the bating side home. All was looking well but then, with less than 30 needed of 5 overs, M Webb was brilliantly caught on the boundary by Thornton on 21. This swung the game in England’s favour, and with the Spanish tail failing to wag, the innings came to a quick and disappointing end, England holding its nerve and winning by 23 runs, with their key man, R nelson taking 5 wickets at the death to win them the game.  It was a disappointing end, all was going so well and then, all of a sudden the game changed. One thing the Spanish batsman had to learn from this game was that once they were in and settled, they had to continue on and go on to finish the game, not getting themselves out and leaving someone else to try finish of the job. 

That defeat did not put the guys in bad sprit, that evening they celebrated H James 50th birthday, and also used the time to bond and gel with each other, as because of the flight issues, it was the first opportunity they had had to do so. 

The evening served them well for the next match, also a gruelling 45 over contest, but this time against the Dutch. Spain were once again in the field to start with and the day started well for H James, 50 plus 1 day and getting the first wicket of the day. But from then, for the next 20 overs, the Dutch batsman dug in and started to pile on the runs. With the score on 165 for 5 and still plenty of overs in the bag, Holland looked set to make a very high score before P West took the wicket of danger man Nazim on 37, just as he was starting to open his shoulders. That wicket slowed them right down and rather than racing to a high score, they poodled along to 205 for 7 of their 45 overs. 

In reply, S Simkins (56) and D Williams (48), disappointed to be out in the 40s again, gave the Spanish team a good start. But were the batsman getting out again when they should be seeing the game off!!! Not this time, A French (26 No) and R Ellison (21 No) were not going to make that mistake again and witness another batting collapse, they sealed the victory in the 41st over. 

Wednesday was to be the start of the T20 competition, but it was not going to be an easier day, as the teams had to play 2 T20 matches and if that wasn’t tuff enough, it had got even hotter, were we really in Denmark!! Thankfully the Spanish twelfth man, Young J Braithwaite was doing a fantastic job keeping the troops watered, the best water boy the team could have wished for. 

First up was Holland, and they were keen to make up for the defeat in the 45 over match and batting first, they were all guns blazing and heading for a massive score, in fact it was only a great stumping by D Williams of R Ellison’s bowling to remove M Moorjani flying on 87 at the time, that helped keep the target below 200. There was also some fine bowling by K waters taking 3 wickets late on and restricting the Dutch to 181 for 4 of their 20 overs. This was going to have to be a well-timed and planned chase, but with key batsman Simkins and French out cheap, someone had to take the game to the Dutch and pull this one out of the hat. That man was M Webb, batting aggressively and hitting the ball big for an excellent 82, supported brilliantly at the other end by D smith (33) and the victory was Spain’s, target reached in 19 overs for the loss of only 4 wickets. 

Game 2 was slightly easier affair against the hosts who only managed 107. The turning point in this match was when M Webb had S Sorensen caught on the boundary by R Ellison of his very first ball, the batsman at the point was on 40 and looking very dangerous. Webb finished with 3 wickets off his 2.3 overs. In reply S Simkins (51 No) and A French (22 No) made amends for their blip in form in the first match to win this match in 11 overs. So, with 2 out the 3 T20 Games won, Spain knew that a win against the English, who had also won both their matches, would see them crowned champions of the T20 competition for the 3rd year in a row!!!! 

Thursday was to be the last day of the 45 over competition, Spain knew they had to beat Denmark and rely on the Dutch to beat the English and with points therefore being level between the two teams, rely on other statistics being in their favour. But first things first, they had to conquer the Vikings first!! Fielding first again the Spanish team started well taking a couple of early wickets and then restricting the Danes with some tight bowling and fielding for the first 20 overs. However, the next 10 did not go so well, a combination of hard hitting, and some very poor fielding and several dropped catches in the soaring heat, had the hosts cruising at 172 for 6 at the 30 over drinks break. In that 5 minutes off the field the team re grouped and while hydrating themselves thanks to another fine performance from the twelfth man, a quick team talk served its purpose with H James taking the prize wicket of S Mullins for 43. From there on the re vitalised Spanish team quickly took the remaining wickets and had Denmark all out for 207.

The chase was led by the captain K Laundon whose 56 was just the start they needed. A French (55 No) and D Smith (33) continued where the captain left off and reached the winning target of the 40th over with the loss of just 3 wickets. The result meant that they were now level on points with England, who were still playing a very close match against the Dutch. What was now clear was that because Spain had done themselves a massive favour in winning their matches losing as little wickets as possible, losing far less wickets than England meant that if the Dutch beat England, Spain though level on points with England, would, under tournament law, be crowned the champions having lost fewer wickets.  Holland hit the winning runs in a tense match, and as the English player’s heads dropped knowing what the loss meant, the Spanish team and its supporters went wild with celebrations, finally, the 45 over competition had been won by Spain. It was a night of celebrations, and the squad were in joyful mood at the gala dinner that evening when they were presented the winner’s trophy that had eluded them for so many years. 

The Spanish squad were careful not to celebrate to hard, there was still one game of cricket to play on the final day, it was the T20 clash against the English team, were their friendly rivals going to get some kind of revenge and spoil the party for the Spanish, the winners of this match knowing they would be the T20 winners. 

For the first time in 5 days the Spanish team were to bat first, and with English team showing signs of fatigue, injury and scars from their defeat the day before against the Danes, the Spanish side, sensing that the double was in sight, took full advantage and it was carnage from the first ball. M Webb (48) went into attack mode straight from the start and when he went, S Simkins (playing through the pain of his broken finger) took over hitting balls all over the park, he finished the innings on 84 not out, well supported by A French 56 not out, posting a massive target of 232 for 2 of their 20 overs. In reply, though H Mohammed (58 No) and J Thornton (74) batted superbly, they were never up with the huge run rate and Spain rotated their bowlers with freedom knowing that victory, the double and hat trick of T20 wins was in the bag, they had done it, England made 167 of their 20 overs and sportingly congratulated the Spanish on their historic double achievement. 

Never before had Denmark experienced weather like this, Koge cricket club and the Danish organising committee did a fantastic job keeping all the players and officials fed and watered. The Spanish team would like to again thank all the ground staff, caterers, bar staff, officials including the umpires and  scorers, especially their very own scorer and team member N green, they all did outstanding work, maintain high standards and professionalism in very testing conditions. It was a historic and memorable tournament which the Spanish team listed below will remember for many years to come, not only did they play hard and fair, but they also made many friends along the way. In 2019 all the teams will travel to England to do it all over again, and we all know who they will be wanting to beat!!! 

Well done, and take a bow chicos. 

Kevin Laundon (cpt), Mark Webb (wkt keeper) David Williams (wkt keeper) Stuart Simkins, Adam French, Rory Ellison, David Smith, Harmit Phull, Peter West, Alan Tocher, John Braithwaite, Hugh James, Kevin Waters and Nigel Green (scorer). 

Reported by the 12th Man.


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