TOULOUSE vs EYMET, Blevins Franks League Sunday 22 July
The clock struck one (if Toulouse’s pretty Stade Sordelo ground had had one) and the umpires asked Nigel Jones to toss for innings with Toulouse captain Brett Trudgett.
Nigel and Ian White were the only two Eymetois present as David Horlock and the boys took a wrong turn somewhere in the municipal van. Even Ian was not match-fit, having slipped on the wicket warming up and seriously damaging his wrist.
Finally, Eymet did arrive and were surprised that Toulouse had invited them to bat. The umpires insisted on a 35-over game. With the Blevins Franks League up for grabs, Adnan and Azizul went out to bat on the slippery Flicx wicket which had done for Ian. Adnan had a look for a couple of balls and then couldn’t resist the short boundaries on the converted football field – whoosh, 6 runs. Azizul soon caught the same fever but we won’t go too much into sixes today as 8 out 11 Eymet batters managed the maximum.
Needless to say, the Flicx was an odd wicket. When it was up there to be hit, it went flying, but there was an element of two-pacedness in the wicket too. In the second over Adnan was bowled by native Frenchman, Philippe Fermanel. Still eating his lunch, Ahmed Jewel trudged grumpily out to the middle and decided to take revenge on Toulouse for interrupting his repast. He soon got into his stride with a succession of boundaries. In the meantime, the aptly named Malinga (with his namesake’s slingy action) was on his final warning for short-pitched bowling. Eymet looked to be heading for a mega-score as the boys took them to 90 off the first 10 overs. However, Ahmed was bowled for a fine 53 by the persevering John. He soon bowled Azizul too for 28 and Nigel, having whipped a six, chipped John straight to midwicket. Eymet had slipped to 115 for 4. The run rate slowed momentarily as the returning David and Owais Mohammed steadied the ship. But before long, they were merrily slapping boundaries too. They took the total to 148 off 20 overs before the second incident of wheels coming off. Owais was caught off Rayan for 25 and Numan lasted one ball. Parneet rebuilt with David, the hard work allowing Parneet to sweat out the alcohol of the night before. On 178 Parneet was well held at slip off Uchmal, and moments later, David chipped the same bowler back into his hands with the total on 179. Eymet were drifting with 8 wickets down. This did not bother the smiling Enayet who bashed and slashed his way to 23. When he departed caught, no one was sure if Ian would take the field but bravely, à la Colin Cowdrey, he went out to face the music. This allowed Tim Chancellor to join the six-fest as he made a useful 15, carrying Eymet to 227 for 9 off their allotted 35 overs.
Eymet weren’t quite sure if they had a good score or not given the proximity of the boundaries. Furthermore, Numan didn’t feel confident of the surface, and decided to go medium pace. Nigel took the town end and, piqued by being slogged for six second ball, clipped the bails of the aggressive Malinga. Numan’s new style kept the scoring down. These two were relieved by Owais and Enayet. With a leg-spin style and short boundaries, Owais was bound to get hit. However, he stuck to it and didn’t drop short. Consequently, he took wickets, removing both Darshan and Rayan. At the other end, Enayet was working up a head of steam and, with one or two short exceptions, found a good length on off stump. He pinned Tanjil plumb in front and then had Michael John well caught by keeper Adnan. Toulouse were seriously in trouble with 5 wickets down (unfortunately, as there was no official scorer, there is no record of fall of wickets). Owais bowled Chris Fermanel and then had Akshay LBW. Seven down but skipper Horlock had to admonish his youngsters for premature celebrations. There still remained the Delaney clone, Brett Trudgett. He played watchfully but put away any bad balls for four or six. He also got admirable support from Uchmal who played very straight. They took the total to over 100 and were overheard discussing run rates. 10 or 11 an over were possible. David brought back the Dhaka Medium-pacer, Numan, and he did the goods. To be fair, he still bowled the occasional mean heavy ball but a slower ball induced Trudgett into a drive too many and he was excellently held at long-on by Tim ‘Superglue’ Chancellor. With that, Toulouse’s hopes appeared to be gone but Uchmal continued to play well and keeper Peter tucked into Nigel before he too drove into the welcoming hands of Tim. Finally, Uchmal took a liberty with Tim’s off spin and Owais held a beautifully timed catch at long-off. Toulouse all out for 170. And credit to Ian White too who, despite a seriously injured wrist, got his body behind the ball on several occasions to stop vital runs.
Having been stuck in the van at 1pm, David then gave his pre-match speech after the game. Eymet had won their last two games without playing anywhere near their potential. Would it be enough against strong sides? However, David did agree that one can only win the league that one’s in. So, the league performance in terms of a school report would read ‘Well done, but still could do better, 8 out of 10.’ The bowling was pretty consistent throughout, with a variety of styles, and 7 or 8 bowlers who all contributed at some stage. The batting was a real conundrum, equally capable of scoring 250 or 75 against the same opposition under the same conditions.
Congratulations to all who took part, particularly the long-suffering (literally) skipper himself, who held the side together brilliantly.
Many thanks to faithful sponsors, the Pizzeria, Café de Paris, Danelander and Aquitaine-Info.
RESULT: EYMET WIN BY 57 RUNS
EYMET: 227 for 9 off 35 overs (Ahmed Jewel 53, Azizul 28, Uchmal 3-15, M. John 3-28)
TOULOUSE 170 all out off 31.4 overs (Uchmal 36, Owais 4-52, Enayet 2-25, N. Jones 2-35)
EYMET: D. Horlock (captain and mini-bus driver), Adnan, Azizul, Ahmed Jewel, N. Jones, Owais Mohammed, Numan, Parneet, T. Chancellor, Enayet, I. White.