Musselburgh v Murrayfield DAFS
Saturday 16th June 2018
Musselburgh (7) : 184-8 in 40 overs.
V Devaraj 64, H Verma 44, M Akerkar 2 for 19, S Fergusson 2 for 28, A Rhode 2-31
Murrayfield DAFS (20) : 155-4 in 26.4 overs.
M Akerkar 68
Murrayfield DAFS beat Musselburgh by 29 runs (ELC)
Waking up to grey skies and a dreadful weather forecast of heavy rain from 10am onwards myself and the rest of the team weren’t expecting much cricket to be played. As we departed Edinburgh the rain was pretty steady and as we headed down the bypass it became torrential with it hard to see the cars in front. To my amazement when we arrived at the Musselburgh ground we were welcomed by light drizzle and conditions that weren’t that bad. The rain remained pretty light until about 15 minutes before our scheduled start time when it stopped and the umpires took myself and the other skipper out to the middle to discuss the conditions and a scheduled start time. The pitch once the covers were removed actually looked pretty good and conditions underfoot weren’t too bad so we agreed to a 1230 start and a reduced 40 over game with more rain in the forecast. I then proceeded to lose the toss and to my surprise we were asked to bowl first.
At 1230 we walked out to the middle and after a somewhat uninspiring team talk from myself (I was probably still in a bit of shock we were actually playing) we proceeded to start very sluggishly in the field with the batsmen taking advantage of some pretty average bowling and fielding which was punished. The first bowling change saw Yelly trap an ex MUFS player of old Matt Boyd back on the crease and he was given out LBW. I was hoping this would give us the impetus we needed to pick ourselves up but we continued to be pretty loose with the ball and Musselburgh raced 80-1 off 12/13 overs (don’t have the book to hand).
At this point Sam who was beginning to get into a rhythm and had the number 3 caught down the leg side by myself. This brought about a bit of a lull in the flow of runs with Ash bowling tightly at the other end. Ash then had Tufail trapped LBW for 1 and a few other close calls didn’t go our way.
It was in the next over that I managed to take a smart catch standing up to Sam which saw the end of a very good innings from Deveraj which was a relief to all of us because he was looking on fire and set for a big score. At 97-4 we felt like we were pulling the game back a bit. This brought the dangerous Verma to the crease to join ex Muf Asif (“you catch like this Phil”) Mohammed to the crease. It wasn’t too long before he departed for 15 LBW to Ash and we really felt like we were on top and could bowl them out for a low total. Unfortunately Verma had other ideas and batted sensibly to gradually increase their score as both Ash and Sam finished excellent spells. Batman was brought into the attack but after a heavy night the evening before (leaving drinks with his work colleagues) he struggled with his line and length as the hangover finally kicked in. After losing patience I turned to Maggy and Gav (the death bowling specialists) who did a good job of restricting Verma’s scoring and stopping the other batsmen from scoring highly. A few more wickets were taken but Musselburgh finished on a very respectable 184-8 off their 40 overs. This looked ok on what was a decent batting track however as we bowled the last ball of the innings the rain started to come and down and it turned into hail as we raced to get the covers on.
As we took tea the rain eased off but remained constant for a good 50 minutes as pools of water started to appear close to the end of the covers. Both sides really thought that would be the game called off and as the covers came off and on again we were losing any prospect ofbeginning our innings at the latest start time of 1740 as we had to play for 30 overs which would take us up to our end time of 1940. At about 1700 the rain finally stopped and it looked clear in the distance and after some discussion with the groundsman the umpires deemed the pitch to ok to play on. I think in part this was largely down to the very dry summer we have had with the ground far from saturated. Despite not agreeing with this 100% I’m happy to admit the correct decision was probably made come the end of the game although I guess that was helped by us not having to bowl with a really wet ball.
So after various games of “football cricket” some of our guys got changed back into their whites and Fin and Maggy marched out to the crease with none of us entirely sure how the slightly damp pitch was going to play despite it still looking ok. The rain adjusted target had been set at 155 to win from 30 overs .
Verma and Gatner opened the bowling for Musselburgh and bowled 5 very tight overs with Maggy and Fin batting sensibly to get to 13/0. It was after this both started to find the gaps and the run rate gradually increased. The pitch seemed to be playing just as well as before the rain break which we were delighted about. The score moved onto 66-0 after around 12 overs when Fin had a moment of madness and called for a run that was never on. He scrambled back to the non strikers end and it appeared from the sidelines that he was home but the umpire gave him out sighting that his bat had jumped up when he arrived at the crease. Seemed harsh but Fin was gone and obviously ecstatic about the decision.
In a reshuffled batting order due to the shortened match Sam trudged to the crease and this saw the introduction of spinner Middlemass to the fray. Both Sam and Maggy played him watchfully and the score moved on 92 when Sam moved down the pitch to hit him out the park but was beaten in the air and bowled. We were still well on course so nothing to worry about.
Next in was Batman “The Brewery” Venkatesh fresh out of the Batcave and still stinking of booze. He amazed everyone including myself when he actually scored a run despite looking some way from a happy state. With another 35 run partnership Batman called for a run which on most occasions he would have made but ended up being way short of his ground for a brilliant 13 runs considering the drunken/hungover mess he was in.
Maggy followed soon after smashing a full toss to the covers for a well made 68 and we had a mini wobble on but by this point we were 22 runs from victory with 7 overs remaining and well ahead on DL method with 20 overs being bowled. Not long after that the rain came and we had a 20 minute break meaning that when we went back out we had a minimum of 12 minutes of overs to face so 4 or 5 knowing that if we didn’t lose any wickets we would win on DL method. With this in mind Ash marched out with Gavin and proceeded to smash Asif to all parts of the ground in including hitting him back over his head to the boundary from a full toss which was an awesome shot to watch (something I could only dream of). I’d be lying as well if I didn’t admit it was extra special because it was Asif.
So within 3 overs that was the game won and a really good win in what has to be said was not our best performance of the season. However we were always comfortable in our run chase and alot of that has to go down to Maggy and Fin who set us up nicely with Maggy in particular having a great match winning knock.
All I can hope for in future matches is that someone else actually volunteers to do a match report who is not called Sam or Batman. I sit in hope…………….but I won’t hold my breathe!
I should also not forget to mention Mr Iain Martin who had a very long day scoring for us, definitely more than he signed up for but this was really appreciated by each one of us so thanks for that Iain.
(credit: Iain Martin, Armageddon weather photo)