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Cricket club scores win over Berkeley

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Cricket club scores win over Berkeley

Members of the Napa Valley Cricket Club’s slip cordon, (from left) Clive Richardson (third slip), Scott Curwood (second slip), Rob Bolch (first slip) and Jeff Keene (wicketkeeper) get ready to take on Berkeley last Sunday in Calistoga. Submitted photo

The Napa Valley Cricket Club had the stronger batting performance and came away with a close home victory over talented Berkeley, which plays in Division 3 of the Northern California League, on Sunday at the Napa County Fairgrounds in Calistoga.

Napa Valley’s captain on the day, club president Phil Bourke, lost the toss and Berkeley choose to bat first on what turned out to be a firm and consistent pitch. Napa Valley struck early, with Bijoy Ojha taking two wickets in his first over to put Berkeley on the back foot.

Englishman Stephen Kent came to the crease for Berkeley and steadied the ship with a knock of 24 of 30 balls and put on 35 with captain Harish Choudary, until he was dismissed by a stunning catch from NVCC fieldsman Inderjeet Singh at deep square leg. Contributions from Gagan Bal (60 off 60) and Vaibhav (41 off 54) also helped Berkeley post a total of 205 all out. Three wickets each for Singh and NVCC secretary Scott Curwood helped NVCC restrict Berkeley to its very chasable total of 205.

After lunch, NVCC started the chase with New Zealand winemaking pair Bill Nancarrow and Jeff Keene opening the batting.

Keene was soon back on the sidelines after being seeing his middle stump cartwheeled off the second ball of Berkeley opening bowler Choudary. Nancarrow was joined by a series of Napa batsmen over the next few overs, as he helped keep NVCC in touch with the required run rate.

A fine mid-innings show of power hitting from Singh — 58 off 41 balls, including 5 fours and 5 sixes — put the Napa Valley team in the driver’s seat. Singh went for one boundary too many and fell to a fine catch a long on and this brought Irishman Andrew Healy to the middle.

Healy joined Bourke in the middle and, with 15 overs remaining, they needed only 40 runs to secure victory. Healy batted stoically with just 7 runs of 25 balls while Bourke blocked the good balls and dispatched the loose balls for boundaries, racking up 5 fours in his total of 30.

Fittingly, it was Bourke and Healy, president and vice president, who brought home a well-deserved victory for NVCC with 6 full overs left to face.

“This was our first win of 2013 here at home at the fairgrounds and it was a result of a fine batting performance,” Curwood said. “That said, the bowlers did a great job of restricting Berkeley to 205, which made the job of the batsmen a touch easier. With four more home games to come, we’ve started off this run in the right manner and we’d love to win our next game against Sonoma and go 4-3 for the season. We’ll see.”

Choudary congratulated the host team after earning the traditional Clos du Val “Man of the Match” award for his excellent opening spell of bowling.

“It was a great game of cricket and credit to Napa Valley for a great batting performance,” the Berkeley captain said. “It’s the first time that we played them and the trip up to Calistoga was very enjoyable, even if we couldn’t quite win the game. We look forward to plenty more games against them in the future.”

The NVCC thanks sponsors Clos du Val, Govino, TricorBraun WinePak, Portocork, 3 rock marketing, Napa Gourmet Foods, IPC Hospitalist Group (Queen of the Valley), Calistoga Roastery and Taltarni.

Napa Valley next hosts the Sonoma Gullies on Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

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