On the Sunday, we returned to a cloudier, windier scene to play a T20 vs Ibiza, who had also suffered defeat in the hands of West Hagley. Having faced a pro player on the Saturday, Graces would compete against a former international player in the Ibiza XI, Antonio Barca of the Netherlands.
It would be Barca with immediate involvement, opening the batting for Ibiza alongside our guest Rupert from the Saturday. Graces’ guest for the T20 was Subtain, a very handy pace bowler, who caused quite a few problems early doors with good zip and bounce off the artificial pitch. A rare sighting of skipper Stuart’s bowling would be seen opening up at the other end, with Barca showing his class and opening his flurry of boundaries. With Subtain holding up the other end, Matt was brought on for some more seam bowling, but Graces would continue to see the ball fly, despite putting fielders in the right places. Some serious neckache occurring!
With Subtain finished, Ari and Mahender were introduced, finally bringing the breakthrough. Mahender producing identical wickets of Stuart long on catches to dismiss Barca, who was very angry with himself, for 64 and Rupert for 36. It would prove significant in stemming the flow of boundaries, with regular wickets falling as Ibiza continued chipping away. Prentice was caught by Mahender from Ari’s bowling, with Ali soon following to Ari as well, with Matt taking a very well judged high catch in the swirling wind. Parmentor and Thomson would see the innings off with a couple of handy overs from Mark and Matt returning to his favoured spin. Runs continued at a steady pace, not helped by a miscommunication on the square leg boundary which resulted in Leo, trying to use the nearby Mark for assistance picking up the ball, only to actually end up kicking it between Mark’s legs for four! A final total of 173/4 seemed it would be much higher at one point and a target that looked able to chase.
Matt and Ari would start the chase, with Matt in particular very keen to push the running. It would work as wides, byes and occasional misfields, combined with the eager running would give Graces a superb start. Ari looked in great touch as the runs flowed before Matt feathered a small nick off Partridge to end the opening partnership of 65 after 6.1 overs.
Leo would be next in, taking advantage of the lightning outfield, as the runs continued. The halfway point came at exactly 100, with Graces looking like the favourites for the win. However, Ibiza continued to mix their bowlers, not allowing Graces to get used to one type of bowling. Leo would be bowled for 33. Mahender would only hit one boundary in his run-a-ball 17 and Subtain would be dismissed first ball, all starving Ari of the strike as Ibiza made a strong comeback with the run rate. Adam would come to the crease with 34 needed from the final 4 overs. Amos and Ali’s 8 overs between them at the end yielded only 42 with 4 wickets, including the prized wicket of Ari in the final over for 64, as agonisingly Graces would fall just nine runs short. A very close game to end a super tour for 2023! Huge thanks to Dom for organising and to all those players and supporters who attended.