European Academy take to the field.
Fri, Mar 2, 2012 10:18 AM
Today was the first of our matches: a T20 match against a strong, local side made up of local policemen past and present. After a slightly guilt-inducing lie-in and early lunch, we headed for the ground to prepare for our debut performance.
Although we have only been in Pune for several days and have had only a few practice sessions together, the players seem to have already merged into a close unit. The players have come from as far north as Scotland and as far south as Gibraltar, and with the recent arrival of former Australian Test bowler Geoff Lawson, the global diversity of the Academy is there for all to see. Having said that, the Italian Di Giglio often tells me after hearing the likes of Stuart Thompson speak: "The Scottish are alright, it's just those Irish - I cannot understand a word they are saying!"
So under the leadership of the Dutchman Tim Grujiters, we batted first on a crumbling, dry pitch. Although the captain departed early for a quacker, Michael "The Bludgeoner" Leask and Stuart Thompson got the ball rolling with a few lusty blows. The introduction of spin caused a few problems and wickets began to fall. However, Leask was in imperious form, continuing to treat the bowling with nothing but disdain. He dealt solely in boundaries, finishing with 80 odd off not too many balls. To glorify the moment even further, Indian commentary and abrasive dance music accompanied his exciting innings.
Despite the locals getting off to a promising start, their innings slowed down considerably and they never really looked like threatening our total of 160. Thompson struck early with some brilliant straight bowling, and on the decaying wicket, the introduction of spin lead to the opposition's downfall. The left-arm spin of Ben Wylie and leg-spin of Vinoo Tewarie were the pick of the bunch, with three wickets apiece. A good start for (as the commentator put it) the 'ECC (European Cricket Club) Cricket Club', and with the arrival of Geoff Lawson to work with the seamers, the team seem to have found a healthy rhythm.