The Lydican was looking immaculate for Midleton’s First XI mammoth trip to Co. Galway last weekend, as the sun shone and the runs flowed in the opening fixture of the MCU’s Premier Division season.

Following the unfortunate simultaneous deaths of 46 club member’s grandmothers, First’s captain Dean Wilson was forced to give senior debuts to new signing Atif Gameel and Adrian Stack (yes, he was that stuck) for the game, which saw the new wicket at Co. Galway’s ground used in anger for the first time.

The hosts won the toss, and unsurprisingly decided to bat as the temperature rose. Opening bowlers McEvoy and Kashif Kahn kept things tight on a pitch made for batting, and both took wickets by the 11th over, but a strong partnership between Nasim and Irish International rugby player Kieran Marmion had the visitors in trouble as the runs started to flow. Galway went from 64/2 to 245/2 before Nasim was caught by an incredible catch by Dean from Atif Akbar’s bowling in a scene reminiscent of the 1993 movie Free Willy, where the child tries to catch the escaping whale but fails, but Dean actually managed to catch the ball. Marmion fell soon after, with John McEvoy claiming a story for the grandkids, catching off of Magid Sharif’s bowling as Galway’s batting fell to pieces. A mere 71 more runs were added to the total by the end of the innings, as Majid ended the game with five wickets and Boom Boom Atif Akbar with three, to leave the hosts at 306 all out.

Special mention has to go to Galway for tea, with an impressive spread courtesy of club sponsors Subway, but the spicy jalapeno sandwiches may have contributed to the slow opening from Simon Casey and Majid Kahn and certainly contributed to some stained porcelain in East Cork this morning. Kahn was bowled for 30, before Casey, who had literally put his balls on the line for some much-needed runs, was run out for 33. The game looked to be up for the visitors when Sukpul took 3 wickets in an over, with Sharif and Wilson in successive balls, before Stack denied the hat trick with an insanely skillful inside edge, before exiting next ball. Kashif Kahn raced to a quick 10 before departing before the Nottingham Nightmare Pete Thackery joined a lonely Rob Smyth who had raced to a half-century without anyone noticing. When Smyth finally fell on 78, it looked like game over for Midleton, but Atif Gameel was about to have a debut to live long in the memory. A man who had only ever played with tennis balls before proceeded to destroy the bowling figures of the hosts, ably assisted by Thackery, as an unlikely victory suddenly looked possible. Galway’s bowlers suddenly looked rattled, as runs and extras flowed. Disaster struck, though in the 47th over, as Atif’s wicket finally fell on 49. McEvoy added a quickfire six runs to keep the dream alive before he departed, but sadly the secret weapon of Boom Boom wasn’t deployed, as Thackery fell for 23, ending the innings with Midleton 31 runs short.

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