Wide awake Allstars slide to defeat

Gouvia Marina, Corfu, Sunday 25 September 2011.
AO Kerkyras (215-7, 35 overs; Brentanos 57 ret), beat St Anne’s Allstars (168 all out, 33.3 overs; Harty 52) by 47 runs.
By Garreth Duncan
The Sunday game of an Allstars tour is usually the tougher, as the lack of sleep and alcohol poisoning begin to take their toll on the tour party.  This one was no different, but despite a late night, some hungover and tired players put up a brave fight before going down to defeat.
While lacking the iconic setting of their Corfu Town rivals’ ground, AO’s ground was probably the best overseas surface we’ve played on since Menorca.  The ground is part of a marina and sports complex, and we had an opportunity to glimpse the Greek croquet team practising next door. Frustratingly, though, the opposition’s late arrival meant we had no choice but to field first in the heat once again.  We got off to a decent start as KP and Chadders both began with impressive spells, and were gifted the first wicket, Bouzis departing to a crazy run out with both batsmen finishing at the same end – a sign of things to come.
Tony Grant, the white “Big Bird”, ran in hard and took two wickets, Kyrinos being smartly caught by Tarka at extra cover and the dangerous Asif taken by KP at backward square leg.  But by then the score was already climbing steadily, aided by a generous supply of wides.  The Corfu league rules on wides – anything down the leg side – were enforced strictly by both local umpires, Vivek Seth being particularly harshly treated.  Sir Viv persevered and was rewarded with the next wicket, caught by Steve Harty behind the stumps.  But even Steve showed he was human as he dropped Brentanos, who having been described by Tarka as “a rabbit” as he began his innings, began to find his shots.  I also put him down at point, and he grafted his way to 50 before retiring with an over to go.  Tarka caught and bowled Slakim, and KP once again took a wicket in the final over as Mazis edged behind.  But especially after having bowled over 50 extra deliveries, 216 felt like a much bigger target than the previous day’s.
Tarka and KP opened, but the opening bowlers Asif and Aqib were good and proved hard to get away.  They were just beginning to get going when Tarka was out, edging Bouzis to slip who juggled the catch before holding on.  KP had grafted his way to 29 before he was caught and bowled by Kraftsenko, and Viv followed soon afterwards.  Steve continued to bat well with good support from Tony, but with the long grass in the outfield making boundaries hard to come by, the asking rate began to creep up.  Steve had reached his second 50 of the tour, including a trademark 6 over square leg, when he was out to a shocking lbw decision off the returning Asif.  
AO now had a firm grip on the game which they would not release. TG threatened to break free of the shackles before he was caught at point off Aqib, and Rob Jackson went for his shots before the excellent Asif wrecked his stumps.  The tail once again showed spirited resistance, Paul Nicol in particular playing some classy shots, but the game ended in traditional Allstars fashion as Maxie, some ancient batting pads hanging off him, was run out going for a crazy second run.
An excellent tour with highlights both on and off the field.  Where will 2012 take us?
Man of the Match: Paul Bowman.  KP gave his all as usual with both bat and ball.
Champagne Moment: Maxie’s pad-flapping run out.  Who else could possibly depart in such a comical fashion?

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