Eymet v Midi Sunday 30 July 2017
Recalling that famous Liverpool football match in Istanbul, some readers may also have given up at half-time on any prospect of Eymet winning the League after that disastrous pair of opening defeats. Indeed, one wag commented that there was more chance of Tiger Tim Smith beating Usain Bolt over 100m! But no, as Eymet set off to play Midi in Toulouse, the chance to win the League was still dangling as a prize, for healthy bonus point wins, and that famous one run victory over Bordeaux, had left them in the frame. Could they handle the pressure? Midi had plenty of motivation too, with the possibility of finishing second in the first year of the ACCSO super League.
Compared to other away trips, the voyage was unremarkable, save for a 30km stint on the autoroute with the van’s back door open! On arrival at Pech David, the team were presented with a fantastic view over the city, and an understanding of why we had been asked to bring some spare balls, the boundaries square of the wicket were very short.
A hot day, small boundaries, how important would the toss be? A forgone conclusion, like normal the skipper lost the toss, and Midi chose to bat. They opened with a young “dasher” and Paul Rodgers, who will be well known to older members as a regular Festival visitor and former French player, who played for many seasons alongside Simon Palmer and Nigel “Toby Roland” Jones. After a couple of regulation overs Numan warmed up to trap the “dasher” LBW, and then struck a decisive blow by dismissing Midi Captain, Ankush, second ball, a great start for Eymet! Bowling from the City End, Richard Brown was struggling to bowl with any rhythm due to the double step up from the grass to the concrete, and then from the concrete onto the mat. After a couple of overs Bordeaux bowling hero, Enayet, was thrown the ball. He started brightly, and trapped the number 4 LBW with a clever slower ball. There was some conjecture that this was due to Sausages’ influence of continuous slower balls, but this theory was quickly dispelled as 2 balls later he produced a snorter to dismiss the new batter, caught off his gloves by Eloquent Ed Nicolson at the wicket. A couple of boundaries followed before he struck again, this time a leading edge was swallowed by Jaman, to leave Midi faltering at 47-5.
From the other end a fascinating game within a game was developing as Owais bowled superbly against Rodgers, who had decided that he was the only player with a good enough technique to thwart the leg spinner. On a small ground with a lightening quick outfield he bowled his 8 overs for only 16 runs, and was unlucky not to have had 3 or 4 wickets. Midi had consolidated now and passed 100. Numan was recalled to the City End to break the flourishing stand, but he couldn’t find his footing either, so Twirler Tim Chancellor took up the mantle, and soon struck twice to bring Eymet back into the game. Rodgers was now in danger of being stranded, and seemed determined to keep the strike. The field was pushed back to allow him the single early in the over, and brought in to keep him on strike at the end. Finally he made an error in trying to chip over the infield, and Jaman pouched another catch, 105-8. Eymet sensed an early finish but the ninth wicket pair put up some awkward resistance, and with mishits racing to the boundary and chances spilled Midi reached 144. Calm heads were required, and Tim, the calmest of customers, delivered by hanging onto a return catch and trapping the last man LBW to finish with his first “Michelle” for the club. Midi all out for 156, the bowlers had done their bit, now over to the batters.
Early on The Skipper survived a big LBW shout, and then settled in to see off the new ball. Ed drove a majestic drive and a couple of glances to the boundary set up the run chase, only for David to carve the wily Rodgers to backward point, 19- 1. Ahmed Jewel shuffled out at number 3, still looking a bit worse for wear after a hectic week in Paris, but any nerves were quickly settled by a brace of leg side flicks to the boundary, followed by a booming 6. Midi kept up attacking fields, desperate to take wickets, which allowed Ed and Ahmed to fully profit from any bad balls. Skipper Ankush bowled a fiery spell, but the other bowlers couldn’t keep up any pressure. Targets were now quickly reeled in, 50 up, less than 100 needed, 50 partnership, and then the 100 was posted. Both players reached their fifties just after drinks and now set out to be the highest scorer. Ed settled on counting to 6 and hitting a single, while Ahmed started to scamper 2’s to get back on strike, while running a bit slower for Ed’s shots! A flurry of boundaries saw Eymet cruise to a maximum bonus point victory, and the League title. It had been a great effort from Ahmed, as he completed his second League 50 of the season, and continues to mature into a more consistent player. Ed, producing a score when it really mattered, was almost taken for granted, he remains the most consistent and productive batsman in the South West.
Spirits were high on the return trip, and some rehydration in the Café de Paris was followed by a celebratory visit to the Burger Shop in Bergerac to complete an excellent day. Many thanks to Ian for scoring again and thoughts now turn to the T20 in 2 weeks time, and a chance to win more silver-wear.
Finally, for those worried about Twirler Tim and “Michelle” (Michelle Pfeiffer = 5for = 5 wickets) ..................
Eymet win by 9 wickets
Midi: 156 all out in 32.2 overs (Sharjar 35, Tahir 25, T.Chancellor 5-24, Enayet 3-48, Numan 2-31)
Eymet: 160-1 in 18.2 overs (E.Nicolson 70 n.o. A.Jewel 62 n.o.
Eymet Team: D.Horlock (capt), E.Nicolson (wkt), Ahmed Jewel, Numan, R.Brown, Parneet, Jaman, Azizul, T.Chancellor, Enayet
Thanks to our sponsors, Cafe de Paris, The Pizzeria Eymet, Aquitaine Info and Danelander