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Cricket

Napa Valley Cricket Club players pose after defeating host Marin on May 18. They are (standing, from left) Bijoy Ojha (with his sons), Damian Sawle, Amrish Pantvaidya, Harish Karsan, Alastair Martin, Martin Mackenzie, Rob Bolch, (kneeling) Scott Curwood, Jesse Healy, Andrew Healy, Jeff Keene and Tim Irwin (with dog Byron). Submitted photo

Two games into the 2013 season, the Napa Valley Cricket Club is 1-1.

Napa Valley narrowly lost a high-scoring game against Sri Lanka XI, which the local squad played for the first time, at the Napa Valley Fairgrounds in Calistoga on May 4.

On May 18, Napa Valley traveled to Piper Park in Larkspur to play the first of this year’s three scheduled meetings with the Marin Cricket Club and prevailed comfortably.

Tim Irwin, NVCC’s captain, was excited by the good form being shown by his club.

“We’re only two games into the season and we’ve already notched up almost 450 runs,” said the Australia native. “Credit to our batsmen, who have performed well in both games by putting us in game-winning positions. Inderjeet (Singh) played a blinder in our first game against Sri Lanka and he was well supported by Marty (New Zealander Martin Mackenzie), who had his biggest score yet wearing the Napa Valley colors.

“Last weekend against Marin, both Jeff (Keene, of New Zealand) and Amrish (Pantvaidya, of India) set a great base for the team in a long 40 over game and allowed the rest of the team to have fun with the bat when they each got their turns. We have had early-season injury troubles ... but thanks to the increased membership this year (almost 30 players), we have a large enough squad to draw on for our games.”

Sri Lanka XI chased down Napa’s impressive score of 218 runs in 30 overs with 14 balls to spare. As a result of his fine innings of 99, Sri Lanka XI captain Manoj Rodrigo picked up the “Man of the Match” award, a bottle of wine from Clos du Val, from NVCC Vice President Andrew Healy.

“It’s the first time that we’ve hosted the Sri Lankan boys here at the Fairgrounds in Calistoga and what a great bunch of guys they are,” Healy said.

“We had heard that they played great cricket and they didn’t disappoint. We did, however, think that with our score of 218 that we had a great chance of winning. But a fine innings from Manoj put an end to those hopes.”

Napa Valley renewed its rivalry with Marin last week at Piper Park, which has always been a good hunting ground for the Napa club, and this game didn’t disappoint.

Irwin won the toss and elected to bat first, sending Keene and Pantvaidya in to open the batting. They put on a resilient opening partnership of 96 runs and got to the 20 overs drinks break with their wickets intact.

Keene ended up with 52 runs off 75 balls, while Pantvaidya contributed 46 off 73. They were backed up by Martin Mackenzie, whose late flourish of 26 off 19 allowed the Napa Valley team to post a very healthy 212 runs off its allotted 40 overs.

After lunch, Napa took to the field in a confident mood and made early in-roads in the Marin batting line-up, with opening bowlers Bijoy Ojha and Tim Irwin finding the right lines and lengths. The game saw a great show of sportsmanship as Napa Valley, when Marin batsman Charlie Cockerton collapsed between the stumps injured, allowed him to keep his wicket while being tended to and ultimately carried off by the Napa Valley team.

Napa Valley seemed to have Marin on the ropes as the 20 overs drinks break approached and perhaps should have continued for a few more minutes as the Marin innings turned into a tale of two halves.

Marin went to drinks on 82 for 7 wickets and looked in danger of being bowled out for less than 100 in reply to Napa’s 212. After the drinks break, however, Napa seemed to drop down a gear while Marin went up a gear.

A determined eight wicket partnership of 81 between Marin batsmen Colin Churchill and Raman Virk had Napa Valley worried as they came close to the Napa Valley score, ultimately finishing on 193 all out. The last of the Marin resistance was snuffed out with Irishman Healy taking a superb catch at “long on” for the final wicket.

In his absence, Cockerton was awarded the Clos du Val “Man of the Match” award for his performance with the ball, taking 5 wickets for only 28 runs for the Marin team.

The club’s next game was scheduled for Saturday at the fairgrounds in Calistoga against the Sonoma Gullies from Santa Rosa.

Results were not available at press time.

Scoring Summary:

• Napa Valley CC 212 all out defeated Marin CC 193 all out by 19 runs. (40 over game)

• NVCC Batting — Jeff Keene 52 runs off 75 balls, Amrish Pantvaidya 46 off 73.

• NVCC Bowling — Martin Mackenzie 4 wickets for 12 runs, Rob Bolch 3 for 41 runs.

The Napa Valley Cricket Club acknowledges sponsors Clos du Val, Tonnelerie Saint Martin, go vino, 3 rock marketing , Duckhorn Vineyards, Grapeleaf Graphics, Queen of the Valley Hospital, Taltarni, Calistoga Roastery.

Visit www.napacricket.com for more information about the Napa Valley Cricket Club.

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