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Lombardy League Cup
MCC vs Idle – April 22nd 2012
by Jonathan Legge

The Milan vs Idle game : does exactly what it says on the tin ....... or not.
On turning up we found more ch-ch-ch-changes than a David Bowie song – you remember the trees that used to provide hours of fun for anyone looking for a lost ball – not the farm side ones, the opposite side ones ? Well, they’re gone – I was unreliably informed that they were cut down in order to make some paper. Hmm. Equally surprising was finding both Damith and Dushanta relegated to the bench – so who had been picked instead ? A rather rambunctious individual called Ravi was strutting his stuff with both bat and ball in the nets – was he the new danger man ?

Milan won the toss, opted to bat and then found out what the third change was : some of you will recall that Idle relaid their wicket a few years ago, putting in a concrete base – the bowling throughout the day suggested that a layer of bouncy castle had been sneakily added the night before, because there was a lot of spring in the wicket resulting in several umpire restrictions and one no ball for excessive height. This suggested the need for some intelligent batting (I’m already quaking in my boots ) a) to avoid broken bones but b) also because Idle had assembled a very strong team, clearly wanting to stake their claim to the Lombardy league cup.

Ramesh opened with newcomer Dave Rebetzke ( spelt correctly if you must know !) , Ramesh riding his luck on occasions with some airy shots and Dave just biding his time – no need to hurry the score on, as Idle obligingly produced a whole hatful of wides. 32 for no loss after 5 overs, 47 for no loss after 10. Opening bowlers Ravi and the Shrekish Tarindu were taken off – Sunny 1 immediately made the breakthrough with a double strike in one over, Ramesh wandering out of his crease and being summarily stumped for 21 by Indika, Dave R. caught behind for 9 – two overs and one maiden later Milan had slumped from 47 for 0 to 54 for 4 as both Gurmel and Bhupi came and went, Gurmel feebly skying an easy catch to mid on and Bhupi guiding a quickish rising delivery to the keeper – arguably Dave and Bhupi were undone by quality, but the other two would have been better off adopting a more defensive attitude while recalibrating their styles to the new bowling. Oh well.
New Milan boy Mandeep, in at number 5 with a mandate to steady the ship, started his innings in a very relaxed and unhurried way, keeping most of the strike from his partner Sunil while playing himself in – 20 runs were added in the next 6 overs, taking Milan to 75 for 4 at drinks – a disappointing score considering a) how well we had started and b) who was already back in the pavilion. In the 20th over the bowling change saw Sunil depart, caught for just 7off Rob Hassan’s bowling; four overs later Rob got Gautam out LBW for 10 – meanwhile Mandeep was calmly going about his business, meting out punishment to the frankly largely inoffensive bowling - at the 25th Milan were 115 for 6, still some way from safety – the tail duly came and went, and Milan failed to bat out the overs, but thanks to an unbeaten 61 ( six 4s and one 6 ) by Mandeep finished on 161 all out – special thanks to the Idle bowlers for the 44 extras, of which 38 were wides !!

* * *

One way of beating a possibly superior enemy is to set about him before he has mustered his mental forces. Idle immediately got a taste of their own bouncy medicine - bowlers Yogesh and Sunil were on song with some good, consistent L & L deliveries, but the real heroes of the day were Gautam at slip and Gurmel keeping – I can’t say who or how many they accounted for ( the scorebook is somewhat incomplete ) but I can tell you that the catches behind the bat were nothing short of miraculous, Gautam on one occasion taking a fast, low ball completely unsighted as Gurmel thoughtfully dived right in front of him and missed it – Gurmel later caught somebody else by nonchalantly sticking up his hand and plucking the ball out of the air while looking at the ground ! Unbelievable.
Opener Indika was out for 13, the next 3 batsmen put on 1 run between them as Milan tore through the top order – sadly in the 10th over the scorebook basically gives up, but I recall that Idle were on 25 for 5 round about then......
........tell you what : as I’m unable to relate how the
numbers unfolded, let me just cut to the chase and summarise it – with very few defensive shots on show ( Naseers’ big cross bat to a virtual Yorker from Brian summed up the Idle innings – unwilling and unable to plot their way out ) Idle didn’t even make it into 3 figures – 90 all out, the big guns failing to fire. 4 batsmen getting into double figures ( actually that’s one more than Milan !!) – Ravi top-scored with 21. Sunil finished with 2 for 17 off 5 ..... and only one wide conceded ( is the Sunil of old back ?) – Yogesh got 3 for ( possibly )15 off 5, Brian 1 for 27 off 4, and pick of the bunch was Mandeep with 4 for 30 off 6.4 – very pleasing considering that he was only advised he was playing at the last minute due to other players being stranded by a train strike : I never thought I’d say this, but “thanks Ferrovie dello Stato” ! Also super
extra pleasing was the fact that only 9 extras were conceded.

A convincing victory. This means that in the league Milan have played 2, won 2 : the big question mark on the horizon is the game against AVP, by all accounts a strong team – but let’s not get ahead of ourselves : there is no such thing as a foregone conclusion in sport ( Chelsea – Barcelona anyone ?), and we should underestimate the fixtures vs Settimo and Euratom at our peril.


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