Melbourne Cricket Club drew first blood for Australia by winning the Spashes (the Spanish Ashes). The victorious Victorians had back to back victories this weekend against a Costa Del Sol CC President’s XI and an Andalucian Select XI.
Game one on the Saturday saw the CDSCC President’s XI bat first. Unfortunately, they failed to see out all their overs, getting bowled out for 189 in the 37th of their 40 over allocation. Manaav starred with the bat for the hosts scoring a fine 65 for his team. Contributions also came from Cunningham (27) Egan Dantis (21) and Gurnan (26) for the European side.
Four bowlers for Melbourne, Scholten, Middleton, Bennett and Lill took two wickets each, and the visitors must have been confident of victory at the half way stage. The batting response from the Australian outfit was timed to perfection, surpassing the required total in the ultimate over.
Six of the ten batsmen utilised got into double figures, but all failed to make a substantial total except Dwyer who hit 48 not out, when coming into bat at number nine. Riley and Bruce took three wickets apiece for the Presidents XI in what ended being a two wicket victory for the team from overseas.
The second match of the series saw an Andalucian XI take the field against the Aussies. Andalucia won the toss and invited Melbourne to bat. Three of their team made half centuries before promptly retiring not out (Lill, Pike and Curtain) and they finally ended up making 229 from their 40 overs.
For Andalucia Manaav once again put in an impressive performance, bagging two wickets for just 22 runs. For the second day running he also made runs with the bat, scoring 42 runs before getting caught behind off the bowling of Tudhey. The evergreen Chris Batten entering the frame at seven notched up 47 runs, but it was the Sevilla opener Colin Howe who top scored for the Southern Spain outfit with a fine 60.
However, the team from Melbourne continued to take wickets at key moments in the game, and more importantly restricted the run flow when things got close. The visitors finally emerged winners by 16 runs.
Two great games of competitive cricket, both going to the last over and played in a fine spirit at all times. We are grateful to Melbourne Cricket Club for picking Spain as part of their European tour and we would love to see them back again in the near future. Also, many thanks to all the personnel involved in the Andalucian region that helped make this such an iconic and successful event, and to all the 4 clubs involved in supporting this series that enabled us to play together against such a prestigious Australian cricket team. Cricket is the winner !