The Dragons entered the tournament after a mixed season but with the hope of going well in the highlight of the Swiss cricketing calendar. Due to late injuries and losing key players to parents selfishly leaving Switzerland (J Tompkins you will be missed) the Dragons only had 7 players:
Ross (capt), Greg (wk), Ali, Charlie, Euan, Findlay and Krithik.
Looking out of the hotel window early on Saturday morning and seeing torrential rain, we knew we were in for a challenging weekend.
However after a delayed start, the Nightfuries managed to get a full game in outdoors against Zurich Crickets before the rain returned. As it was looking set to stay, we reluctantly moved indoors for the rest of the day with 10 over games.
Our first game was against Basel Nightfuries, who were put into bat with George and Leonie opening. Some tight bowling by Dragons made it hard for the Nightfuries to score, with Leonie bowled by Ross in the 4th over. After George retired on 4 not out, the score was only 20 half way through the innings. Ryan and Quirijn tried to accelerate and 6 runs came off the 6th over. Krithik bowled Ryan in the 8th over, with the score on 32 for 2, bringing Mattijs to the crease and the 2 De Rooij brothers batting together. Both were retired for the last over bringing Will and Zander in to bat but Ali bowled very well conceding only a single and blowing Will on the last ball of the inning, leaving Nightfuries on 36 for 3 after their 10 overs.
In reply Euan and Kritik opened and after a slow, but steady start, Will bowled Krithik and Euan was retired, bringing Greg and Charlie into bat. The runs started flowing and they took Basel past the finishing line in the 5th over. We decided to play on to give both sides match practice. After Greg and Charlie retired on 15 and 12 not out respectively, Ali and Ross came to the crease and continued to score and both finished not out 7 and 16 respectively. Findlay came in for the last 2 overs and was a bit too enthusiastic, being run out for 3 by George. Dragons closed on 81 for 2 after 10 overs.
Our second and final game of the day was against Gingins and we knew it would be close. Gingins had 9 players so Quirijn and George guested for the Dragons. Basel lost the toss and were put into bat. Ross and Ali opened brightly enough scoring 8 off the first over. However with Ethan and Aarit opening the bowling for Gingins were knew it would be tough. The Dragons batsman did not apply themselves very well and wickets started to tumble, Ali going first LBW to Aarit in second over and Ross bowled by Ethan in the very next. Euan and Greg consolidated and took the score to 33 in over 6, when Greg was needlessly run out, despite a desperate dive for the crease. Bron bowled the 7th over accurately and took the important wicket of Euan, who scored a handy 10, caught by Ethan after a ricochet and a basket! Charlie quickly followed two balls later, bowled swinging across the line, leaving the Dragons struggling on 37 for 5 after 7 overs. This brought Findlay and Krithik together. Findlay was fired up and chose to run for everything. Chaos ensued with wides, Krithik being run out well short. Then Quirijn came on and hit a nice 3, only to be run out next ball. This left Dragons on 44 for 7 with last man George coming in to join Findlay and with only 2 overs remaining we knew we would struggle to get to 50. This turned out to the case as Findlay buckled down but was bowled by the 5th ball of the 9th over with Dragons 48 all out, leaving Gingins 49 to win.
The Dragons were distraught, knowing they had performed far short of their potential, albeit against some accurate bowling. After coaches and parents picked them up – it really is a game of two halves! – they knew they had to bowl better than Gingins to pull it around.
Ross and Euan opened the bowling and bowled superbly. Euan ended up with 2 wickets for 1 run off his 2 overs, taking the key wickets of Ethan and Aarit. Findlay and Ali kept up the pressure bowling 1 for 7 and 2 for 2 respectively. The rest of the Dragons fielded fabulously well, throwing themselves around the hall, cutting out all runs. This left Gingins on 18 for 5 after 8 overs! Charlie and George bowled the last 2 overs and kept it tight, with Gingins finishing on 27 for 5 after their 10 overs, still more than 20 runs short. A truly remarkable turnaround which really bonded the team and gave them massive confidence going into the final day…..
They took the exuberance into the Hot Stone dinner, coming up with all sorts of creative inventions…… bet they wouldn’t eat that if their mums served it J
The next morning we opened against Zurich Grasshoppers and Ross won the toss and put them in to bat. We played 8 a side and Zander guested for the Dragons. Grasshoppers were a very young team with a couple of good players so we reversed the bowling order to give all a good crack. On a wet wicket, Dragons gave away a lot of extras allowing Grasshoppers to reach 57 for 7 off their 15 overs. Only 3 runs came off the bat! Charlie, Findlay, Krithik and Ross (2) took the wickets, all bowled and Greg chipped in with a good run out.
Ross and Euan opened on a tricky wicket and found it slow going. Both scored 6 and Euan was run out on the last ball before retiring with Dragons on 38 for 1 after 5 overs. Ali and Krithik came in and moved the score along until Ali was bowled for 5. Greg came in to see off the winning runs with Krithik, Basel finishing on 58 for 2 with 6 overs still remaining.
This set up the last game perfectly as the “final” with winning takes, with Dragons and Zurich Crickets both coming into the game unbeaten. Dragons hoping to get their revenge after Zurich winning the Basel tournament. Both sides had 7 players starting.
Unfortunately the rain returned just before the start, but thankfully it was more a mix of showers and sun, but it did result in the final being reduced to 12 overs a side. Basel won the toss and put Zurich into bat.
Vadim and Owen opened and started steadily against some accurate bowling from Ross and Euan. Zurich were 13 for 0 after 3 overs but then Euan bowled a super second over dismissing Owen and then Sasha with plumb LBW’s on consecutive balls. This brought new guy Maxwell to the crease with Vadim. Ali and Findlay both then bowled 2 good 2 over spells with no reward, with Zurich on 32 for 2 after 8 overs. Charlie bowled the 9th over and got rid of Maxwell caught by Euan. Euan then returned in the 10th over and again took 2 wickets in 2 balls, bowling Ben and then Matty. He finished with great figures of 3-0-13-4 (with 9 of those coming off his first over!). Zurich were now struggling on 41 for 5 after 10 overs. Charlie bowled the penultimate over well but gave away a couple of wides of the last two balls. Ross bowled the last over and bowled the Zurich last man, Shankar, with his second ball. Zurich finished on 49 all out in their allotted 12 overs.
To try and avoid the rain, the Basel batsmen were out quickly and Ross and Euan didn’t hang around taking 22 off the first 3 overs with Ross hitting Owen for a 4 first ball and 2’s flowing easily. Shankar bowled the 5th over bowling Euan for a useful 11 and then two balls later bowling Charlie for 0. This brought Findlay together with Ross, but the runs slowed significantly with the slow leg spin of Vadim and when Findlay chipped a return catch to Vadim, the game was turning back Zurich’s way. Basel were then on 35 for 3 after 7 overs and Ross retired on 16 not out. Ali and Greg would have to try and keep the momentum going against some accurate bowling. Ali, not the quickest between the wickets, was restricted to singles despite some good hits, taking the winning total to within reach on 45 for 3 after 9 overs. However Owen then trapped Greg LBW bringing Krithik to the crease. Basel needed 5 runs to win, Zurich needed 2 wickets. After a wide, Ali hit the winning run off the last ball of the 10th over to cap a fine team performance.
The game was played in a good spirit and Zurich were very gracious in defeat.
On the personal awards, Euan was awarded best all-rounder for his fantastic contributions with bat, ball and in the field. It was great to see him bounce back to form and he will be missed when the Hatrick’s move to Texas this summer. But it was the all-round display that was so special with all chipping in with some runs and wickets and guest players enjoying the Dragons experience!
Pete Veal June 2016