Match Report: Unicorns vs WCB XI, 6th June 2021
Like the legendary creature with which they share their name, matches for Birmingham’s new LGBTQ+ cricket team were in danger of becoming just a myth. Last month’s inaugural match against Graces was washed out by a week of bad weather and Sunday’s friendly against a Warwickshire Cricket Board XI looked in danger of succumbing to the same fate. The weather though, cleared; and perhaps it was, indeed, fate that the fledgling side’s opening match at Boundary View in Selly Oak was to take place at the start of Pride Month.
Unicorns captain Lachlan Smith elected to bat first and as the sun fought its way through heavy clouds, Susmit Majumder strode to the middle accompanied by Glen Jackson who played out the historic first over for a maiden. Majumder scored the team’s first runs, crunching a cover drive to the boundary in the second over. The fluent opener found the rope three more times in an opening stand of 22 before Unicorns’ wicketkeeper Jackson edged to his counterpart from the final ball of the sixth over.
Joined by James Buckle, Susmit continued to find the boundary, heaving a six over backward point and finding the long off rope with a one bounce four in the eighth over. Buckle, playing a risk free innings, pulled a beamer for four in the tenth before a mix-up off the free hit saw him stranded in no man’s land. Jake Williamson joined Susmit for five overs until the opener, kept quiet by the economical Khalid, hit out and found the grateful arms of long off for 36. Ezra Stock steadied the ship with Williamson and with the sun now beaming down on South Birmingham, Unicorns had reached a much needed drinks break at 93 for 3.
Whilst Williamson’s namesake was making a liberal declaration at Lord’s, there was no such generosity from Jake as he flat batted consecutive boundaries off Mo Adrann. Backed up by the dogged Ezra, whose shot of the innings was a crunching half volley off drive for four, the pair put on 60 for the 4th wicket before Williamson missed a swipe at a straight one. He was back in the hutch as the side’s leading run scorer with 47. Stock followed in the next over caught off a leading edge to McCabe for 19 and when Simon Satchwell-Giles also fell to McCabe without scoring Unicorns had fallen from 119/3 to 121/6. Rich Andrews (5), Sam Long (3) and Darrell Butler (6) all stuck around for long enough to help Lachan Smith reach 31* including 3 fours and a huge six and by the time Butler was stumped trying to heave the last ball of the innings into Edgbaston, thus giving McCabe star figures of 3/10, the Unicorns had battled to a respectable 168/9.
As the clouds completely dispersed, a noisy Unicorns side, cheered on by a swelling crowd of supporters, took to the field in good spirits. Those spirits would only get better. Ezra, having called shotgun on the first over, took a sharp caught and bowled with the second ball of the innings. Nought for one and The Unicorns were in paradise! The tall Williamson backed up well at the other end, starting with a maiden before Ezra struck again in the 5th over. Sadiq, with 16 to his name from 7 deliveries was caught magnificently by Susmit Majumder who clung on to a diving catch at long on after a landing which made Apollo 13 look smooth.
After falling to 18/2, The WCB XI made slow progress until Mo Adrann teed off. After taking just one from his first 17 deliveries he finished with a 35 ball 50, which included four maximums one of which destroyed a roof tile on a house at cow corner.
Sam Long, whose first over bore the brunt of Mo’s aggressive switch, deservedly took the Unicorns’ third wicket in his second over. Having pinned down, and frustrated J. Barnard, he trapped his victim leg before; as plumb as you like. The home side’s final wicket was claimed by James Buckle with captain Smith taking a sharp catch. The skipper should have had a wicket of his own save for a missed opportunity by stand-in wicketkeeper Butler, deputising for Glen Jackson who injured a finger early in the innings. Warwickshire CB eased home in the 21st over by six wickets but Unicorns, injuries mounting had stood proud. First-time cricketers Harvey Degan, and substitute Jay Timmins impressed in the field and with the rest of their team and hardy fan club, battled until the end to set the perfect tone for things to come.
Sunday the 13th of June is the big date for your diary. Graces are in town! We’ll see you all at Valley Parkway.
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