Menorca v Barcelona Saturday 24th October 40/40
At last a fleeting return to some kind of normality as we had the pleasure of entertaining a new look Barcelona International CC. The visitors escaping from the ciudad condal after enduring much stricter lockdown and confinement than ourselves. They arrived in dribs and drabs before being fully assembled on Friday evening, steam let off in various hostelries, culminating in a finger buffet at Es Figueral.
Menorca were dealt a savage blow with the eagerly anticipated return of the now fit and slim (f&s) Dan Osterbery thrown in to disarray following a calamitous bike ride. It was unthinkable considering he had only days before completed the 800km across the arduous camino de Santiago alongside new skipper Joe Brayne. He certainly fell by the wayside having being cajoled in to a libatius lunch with the effervescent Sturgeon, he was unable to negotiate the 4km from San Luis to Binibeca resulting in numerous breakages and a whole heap of pain. The comeback put on ice and ibuprofen until next season unfortunately.
Brayne lost the toss and was asked to bat first. Much hope resting on the young yet more than capable Lavin first up but it wasn´t to be on this occasion as he popped one up to the covers. Fellow opener Hagger (29) fared much better but was cruelly triggered by new coach Cotton. A brush up on the laws wouldn´t go amiss during the close season was the general consensus. Replaced by Roussel (29) a solid partnership ensued until he also fell LBW bringing Dow to the crease. It was dour from Dow as he struggled to make an impact, the country gent back in the hutch, gilet firmly zipped for a spluttering 3. It was former skipper Cotton´s offspring who top scored. No appreciation for line or length on display his 36 came quickly and awash with youthful exuberance. A late unlikely flurry from Sturgeon rounded off the hosts innings a below par 173 posted.
The Barcelona retort wasn´t the best initially with Hamza and Sid both falling cheaply, the Catalans in trouble at 30/3. That brought the enigmatic Umer Razi to the crease, the much maligned all rounder silenced his critics with a carefully paced innings. He was brutal with anything short and despite being dropped relatively early on he controlled the run chase superbly, ably assisted by Stu Boyd who upped the ante, finishing the run chase with aplomb and 11 balls to spare.
A joint yet socially distanced dinner at the outstanding Clementina followed proceedings. We were enlightened by Sturgeon and Dow who gave a comprehensive description on the subtle nuances throughout the Southern French wine region. Port was also on the agenda, Dow an authority on port and dessert wine impressing with his depth of knowledge.
Sunday 25th October Barcelona v Mallorca T20
Mallorca came to the party on Sunday too playing a T20 Mallorca in the morning and then against ourselves in the afternoon.
The first game ended up being a very tight affair with Barcelona just pipping the Mallorca boys by 3 wickets with only 1 ball to spare they made hard work of chasing down a paltry 108.
Menorca v Mallorca T20
To the final game of the season Mallorca batted first with the hosts under the stewardship of Roussel. New boy Stefan and stalwart Ali did well at the top of the order scoring 21 & 31 respectively a useful 26 from Zeeshan also got the visitors up to 119 at the close of their 20 overs the local bowlers all doing well to contain the neighbours.
There was a certain air of bewilderment as Tysoe was taxed with opening alongside Lavin. He struggled to gather any momentum, out for 11 in the 9th over. Once Lavin (29) and Tysoe made their way back to the pavilion in successive balls there was a monumental middle order collapse giving the visitors a comfortable 27 run victory.
So the curtain falls on a non event type of season, we are eternally grateful to both Mallorca and Barcelona for making the herculean effort to get here and enjoy the facilities at the home of Balearic cricket. Also to everyone who helps behind the scenes, the ground looks great, the new wicket is playing as we hoped it would and the good news is we´re fully booked for the next two seasons.
See you all next season.
Jeffrey Barker – Menorca Cricket Club.