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  • Darrell Butler

Match Report: Unicorns vs Lapworth, 27th June 2021

Susmit Majumder’s majestic century lit up another afternoon of firsts for Unicorns as they took to the field for the third time in this inaugural season to take on Lapworth. The fixture provided extra spice for James Buckle, Lapworth’s 1st/2nd XI regular and their 3rd XI captain Sam Long who would be playing against not just his Saturday teammates but also his brother!

There were no fewer than four Unicorns joining our Blessing for the visit of Lapworth. Olivia Dyke, Ilana Davis and Dan Lewis all took to the field for the first time as Lapworth won the toss and elected to bat on an overcast day in the second city.

Unicorns’ fourth debutant, Tom Verow, opened proceedings and immediately went in the book as the side’s quickest bowler. He sent down a raft of pacey overs, regularly defeating the batsman. His opening six over spell of 0/26 included a well directed maiden and three outside edges one of which fell agonisingly short of the keeper.

Unicorns celebrate the first wicket (c †Butler b Smith)

From the opposite end, Lachlan Smith, taking a well earned rest from captain's duties, struck in his sixth over with the score on 66. Having already found the edge once in the over, a chance which flew between keeper and slip, Smith found the thick outside edge of Shabab Akhlaq with Butler completing the dismissal behind the stumps.

The wicket brought Chris Long, brother of Unicorns’ Sam, to the crease triggering an immediate warm up as the spinner limbered up to bowl to his sibling. He wouldn’t get the chance. Smith needed just one of the three balls remaining of his over to bowl the Lapworth number three with an inswinging delivery clattering into middle and off stump.

The excitement of a family duel was replaced immediately with the prospect of a Lachlan Smith hat trick. In came the field for new batsman Matt Smith, who blocked out the hat trick ball to much disappointment amongst the Unicorns.

What followed was a feast of runs for Lapworth opener David Pugh and Matt Smith. The pair both reached hundreds in style despite being made to work hard by a tireless and well-disciplined effort in the field with particular credit to Olivia Dyke who will be nursing several bruises after a hat trick of stinging stops at fine leg as, like her fellow debutants, she battled hard to save runs for the hosts.

The bail did not survive Tom's pace!

The effort was rewarded in the final ten overs when Unicorns picked up four more wickets. The day’s captain, James Buckle, picked up Saturday teammate Alex Williams who was caught by Susmit Majumder at long on. Sam Long did one better and removed two of his Lapworth colleagues, tempting Daniel Moroney down the wicket for a stumping and clipping the middle stump of Faizan Choudhry. The dismissal of the day though, went to Tom Verow, returning for a second spell who not only castled Danish Rana, but snapped a bail in half in the process!

Susmit raising his bat in celebration and being applauded
Susmit raises his bat for his century - a Unicorns first!

At a touch more than 7 an over, the Lapworth total of 284/6 already seemed out of reach, but that wasn’t going to stop opener Susmit Majumder from trying. A majestic display of striking sent the ball to all parts of South Birmingham. The Unicorns Centurian helped himself for 18 runs off a single Max Penney over as he raced past 50 in just 27 balls and needed another 34 to bring up the side’s maiden century to a rapturous ovation from his teammates and opponents alike. Lapworth are now added to the growing list of sides looking for his signature!

Playing the anchor role, Glen Jackson watched on from the best seat in the house as he backed up Susmit with a solid 14, and some quick running between the wickets. When he was stumped in the 21st over with the score at 136; Unicorns contemplated the possibility of chasing down the mammoth target. When Darrell Butler was run out in the next over thanks to the precise arm of Faizan Choudhry at deep mid-wicket, Tom Verow took on the explosive role vacated by the retired Majumder. The opening bowler picked up 19 runs in just five scoring shots which included two big sixes but was caught by Daniel Moroney attempting a third.

Long vs Long

Hattie Wright joined Lachlan Smith in the middle and as the required rate increased, Unicorns set up to ensure they batted the full 40 overs. Wright was bowled in the 29th over with the score at 153 bringing today’s captain to the crease to join regular skipper Smith. They found the boundary frequently, if not as explosively as at the start of the innings before Buckle was trapped by Moroney for 19 which set up the battle we all missed out on in the first innings. Long v. Long. Unicorns won the opening exchanges. Smith reached 27 with successive fours off Chris Long, before Sam Long dished out the same treatment to his close friend Alex Williams.

Revenge came in Long’s following over. He dismissed Smith, caught by Alex Williams 2nd ball before removing his brother with exactly the same dismissal. Olivia Dyke was charged with facing the hat trick ball but could only fend it to centurion David Pugh completing the Chris Long hat trick! In the final overs debutants Dan Lewis (1) and Ilana Davis (3 not out), both scored their first Unicorns runs ably supported by Jay Timmins and Rich Andrews at numbers 12 and 13. Beaten? Yes. Outplayed? Most certainly not. Unicorns reached 214 from their 40 overs and are getting better every week…. Next up is the battle of the mythical creatures. Unicorns take on Mermaids in Harborne on Thursday 8th July in a 20 over tie!

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