Optimists Cricket Club 1st XI v Hasselt on Sun 27 Apr 2014 at 13.00
Optimists Cricket Club Won by 3 wickets

Match report On Sunday April, 27, the Optimists Cricket Club started their campaign for promotion in the Belgian Cricket League. Optimists 1st XI are currently in Division 2 and there are high expectations to get promoted to Division 1 where the Optimists have become more accustomed to in the past. The opposition, Hasselt Cricket, were a little late to arrive and it was a great start to the season for skipper, Joost Mees who won the coin toss and elected to bowl first.

Following the presentation of the club cap to debutant Stuart May from the skipper, the Optimists took to the field full of enthusiasm.

Opening the bowling was Nishith Gandhi and Richard Neale. Both bowled well, but Gandhi’s consistency gave him just reward with three quick wickets, dismissing all of the top order. After 10 overs, Hasselt were 34-3 and looked to be struggling a little. However, the middle order was made of sterner stuff and quickly looked to capitalise on any wayward bowling from the Optimists.

Wickets fell during the course of the innings but the runs were also flowing with more and more ease until Anand Pattabiraman managed to dismiss danger man, Singh who ended on 59, caught behind by William Cope, one of his four for the day.

Joost Mees asked Tony Whiteman to bowl and after a small warm-up in the first over, Whiteman used just two more overs to take the final three wickets for just 13 runs. Hasselt had therefore set the Optimists a target of 200 which was probably slightly more than they would have liked following what was a gutsy bowling and fielding performance.

Following a sumptuous tea, Timothy Barker and Tony Whiteman opened the batting for the Optimists.

Unfortunately, every batsman's nightmare came true for Barker, who was bowled first ball of the innings to Hasselt’s fast bowler, Shah.

Whiteman battled through the early overs with a steady patience and gritty determination. His hard work was later rewarded as he grew in confidence and started to play some fine shots all around the ground, including a magnificent straight six.

Stuart May, William Heath , Ben Embleton and youngster William Cope all supported Whiteman and all looked to get a good start but unfortunately could not get going and eventually fell to some good and tidy bowling from Hasselt.

When Whiteman was finally dismissed for a very classy 62, Taral Desai took up the charge with some lofty blows to accelerate the scoring. Richard Neale joined Desai and they soon were close to the finishing line with Neale scoring pretty much only in boundaries.

In the 41st over, Neale secured victory for the Optimists with a cover drive for four runs and therefore maximum points to give the Optimists the best start to the season possible. Skipper, Joost Mees commented afterwards: “It was a great effort from all the team. We bowled and fielded well, but having such a strong batting line up really paid dividends.”

Man of the match was Tony Whiteman with his three wickets and 62.

Congratulations to the OCC First XI, who won their opening fixture of the 2014 BCF League season by 3 wickets. Visitors Hasselt were bowled out for 200 inside their 45 overs, thanks mainly to Nishith Gandhi and Tony Whiteman who took 3 wickets each. The OCC innings got off to an unfortunate start when Tim Barker did not see the first ball of the innings which unfortunately was straight and bowled him. New member Stuart May walked into a ready-made crisis, but helped a watchful Tony Whiteman stabilise the innings and played some delightful off drives in a promising first knock. A strong middle order (Heath, Embleton, William Cope, Taral Desai) produced brief cameos, but not the full movie. Hasselt must have thought that once Whiteman had gone for an excellent 59 and OCC were 7 wickets down, still needing 30 to win, they were in with a good chance. But, with Richard Neale and Joost Mees at 8 and 9, OCC for once had strength in depth and used it. Neale (36 not out) saw them home with some excellent pulling and driving. With Gandhi and Pattabiraman (obviously picked for his bowling!) waiting with their pads on, there was still some depth to go. So it seemed more than a 3 wicket win.

Hasselt Batting
Player name RunsMB4s6sSR
17w 1b  
for 10 wickets
200 (42.0 overs)

Optimists Cricket Club 1st XI Bowling

Player NameOversMaidensRunsWicketsAverageEconomy
Nishith Gandhi8.011836.002.25
Richard Neale7.013300.004.71
Ben Embleton9.0048148.005.33
Taral Desai9.0057157.006.33
Anand Pattabiraman5.0030215.006.00
Tony Whiteman3.411334.333.55

Optimists Cricket Club 1st XI Batting
Player Name RMB4s6sSRCatchesStumpingsRun outs
4nb 32w 1b 2lb 
for 7 wickets
Timothy Barker Bowled  0 1 0 1
Tony Whiteman Caught  62 85 4 2 72.94
Stuart May Caught  14 42 3 33.33 1
William Heath Bowled  10 15 1 66.67 1
Ben Embleton Caught  10 14 1 71.43 1
William Cope Caught  14 24 2 58.33 4
Taral Desai Bowled  15 23 4 65.22
Richard Neale Not Out  36 34 6 105.88
Joost Mees Not Out  1 14 7.14
Nishith Gandhi  
Anand Pattabiraman  

Hasselt Bowling

Player nameOversMaidensRunsWicketsAverageEconomy
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