Marsa entertain two touring teams

Over the weekend Marsa played a 20/20 series against 2 visiting sides – 32 Engineer Regiment and Selsted Exiles.

32nd Engineers Regiment
32nd Engineers Regiment

First up were the Engineers on Thursday - the visitors had put in an extended practice session the previous day to prepare for the match and it showed, putting Marsa in to bat and reducing them quickly to 35 for 4 wickets down. Greg Symons and Sam Aquilina put on a partnership of 36 to give Marsa some hope but when they fell in quick succession, followed by Andy Naudi for a duck, any realistic chance of Marsa setting a competitive total was gone.

Andrea Caruana made his first appearance for the club batting with John Rusher towards the end, but they could only push the score up to 87 for 7 at the end of the 20 overs. Loeb was the leading wicket-taker with 2 but all the bowlers used were accurate and effective - Castille, Joseph, Frost and Rogers each taking a wicket. The Engineers reply started steadily but Marsa managed to keep them in check - at the halfway stage the total had reached just 47 but a brisk 33 not out from Cottenden powered them to victory for just 2 wickets down in 16 overs.

On Sunday the 3 sides played a 20/20 tournament, each side playing the other two. In the first game Marsa set Selsted Exiles a target of 145 to win, thanks mainly to innings of 54 from Andrew Mitchell and 47 from Andy Naudi. Jack Goldberg bowled particularly well for Selsted taking 2 wickets for 23 runs, as did Price who took 2 for 30. These same 2 players performed well again with the bat, scoring 48 and 35 respectively - going into the last over the visitors needed 12 to win but Nowell Khosla kept his nerve and they could only manage 7, Marsa winning by 4 runs. Haroon Mughal was the main wicket-taker with 2.

In the second game the Engineers batted first and scored 165 for 7 wickets, the main contributors being Cottenden with 37 at the top of the order and Frost with an aggressive 41 not out coming in at number 6. Goodsell had the best bowling figures with 2 for 21, with Price taking 1 for 21. If Selsted were going to chase this score down they needed a good start and that was exactly what they got, Goldberg and Harding putting on 89 for the first wicket. Harding was in particularly good form hitting 52 from 51 balls before being caught. Goldberg perished soon after, caught in the deep, and the impetus of the innings drained away - by the end of the 20 overs Selsted had reached 122 for 4, the Engineers winning by 43 runs.

In the third game of the day, the two sides who won their first games went head-to-head for the tournament honours. The Engineers batted first - Bakeburgh fell early for 8 and Christy Parkes bowled a good spell to take 1 for 21 and keep things tight, but Cottenden and Frost found the slower bowlers more to their liking - Cottenden made 55 before being caught on the boundary by Tony Azzopardi off Joy Ghoseroy, but Frost kicked on to make 57 not out, ably assisted by Smith who hit 21 not out.

This all meant that Marsa had to beat 172 to win the tournament. Andrew Mitchell batted well again at the top of the order to make 29 but wickets were falling at the other end, including debutants Will Pettit who made 3 and Matthew Gillard who was unfortunate to receive a good yorker first ball and was dismissed for 0. Sam Aquilina and Sumair Khan put together a good partnership but the scoring rate was never high enough and in the end Marsa fell some way short of their target, managing just 107 in total. Smith followed up his good batting performance with an excellent bowling spell to take 4 wickets for 10 runs, with Rogers taking 2 for 19 and Castille, Cottenden and Joseph taking 1 wicket each. This meant that the Engineers won the game by 65 runs and the tournament by virtue of 2 victories to Marsa's 1.

The final game of the series took place on Tuesday - the Engineers shuffled their lineup to involve players who had not had much time in the middle in the tour so far, but unfortunately for them Marsa produced their best bowling performance of the weekend to dismiss them for just 60 runs. Richard Bridge, on debut, was the top performer with 4 wickets for 16 runs. Justin Brooke and Greg Symons took 2 wickets each, as only 3 batsmen (Smith, Frost and Joseph) reached double figures.

It was agreed to extend the innings to take up the full 20 overs, by which time the score moved on 103, setting Marsa 104 to win. Their reply started badly with Khosla and Rusher falling cheaply, but Andy Naudi (41) and John Grima (18) put on a partnership of 58 to push Marsa towards their target. Both batsmen retired to give playing time to the youngsters in the squad - Liam Sproule, Matthew Gillard scored their first runs for the club and Will Pettit also showed promise, and the total was reached with an over to spare. Smith took 3 wickets for the Engineers, who won the overall series 2-1.

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On Saturday the Charmain's Panthers take on the Captain's sharks.


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