NRW clinch series against BA(G)
On a chilly, cloudy morning the BA(G) set off to face the NRW Select XI as guests of neutral Bochum CC. With NRW one game up in the three game series, there was everything to play for and the NRW squad provides a great first step for attention to the national team. The NRW Board were obviously then greatly disappointed when several chosen players had to cancel at the last moment, as were their team mates and our brave opposition.
However, we quckly found enough first-class volunteers to fill the list, but in a strange ironical twist, NRW only needed half a team to do the necessary damage. Those who did play, played with incredible energy and determination.
Hosts Bochum CC went out of their way to make us welcome. In the case of Oliver, he literally went out of his way in a mad dash car drive to pick up a wallpapering table for the scorers when we discovered the usual table had disappeared! Thanks Oliver! We were all saddened for Bochum to discover that overnight, hooligans from a neighbouring skater part had thrown bottles over the fence so that deep mid wicket was peppered with broken glass. The Brits however cheerfully renamed this area as "the Bottle Bank" and all players were advised to avoid heroic fielding there!
Captain Satya of CC Rheinland won the toss and elected to bat first. Immediately after this, the sun emerged from the clouds and we wondered if this was a sign? If so, for whom?
Satya opened with Bochum stalwart Shani and the pair made a careful partnership of 43 before Shani was bowled by Mahmood. CCR team mate, Benedict, also a German national player joined Satya in the 9th over and together added a further 40 before Benedict nicked to Ford off Japp. His wicket in the 16th over then brought Zaheer of Mülheim to the crease and the fun started.
Over 19 overs, Satya and Zaheer treated us all to a masterclass in batsmanship. Although the Bochum ground is relatively small, nothing can detract from the shot choice, communication and timing shared by the two in their 156 partnership. Zaheer finally holed out on 86 to Mahmood off Ford but the NRW show was not yet over.
Keith Ford had successfully fielded and bowled and now he took over the wicketkeeper's gloves as Bochum's Naeem came in to bat. The pair continued to motor on in much the same style as the earlier partnership with Zaheer but then Satya, stepping forward to Morris, played and missed in the 46th over and Ford was ready and waiting for it. Satya stumped on 141.
Venkat then joined Naeem but Morris made short work of him 2 overs later bringing Kashif Hussain to the crease. Kashif had barely time to play himself in - he faced just 4 balls for 9 scored when the alloted 50 overs were up for NRW, leaving Naeem on 47, just short of a prized half-ton.
NRW 369 for 5 off 50.
FOW: 43-1,Shani; 83-2, Benedict; 239-4, Zaheer; 330-4, Satya; 348 5, Venkat
Bochum arranged for a selection of tasty pizzas to arrive exactly on time for the break, still piping hot from the ovens. BA(G) sent in Vincent and Ford to open after lunch. Ford? Remember this name? He had obviously made a serious study of the wicket and played another masterclass innings, just as he did in the first game of this series. Beautiful strokeplay and shot selection brought him to a well-deserved 77 before being cruelly run out. Half-way through his innings, NRW had introduced a crafty little spinner, Kashif Haider of Bochum. Kashif has already won one award for his bowling at the Dortmund Indoor tournament last year and here he showed that he is a little master outdoors too. Today, he ended with figures of 8-2-31-6.
In one final irony in this game, Satya had the pleasure of stumping 11th batsman, Morris, who took Satya's wicket in the first innings.
BA(G) 132 all out off 24 overs.
FOW: 16-1, Vincent; 18-2, Potts; 78-3, Haynes; 94-4, Bishop; 102-5, Ford; 104-6, Legge; 128-7, Japp; 128-8, Brandon; 132-9, McMullen, 132-10, Morris.
BA(G) were great opponents and the result does not do them full justice. The game was played in great spirit and very much enjoyed by all who were there. If you missed this game to watch the footie, you missed something very special. This was exactly what cricket should be.
Thanks to everyone from Bochum CC who helped us. Thanks and congratulations to both teams for a good game well played and thanks to the umpires and scorers. The third and final game of this series will be played at JHQ Mönchengladbach on 22nd July.