Depleted Lions win season opener
The first match of the autumn 80-over league was an all-military affair between Epi Lions and newcomers Akrotiri, played at Happy Valley on 4 September.
The decision on winning the toss is a tricky one under the new rules, and Akrotiri chose to bat first against 7-man Epi. With plenty of gaps in the field they progressed nicely to 71 for 2, thanks mainly to a good partnership of 49 between Richie Smy and Ash Long, which was ended by a good catch by Fahad Khan. From that points things did not progress so well, and despite 32 from captain Will Grundy the innings subsided to 124 all out in 25 overs.
The Epi opening bowlers performed well – Richard Crossley 3-32 and Azan Baig 2-32, and Graeme Cleave snapped up a few bunnies to record figures of 3-3.
The Lions had 55 overs available to knock off the runs, so the only question was whether their 7 batsmen would be enough. They were given a good start of 25 by Fahad and Cleave, followed by a stand of 58 between Cleave (30) and Baig (36) featuring some good strokes by both batsmen.
There were some alarms for Epi when they slipped to 108-4, as they only had two wickets left to score another 17, but a steady innings from Andy Mulkern saw them home, leaving Akrotiri to rue the 36 extras they conceded.
An interesting game to start the season, with Epi taking 17 points to Akrotiri’s 3.