Result: South West Manchester CC 140 (39.2 overs) LOST TO Stand CC 196-8 (50 overs) by 56 runs.
Venue: Ellesmere Road (Saturday 28th May 2016, 1pm)
Att: 25 (hc)
THE CRICKET RETURNS! Yes, for a second successive year, I have decided to bring the great leather and willow sport to these pages for the football off-season and the side to hold the honour of hosting the first game of the return were to be South West Manchester CC of Chorlton.
South West Manchester currently play in the newly formed Greater Manchester Cricket League, which came about through a merger, or so I believe, of local cricket leagues into one, larger entity. So with this being the case, I thought it a good idea to go have a look at the new league and visit a new club in the process. To Chorlton it was!
With Chorlton being pretty local to me and with cricket being part of a budget cut during the aforementioned off season, it meant I didn’t have to begin my journey until past noon, arriving into the town at around 12.30. A short walk later and I was at the corner of Ellesmere Road and was soon through the gates of the ground itself and there I found Dan awaiting my arrival at the pavilion building. The players were going through their last paces ahead of the start, but before we get into the game, here’s a bit of background info about SWMCC…
History/Interesting Trivia Lesson:
South West Manchester CC has played at the same venue, at the end of Ellesmere Road in Chorlton-cum-Hardy, since 1882. The club was the base & a set for the film Looking For Eric starring Eric Cantona, and there is a picture of the man himself pulling a pint behind the bar, adorning the wall. I would suggest there is more to the club than this, but I can’t find it right now, so…
Out came the umpires, but what I wasn’t expecting was for one of the pair to reveal to his partner that he was in possession of some light-up IPL-style bails, which is certainly a new one for me in my travels and experiences of club cricket. Anyway, with umpires and luminate bails on their way to the middle, it was time to get underway. It was the visitors, from Bury way, Stand CC (WHAT’S THAT BADGE ABOUT BTW??) who were batting first, but they soon lost their first wicket with Ben McManus (3) being run-out with just 16 on the board, though not before the first scoreboard gave up the ghost and we switched to the second, far smaller one.
His fellow opener, Luke Davison (20), along with #3 Ali Azmat, moved the score on to 40 before the former was dismissed by seamer James Jared. Davison’s replacement at the crease, Dinesh Ateeq, lasted just 15 balls for his seven, bowled by the impressive spinner Najeeb. Stand were now struggling somewhat on 47-3. However, out strode the “cool” member of the team, Matt Curphey, who’d spent the preceding moments prior to his innings with his feet up, sunglasses on.
Mr Cool was certainly the most fluent of Stand’s batsmen on show today, but on what appeared a pretty slow pitch, even he never truly got into his stride. A further two wickets fell around him, firstly Azmat for a watchful 17 and then wicket-keeper Matt McGladdery for a relatively quick-fire 18, both to the other spinner in the South West side, Usman.
Curphey (35) was next to fall, lbw to Najeeb with the score on an unstable 120-6. With work still to be done, Stand skipper Stuart Catterall made his way to the middle to join Alex Beirne and the pair added the only partnership in the innings of any real note, to increase the Stand score to 185, by the time Catterall was dismissed off Jared for a battling 28. There had apparently been a few words exchanged out in the middle too.
Beirne was the last man to be dismissed, caught behind off the bowling Wickus Germishuizen (is that really his name?! Brilliant!) for the innings high score of 38. The wicket-keeper for South West would have been mighty relieved to have hung onto one, after previously shelling a couple of relatively easy chances. Not that he was the only one on the day, far from it in fact! Anyway, Matty Holt (6*) and Noman Ahmed (3*) saw Stand to 196-8 off their 50 overs. It looked a decent score, but was it? We had 30 minutes until South West’s reply would give us some idea.
To the bar it was, where I purchased a pint of San Miguel to accompany me through the break and in front of TV where the England v Sri Lanka Test was in full flow, as was another SL collapse. Dan was intrigued by the South West Manchester CC/Glasgow Celtic FC shirt hanging on the wall, which was something a bit different, but our curiosity was broken by the fact our live match was back underway.
To be honest, South West’s innings couldn’t have got off to much of a worse start. By the time they had six on the board, both openers were back in the hutch. Kamran Khan (4) was first to go, nicking to first slip before his partner, Mrinal Dasgupta (1) joined him in the same fashion. The third wicket stand did move to score on to 30 before Najeeb Ahmad was bowled by Ben McManus who had all three scalps so far to his name. If it wasn’t for a dropped catch soon after, it could have been even worse for the home side.
Dan had to leave at this point for his prior arrangements and this may have helped South West regain their composure as it all settled down a bit. Khalid Mahmood & Mohammad Ali Khan added a further 31 to the total in a more sedate fashion, before Khan was prized out by Azmat who looped one up to short leg & Khalid followed not too long after, caught in the slip region off Ahmed.
At 67-5, it looked all over bar the shouting and when that became 75-6 it looked even more so that Stand were romping to victory. But Mustafa’s dismissal brought Jared to the crease and he was greeted by comments such as “Here’s the angry man” & “He’s got a lot to say for himself this lad”. It was clear to see, there was no love lost in this exchange.
Jared and Wickus, however, advanced the scoreboard to 119, and with the time now approaching 7pm, I was definitely considering leaving early to catch the bus home. But then, an inspired piece of captaincy saw Catterall reintroduce Curphey to the attack. The opening bowler changed my plans immediately by dismissing Wickus, loosely pulling to mid-wicket, for 27 and then having Siddharth Kohli, who wasn’t quite up there with his namesake today, caught at slip first ball. The hat-trick ball was a bit of a mess but back came Curphey to bowl Usman Rana (4) off the 5th ball of his over to mean that South West now stood on the verge of defeat at 123-9. WHAT AN OVER!!
A bit of aggressive resistance by Jared, who impressed me with both bat and ball, kept off the inevitable for a short while but the reverse sweep was his eventual downfall as he was rapped on the pad by an Ali Azmat spinner and the umpire raised his finger to signal the end of Jared’s innings for 38, the game and a win for Stand! The players made their way off, handshakes exchanged between all.
A good return to the cricket then and nice to fit in a full game too. Also, a shout to all at South West, who were welcoming both on the patio and in the bar, even offering us some of the left over food (the wrap was lovely!). A great place to start and a good contest to watch. Cheers!
My Men of the Match:
South West Manchester CC: Najeeb Ahmad
Stand CC: Matt Curphey
*All names via Crichq so if any are wrong, it’s their fault!!