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Roses play historic first game

Mersey Rose Recs' season began with a trip to Newsham Park

Newsham Park 168 (Rajesh Anandapu 53*, Ismail Ibrahim 32; Rob Kennedy 5-36) Mersey Rose Recreationals 58 (Rob Kennedy 34; Nimesh Rajakaruna 5-11) Newsham Park won by 110 runs Scorecard

Mersey Rose Recreationals played their first ever cricket match on Sunday on a breezy but mercifully dry afternoon at Newsham Park.

There had been doubts as to whether the game would go ahead given the weather forecast but fortunately the predicted heavy downpours failed to materialise. The visitors did not have a full team of eleven, but Newsham Park were able to provide some additional players from their own squad.

Mersey Rose won the toss and elected to field. Captain Andi Page opened the bowling, and his first over was an eventful one. The first ball was smashed to deep square, the third fell agonisingly short of Ian Mosquito at deep extra cover and the fourth found an inside edge but somehow missed the stumps. Page's fifth ball was caught behind by Josh Joseph, giving Roses a perfect start and their first ever wicket.

However, despite some tidy bowling from Page and Showon - who created multiple catching chances that weren't taken - Newsham Park's second wicket partnership of Rajesh Anandapu and Ismail Ibrahim made steady progress. The duo played with purpose and produced some attractive shots as they put their team in the driving seat. The partnership was finally broken when Ian Sidebotham dismissed Ibrahim lbw for 32, his first ever wicket being just reward for his perseverance.

After Ibrahim's departure wickets fell regularly. Nimesh Rajakaruna made a quick 16 before being caught on the boundary and Imran Safiullah hit a defiant 19, but Mersey Rose were happy to have bowled their opponents out for 168. Rob Kennedy (one of the loanees from the hosts) took 5 for 36 while Anandapu carried his bat for an unbeaten 53 - quite an achievement.

The Roses' reply got off to a dismal start as none of the top order were able to deal with the pace and accuracy of Nimesh Rajakaruna, who took 5 for 11 in five overs. Andi Page was hit on the helmet by a bouncer before being trapped lbw for 1. From 15 for 6 the visitors recovered to a more respectable 58, with Rob Kennedy scoring an unbeaten 34 (aided by Ian Sidebotham and Anna Page, who both stayed in for long periods).

Building a team is a long-term process and instant success is unlikely. For Mersey Rose, the result was of secondary importance to playing our first game. There is no doubt that the better team won and won convincingly, but there were several positives to take away from the match: some good bowling from Andi Page and Ian Sidebotham, the work put in by the team in the field (especially from Ian Mosquito and David Crossley), and determined defensive batting from Anna Page. Above all else, the day was about enjoying friendly cricket and those who took part certainly did. Many thanks to Newsham Park for their help in getting a game on and the spirit in which it was played. Mersey Rose's next game is away to Burton on Sunday 5th May. Some photos of the game can be viewed below:


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