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Cricket: Gibraltar's season comes to a close against Arden Taverners from Warwickshire

Arden Taverners, the latest in a long line of visiting sides from the United Kingdom this season, played two matches over the week-end against local selections, going down on both occasions but certainly not without putting up a good fight. However, They returned to the Rock on Tuesday for a third encounter, which they won.

Taverners stage a good recovery.
The local selection won the toss on Saturday, put the visitors in, and tasted early success as Shaun Ainsworth claimed two wickets in two balls in only his second, and the inning�s, fourth over. Alan Hunt then joined Paul Dawes and these two took the score along to 43 when Steve Martin had the latter caught by Mark Garratt. Martin struck again, bowling Roger Wickson with the total on 65, but that was to be the GCA XI�s last success of the afternoon as Hunt and Matthew Lunn defied all efforts to dislodge them, putting on 117 runs for the fifth wicket to bring the final total to 182/4 off the allotted forty overs. For the locals, Ainsworth returned figures of 2/22 and Martin 2/27.

Solid batting from locals.
Ian Farrell and Kieron Ferrary gave the local selection a fine start with an opening stand of 66 in fourteen overs without managing to run each other out! Both then went in quick succession, Farrell bowled by Martin Woodward for 35 and Ferrary bowled by Phil Dawes for 32. This brought Steven Gonzalez and Iain Latin to the crease and a partnership of 94 runs ensued. Gonzalez had just passed his half century when he was caught off the bowling of Hunt but by then victory was in sight and it was just a question of whether Latin could also reach his half century. With the scores level he was run out two short of that target, but the GCA XI still won with seven balls to spare.

The Bacarese and Rocca show.
The local selection opted to bat first on the Sunday and after the loss of an early wicket, Mark Bacarese and Christian Rocca proceeded to put the visitor�s attack to the sword. Rocca was fortunate to be dropped when on 37, and the Taverners were made to paid dearly for this mistake as he and Bacarese piled on 192 runs for the second wicket in the process of which Rocca reached yet another century in typically aggressive mode whilst his partner was content to lend him steady support. When Rocca finally fell, caught by Ken Lunn off the bowling of Chris Wickson for 118, Bacarese took over the mantle of scorer in chief, also achieving three figures. The GCA XI finished on 293/6 at the end of the allotted overs. For Arden Taverners, Chris Wickson took 2/63.

Facing such a daunting total, Arden Taverners got off to a bright start, Oliver Sidwell and Simon Wickson going at six an over before the former fell to a fine catch by Iain Latin on the mid wicket boundary. Alan Hunt then joined Wickson and the run rate continued at a healthy almost six an over before Rocca held on to a hard chance at mid-on to dispose of Wickson and give young Robbie Skinner a wicket. Hunt and Jonathan Hartley continued to punish anything loose and at the half-way twenty overs stage the Taverners total stood at 119/2 with victory still a remote possibility. The whole tenor of the game changed after the mid-session drinks break as Rocca held on to another hard chance off the bowling of Bacarese to account for Hartley (40) and Kieron Ferrary pulled off a smart piece of stumping to dispose of Phil Thomas off the bowling of Latin. Bacarese and Rocca then combined once again to get rid off the dangerous Hunt (54) and Latin claimed two further victims. Taverners skipper Chris Smith put up some brave resistance towards the end with an undefeated 41 but by then the game was well beyond his side who ended on 223/7. Latin returned the fine figures of 3/26 and Bacarese took 2/44.

With dull skies and persistent rain in the latter stages of the game, Arden Taverners rounded off their three match tour on the Rock with a comprehensive victory against a weakened GCA Selection on Tuesday to finally bring the 2006 cricket season to an end.

Taverners’ batsmen score heavily.
The Taverners won the toss, chose to bat first, and after the loss of an early wicket Matthew Lunn and Phil Dawes set about a moderate local attack, putting on 80 runs for the second wicket before the latter was caught behind by stand-in wicket-keeper, Andrew Chipolina, for 44. This brought Jonathan Hartley to the crease and a ferocious assault ensued against some loose bowling and even poorer fielding, 94 runs coming in just thirteen overs, before Rudi Phillips trapped Lunn leg before for 70. A heavy shower interrupted proceedings for a while but on resumption Hartley raced on to his half century, eventually reaching 66 before falling to one of three catches by George Shacaluga. Contributions of 24 by John Brookes and 26 not out by Chris Smith enabled the Taverners to reach a total of 253/5 in their allotted forty overs. For the local selection Steve Martin returned figures of 2/43.

Local Selection offer poor resistance.
The local selection struggled from the outset, losing wickets at regular intervals, the one bright spot in their innings being fourteen-year-old Scott Chipolina, who opened the innings and carried his bat for 41. The whole side was dismissed for 120 in 36.1 overs. James Smith took 2/20 for the Taverners.


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