Last Thursday Olympia played its 2nd match in their regional equivalent of the glamorous IPL tournament. But with a little less media attention and to be fair, less glamour and much less public / atmosphere. That was made clear 10 minutes after the scheduled starting time of the 1st match a week ago. When we found out that our opponents wouldn’t be arriving at our ground due to ‘not existing anymore’… . While you never can predict what will happen in India, you wouldn’t expect Chennai Super Kings not showing up for the tournament opening match… . But this is cricket in the Netherlands so actually everything is possible.
On a glorious summer evening we arrived at the splendid cricket ground of Sparta. And looking at their environmental friendly clubhouse, the huge sunken field, electronic scoreboard and Swiss style nets we couldn’t help feeling a bit envious. I mean the combination of a party tent, a little garden shed a nice green sea container, which make up the Olympia home ground nowadays is an improvement from last year, but still a bit contrasting with facilities of Sparta.
But never mind. We (a mix of 1st and 2nd team players) were ready to take on Sparta (a mix of their 1st, 2nd and 3rd team). And taking them on we did. A scoring shot from Fred C. off his first ball (which is a rare feat) was followed up by a monstrous ‘no effort’ six by Fred H. While we were awaiting the arrival of the cheerleaders and the fireworks to celebrate this first 6 of the match, we realised again that this T20 tournament is still a world away from the IPL. Bu still we felt the scoreboard could have flashed out with something like ‘Fred HAKked it out of the park!!!’. A missed opportunity … .
At the end of the over we had 10 runs on the scoreboard and were looking at a target of 200+ (again using the IPL as our T20 example). Next over went for 9 and after that we kept the scoreboard ticking. Unfortunately some wickets fell as well. Fred C., Sander, Jurgen and Jan-Willem couldn’t reach double figures, but Fred H.’s 37 made sure there was a decent platform for Niels to accelerate. And that was what Niels did. Boundaries came in a flurry. While Reno was unlucky to be victim of a brilliant one-handed catch, Niels hit boundary after boundary. Together with Eric he made a partnership of 47. Well together… Eric was merely a bystander with the duty of running hard between the wickets (in the rare occasion it was not a boundary) and making singles to hand back the strike to Niels. With 1 over left Thomas took over Eric’s task and it all worked pretty well . The score after 20 overs was 158 for 8.
A nice total to defend we thought. But the Olympian attack was not at its best. In the first 3 overs Sparta made close to 50 runs and things became difficult. The first wicket, a catch by Niels off Jan-Willem, brought back a little bit of hope. But, not helped by a few embarrassing misfields, the bowlers not precise enough to keep the Sparta batsmen quiet. At that moment we were in danger to get beaten within 10 overs. Sander slowed down the runrate with some fierce bowling form the dark side of the ground. And in a desperate move the captain handed the ball to Eric. The idea behind was inspired by many IPL games, were the slow bowlers and take wickets and slow down the batsmen.
Probably the slow bowlers in the IPL are not as slow as Eric. While the no-pace bowling took the Sparta batsmen by surprise and actually slowed them down, wickets didn’t fall. Close to the end of play Sander got the reward for his bowling with some brilliant help of Reno, the stand-in wicketkeeper. But it was a little too late and 2 overs later the game was over. Sparta beat Olympia with 8 wickets…
As we really liked the Sparta ground we decided to extended our stay a bit with a prolonged 3rd innings. In which we beat Sparta with a rather big margin….
Thursday 25 july there is a T20 match in the Groenhovenpark. Start at 19:00.