Valkyres to test league leaders
Valkyres are facing a tough test on Saturday in the Standard Bank Premiership. In 2011 they finished bottom of the league, but last Saturday the club pulled off a surprise result when they beat Castletown.
The batsmen excelled, making 195 for 6 with great work from Shahzeb Raja who led the way with 72. Tom Reader hit 41 and Abdul Khan made 30. The bowlers then tied down the Town batsmen. Raja put down eight tight overs to concede only nine runs and Paul Fleming took a five wicket haul.
The question now is whether this was an exceptional result by Valkyres or the start of a new era. The answer should come at the week-end when Zubair Siddiqi’s team take on Ramsey, the current league leaders.
The northern club have won both their games so far in the Premiership. They are playing well and brim full of confidence. Saturday’s defeat of Cronkbourne showed a well-balanced side on top form.
The return from illness of Chris McConnell added bite to the attack and the opening pair of Eddie Cleator and Marc Pons-Burt paved the way for victory with a stand of 59. Another two points from the clash with Valkyres will cement their position in the number one slot, but it will not be easy. An enthralling match is in prospect.
Meanwhile St John’s will be hoping to kick-start their season when Cronkbourne visit Mullen-e-Cloie. Key players are now becoming available which will boost their chances.
Akkie van der Berg should be back from Rugby duties and his bowling will add punch to the attack. Daniel Dickinson and Neil Jacobs batted well last week and a big score from one of the Hawkes must be on the cards.
Cronkbourne look a better side this year. The batting still has problems, but the middle order is now getting stuck in and not quickly folding as in the past. Phil Richardson is picking up wickets and Matt Ansell is benefiting from his week at the ICC Centre of Excellence in Spain. Alex Stokoe has led the side well, but faces a very difficult clash with the Saints.
Castletown are at home to Crosby and look forward to gaining their first points. Two visits to Tromode have been fruitless, but the signs are there for a recovery.
However the visit of the Marown team could be very tricky. They upset the odds by beating St John’s last week and could be this season’s surprise package. Ross Berry had a fine game taking five wickets and Danny Kniveton’s innings helped give his side a five wicket win.
There are still questions about the batting though. Top scorer was “Extras” and there were many nervous moments in the run chase. If their batsmen can become more consistent, then at the end of the season Crosby could be up there with the leaders.
© Isle of Man Cricket Association & CricketEurope