Sunday, 24 May 2009

No vacancy

It all came down to the last game. We had to beat our promotion rivals, Ibeju Lekki 2, by a convincing margin in order to secure the division II championship and a spot in next season's 1st division.

The TBS oval was in top condition, the FGCW players gathered from far and wide. We won the toss and decided to bat. The first half of the innings was watchful, bordering on pedestrian, punctuated by the fall of two wickets. Amen Edebor joined Roland Ilube with the score just past 60, and the pair carried on from where they had left off in the last match, pushing things along to the 90 run mark. Then it was time to put the pedal to the metal as the skipper decided he was tired of running and so would hit some boundaries. The next ten overs produced nearly a hundred runs as the pair tucked into the ILCC2 attack. Roland finally departed for 88, but if our opponents thought their problems were over, they were to be disappointed. Obo Omoigui proceeded to despatch the ball with clinical precision, compiling a brutal 65* as we took our total to 279-5 off our 50 overs.

Faced with the run mountain that we had constructed, Ibeju's batsmen never really got into their stride, and Friday Udoh (4-24) swung the new ball well to effectively decide the game in the first 10 overs of their reply. Femi Oduyebo took two at the other end and it was left to Michael Agbiboa - The Delta Express - to wrap things up with the last 3 wickets. All out for 66 and victory by 213, yes I said 213 runs.

A few weeks ago the sponsor of the Ibeju team had told me that there was no vacancy for promotion to division 1 this season. He was right, this championship was always going to be ours from the start of the season.

Sunday, 3 May 2009

Finally...some cricket

After the debacle of the aborted game against IPCC, the ensuing rigmarole of the disciplinary committee and multiple changes to the fixture list, the rules of the competition, and the very meaning of life itself (or so it seems), I was beginning to think that we would never play any cricket ever again.

However, we finally got back on the field yesterday against the boys from Ibadan (IMCC). The way things are set up at the moment, it was crucial not only to win the game but also to make sure of maximum points. A brilliant start by Femi Oduyebo (3-7 in 5 overs) saw our opponents reduced to 8-4 after 6 overs, and some people started wondering how we were going to occupy ourselves for the rest of the day, but cricket is cricket and aided by some indifferent change bowling, the IMCC 5th wicket pair compiled a useful 50 partnership to ensure that a total would be posted. The introduction of spin eventually brought the breakthrough and Emmanuel Olowookere finished up with 3-25 as IMCC finally came to a halt at 118.

Losing both your openers in the first three overs is generally not the best way to set about chasing down any target, but this was the position we found ourselves in as our reply got under way. When the two Femis departed within 3 balls we were 34-4 and in danger of not getting any points, let alone the maximum 5 required. It was a situation that required some Warri-style grit and this was supplied by the old boy pairing of Roland Ilube (51*) and Amen Edebor (21), who dug in carefully before picking their shots. They took the score past 100 before Amen departed with the finishing line in sight, and it was left to another old boy, Obo Omoigui, to guide the ship home in the company of his exhausted captain.

So there is one chapter left to be written in the chase for promotion. It is in our hands.