Result: SW Bordeaux won by 5 wickets
Stragglers of Asia’s 2018 Dordogne Tour opened with an all-day fixture against a strong Invitation side, made up of players from clubs that the tourists would not meet later in the tour. The game was played on a permanent astroturf wicket in a quiet, rural setting at St Aulaye CC, the track a vivid green in a landscape turned brown in the sun. On winning the toss, Bordeaux had no hesitation in putting Stragglers in and inviting them to set a target. Both sides having arrived with 12 players, it was agreed that the teams would play with any 11 of their 12 on the field, with only 11 expected to bat. Stragglers was supported by a healthy contingent of family members who had made the long journey to the Dordogne. These and the home supporters gave the game a fun and friendly atmosphere, reflected fully on the pitch.
Stragglers started well with a sound opening partnership, Russell making a breezy 12 before falling to a swift piece of glove-work by the genial Ferreira. Suckling and Cavanagh took the score to 66 with a combination of cultured shots and inventive running. The outfield was proving slow in the hot sun, a combination of dense thatch and undulations sapping the pace out of a well-struck ball and – particularly to Suckling’s cost – reducing beautifully-struck ground shots to mere singles. Cavanagh’s demise was followed quickly by the unlucky Gunn, snared by the ever-present Ferreira. Perry and Suckling took the score past 100 but Suckling then fell shortly before lunch to Burley’s first over. After the break, Perry continued to hoick and swat ineffectually, and it was inevitable (and none too soon) that one would go to hand. Melhorn soon followed him, but Hooper steered the innings home to set a sporting target of 175.
The chase began badly for SW Bordeaux, both opening bowlers striking early to leave the home side reeling at 16-2. Ferreira (a colourful figure in SW Bordeaux cricketing circles) and Clulee however had other ideas, and set about rebuilding the innings. Hooper and Calder maintained an element of control, but both batsmen were harsh on the rest of the bowlers, making confident use of the aerial route to neutralise the slowness of the outfield. Ferreira reached a composed 50; but after Hooper snared Clulee, the South African – perhaps unique in sensing a worrying fragility about the rest of the batting order – chose to continue the challenge rather than retiring. His eventual fall gave Stragglers a hope, but by then the damage was done and although the idiosyncratic Porter was well taken by Calder off the returning Blackhurst, Remi and Naeem saw the Bordeaux side home.
The match, played in glorious sunshine and a fine friendly spirit, was followed by convivial beers and the now-traditional presentations, before the tourists departed to an excellent dinner in Aubeterre.
Team Batting First: Stragglers of Asia
|2||W Russell||St Ferreira||Naeem||12|
|3||M Suckling +||Ct Roshay||Burley||28|
|4||B Gunn (g)||Ct Ferreira||Porter||2|
|5||I Perry||Ct AN Other||Naeem||27|
|7||T Hooper (*)||Not Out||24|
|8||T Calder||Ct & Bowled||Naeem||4|
|T Lerwill||Not Out||0|
|12||O’Neill (can)||Did not bat|
|For 9 wickets||Declared||174|
Team Batting Second: SW Bordeaux Invitation XI
|3||Ferreira (+)||Ct Suckling||Blackhurst||85|
|8||Roshay||Did not bat|
|9||Brown||Did not bat|
|10||Rishant||Did not bat|
|11||Snook||Did not bat|
|S||Burley||Did not bat|
|For 5 wickets||178|
|V O’Neill (c)||3||0||29||0|