Cricket was first on the card, with the Phuket Cricket Group (PCG) expected to comfortably overcome their rugby counterparts, Phuket Vagabonds R.F.C in a T20 game that included a few rule variations to ensure everyone had an opportunity to contribute.
PCG captain, Anthony Van Blerk elected to put the Vagabonds in to bat first, bringing skipper Dave Walker and Barney Turner-Mendis to the middle.
The format called for paired batting through four overs, and where five runs would be deducted from the batting side’s total, rather than the batsman having to leave the field of play should a wicket be taken.
A solid start from Walker (5 n.o.) and Turner-Mendis (11 n.o.) gave the Vagabonds hope of setting a reasonable score for the PCG to chase, with the pair combining to make 19 from the first four overs, and Turner-Mendis securing the game’s first boundary.
Vagabonds’ second pairing of Anthony Van Sleeuwen and Dave Cross found the going a little more troublesome, managing to score 16 runs, but suffering four dismissals (-20) to leave the score at 15 by the end of the eighth over.
Leading the Vagabonds past the midpoint of their innings, Mike Whippy (10) and Ken added 19 to the score including two boundaries from Whippy, but three dismissals moved the score to just 24 by the 13th over.
Vagabonds’ fourth pairing of Richard Pompilis and Paul Rothwell did not have a great start to their innings, losing a wicket on the first ball, but recovered well to post 21 runs highlighted by two fours from Rothwell (11 n.o.) and bringing the score to 35 by the 17th over.
Zac Foose and Nic Bruno were last to the crease for the Vagabonds, with Foose (9 n.o) showing his baseball batting skills by immediately dispatching Curt Livermore for eight runs from the American’s first ever visit to a cricket crease. Bruno took a little longer to find his range, but did end the innings with a four to bring the Vagabonds total up to 55 for their 20 overs.
Following the break, Michael Flowers and Jeremy Bootsy began PCG’s chase, but a fine first over from Walker’s medium pace restricted scoring opportunities and ended with just seven runs coming off the over. But a loose second over from Van Sleeuwen presented Bootsy a brace of fours to boost PCG’s total to 21.
Vagabonds’ breakthrough came in the third over with Rothwell showing his all-rounder capabilities in clipping the top of Flowers’ off-stump before a few extras and a Bootsy boundary bumped the score to 30.
Van Sleeuwen took the ball for the fourth over, as Bootsy belted back-to-back boundaries before Van Sleeuwen claimed Bootsy’s wicket lbw as the score reached 37.
Unfortunately, that wicket-taking momentum would not materialise again until the final three overs, when the Vagabonds proved their awareness and fielding abilities with two run outs before Rothwell bagged a hat-trick with the final three balls of the innings.
Finishing on 168, the winning margin was exaggerated by 103 extras leaked by the Vagabonds compared to the PCG’s 37, a refinement of which would undoubtedly make any future encounters much closer.
Top scorers for the game went to PCG’s Bootsy (21) and Paul Judge (20 n.o.), while the game’s bowling MVP went to Rothwell for his 4 for 33.
Following a brief interval to refuel, the teams returned to the ACG paddock for a touch rugby showdown and an opportunity for the Vagabonds to redress the cricket result.
Immediately, the Vagabonds’ pace and handling took a toll on a more mature PCG side running in two tries during the first quarter, and by half-time the Vagabonds held a 3-1 lead.
The addition of Merrick Fairall to the PCG rugby side certainly disrupted the Vagabonds ability to post a high score, with the endurance athlete being at the heart of every PCG attack, and also making a number of try-saving touches in defence.
With Turner-Mendis running in a try in the dying seconds of the match, the Vagabonds claimed a 6-3 victory.
Performances of note went of course to PCG’s Fairall, while Foose was Vagabond’s most threatening presence.
Regardless of results, the cross-over challenge was an enjoyable day out for both players and spectators, with several praise-worthy individual performances from both camps, and much needed funds raised for the ACF.
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