The Napa Valley Cricket Club (NVCC) shared the spoils with two visiting San Francisco teams in the month of July. A loss to the San Francisco Seals and a win against the Twitter Kabootars brings them to .500 for their season with six games played to date since their season opening Napa Valley World Series of Cricket.

•NVCC club captain Rob Bolch (L) pictured at the toss with Jack Tse of the SF Seals ahead of their recent game at the Fairgrounds, Calistoga

• NVCC club captain Rob Bolch (L) pictured at the toss with Jack Tse of the SF Seals ahead of their recent game at the Fairgrounds, Calistoga

Sunday July 17 saw the return of the SF Seals to the Fairgrounds in Calistoga to contest the “Vino Cup” – the trophy inaugurated in 2015 for games between the NVCC and the SF Seals. Despite the innings of a lifetime from NVCC batsman Pete Carson the SF Seals ran out comfortable winners helped by some strong batting and excellent fielding.

NVCC club captain Rob Bolch won the toss and asked the visitors to bat and the Seals put on a good show with the opening pair of Cooper Lees and Brad Busch getting 42 runs on the board. The NVCC opening bowlers of Moe Maqsood and Tim Irwin were having little success so Bolch brought on club stalwart Bernie Peacock and new member Adriaan Foot. The first change pair had more success with Peacock notching up a maiden over (no runs scored) and Foot having Busch caught by Carson. While an important breakthrough it didn’t slow the Seals progress as Lees was joined by Gwynn Hoskins in the middle.

The pair batted through drinks and added 51 for the second wicket before Hoskins was clean bowled by Bolch in a great comeback ball after being hit for four runs. The very next ball Bolch had the number four batsman for the Seals, Chris O’Connor LBW (leg-before-wicket) which left Uzair Bhatti on strike for a hat trick ball. Bhatti survived that but not much else as he was soon back on the sidelines bowled by Chandanpreet Singh and excellently caught by Jared Thatcher. The 26th over saw Bolch strike again with two more wickets – Girish Pantagay (1 off 4) and Adam Linke (0 off 4) and Napa looked to be on a roll. While Bolch was looking for his “5-for” the Seals batmen Chris Michell and Luke Ingham had other ideas. The pair went after all that Bolch threw at them and accelerated the Seals score from 116 at the end of the 28th over to 192 by the time their 35 overs were up. A massive 76 runs in just seven overs. Between them they hit seven sixes and three fours and took a particular liking to the NVCC fast bowlers who were smashed all around, and out of, the ground.

Bolch opened the NVCC batting with the reliable pairing of Abhijit ‘Doc’ Adhye and Moe Maqsood and a slow, sensible opening was required from them both. Sadly that wasn’t the case as Adhye went for no score off 10 balls while Maqsood was also out in the third over for only five runs. So early on in the NVCC chase the Australian born pair of Leigh Ritchie and Pete Carson were at the crease. Carson blocked well early on showing the openers how it should be done by leaving the good balls and scoring from the poor ones. Carson was at the crease for almost 23 overs and went through a series of batting partners some of whom helped contribute to wicket scores – with Jamie Johnson (5 off 25) the pair added 30 for the fifth wicket and with Adriaan Foot (12 off 24 balls) the pair added 37 for the sixth wicket. Carson notched up his first ever milestone score of 50 as he reached 51 off 66 balls and then fell two balls later with the team score at 114. With the NVCC having no more batters of note to come their innings petered out and they ended up all out for 140, 53 runs short of the target.

“I felt it was a good toss to win. We put the Seals into bat, and made a good start with early wickets. Our bowling had been tight, and our fielding excellent, so we had confidence going into the last 10 overs that we could get them all out for a low score.” said NVCC club captain Bolch. “That partnership of 76 runs by the two Seals tail-end batsman really helped them put a good score of 192/7 on the board at their end of 35 overs. 192 has proven to be a good score at Calistoga, and we knew it would be hard to beat.”

•SF Seals opening batsman Cooper Lees (R) pictured with his mom at the presentation of the Clos du Val Man of the Match award recently.

• SF Seals opening batsman Cooper Lees (R) pictured with his mom at the presentation of the Clos du Val Man of the Match award recently.

Continued Bolch “We got off to a poor start in our run chase, and at the drinks break we were 5/57. Our start really hurt us, but the Seals were bowling and fielding really well. It was tough for us to really get going. Only Pete Carson put in a solid and patient innings with his fantastic 51, it was a great knock and he worked really hard for this milestone innings. In the end, we just lost too many quick wickets trying to chase the big tally of 192.”

After the match, Bolch presented the Clos du Val Man of the Match award to the SF Seal’s Cooper Lees for his strong opening score with the bat. Lees was presented with his bottle of wine by his mom who was in attendance and hadn’t see her son play cricket for many years.

The following Sunday NVCC played host to the Twitter Kabootars – a team made up of players who all work at Twitter in San Francisco. Bolch won the all-important toss on a hot Calistoga day and decided to insert the Kabootars (Hindi for Pigeon) in to bat.

The decision to bowl in the morning started to pay quick dividends for NVCC as Twitter wickets feel regularly. By the 10th over Twitter were four down – with two wickets apiece for Bolch and Bernie Peacock – who were backed up by excellent fielding from Leigh Richie, Phil Bourke and Kiranpreet Singh. NVCC continued to take regular wickets with the Twitter batsmen struggling to deal with the pinpoint bowling of Peacock to which they had no answer. Another wicket for him in the 13th over allowed him to return figures of three wickets for only five runs off five overs. More impressive than that were that four of his overs were maidens (no runs scored). By drinks Twitter had lost 5 wickets and were struggling to get runs on the board. A very impressive knock by Ameet Kotian of 54 runs off 67 balls anchored the Twitter innings and he pushed them over 100 runs and towards respectability. His innings was all the more impressive given that 46 of his runs came from boundaries (seven fours and three maximums (6’s)).  After his dismissal the Kabootars pushed on and ended up with 154 from their allotted 35 overs. As the Twitter tail batted Bolch mixed up his bowling options and ultimately used 10 of his team to bowl and Phil Bourke in particular impressed with a stumped wicket well taken by the NVCC wicket-keeper Jamie Johnson.

•Twitter Kabootars batsman Amit Kumar pictured before he batted recently at the Calistoga Fairgrounds. Credit @BirdsWithBats on Twitter

Twitter Kabootars batsman Amit Kumar pictured before he batted recently at the Calistoga Fairgrounds. Credit @BirdsWithBats on Twitter

With the mercury nudging 100F the NVCC run chase got under way and they quickly established their dominance. The early wicket of left handed batsman Bourke to Saurabh Verma – ex USA International cricketer – brought John Leake to the crease. Leake who with his wife, Belinda, and family recently celebrated the birth of their third child was showing no sign of sleepless nights as he settled in for one of his signature measured innings. Leake was partnered in the middle by the accomplished NVCC all-rounder Martin Mackenzie who was the perfect foil to Leake’s big hitting innings. Mackenzie carried his bat for a solid openers innings of 37 runs off 61 balls while Leake notched up an impressive 92 runs off 63 balls – with 78 of his runs coming from boundaries (nine fours and seven maximums (6’s)). The partnership for the second wicket of 132 runs off 106 balls by Leake and Mackenzie helped made quick work of the Twitter total with Leake being dismissed in the 21st over, eight runs short of a milestone century. By that time the hard work had been done and Peter Sander accompanied Mackenzie in the middle as he finished the NVCC innings in style with two consecutive sixes.

“It was a great toss to win given that the forecast was calling for such a hot afternoon in Calistoga. I thought we did a great job of restricting them when they batted, with Bernie in particular bowling really tight lines, evidenced by his incredible four maiden overs. The Twitter boys really struggled to deal with him and he picked up three great wickets.” said NVCC club captain Bolch. “It was good to give lots of the team a bowl and some of those who wouldn’t normally get a bowl impressed. With the bat Marty and Leakey did a great job in bringing the game home for us by the 23rd over. Marty played a great opening batsman role while Leakey was the perfect batsman to counter the impressive bowling of Saurabh, who played a number of T20 games for the USA back in 2010 and includes in his stats the wicket of Ireland captain William Porterfield”

After the match, Bolch presented the Clos du Val Man of the Match award to Twitter Kabootars Ameet Kotian for his impressive knock in the Kabootars middle order.

Next Game
Saturday 13th August 2016 – HOME to Marin CC Socials at The Fairgrounds, Calistoga – 1435 N Oak St., Calistoga, CA 94515 – from 10.30am (check website for details <>)

Score Summary
– Sunday 17th July, 2016 – Napa Valley CC v SF Seals at The Fairgrounds, Calistoga
Napa Valley CC 140 all out lost to SF Seals 192 / 7 by 52 runs.  (35 over game / 12 batting)

Napa Valley CC Batting – Pete Carson 51 runs off 68 balls (7 x 4), Bernie Peacock 14 off 14 (2 x 4), Adriaan Foot 12 off 24 (1 x 4).

Napa Valley CC Bowling – Rob Bolch 4 wickets for 14 runs off 4 overs including 1 maiden, Chandanpreet Singh 1 for 14 off 4, Adriaan Foot 1 for 16 off 4 incl 1 maiden.

Sunday 24th July, 2016 – Napa Valley CC v Twitter Kabootars at The Fairgrounds, Calistoga
Napa Valley CC 160 / 2 beat Twitter Kabootars 154 / 10 by 9 wickets.  (35 over game / 12 batting)

Napa Valley CC Batting – John Leake 92 runs off 63 balls (9 x 4, 7 x 6), Martin Mackenzie 37 off 61 (3 x 4, 2 x 6), Phil Bourke 2 off 4.

Napa Valley CC Bowling – Bernie Peacock 3 wickets for 5 runs off 6 overs including 4 maidens, Adersh Maqsood 2 for 28 off 6, Rob Bolch 2 for 20 off 4 incl 1 maiden.