May 13 - unlucky for some
The cream of NRW and BA(G) cricket gathered at JHQ Mönchengladbach on a fine spring morning for the first of 3 planned LOI games. Conditions could not have been better - the pitch was picture prettyand lightening fast, the sky lightly overcast. BA(G) captain, Pat Legge won the toss and elected to field first, quietly confident of imposing Rheindahlen winning ways on the freshly formed NRW XI.
They had unfortunately not reckoned with the sheer determination of the NRW, so openers James Hall and Prasad showed them the error of their ways. Effectively farming the strike, James and Prasad chose their shots and added 115 for the first wicket. For every batsman dismissed, another took his place, with 4 partnerships over 50. The BA(G) bowling started to wobble, with wides contributing 40 to the end total. NRW XI finished their 50 overs on 385 for 8, with best bowling from Legge 10-0-73-4. Top scorer for NRW was captain Gehan Zain who hit 86 with a 6 and eleven 4s.
BA(G) took the fight back to NRW. Legge and Cooper opening slammed the bowling with a destructive series of boundary shots - Legge hitting 4 fours in a row. The average run rate off the first 10 overs was 9.3! NRW opening bowler Salman Butt struck in the 7th over to remove Cooper on 16 and again 8 overs later to bowl Vincent on 11. The youngest NRW player, Tarun, just turned 18, made an early mark by orchestrating Legge's run out on 64. With the main danger back in the pavilion, the NRW set to work on the rest. BA(G) batted steadily and stoically but the runs were drying up and the wickets dropping with regularity. Opening bowler Zaheer Ahmed returned in the 33rd over, to take 2 off his first 2 balls. As the 11th batsman Target was unable to continue due to injury, Zaheer was left with a hattrick ball but no-one to play with, with BA(G) finishing up on 162 all out (9 wickets) off 32.2 overs, with Legge (64) top scorer and Tarun taking 7-0-32-3.
Thanks must go to all BA(G) players and wives for the fantastic hospitality and great sporting spirit as well as to the officials - umpires Paul Baldwin and our guest from Belgium, Richards Eames, plus scorers Eve Binney and Wraye Wenigmann. The JHQ ground now boasts a fantasic new electronic scoreboard. Thanks to Brian Mantle, NRWCU Sport Director for operating the board.
Well played NRW! Revenge is due on 17th June in Bochum - not a game to be missed!