The tourists battled fiercely, going down in a nail biting 30 over contest against rivals the Patong Penguins last Saturday (Nov 19) before squaring the ledger on Sunday against Phuket sides with a comfortable victory over the jovial and spirited Village Cricket Club in what is their only match of the year.
In Saturday’s 30-over match, British Club Captain Ben Eastwell won the toss and elected to bat, sending in tour debutants Tyrone Bond and Sunil Kumar to face Phuket’s new ball combination of premier strike bowler Jagsir Brar and Patong journeyman Sajal Gaur.
In just the second over, Bond 1 (6) was adjudged LBW by umpire Neil Quail off the bowling of Gaur with the total at just 4.
The vastly experienced duo of Denzyl Allwright 2 (6) and Eastwell 1 (3) batting at #3 and #4 respectfully unfortunately provided little support for the remaining opener Kumar. Both players fell to the pace and guile of Brar who added to his already impressive season wicket tally with a caught behind to Van Blerk before disturbing Eastwell’s stumps to leave the British Club precariously placed at 23-3 after 4.2 overs.
The talented all-rounder Pramodh Kamalakannan joined Kumar at the crease and provided the steady support that Kumar needed as he began to counter attack against the Penguins top order bowlers.
After a 54-run partnership between the pair, Kumar was finally dismissed for a terrific 45 from just 26 balls, a very valuable contribution in difficult circumstances which included 2 fours and 4 sixes. Boosted by the innings, British Club had recovered to 77-4 after 10.3 overs.
Simon Wetherell was the man to take the big wicket as Brar again got involved taking the all-important catch.
Combining with Wetherell, relative newcomer to Phuket Cricket Lenny Leerdam really put the brakes on the scoring rate, avoid extras and stringing dot balls together.
The pressure again told as Wetherell picked up another big wicket in the 13th over, that of Pramodh 13 (29), this time Patong stand-in Captain Craig Morgan holding on for the catch. Only 2 runs added to the scoreboard and British Club back in trouble at 79-5 after 12.2 overs.
Chan Chhabra and Ahad Bhai steadied the British Club ship yet again guiding them to the 15-over drinks break at 92/5.
The pair continued resiliently following the drinks break until Leerdam slid one through to bowl Bhai 23 (26) in the 20th over with the score at 113-6.
Dilip “Onions” Mishra was the next batsmen in and chimed in for a terrific cameo performance of 21 off 26, eventually undone by Brar returning for the death overs in combination with catcher Leerdam. A really useful performance from Mishra helping the British Club to 178-7 after 28.5 overs.
Chhabra 48* (57) carried his bat through to the completion of the innings along with Lenny Tui 3* (3) as the British Club ended up posting 195/7 from their allotted 30 overs, the highest score of the season to date!
Following the luncheon interval, Captain Morgan sent the in-form PCG batsman Simon Wetherell and the previously blind Penguin, Anthony Van Blerk to get the Penguins off to a positive start in their chase of 196 to win.
The pair who have played many times together played nicely in the early stages getting well ahead of where the British Club had been in the early stages and maintained the required rate nicely.
Wetherell 16 (25) was to be dismissed however with the final ball of the 8th over by the wily Mishra caught by captain Eastwell. An important breakthrough for the British Club with the Penguins at 38-1 after 8 overs.
Fellow opener Van Blerk 28(27) quickly followed in the next over, this time the kiwi, Tui taking the catch from the quick bowling of first change bowler Pramodh.
Curt Livermore 5 (8) was the next man in for Patong but didn’t last too long as he misjudged a shortish delivery from spinner Bond and was bowled, reducing Patong to 57-3 after 11.1 overs.
Sunny Bowry was joined by the devastating Craig Morgan out in the middle and the two played sensibly to all but guide the hosts to drinks before Bowry 17 (17) succumbed to the final ball of the stanza, adjudged LBW from the bowling of Bhai, mush to his dismay.
The match was in the balance with Patong 87-4 at the drinks break requiring 109 from the final 15 overs.
Following the break, Morgan was in the mood to break things, first the kneecap of Bond as he slammed one back at the bowler and then the hearts and minds of the British Club bowlers.
It wasn’t long before the destruction was over with Morgan 55* (27) forced to a mandatory retirement with the score at 129-4 after 18.2 overs.
The British Club quickly began to squeeze the Patong batsmen before Mike Thomas 1* (6) also had to retire with hamstring issues bring Mayur Deuskar came in to join James Chattaway in the middle.
Chattaway 12 (20) was the next to go, a second catch of the day from Tui from the bowling of Eastwell. Patong 152-5 after 23.2 overs.
Brar a more than capable lower order player came out to the middle and quickly lost his partner Deuskar 13 (14), LBW to Allwright with the score at 160-6 after 24.4 overs.
With 36 Required from the final 38 balls and ice running through his veins, Brar 27* (27) guided Patong to victory aided by a strong contribution from ‘specialist runner’ Gaur 5* (7), the pair completing the victory with just 2 balls remaining.
Craig Morgan was given Man of the Match honors for his swashbuckling 55* (27) which included 1 four and 7 sixes.
British Club bounce back
Sunday’s (Nov 20) match was a two innings 15-over Match with the British Club again choosing to bat first against a Village team missing a couple of their key players from last years victory in Rowley Cooper and Stuart Redding.
Openers Ian Brewis 3 (12) and Manish Bagaria 0 (6) were unable to make significant progress early on as Roshan Jayasuriya and Anthony Du Pont made the early breakthroughs with the new ball.
Captain Eastwell 24 (21) batted well getting the scoring rate moving but didn’t get a lot of support from Bond substitute Livermore 8 (6) or Chhabra 6 (11).
Mishra 15 (17) again played nicely with the bat helping the tail to post a respectable 96-7 from the first 15-over innings.
The Village in reply were unable to really get anything going with the bat, only Andrew Macmillan 13 (14) and Craig Murphy 10 (13) were able to reach double figures, the team restricted to 65-7, a 31-run deficit.
In the British Club’s second innings, Pramodh 35* (21) and Eastwell 21* (9) piled on the runs to help post a score of 105-6 leaving a daunting run chase of 137 required for a Village victory.
The Village very quickly abandoned the run chase in favor of working on their test cricket technique as the required rate skyrocketed during the first 5 overs. The Village eventually finished at 69-6, handing the British Club a 67-run victory.
Dilip Mishra was the stand out player for the British Club, picking up a tremendous 4 wickets for just 10 runs in 6 overs.