Madrid United had the perfect end to a successful season by adding the runners-up spot in the ECCL Premier League to that of the Madrid Regional league title.
Having lost a close game against Levante the day before United won the toss and elected to bat on another hot day in Valencia. Madrid had a couple of first teamers playing that were unavailable the day before, whilst Levante made several changes in order to ensure all their regular players had received league playing time over the course of the weekend.
United started well scoring at ten runs an over but were stopped short in their tracks when dangerman Humuyan, who had scored 146 the day before, was clean bowled by Bruno Nugnes for just 12.
The Madrid batsmen continued to take advantage of the fielding restrictions in the first 13 overs and their top seven batsmen all got into double figures during the course of their innings. Waheed survived several scares to top score with 84 and at the second drinks break they looked on for a score of well over 300 runs.
However, Levante staged a gutsy comeback at the end of innings. The last five wickets fell in bizarre fashion, with three run outs and two stumpings to end the United innings on 261 all out and one batting point shy of the maximum five available. Left arm spinner Pete West was instrumental in creating the United collapse, taking 3-28 in a fine six over spell.
At lunch, Levante held second place in the table by the slenderest of margins and a good batting performance would give the Premier League newcomers second place and skipper Jason Noon a fitting farewell in his last game as Levante captain.
However, Madrid United had other ideas and got openers Morgan and Khakkad out relatively cheaply. Losing their talisman batsmen so early left the Valencia side somewhat deflated and their hopes now hinged on a major innings from Graham Hunt.
First ball after drinks and there was further anguish for Levante when Hunt was out to a fantastic one handed caught and bowled by Hunuyan. Having kept wicket competently the day before, the Madrid United star continue to show the spectators he was a cricketing force in all aspects of the game.
The middle order of Levante frustrated the Madrid United bowlers further for a while, keeping them out in the hot sun and preventing them from an early trip back to Madrid. Rhys Hoy was particularly potent with 31 not out, on possibly his final appearance for the hosts, but the visitors finally got the points required for second spot when Pete West was adjudged out lbw.
Just like the day before the game was played in a great spirit and both teams deserve credit for serving up a weekend of excellent cricket that was a fitting finale for this season’s ECCL Premier League.
MANY THANKS FOR THE PHOTOS PROVIDED BY S. WEST