MALLORCA PIPPED AT THE POST BY GRASSHOPPERS CC
For the first competitive game of the season Mallorca Cricket Club entertained Grasshoppers CC of Shropshire on Saturday at the club ground Magalluf. MCC fielded a youthful multi-national team bristling with talent. A quick check of the team sheet revealed that the following nationalities were represented in the Mallorca team…….England, Australia, South Africa, Pakistan, India and Sri Lanka; now that’s what you call international! Mallorca skipper Gareth Davis, who is a Cornishman despite his name, decided to bat first on a blameless sunny afternoon.
Opening batsmen Hijazzy Yazeen and Khalid soon had the scoreboard moving briskly as they set about a ‘ring rusty’ Grasshoppers attack. The left-right handed pair galloped to an unbeaten 65 off 10 overs, playing well within themselves as they manoeuvred front-line bowlers Harrison and Jack Edwards around the ground. It wasn’t until Harrop and Wilson joined the attack that the run flow was staunched and it was Harrop who made the breakthrough when he bowled Yazeen for a very good 41 runs.
Wes Walker joined Khalid in the middle retaining that ‘left-right’ batting conundrum which bowlers always find difficult to adjust to. Their styles were also a contrast…..Khalid gliding shots through the gaps and Walker more intent on violence. One thing was for certain though both men were piling on the runs as Grasshoppers toiled in the field. Walker was eventually bowled by the persistent J Yapp, but the score by then had grown to an impressive 172 for two off 26 overs.
THE FINAL PUSH
Given the rapidity of the run scoring at this juncture Mallorca would have been forgiven in thinking that they might make 300 in their 40 overs. Although Grasshoppers put down a couple of sharp chances they kept their shape and discipline and plugged away manfully. Indeed, when Sascha Goonesekera arrived at the crease there was still much to do if Mallorca were to make a winning score over a very experienced and determined team. When the elegant left-hander Khalid was in sight of his century he was caught off the bowling of the hardworking Yapp for an eye catching 86.
The Indian all-rounder Pavan joined Goonesekera in the middle and made a rapid 17 before he was bowled by Wilson with the score standing at 240 off 36 overs. The final ‘push’ was engineered skilfully by the confident Goonesekera who was eventually bowled by Harrison for an admirable 36. In the final couple of overs Darren Pappalexion (18) and skipper Gareth Davis (1) were left undefeated with Mallorca CC posting an imposing 271 for 5 off 40 overs. Very good, but was it to be good enough?
A DISASTROUS START
After tea Grasshoppers CC opening bats G. Trow and S. Eyres made their way out to the middle contemplating a solid start for their team mates if they were to get anywhere near Mallorca’s total? However, cricket is a cruel mistress and within a couple of overs both men were back in the hutch for not very much! After a flurry of 4’s Trow was bowled by Pavan for 13, and when Eyres was baffled by leg-spinning newcomer Wasim and sliced a drive to Wes Walker in the gully for a duck it didn’t look good at all for the Grasshoppers.
In fact things were to get worse, as Lloyd was bowled by a very accurate Pavan for the second zero of the innings. At that moment the scoreboard read 22 runs for 3 wickets down after 6 overs. In fact that was the last wicket Mallorca were to claim for more than 100 runs scored. The reason behind this state of affairs? Simple, a young man name Edwards! When Edwards joined Boyd in the middle, a Grasshopper’s victory seemed almost impossible, but strange things happen in sport. Initially Edwards and Boyd set about stabilising the innings and then they went about their business with a real flourish. Boyd was the more aggressive of the two to start, crashing 6 x 4’s and a huge 6 for his 36 runs before Pappalexion snaffled him off the bowling of Wes Walker.
Edwards is one of those batsmen who never looks to be in trouble, small and compact in stature, he drove, hooked and flicked runs to all parts of the ground. MCC skipper Davis tried desperately to stem the flow of runs, but Edwards had an unerring eye for the ‘gaps’ in the field and even MCC’s youthful fielders were constantly chasing leather. It has to be said that after the first 3 wickets Mallorca’s bowlers seemed to lose a degree of urgency as firstly J Yapp, Harrison and then Harrop opened their shoulders in the knowledge that they had absolutely nothing to lose.
AN IMPROBABLE WIN
As the scoreboard clicked over the near on ‘impossible’ target of 272 to win didn’t seem that impossible anymore. Indeed, when J Yapp was bowled by Khalid for a punchy 23 observers might have felt that Grasshoppers would fall short of that total. However, with 100 under his belt, Edwards moved up yet another gear punishing all-comers if they should bowl too short or wide. With one over to go Grasshoppers CC were just 9 runs short of victory. Ironically it was the supportive Harrop, who was alongside Harrison in the middle, who blasted the winning runs. He sent the first 3 balls of the final over……for 6 – 2 – 4. Game over……!
The architect of this unlikely victory was without young Mr Edwards who scored 144 runs before he was caught & bowled by Wasim. This young Mallorca CC side should learn a lot from this defeat, let’s hope so. Nobody disgraced themselves, but it is never a good idea to take your foot (even unconsciously!) off the accelerator when you think that you are in a winning position. But for all of that, the best team won; as one veteran player remarked… “Don’t believe it? Just look at the scoreboard mate.”
Mallorca Cricket Club will be playing Grasshoppers CC again tomorrow (Wednesday) afternoon; the game starts at 1pm.
MALLORCA CRICKET CLUB