13.05.2013 - Match Report - OL1 vs SLCC by Marco Celeghin
After two weekends of friendly matches against touring teams from Dresdan & Budapest, VCC opened it's 2013 Open League account against SriLankaCC on grey wechselhaft Seebarn day. After a Saturday of rain, rain and more rain the ground conditions were going to play a major role in deciding whether to bat or bowl first and after losing the toss in his first Open League game as VCC captain, Quinton was asked to bat first by the SLCC skipper.
In conditions made for seam bowling the SLCC opening bowler Ranga consistently put the ball in good areas and with a hint of away swing managed to cause havoc with the VCC batting line up. After good performances opening the batting in the friendly games Venkat retained his position at the top of the order but this time fell victim to a first ball duck, LBW to Ranga. VCC on the back foot straight away. Batting wasn't going to get easier and quickly we were two down with Tim (playing his first game of the season) also falling to Ranga. The run rate and the wickets column weren't looking to great and at the first drinks break VCC were 4 down with Erwin and skipper Quinton looking to rebuild the innings. Unfortunately soon after the break Quinton trying to pull a short one that kept low was bowled and VCC were in danger of being bowled out for a total under 100!! Erwin was holding the innings together and was the only batsman with the patience and technique to withstand the SLCC bowling for any amount of time. The lower order tried to hang around with Erwin but wickets tumbled at a constant rate. When Erwin fell around the 25 over mark of the innings 7 VCC wickets were down with only 120 odd on the scoreboard, things looked bleak. Quickly Marco and Mattk also succumbed to Ranga's bowling and with 9 wickets down, VCC debutant Shakil Khan formed a last wicket partnership with Owen which lasted for more than 5 overs and inched the VCC total closer to 150. VCC eventually were bowled out for 149 with Ranga taking 6 - 37. Erwin with a well compiled 61 was the only batsman to really trouble the scorers.

With 150 to defend on a day made for bowling, we all felt that with a few quick wickets we would be well and truly in the match. Neil opened the bowling and began with an unthreatening short of a length delivery on around off stump, the SLCC opener had a brain freeze moment and thought he would try to pull the ball to the boundary with the result being an easy lobbed catch to MattK at mid off, it was a terrible piece of batting. SriLanka one down after the first ball!!! Before the over was finished Neil had their number 3 LBW and VCC had the start they had hoped for with SLCC for 2 down for one run. The SLCC innings never really recovered from that bad start with only veteran Jayath Fonseka offering any resistance but not being able to score freely. At the other end Elijah quickly found a good off stump line and with the pressure created between himself and Neil more wickets began to tumble, Elijah also picking up 2 in his first spell including the prize wicket of Ranga. The VCC bowling was tight and the SriLankan batting was loose. After the havoc created by our opening bowlers, Shakil was brought on as first change and quickly settled into a line attacking the stumps and his method brought success quickly, bowling one batsman and getting another with a miscued drive which nearly fell over the head of Neil Foster at cover before Neil checked himself and stuck out a hand at the last moment and with a little jump pulled off an absolutely stunning catch which was in the same league as Benji's and Quinton's amazing catches in the games against Dresden and Budapest. SLCC were now 6 for 36 and Quinton went for the kill to make sure the ever present threat of rain wouldn't get in the way of a VCC victory.
Marco was brought on to replace Elijah and in my first league game bowling leg spin I began to spin it sharply away from the bat. Soon one the the SLCC batsman tried play a slog sweep against the spin and only managed to give Satnam a well judged catch in front of cow corner. SLCC by this stage had lost hope of a win and were only hoping to bat out time and hope for rain to intervene (which it was always threatening to do). Yes, the rain would threaten, the skies were getting darker and the weather was approaching, SLCC tried desperately to survive but after a bit of resistance, Marco picked up 2 wickets in two balls leaving VCC one wicket away from victory. The rain was approaching so Quinton brought back our opening bowlers and Elijah got the vital wicket with his second last delivery with their number 11 offering a sharp catch to Erwin at gully. SLCC all out for 94 and VCC full points to start the Open League with a great win!

It was an excellent team performance especially in the field with good tight bowling (apart from some rubbish from the leg spinner) and every catch being taken!!!! Although the batting didn't fire we fought hard until the last wicket fell and eventually did manage to build a defendable total. Congratulations to the team and thank you to Mike for scoring and to Michi and Sivakrishna who helped all day with 12th man duties (and got some good practise in as well). A good day for VCC and let's build on that promising performance!!