Decisive weekend in prospect
Ramsey and Valkyres face an epic week-end. On Saturday the sides meet in a top of the table clash in the Standard Bank Premiership and the next day play again in the semi-finals of the Tinker Cup.
The league match is vital. If they win, the Douglas team will be the favourites to take the title. Cronkbourne lead the table, but Valkyres are only one point behind and have two matches in hand.
Ramsey, who made all the early running, have the same number of points as their rivals, but have played one game more. They will also remember the encounter earlier in the season when the clubs met at Tromode.
Then Valkyres were dismissed for 94 with Scott Weaver and Chris McConnell taking three wickets each. The northerners knocked off the runs for the loss of only one wicket, mainly thanks to Marc Pons-Burt hitting 44.
However since then Valkyres are undefeated and Ramsey have lost two games. The result could swing on which side has the greater depth in batting. Shahzeb Raja is the danger man for Valkyres while Keith Brew’s half-century last week was a fine innings.
Ramsey will be looking to the mercurial Ollie Webster for runs and wickets, but the accurate bowling of Scott Weaver could decide the game.
Saturday’s league match is on Astro, but Sunday’s cup tie is set for the Tromode grass track. After the recent downpours, this is likely to be soft and damp – ideal for the seamers. Zubair Siddiqi should revel in these conditions and it would be no surprise to see Valkyres going through to that Tinker Final.
By coincidence, Cronkbourne and St John’s also play each other back to back in league and cup. The sides battle at Tromode in the Premiership and at Mullen-e-Cloie in the Tinker.
Cronkbourne are playing good solid cricket and the return of Max Stokoe has livened up the batting. The loss through injury of Simon Beard has been a blow, but now is the time for the younger players to step up to the plate.
After a wretched start to the season, the Saints discovered top form in their last match at Crosby. Many neutral fans see St John’s winning the league game, but losing in the cup.
Seamer Akkie van der Berg could be the man to get the Saint’s the points on that Douglas grass pitch and the Stokoe brothers the men to see Cronkbourne through to the cup final.
Also in the Premiership, Castletown travel to Crosby hoping to revive their season. Just one league win tell its own story for the southern side, but that victory was against Saturday’s opponents.
The Town rattled up 268 for 4 and Garreth Roome smashed 106. Crosby were then dismissed for 130 as Gareth Morris claimed 4 wickets for only six runs.
Since then the Marown men have improved and last week’s narrow defeat to Valkyres showed a great fighting spirit. On their day they are a formidable eleven and Joe Rothwell’s return from injury is a big plus. This has the makings of a close game.
Standard Bank Forrester Division Two
Union Mills 158 for 3 (Richard Taylor 58, Bruce Wagstaffe 41no : Hameed Sulthan 1 -19, Jaz Singh 1 -25); Valkyres B 140 (Jaz Singh 63no, Rob Weight 26 : Chris Nash 3 -25, Peter Callin 3 -25). Union Mills won by 19 runs.
© Isle of Man Cricket Association & CricketEurope