Last Saturday (Nov 28) saw the second Singaporean touring side visit the ACG in as many weeks. ANZA Champs made their annual pilgrimage to Phuket to play a PCG XI in a 30-over-a-side game for the Champs Cup which had kept its position proudly on the trophy shelf at the ACG for the past few years.

Another Trophy gone from the PCG shelf, for the time being at least (Michael Way)

PCG Chairman Anthony Van Blerk hands ANZA the trophy (Michael Way)

The toss was won by PCG skipper Anthony Van Blerk who elected to bat first on a sweltering afternoon. PCG got off to a good start with openers Pir Sami and Imtiyaz Mushtaq expressing themselves and putting the fielders under pressure with some good shots. They had posted a score of 52 from 9 overs before Imtiyaz tried one big shot too many and was bowled by Klaus for 33. Three balls later Sami was back in the pavilion after being caught at log on off the bowling of Wray for 14. This left two new batsmen at the crease in Stuart Hamilton and Ravi Naique. They managed to advance the score to 74 from 14 overs before Hamilton failed to beat the man at long off and was caught for 11, the first what were to be 5 victims for Gary Hawker.

A middle order collapse then saw PCG lose their next 4 wickets for the addition of just 8 runs. Nique became Hawkers second victim when he was caught for 7. A mix up between new batsmen Hossain and Paddy Ledeboer saw the former run out for a duck. Ledeboer having just hoisted a big six to the mid wicket boundary tried to repeat the shot only to see the fielder that had just been placed there pouch the catch. When Arun then tentatively prodded a Teddy delivery to slip PCG had slipped to 80/7. Van Blerk then set about playing some attacking shots to give the innings some respectability before he was caught at log off for 20. Last man out was Khiderar, bowled to give Hawker, his fifth wicket. At the break PCG had posted a below par score of 125 all out from 23 overs. ANZA began their reply cautiously with Hawker and Biju knowing that occupying the crease for the 30 overs would surely bring them victory. PCG bowlers huffed and puffed but couldn’t make the break through. Biju was particularly impressive playing some crisp drives and punishing anything loose.

The score had advanced to 71 without lose before PCG turned to the part time slow left arm bowling of Hamilton. This immediately paid dividends when Biju was deceived and chipped-at catch to Ledeboer at mid-wicket. Two overs later ANZA lost their second wicket with Simon stumped by Van Blerk off the bowling of Hamilton. Vinos joined Hawker at the crease and the two combined to ease ANZA to within 2 runs of their target before Vinos was bowled by Sami during a fiery spell towards the end of the match. When new batsman Teddy flailed one through the slips ANZA picked up the 2 runs needed for victory.

The match was played in great spirit between two sides that enjoy their cricket, and although PCG were soundly beaten in the end, they showed enough fighting spirit to suggest that they will be a force to be reckoned with when the two sides meet again next year. This weekend PCG play host to a third visiting Singaporean team, the “Loose Cannons”. Saturday *Dec 5) is a 30 over game and Sunday (Dec 6) is a 20/20. Both games start at midday and as usual, the Boundary Bar at the ACG will be open all day serving cold refreshments/tea and coffee etc and light snacks.

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