By Dyon Ravello
Diplomats coming off two consecutive convincing victories found a challenge waiting when they met Middlesex at Marine Park C on Saturday, July 4th 2009. Mark Audain won the toss and elected to field. Mark’s decision seemed faulty before he removed both openers in the sixth over, Former New York youth player Basdeo Ramnarine, caught and the veteran Oscar Prince, bowled, both batsmen falling with the score on 27. On the other end Mark’s son Dominic was firing on all cylinders with little returns. Audain senior continuing in the tenth over snared his third victim; Andre Kirton bowled to leave the Diplomats wobbling at 40 for 3.
After 12 overs the slow bowlers were introduced as S. Ramphal, and S. Smith look to repair the damage, for the Diplomats. The pair added 33 before Ramphal gave catching practice to the fielder at backward point, off a long hop from Casper Davis, he made 20. Smith got hit on the knee roll and required a runner; he found Kirton, athletic and up to the task as Captain Simpson came to the crease. But Smith held out to Davis’ looping off breaks to depart for 25, and the Diplomats had dug themselves into a hole at 84 for 5 after 15 overs.
D. Ravello saw Davis out after Smith’s dismissal and then took 9 runs of R Layne, to signal that surrender was not near. However, two overs later Layne’s off breaks similar to Davis’ picked up Simpson as he played a cheeky sweep to square leg, 100-6. Ravello stood in bewilderment as Keon Lake looped two whipped strokes in the air before Davis had him sky one to backward point, 105-7. Hubert Lewis joined Ravello and looked the part against the spin twin.
However the reintroduction of speedster Dominic Audain saw Lewis’ stumps rattled by a brilliant Yorker. Ravello faced Dominic with confidence and charisma as he stuck his back foot into the onside before replacing it, to flash a short delivery to third man for four. Dominic’s last over costing 10. With the speed out of the way Ravello look to refocus along with Ray Joseph. But the hunting of Davis was always near.
Davis’ first ball after the speedster got Joseph playing with a flat face to short extra cover. Ravello was now left with teenager Shane Smith to compose a competitive target. The inexperienced youth looked resilient until, Davis’ field change left the onside vastly open. Shane eyeing the acreage, heaved to finding welcoming hands at short square leg. Ravello stranded on 26, Diplomats 131 allout of 28 overs. Davis a former quick, finishing with 5 for 22 off 8 after Mark Audain began the rout with 3 for 22 of 6, Dominic 1 for 42 and Layne 1 for 23.
Middlesex began the chase with all guns blazing, as Jacob Emmanuel, took to a liking for Ray Joseph. Emmanuel hit 3 fours and a 6 off Hubert Lewis on his way to 27. Emmanuel was caught on the mid wicket boundary the first ball Keon Lake had move to that position, a controversial moment since Lake held the ball immensely close to the ropes with Lewis gaining revenge for the maximum hit earlier. Ray Joseph bowled three over to concede 34 runs as the spins were introduced to stifle the run flow.
Andre Kirton had D. Hector snatched at slip by Oscar Prince for 14 with 70 on the board after 10 overs. Lake bowling for the residential end was rewarded with a team scalp as C Lee was run out by Shane Smith 81-3. However the arrival of Casper Davis, who mixed a sound defense with well timed stroke play, ensured that this treaty was dead for the Diplomats. Davis saw the back of his Captain Mark Audain leg before to Kirton for 21. Davis saw Audain junior survive a scared as his pull to mid wicket was miss judged by Shane Smith in the Deep. But by this time the score had been settled.
Simpson brought on himself and Ramphal the part time bowlers. Ramphal struck Davis’ pad to ensure that he did not see his team home, Davis made 21. In the end K. Mc Millan struck the winning runs, with Dominic not out on 21. Bowling for Diplomats, Lewis had 1 off 23 off 5, Ramphal 1 for 2 of 3 balls, and Kirton 2 for 26 of seven. Mark Audain and Casper Davis both performed with guile, on the day they won the game for Middlesex.
Diplomats won on July 5th with Cavaliers forfeiting the game. This coming weekend, July 11th Diplomats after off, and can use the time vacation to tight the loose ends in the batting exposed by the Middlesex attack. A trip upstate is fitting to reset the momentum and treat the mind to a change in ambiance. On July 18 Diplomats look to rebound in the Brooklyn League when they host Jinnah at Marine Park C. Diplomats will be keen to improve on the 6-3-1 record which as seen them drop 4 winning percentage points for 71 to 67.