The Napa Valley Cricket Club stands at 3-2 for the season after falling to Davis and routing Marin last month.
There weren’t many positives for NVCC to take away from the annual game against Davis CC on June 1. The Napa Valley side traveled to beautiful Arroyo Park on the western side of Davis with a depleted team, and the NVCC players’ lack of depth ultimately came back to haunt them. That being said, there were a couple of standout performances for NVCC. Given that Davis stacked its team with four first-team players who play Division A in the Northern California League, it was always going to be a tough task.
Napa Valley bowled first and highlights from its time in the field included two wickets for the Australian-born Pete Carson in consecutive balls. His hat-trick ball didn’t produce that magical achievement and he finished with the two wickets from his three overs. New Zealand-born seam bowler Bernie Peacock produced a fine spell of bowling and, while he took no wickets, his five overs leaked only 14 runs. Other strong bowling included spells from Amritpal Bhatal and club captain Martin Mackenzie.
The NVCC players were left to chase a formidable target of 266 in their 30 overs and ultimately fell well short — 129 short, in fact, as they were all out for 137. There were a number of standout performances with the bat, as Bhatal, Carson and Mackenzie each did their best to get NVCC closer to their target. Bhatal, in particular, took a liking to the Davis bowling, hitting five boundaries as he put on 33 runs off the 22 balls he faced. Ultimately, the NVCC batsmen perished in the face of the consistent line, length and a little bit of turn from the Davis slow bowlers.
With the loss to Davis still fresh in its memories, NVCC hosted Marin Cricket Club on Saturday, June 14, at the Napa County Fairgrounds in Calistoga. Marin led the annual three-game series between the clubs courtesy of its victory at Piper Park in May.
Marin had former Zimbabwean international cricketer Everton Matambanadzo in its ranks and, as a result, NVCC was expecting a tough game. It turned out the opposite, however, as NVCC put on a strong performance in all three disciplines — batting, bowling and fielding.
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Napa Valley lost the toss and was asked to bowl first. In a clinical display of bowling backed up by strong fielding, Marin was all out for just 82 runs. Australian Rob Bolch, returning from knee surgery, took four wickets for only 17 runs, with his slow-medium pace tempting plenty of the Marin batsmen. Also in the wickets was fellow Australian Tim Irwin, whose fast-paced opening spell accounted for both of the Marin opening batsmen. Each was caught off his bowling by Mackenzie at “cover.” And so the scene was set for a fine fielding performance from NVCC as Bhatal took three fine catches, including one off his own bowling; wicket-keeper Bill Nancarrow was solid behind the stumps with three catches; and American Brett Weis also chipped in with a catch.
After an early lunch, NVCC started the chase with Bhatal and South African-born Dale Moorehouse opening the batting. They started rapidly and by the time Bhatal lost his wicket, they had put on 25 runs in just 3.1 overs. A short succession of Napa Valley batsmen came and went, including Phil Bourke (4 off 5), Abhijit Adhye (7 off 10) and Michael Rule (8 off 12), and then Weis went to bat. For a newcomer to the game, he definitely made a mark with a score of 14 not out that included two boundaries, a four and six. The six from Weis were the winning runs that took NVCC to 84 and secured a comprehensive win for the NVCC that ties the annual three-game series at one win each.
The traditional Clos du Val “Man of the Match” Award went to Harsh Gandhi of Marin for his contributions on the day.
The NVCC is sponsored by Clos du Val, Cork Supply USA, Tonnellerie Saint Martin, Biagi Bros., Oracle, 3 rock marketing, Napa Point Brewing, Joseph Cellars, Cornerstone Cellars and TricorBraun WinePak.