Melson Memorial Ground, Old Warwick Rd, Solihull B94 6AZ
Match report courtesy of Colin
Sunday started more overcast than Saturday but Unicorns now play a lot of games at Lapworth in the Warwickshire countryside. A bigger ground with a slightly raised wicket which had a bit more bounce than expected. Sam today was playing for Lapworth but Skippy made it along with some different Unicorns. Lachlan incidentally is on holiday in Scotland.
Ari again elected that we should bat first and Mahe opened with Glen partnering. Opening bowlers were S Ahmed and the venerable Tim Fell although I misheard his name as a curry to start. Mahe started with boundaries, it was going to be a great day. In the 7th at 35, Ahmed got Glen LBW for 3. Ari in earlier today they got rhythm together but after young Ingram was frustrated by one score table boundary after the ball bounced obliquely, he definitely secured a sky high gift from Mahender, just inside and with much witness if he had stepped out. 28 was a solid starter though. Alex looked good but Fell got him LBW. Simon then partnered superbly for a line of scores and byes and still ended up with 17 right up to the 30th, Ari piling on like crazy meanwhile. 170/4. Simon was LBW to C Long, apparently Sam’s elder brother. Darrell was solid with another 17 being bowled by Sam at 205. This was a great rejoicing as it is Sam’s 100th career wicket.
In earlier bowling, there were two brothers, Azaan, quite tight and then younger? Ayaan who got knocked all over in two. He was replaced by Tanvir who had a bad first so change not spotted until a beard seen on tighter overs. Young Ingram had a three mile run up but was one of the least yielding, perhaps he needs to consider his foot placing but one to watch.
Did I mention Ari was on blistering form? He and Darrell had 113 partnership!! Scott was removed quicker than expected. LBW to newer bowler Rana for 9. Ari then retired on 101. His first ever Century with Grace’s!! A great weekend total. John was bowled by Chowdry for 2, Skippy had pushed Dean up but now came in and out courtesy of Chowdry. 2 balls left and a possible hat trick but after a wide, Colin connected a forward drive and ran 2 and blocked the last ball giving us 217/8 in the overs. Dean was also not out.
To open, Skippy was facing Chowdry, his nemesis and repaid, with a reflex caught and bowled on the third ball. Dean yielded a 4 to young Ingram but in that 2nd over he looked for a repeat but Ari raced toward deep extra cover and made a great running outstretched catch. What a start! 5 for 2 off 2. Now Ayaan and Rana were in for a long but slow scoring duration. Rana was bowled for 24 by Dean in the 15th with the score only at 45. Ayaan had 13 and stayed static for another couple overs. Dean also despatched bearded Tanvir on his second ball straight after drinks. Wicketkeeper Owen was not around long with a fine catch by Skippy off Mahender who was now bowling in usual economy. This time 9/1 in 7 overs. Talking of wicketkeepers, Scott had done about 27 overs by now but Darrell offered to take over as it had been part of the plan that he should keep on Sunday.
Like Scott he gave little away, back to the changes, this brought in C Long who offered more resistance and Ayaan finally opened up eventually making 66 before falling LBW to Ari. The runs required per over were becoming a challenge, as was the remote electronic scoring box which eventually lost power. Determined single taking could have helped but it was heading our way. Simon tried a first over in a long while but was frustrated in line and length. C Long was run out after 10, bringing in Sam. His partners were not lasting, Sharaz hit a determined 2 and 4 before Skippy made his third catch.
Azan was LBW instantly so last man Tim Fell was in hitting a 4 on his third ball as over closed. Time for the big guns, and I don’t mean biceps. It was about the 35th over and Colin to bowl. Line was better this time after some earlier net practice but length was ever a challenge. Sam parried and just as the ball was itching for the wicket, Sam came forward, missed and Darrell was instantly stumping. We had won by almost 70 runs.
Although long journeys were ahead, we got to share a pitcher, a real dairy style one, after the match, thankful for the way Ari and Mahe had gently guided all of us in an enjoyable encounter in our combined Graces and Unicorns team. Here’s to the next time we join forces.