Farmers' European dream ends in Malaga

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CONSECUTIVE losses have sent Farmers CC packing from the European Cricket League in Spain, after completing the Championship group stage on two wins from six.

The Islanders gave themselves every chance of making the elusive top four entering the final round of group fixtures, but tricky match-ups against tournament leaders CIYMS of Ireland and Hornchurch of England both ended in defeat.

Captain James Perchard and co came close to snatching victory from the jaws of defeat in their opening game of the day, against Irish national champions CIYMS, although the efforts of their opening batsmen, Jason van der Merwe and Chris Dougherty, and bowler Carson McCullough [4-4], ultimately made the difference.

Van der Merwe struck 70 off just 30 balls, alongside a knock of 36 for Dougherty, to help CIYMS to 145 and while Farmers’ reply did start with a stutter, Zak Tribe made a game of it.

Nicolaj Damgaard went early, for six, before Joel Dudley and Patrick Gouge were dismissed for nine between them

The Islanders stood on 28/3 when Denmark international Oliver Hald – on loan for the week – came to the crease, although it was Tribe who made his mark in the run chase.

Farmers required 16 off the last over and Tribe required 17 for his ton, but he fell on the first ball of the tenth – effectively ending their hopes of claiming what looked like an extremely unlikely victory 30 minutes earlier.

Tribe, who only flew out to Malaga on Wednesday, hit ten 6s on his way to 83, at a strike rate of 307.40.

The Caesareans then faced the champions of England, Hornchurch in a win-or-go-home matchup between the British pair.

Farmers, seemingly plagued by the coin toss, were sent out to bat in the Malaga sun.

Their opponents however, were fresh and inspired early on, for their first game on the day.

After a couple of tight overs, the wickets began to tumble.

Damgaard walked first in the third, quickly followed by both Dudley and Gouge in consecutive overs, reducing their side to 29/2 from four overs.

Farmers needed a partnership and unfortunately Hornchurch did not fancy letting anyone stick around long enough.

Tribe was unable to replecate his morning heroics, as he and Hald fell in the sixth over, for eight and two respectively.

Jack De Gruchy walked next for five, while Rhys Palmer and Harry Jenkins held firm in a bid to set a total to defend.

The former made 14 and the latter 11 as the Jersey champions were up against it to hang onto a total of 82.

If there were any hope, Hornchurch dispelled of that quickly, grabbing 15 runs without loss from the first over.

Former Gloucester county cricketer George Hankins set about an assured innings to see his Hornchurch side over the line.

The early wickets Farmers desperately craved were evading them, as their opponents chipped away at the modest total.

Stand-out Hankins then opened his shoulders, finding boundaries at will as his side raced out to 38 without loss from three overs.

Toby Britton removed opener Paul Murray and Adeel Malik to give his side something to cheer about, as Damgaard removed the dangerous Hankins for 34 off 17 balls.

Despite some fighting spirit, it was too little too late as Hornchurch secured victory with ten balls and six wickets spare.

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