TRNC National Cricket team
in the UN Buffer Zone again
Returning to a warm welcome from the Turkish Army, the TRNC National Cricket team, last Sunday 22nd June again entered the neutral UN Buffer Zone through their military base on the border. Team Manager Nigel Holman said the soldiers hadn’t forgotten the previous week’s victory over the Greek Cypriot side Moufflons and were delighted to greet us again in traditional style with kisses and offers of çay and biscuits.
The team had two matches of T20 to play, not an easy task in the heat of the central Cyprus plain. First up, the Amdocs C.C, was by far the easier side being second from bottom in the league. Although, when asked, Vice-Captain Danish Afridi was’nt sure if to play them or the Mustangs who haven’t lost for 3 years, second would have been best.
Captain and ESK School history teacher Ed Smith, who is leaving to work in China completed an amazing sequence of tossing when he called correctly in all games this season. Electing to field against the Amdocs, hoping to finish the game quickly and then being less tired against the much stronger opposition later in the day.
The Amdocs posted only 123 in their 20 overs, despite appalling catching by the TRNC with 10 being dropped. Ironically, the following day at Headingly, England managed to field even worse. A particular mention for Rob Garbett with 2 for 17 from 3 overs, on his last day playing cricket before retiring from the game. In reply, the TRNC started with Khattack, who got 124 last week, being run out without facing. Reece 27 and Haigh 12 and Danish 8 steadied things, but then the wobbles struck collapsing to 64 for 5, before Smith 20 and Wali 31 saw them home with 3 overs to spare.
After a very short break, the TRNC were back in action. The Mustangs, looking superb in their multi-coloured kit, arrived in a team bus and were professionally warmed up before the game got underway. Again inserting the Southern side, through tight pitched up bowling they were restricted to 154 for 8. A score that left the game well balanced, although everyone at the TRNC team talk before batting, knew they would have to be at their best to win against an opposition with such a superb record.
The Northerners started steadily with 39 from Reece and Khattak 13, but failed to accelerate. The Mustangs’ experienced bowlers knew how to hold them in check. There was a useful contribution from Danish of 11, but the required scoring continuously rose until 48 were needed from the last 5 overs. Smith 15 and Johnson 12, set about an all-out attack, however, Holman, always a positive manager, was forced to send the instruction that with 18 balls remaining to defend and play for the 5 bonus points for not getting bowled out and one more for passing 125 runs. Which they managed to do, finally getting 131, unlike England’s loss with 2 balls to go last Tuesday.
With 30 points from Sunday’s win and a healthy 13 from the second game (5 not bowled out, 6 for over 125 runs and 2 bowling points) means they are currently 3rd in the South Cyprus league. A highly encouraging position for our first effort said Smith afterwards. It’s only realistically Fellows C.C. who can catch us, so let’s see where we are after the final round of games next week.
With the end of the TRNC Cricket season, Holman wanted to finally say, congratulations to all the players and particularly wish Ed Smith and Rob Garbett who are leaving Cyprus to live in China and Mark Johnson who has decided to hang up his wicket keeping gloves, the best of luck with the future. Also thank you to the umpires, scorers, helpers & supporters for making it such a successful debut.
To read the full score record of the TRNC National Cricket team, please click here