From Jan 12 - 15 the Dogs intrepidly took to the skies for a weekend in beautiful Sarasota FL (a great place to visit - and play cricket). Here's our story...
The team arrived in waves throughout Friday - and enjoyed a beachside Pina Colada with a "floater" (apparently an extra shot of rum - and not what you think) in relaxation prior to the match on Saturday. We were up early and drove to the ground on a beautiful gulf coast day. 80F, a few clouds and a cooling breeze - this is why you go on tour in January!
John Moore contributes this match report...
We had a suspicion that, after beating Sarasota twice last year, our hosts would strengthen their side a tad. In fact, the tad involved the selection of West Indies test batsman Shivnarine Chanderpaul who was, it appeared, in need of some match practice before leaving for a tour of India with the test squad on Tuesday. Oh well.
Wilson captained the side, but delegated the toss to Farricker on the grounds that the latter had never lost one yet (a truism, as he had never actually having done it before). Inevitably, Frankie lost the toss.
The Dogs' first ball of the season was a wide delivered by Simon, as indeed were the next two. But the youngster soon settled down and bowled a nice, quick opening spell, but without any luck. Santosh opened at the other end, and had trouble with his line, delivering too many wides and having to be replaced by Wilson. Prasad and the burly McGregor assembled a useful stand of 62 at 5 an over before Wilson caused Prasad to play on for 29 as the ball span back onto the stumps off the bottom of the bat.
This brought Chanderpaul to the wicket, initially to face Wilson and Harrison. Both steadily and carefully at him, but found that while he would treat 4 or 5 decent balls an over on their merits, the other one or two were similarly treated and went for 4 or 6. Ironically, in some respects, Chanderpaul was easier to bowl at than McGregor, who played much less conventionally, which made it harder to set a field for some, to be frank, heaved slogs. Wilson completed a very useful, typically tidy spell, so Moore was brought on to bowl at Chanderpaul. Several of the Dogs thought this was an unfair contest with only one possible outcome. But somehow Chanderpaul survived. And he carried on picking off bad balls for 6, as did McGregor in his own, very different way. Harrison bowled very well at Chanderpaul, setting a field and bowling to it, but was, strangely, less successful against McGregor (Big Tonka territoryŠŠ.).
Kojima and Thaker fared no better than Moore had, being brutalized for 4s and 6s whenever the ball was less than perfect (which inevitably it was). Kojima exerted some revenge, however, when Chanderpaul slapped a short ball to Wilson at cover, who clung onto a fast-moving ball at knee-height to remove him for 73 (8 x 6, 3 x 4).
This perhaps the first time a test match batsman has been dismissed by a Japanese national (the Dogs' records are thin on this point, and neither Wisden nor Cricinfo has anything to say eitherŠ..). McGregor fell to Thaker, caught at long-on by Santosh for 57 (3 x 6, 4 x 4), but Persaud was also hitting about himself strongly by this stage of the innings, on his way to a rapid, unbeaten 52 (2 x 6, 5 x 4) as the Tonkathon continued.
The returning Simon had John caught by Thaker for 3, off a top-edged hook to what was probably a no-ball, and Kojima ran out Saeed for 1 with a nice throw at the bowlers stumps from short cover. The final total of 247 for 5 off 35 overs looked pretty daunting, but arguably less than one might have expected when a collection of aging amateurs take on a current test star in mid-January. The Dogs' fielding was ordinary, with a couple of players seemingly having forgotten how to bend or catch during the winter months.
Farricker captained well, Wilson handled his resources wisely.
Thaker and Kimberley opened against some useful swing bowling from McGregor and Kadiyala, and the innings got off to a slow start, Thaker ensuring that Palmer was not missed by contributing a 23-ball 0 before running himself out (was actually my fault - NK) (14 for 1, after 8 overs).
Kimberley rode his luck early on, showing better fielder selection than shot selection when showing that the lofted lob-wedge and the flicked 9-iron were still in his repertoire of shots. But survive he did, and as he settled, his timing returned. In consequence, he and debutant Knight assembled an important stand of 135 in 18 overs.
The contrasting styles of the two partners were highly apparent, Knight unleashing some powerful drives, all along the ground for 4's, together with some deft late-cuts and some well-timed flicks off his legs. Conversely, Kimberley used all parts of the bat to cut, slash, snick, carve and now and then middle balls to where the fielders sometimes weren't, and when they were, they dropped it. Chanderpaul was in the attack throughout this stand, bowling mostly medium-pace of no particular merit, together with a few overs of the leggies he bowls now and then for the West Indies (and looking a far better bowler when he did). Neither Knight nor Kimberley were phased by what he sent down, dealing it with in their different ways (see aboveŠ), although Kimberley did play one flick for 4 off his legs that was reminiscent of a left-handed Ponting.
Both players reached 50, Kimberley off 61 balls, Knight off 60 (which just goes to show that style and technique are surely over-rated). Knight eventually fell for an outstanding 56 (65 balls, 7 x 4), caught by Kadiyala on the deep long-off boundary as he failed to apply Kimberley's patented fielder-selection technique for the lofted drive.
At 149 for 2 in the 26th over, the asking rate was over 10 an over, not easy.. Wilson joined Kimberley, and scampered some singles, but the latter called for a runner (on somewhat dubious grounds, as he could hardly claim to have developed an unatheletic physique DURING the innings).
The appearance of the runner created the usual debacles over short singles, Kimberley/Thaker somehow surviving two separate shies at all three stumps from less than 5 yards range with the batsman nowhere. Kimberley's marathon knock finally ended with the score on 174, as he slogged and missed to be bowled by Persaud for 72 (75 balls, 7 x 4).
Wilson hit a high catch to the inner ring 2 runs later (10, ~12 balls), a consequence of trying to score at 10 an over right from the gitgo. Banerjee slogged and was bowled for 2 (~5 balls), Moore drove a return catch (5, 5 balls), Harrison lofted a catch (9, ~12 balls), and Farricker did much the same (2, ~6 balls), as the lower order basically self-sacrificed, as one does, when chasing improbable victories in the closing overs when the asking rate is ridiculous. Kojima ended with 9 not out (~10 balls), Simon with 8 not out (4 balls) as the innings closed on 219 for 8 on 35 overs, leaving Sarasota winners by 28 runs. Chanderpaul's figures were 6-0-43-0.
Sipping Pina Coladas and Planters Punch-the team relaxes
The sun sets at Lido Beach
Chanderpaul shows up to play for the Sarasota Cricket club-here's John showing him a thing or two about bowling!
Chanderpauls 8 sixes boosts the SCC score to 247 in 35 overs
The Dogs start cautiously-Thaker and Kimberley at the crease