BORDEAUX GISCOURS v EYMET, Chateau Giscours, Sunday 18th June
How on earth did that happen? Can one explain the events of 18 th June in 500 words.
Not possible. With 35 to win in 7 overs and 6 wickets in hand, hosts Bordeaux
Giscours seemed to have it all stitched up. But cricket never ceases to surprise and
an ecstatic Eymet snatched victory from the incisors of defeat.
Eymet were missing stalwart Ed Nicholson but that was balanced by the absence of
Safi and Naim from the Giscours ranks. Skipper Horlock broke with tradition and won
the toss, condemning the Bordelais to hours in 35° heat. Although the early batters
all biffed boundaries, the real glue in the Eymet innings came from David who
persevered through the searing heat. Eymet lost wickets at regular intervals but there
was no collapse – just partnerships of 29 here, 26 there. Numan joined David at 68
for 3 and things began to liven up as Numan smacked a couple of sumptuous
boundaries (when not playing the ball with his hip!). Giscours started to go quiet and
fielding errors crept in as the heat took its toll. David eventually fell for a fine 29,
caught behind off the impressive Shameem, and when Numan departed for an
aggressive 34, the total sat at 118 off 30 overs. Next up were Richard Brown and the
fast-improving Owais Mohammed. Both played the bowling on its merits until they
started to feel comfortable. Owais then had the purists purring as he wristily pulled six
after six. He subsequently topped that with a tremendous cut for 6 over cover – an
extraordinary shot! This really wasn’t in the Giscours script as they were probably
expecting an Eymet collapse. Owais continued to decimate the attack before being
bowled by Shameem at the very end for a match-turning 77. He and Richard (18*)
had added 97 for the 6 th wicket in only 9 overs. Eymet closed on 217.
The tea break was enlivened by the appearance of an escaped cow and her calf who
approached the wicket. A crowd was sent to shoo away the poor beasts but it was
ex-farmer Tim Chancellor who spoke their language. As Tim cooed contentedly, the
Friesians followed him to the safety of a neighbouring field.
Eymet started in a more sombre fashion than in weeks past. Having failed to beat St.
Aulaye with 207, they knew 217 didn’t guarantee victory. Ramashandran took an
immediate liking to Numan and flailed boundaries off the first 2 overs. ‘Brearley’
Horlock’s reaction was to bring on Tim ‘The Chancellor’ immediately. His very first
delivery was just too taxing for a confused Ramashandran who, bamboozled like a
snake in the gaze of a mongoose, played all round it and was bowled. Job done and
Tim was put back to graze for a while. But Clinton Ferreira and I. Safi continued to
accumulate runs so The Chancellor was recalled and promptly removed I. Safi
caught behind by Richard. Tim raced down the wicket like a latter-day Monty
Panesar. Afzal and Ferreira then took charge and the heat began to tell on Eymet as
one or two chances went begging. The batsmen took the total to 138 off 26 when the
deserving Enayet pinned Afzal lbw. Double-whammy! The scoreboard had not
budged as the returning Numan caught the edge of Clinton’s bat and he was well
held by keeper Ahmed Jewel. 138 for 4. Ramiz and Vanale then played very sensibly
realising the clock was on their side with 14 overs left. They took it to 177 but Owais
popped up and had Vanale lbw. Were Eymet beginning to believe? 8 overs were left
and 41 required. Ramiz and Shameem continued to scamper rather than smack.
Owais, Numan and Nigel all pegged them back with miserly overs. 18 balls left, 10 to
win. Only 4 singles came from Owais’s over, and Owais and mid-on Nigel combined
to run out Shameem. A no-ball and 2 byes were the aggregate off Nigel’s over. But
Giscours had inched agonisingly towards the line. With only 3 needed off the last
over, victory seemed assured. On the field, the Eymet players believed the target
was 4. David threw the ball to Enayet who had had his best spell for Eymet. The
fielders were all called in close to suffocate the anxious batsmen. Disaster for
Giscours! The hitherto solid Ramiz steered a shortish one directly into Ahmed’s
gloves. With a new man in, Eymet’s dander was up. The second ball was defended
for a dot, and the third. The pressure mounted. Fourth ball it seemed about to
evaporate as Cedric caressed one into the gully area. But Tim, belying his years,
stretched like Spiderman, stopped the ball and flicked it to the stumps. Cedric was
run out! 4 balls gone and not a run scored. David dispatched one or two fielders to
the boundary to cut off any fortuitous slashes. Enayet bowled a metronomic fifth – no
run. Death or glory for the last ball. Swish went a flailing bat but failed to make
contact. The batsmen scampered a leg-bye as Eymet fielders screamed at each
other to avoid any overthrows. The younger players whooped with delight as they
realised Eymet had pulled off the cricketing ‘Great Escape’ – victory by one run
against the region’s top team. What an over from Enayet!
Without falling into clichés, how pressure tells in the game of cricket. A slow potboiler
of a game but, in the end, it was Eymet who were a degree better in controlling their
emotions in the heat of cricketing battle. Probably one of the greatest Eymet games
in the last 25 years.
RESULT: Eymet 217 for 6 (O. Mohammed 77, N. Uddin 34, D. Horlock 29, Shameem
3 -24) beat Bordeaux Giscours 216 for 7 (Ramiz Ahmed 46, C. Ferreira 44, M. Afzal
40, Enayet 2-29, T. Chancellor 2-35) by I run.
EYMET: A. Islam, D. Horlock (capt.), N. Jones, A. Jewel (wk.), N. Uddin, R. Brown,
O. Mohammed, T. Chancellor, Parmeet Singh, Enayet Hossein, Jabed Mamunu.