The Napa Valley Cricket Club (NVCC) opened their season of regular games with a hard fought win over local rivals Marin Socials at Piper Park last Saturday. While the late spring rains were welcomed by all off the field of play they ensured a low scoring encounter at a ground where runs normally flow freely. The soggy conditions allied with the laying of a new mat meant that the toss was going to be very important to win and visiting NVCC captain Bernie Peacock called wrong and Marin chose to bowl first.
With steady rain falling Peacock sent Phil Bourke and Adersh Maqsood in to open the batting for NVCC and both lived dangerously offering early catches to the Marin fielders. While running between the stumps and judging the ball onto the bat were challenges for both batsmen the wet ball meant a number of dropped catches in the field. A rain break after five overs saw NVCC with 13 runs and all their wickets still intact and the game reduced to 35 overs a side. Shortly after the unscheduled break Bourke fell, clean bowled to a skiddy ball that stayed low. Out to the middle strode American Pete Cameron and very quickly he and Maqsood found a nice rhythm and batted well together by consistently rotating the strike. The both ran hard between the wickets as the slow outfield offered both of them little value for their well placed strokes with Cameron running three runs and finding the boundary twice. Just as Maqsood looked set and was looking to accelerate a mix up had him run out.
A short stay in the middle for Tim Irwin (lbw for 1 off 3 balls) was followed by the innings that won the game for NVCC by New Zealander Martin Mackenzie. Mackenzie along with Cameron put on 35 runs for the fourth wicket with Cameron eventually falling, for a well-constructed 29 runs, to the slow bowling of Jim Pitman. Cameron, like Maqsood, was looking set to accelerate the scoring when bowled and his highest score for the NVCC was to prove invaluable as more accomplished batsmen contributed much less to the teams score over the rest of the innings. With the fall of Cameron in the 18th over a string of NVCC batsmen tried, and failed, to keep Mackenzie company in the middle. Thankfully for the NVCC Mackenzie had much of the strike for the next 12 or so overs as seven NVCC batmen came and went for the addition of only 10 runs. Extras were also to play a role in the final outcome with Marin conceding 30 in total and helping NVCC to a total of 137 runs in the 30.5 overs that they batted. In the end Mackenzie ran out of partners and ended up with a top score for NVCC of 37 runs from 50 balls faced.
After a warming curry lunch for all it was time for NVCC to head out into the field and defend their below par score. Peacock had plenty of options in the bowling department and threw the new ball to Maqsood who didn’t disappoint. A first ball wicket was followed up over the course of the innings with four more wickets for Maqsood and his first “5-for” (five wickets in one innings) in NVCC colors. Two wickets for Maqsood in the fifth over were followed by two wickets for Irwin in the sixth over and NVCC had their tails up. A gritty 22 from Marin batsman VJ who partnered Mohamed Shezad through a tricky spell and rode his luck with some near misses helped to stave off a batting collapse. Shezad was quietly building a formidable innings favoring the leg side but he, like Mackenzie for NVCC, eventually ran out of partners having carried his bat (stayed in for the whole innings having opened) for a fine score of 62 runs off 63 balls. NVCC were strong in the field with a string of catches taken by Mackenzie, Cameron, Irwin, Pete Sander, and Jared Thatcher. But perhaps the most stunning of all of these was the catch taken right on top of the grass by captain Peacock off the bowling of Irwin to dismiss Marin captain Vish who looked set to bring it home for Marin.
After the match, Peacock presented the Clos du Val Man of the Match award to Marin’s Shezad for his contribution to the game with the bat.
“Our total of 137 was always going to be tough to defend particularly here at Piper Park where scores are traditionally in the 200’s” said NVCC captain Peacock “and I was hoping for a score more in the region of 160, or possibly 170. But sadly the lower order failed to stick it out with Martin who played a solid innings today. He was well supported by Pete (Cameron) who had a great knock in only his second season playing cricket.” Continued Peacock “we knew we had to work hard in the field and back up our bowlers up by taking the opportunities that they created and we did just that. We took nearly all of our catches, our ground fielding was excellent and we gave away very few extras. Adersh was great with the ball and he deserved his 5-for today and I’m looking forward to more of his magic with the ball this season. Credit to Mohamed from Marin who carried his bat and almost won the game for them at the end. His knock of 62 was impressive and he did have us worried a little.”
Score Summary – Full Scorecard
Marin Socials 121 all out lost to Napa Valley CC 137 all out 16 runs. (40 over game / 12 batting)
Napa Valley CC Batting – Martin Mackenzie 37 runs (not out) off 50 balls (2 x 4, 2 x 6), Peter Cameron 29 off 34 (2 x 4), Adersh Maqsood 26 off 33 (3 x 4).
Napa Valley CC Bowling – Adersh Maqsood 5 wickets for 39 runs off 8 overs, Tim Irwin 3 for 24 off 6, Martin Mackenzie 2 for 14 off 5.3
The Napa Valley Cricket Club wishes to acknowledge the assistance of the following sponsors
Clos du Val, Anchor Steam Brewing, Chandon, Compadres Rio Grille, Cork Supply, Crown Hill Stone Supply, First Priority Financial, Greg Norman Estates, Silverado Resort, Tonnellerie Saint Martin, St. Helena Optometry.