Ulster Grasshoppers match reports
Having flown from Mumbai to Goa on Sunday morning, our sixth game of the trip took place in the town of Vasco about an hours drive from our hotel.
The Grasshoppers won the toss and decided to bat. Cowden, Russell, & Waite all got starts, but it was an 80 run partnership between Michael Turkington & Mark Nixon which was the mainstay of the innings. Nixon played particularly well for his 36 and Turkington made a composed 34. Late contributions from Peter Maxwell and David Haire took The Grasshoppers total to a creditable 175 in their allocated 40 overs.
The Vasco innings got off to a flying start, but the introduction of Paul Stafford and Neil Watson slowed their progress and brought The Grasshoppers back into the game. The run rate was temporarily forced up over 5 per over, but the Vasco Number 5 Samman then played the decisive innings of the match, his half century taking Vasco to the verge of victory before he was caught by Alan Waite.
The team fought hard without a great deal of luck. We were probably 25 to 30 short with the bat, and the difficult outfield probably contributed another 12 to 15 runs, but excellent bowling by Stafford, Cowden & Watson kept us in contention throughout.
Bowling Carlo Rendell 5-0-17-0 Peter Maxwell 3-0-23-1 Paul Stafford 8-0-35-1 Neil Watson 8-1-22-1 Andrew Cowden 6-0-33-2 Lee Nelson 2-0-21-0 Mark Nixon 3-0-21-1
The second game of the Goa leg of the trip took place at the Arlem Breweries Ground. Much to the disappointment of Roger Bell the brewery itself is no longer there so the anticipated tour and sampling session did not took place.
The Grasshoppers decided to bat on a slow wicket but unfortunately turned in easily their worse batting performance of the trip. There were a couple of pieces of bad luck, but generally poor shot selection and lack of application contributed to a final total of only 95.
The only batsman to emerge with any credit was Ray McCavery, who continued his fine tour with another hard fought 30. Far from throw in the towel the team probably then gave its best bowling performance. Carlo Rendell & Andrew Nixon both bowled excellent opening spells, with Nixon being particularly impressive finishing with figures of 3 for 18.
They were ably backed up by Neil Watson, the veteran South Africa turning in another excellent performance with 3 for 26 in his 8 overs. Had a couple of chances gone to hand The Grasshoppers might have sneaked a victory but there were simply not enough runs to play with and Arlem finally ran out winners by 4 wickets.
Bowling Carlo Rendell 5-2-15-0 Andrew Nixon 4-0-18-3 Neil Watson 8-2-26-3 Cameron Greive 7-0-32-0
For the final game of the trip The Grasshoppers had to travel back to the Vasco City ground. Fortunately since our visit on Monday the outfield had been watered which reduced greatly the amount of dust that was blowing about. We had heard from home that it had been snowing! It certainly was not snowing in Vasco as the temperature rose to almost 40 degrees centigrade and humidity of 83%
Lee Nelson was appointed captain was the day and now almost completely recovered from his ankle injury he won the toss and decided to bat. Initially receiving good support from Andrew Cowden & Mark Nixon, Nelson was in superb form racing to 48 before mistiming a drive to mid off. When he was out the total was 81 after only 13 overs.
However the introduction of two quality spinners ground the innings to a complete standstill with only 10 runs being scored in the next 10 overs. It took a fine 50 partnership between Ray McCavery yet again and Alan Waite to allow The Grasshoppers to post a final total of 138 for 7 at the end of the allotted 30 overs.
Waite finally being run out in the bizarre circumstances, batting with a runner after suffering another hamstring injury, he could only stand helplessly at square leg as a drive from Ray McCavery was diverted onto the stumps at the non strikers end leaving the runner Robert Kennedy out of his ground. Robert immediately heading for the pavilion before he realised that he was actually next in, and was able to have another go only for to be run out himself two balls later.
The opening attack of Peter Maxwell & Andrew Cowden both bowled well, with Maxwell returning 2 for 17 in his 5 overs. The introduction of Paul Stafford and Neil Watson further increased the pressure, and at the half way stage The Grasshoppers appeared well in the game with only 56 runs on the board. But immediately after the resumption the two Salgankar batsmen took complete control of the game with a partnership of 80 in less than 10 overs.
Both good players they attacked the spinners and ran beautifully between the wickets without ever giving the hint of a chance. In the end well beaten, but again a creditable performance giving the quality of the slow bowling & some of the opposition batters.
A final record of Played 8 Won 2 Lost 6 but could have been Won 4 Lost 4 The loss of the second game in Delhi was a major disappointment with the last pair putting on 40, and when well on top chasing 200 in Mumbai our batting stumbled and we lost 7 wickes for only 20 runs.