The Napa Valley Cricket Club lost by the slenderest of margins to a depleted Sonoma Gullies team in the first ever cricketing “Battle of the Wine Country” on Saturday at the Calistoga Fairgrounds. Batting second, Napa fell 10 runs short of the target set by Sonoma and despite a late batting flurry couldn’t quite get the runs on the board before they ran out of batsmen.
An excellent opening partnership of 104 runs from Sonoma opening pair Param Cheema (65 runs off 44 balls) and Anu Shah (25 off 47) saw off the best opening bowling that Napa had to offer. When the first Sonoma wicket tumbled at 14.4 overs they were already half way through their innings and the solid foundation had been set. A 9th wicket flurry of 32 runs was the icing on the cake for Sonoma but still gave Napa a very gettable target of 184 to win.
After lunch, it was Napa’s turn to chase. Sportingly, captain Tim Irwin asked American member Jack Evanko to open the batting for Napa. Evanko’s 3 ball duck was not the worst performance of the day from Napa, as 2 more members of the team also recorded similar zero scores. The fight back was started in earnest by Indian born Bijoy Ojha and work mate Australian Scott Curwood as they notched up 48 for the 4th wicket. Club President Phil Bourke also contributed to the chase with a 5th wicket stand of 33 with Curwood who at this stage had young Caen Healy substitute running for him due to a pulled calf muscle. Despite this, Curwood went on to post Napa’s highest score of the day, splaying the ball to all corners of the ground in the process. A late flurry with the bat from captain Irwin and New Zealander Martin Mackenzie wasn’t enough to get Napa to 184 runs as they ran out of wickets.
Club Captain Tim Irwin, an Australian who works for Penfolds Wines, said, “We just couldn’t get the breakthrough with either ball or bat. I was chuffed to win the toss on another hot Calistoga day and leave it to our strike bowlers to take some early wickets. But despite some great 'line and length' bowling we just couldn’t get that early wicket that we so desperately needed. Credit where it’s due though as the Sonoma opening pair weathered our opening barrage and ended up setting a great foundation for the rest of their team."
Standout performances for the Napa Valley team included a “5 for” from Australian Rob Bolch, with impressive figures of 5 wickets for 36 runs. He was assisted from the opposite end by Englishman Matt Wood of Chandon, whose pinpoint spin bowling accounted for 2 wickets for 26 runs. Both of the bowlers were backed up by some excellent fielding from Australian Pete Carson, and the whole team was buoyed by the return of young Irishman Caen Healy who had a great day behind the stumps keeping wicket on the freshly laid Calistoga crease. To complete the worldly feel of the Napa team, American member Jack Evanko made a great catch in the field to assist Bolch with his “5 for”.
Napa Valley CC 173 all out lost to Sonoma Gullies 183 all out by 10 runs. (30 over game)
NVCC Batting – Scott Curwood 37 runs off 49 balls, Tim Irwin (c) 25 off 21.
NVCC Bowling – Rob Bolch 3 wickets for 36 runs, Matt Wood 2 wickets for 26 runs.
Saturday 25th August 2012 at The Fairgrounds in Calistoga vs The Piggies CC from 10.30am
More details on the Napa Valley Cricket Club can be found on their website – http://napacricket.com/ -- where you can find details of their games for the summer ahead on the Calendar page.
For more details please contact Andrew Healy on 707-227-4273 or by email at NapaValleyCricket@gmail.com
More details on the game of cricket can be found on the following websites
Video series on “How to Play Cricket”
The Napa Valley Cricket Club wishes to acknowledge the assistance of the following sponsors:
Taltarni, MASilva (Cork & Glass), TricorBraun Winepak , Tonnellerie Saint Martin, Napa Smith Brewery, H&A Finance.