Millpark Cricket Club, led by Paul McCart, pulled off a remarkable victory on Saturday that at least gives hope that this season Millpark might hold their own in the league.
Millpark welcomed Academy to Banford Green at the weekend. The visitors struggled last year, but have strengthened considerably during the off season.
Academy won the toss and chose to bat, presumably assuming that they could put the game out of the reach of a Millpark team that has struggled for runs so far this year.
Opening bowlers, Stuart McCart (1-50) and Saeed Ali (2-31) started well, taking a wicket each in their first overs, as Academy stumbled to 6-2.
New Millpark Club Captain Paul McCart (2-32) then came on to bowl in tandem with his uncle, Stevie (2-46). Although runs continued to come, they removed Shields (29) and Atkins (34), as Academy slipped somewhat to 89-5.
Davy Glover, cannily held back by his captain, proved the man for the job.
He took two wickets with his first two balls, and finished with 3-7 off four overs. The man who came in to face the hat trick ball was Darrell Martin, until last season a Millpark stalwart. He calmly played out that delivery, but departed soon after for just four caught off the bowling of Glover..
Academy were dismissed for a very competitive 169, a score which Millpark had been unable to attain in either of their first games.
After the break, Millpark openers Paul McCart and Ali were watchful in taking the score to 31 off 14 overs. They succeeded in seeing off the first spells of the Academy opening bowlers, and the wicketless Martin (0-13), which was to prove vital as their teammates later tried to close out the game.
Ali was out for a valuable 18, bringing New Zealander Ben Talbot to the crease.
Talbot is without doubt Millpark’s smoothest batsman, but his scores do not regularly reflect this. Saturday was to be his day however, as he built an innings that was full of classy, measured shots, before he departed for 58, with just 30 more needed.
Once Paul McCart had departed for a solidly accumulated 31, debutant Fahad Sattar joined Talbot at the wicket. They combined well to build the score, before Fahad was out for 18.
It was left to eighth wicket pair of Stuart McCart and father Stevie to score quickly, as the required run rate threatened to spiral.
The simple maths showed that nine runs were needed from the last over, which was reduced to five to win by the time Thompson bowled the penultimate ball of the match to Stevie McCart. McCart rolled back the years, with a beautifully timed on drive that sailed high and proud into the trees for six runs.
Stuart finished on 13 not out, Stevie on 11 not out, and both were greeted by their jubilant teammates before they returned to the pavilion.
Captain Paul McCart can take great pride in his efforts over the last couple of weeks, which were rewarded in his own excellent performance on Saturday, and the result in the match itself.