It was an inauspicious start as Russell was run out for a duck in the second over with the score on four. Basher welcomed Mark to the crease and the two of them settled in against the bowling attack of Cedric Miller and Germane Ebanks. In the ninth over, Mark was bowled out by Cedric for six, with the score on 30. Atif joined Basher for the remaining two balls of the over, taking a run off the last to retain the strike and then hit the first ball he faced from Germane for four. It was, on this occasion, a brief cameo from Atif as he was run out for seven in the 11th over, disagreeing with Basher over whether a fourth run was available. Ali took to the crease with the score at 42 for three and started scoring immediately. He and Basher built a partnership of 33 before Basher was bowled for the top score of 29 in the 15th over. Will Marsh joined Ali but was dismissed for two with the score on 82-5. Castlethorpe debutant Gordon Williams took to the crease, but was caught behind for a duck the following over. Next in was Syed Naqvi who was able to settle in against a string of wide deliveries. When Ali was adjudged LBW for for 28 with the score on 90, Syed stepped up his batting. He was first partnered by Matt Townsend, with whom he put on 26 runs before Matt was bowled by Tony McCourtie, then by Ian Easton, who was unfortunately bowled by the second ball he faced. Stuart Crow took to the crease with the score on 117-9 and saw off the last two balls of the 25th over. Between them they moved the score on to 128 before Syed was bowled by Tony McCourtie with the first ball of the 28th over having scored 27, while Stuart remained one not out.
After tea, the nine men of MK Afro Caribbean set out for the winning target of 129. Bevan Daniels and Amir Ali opened for them, facing the bowling attack of Syed and Ali. Their opening partnership of 28 was broken in the eighth over when their Ali was caught behind off our Ali for five. Javed Miles joined Bevan at the crease and scored nine of a partnership of 21 before he was run out by Ali as they looked to get a run for Bevan in Mark Currell’s first over. Bevan was then caught by Mark off Atif’s bowling in the next over, departing for 20 with the score on 51. Andrew Foster and Germane were only together for eight balls, adding eleven before Germane was bowled by Mark. Andrew departed in the 18th over for nine, after which Raj Rahod joined Carl Weeks for the remainder of his 32-run innings, ending four overs later when he became Mark;s third wicket on 99. Cedric’s handling of Mark’s bowling presented Bevan, who was now umpiring, with some heart-in-mouth moments. Almost the entire village of Castlethorpe went up in appeal for an LBW which, after considerable consideration and much worry for the Caribbeans on the sidelines, Bevan turned down. Next ball, Mark only narrowly missed the stumps which resulted in Bevan crumpling to the ground in relief. Mark and Atif continued their bowling efforts, resulting in Cedric finally succumbing to Atif when he was caught behind by Basher in the 25th over. Basher then ran out Raj one over later, leaving Tony McCourtie the last man standing on two with the score on 111.
So Castlethorpe won by 17 runs. The performance was not perfect, as you would expect for the first match of the season, but what was firmly in evidence was that everyone put in a lot of effort and there was a terrific team spirit. We even had spectators come along during the match - Jamie's and Matt's families, David and Stewart stopped by and Garry visited with his baby daughter. Great team spirit and support from those connected with the club had a massive contribution to what the club achieved last season, so seeing that that is still there is fantastic. Let’s keep it up and who knows what we can achieve in 2017!
Match report by Sharron Jones