MAL went down by 22 runs in a friendly against Stanmore.
Stanmore won the toss and elected to bat on a glorious sunny day. Opening bowlers Yoav Lebens and Anthony Cowan were both excellent and unlucky in an opening spell which saw them wicketless, but keep the scoring rate down, though Stanmore's overseas player, Tom Cullen, was looking to hit strongly through mid-wicket and extra cover.
The first wicket did not arrive until a change of bowling, Jon Begner striking in his first over as he trapped Grant LBW for a gritty 24. Again Stanmore looked to build a partnership against some probing bowling from the excellent Begner and Michael Klinger, who also settled into a good rhythm.
Cullen was untroubled and cruising without ever looking to overly attack. The second wicket fell in the 27th over, as a spell of sustained pressure from Begner brought an injudicious shot from Akram, who was bowled for 9. The second wicket was swiftly followed by two more, both falling to Klinger, with the elder Akram bowled for 0 by one that nipped sharply back into him, and Gudka held smartly by Mark Landau at slip for 0.
Taqutvi helped Cullen add 30, as the Aussie went to an excellent 100. Taqutvi was next to go, caught behind by Ryan Pakter off brother Grant Pakter for 12. Cowan picked up a wicket in his second spell, Grant Pakter holding the catch at square leg off Mqbool.
Cullen's was the last wicket to fall, as he walked across his stumps to Grant Pakter and was bowled for 123, a fabulous innings which was to prove the difference between the sides.
MAL's reply began well as the Pakter brothers opened, and put on a partnership of 56 for the first wicket, with some strong stroke-play from both Ryan and Grant, before Grant was caught for 23.
Landau joined Ryan, and looked out of touch. Ryan was going well, and was on 43 when he struck a big hit out towards the square leg boundary, which found Cullen, the only man in the deep, who held the catch safely.
Stanmore's slower bowlers restricted the run-rate, though Lebens was looking solid. He was next to go though - nicking leg-spinner Gudka's first delivery behind for 13. Landau and Avishai Kestenbaum added 14 in four watchful overs, but with 11 overs to go and 72 needed, some impetus was needed.
Landau looked to provide it, striking 14 in four balls from Gudka before getting giddy and playing a hack across the line to be bowled for 27. From 140-3 MAL slumped to 149-7, as Tony Wise was LBW to Mottram for 1, Gav Lebens was bowled by the same bowler for 2, and Klinger was caught for 0, again from the bowling of Mottram.
Jon Begner provided some willing resistance down the order, with an enterprising 17, and following the dismissal of Cowan for 2, he found some willing support from 11-year-old Nathan Wise, who made 4. Begner's was the final wicket to fall, midway through the final over, bowled by Akram for 17.
Though the match ended in defeat for MAL there were certainly plenty of positives to take from the game.
Stanmore CC 195-7 (40 overs)Cullen 123, Jon Begner 2-22, Michael Klinger 2-40, Grant Pakter 2-53
MAL 173 (39.3 overs) Ryan Pakter 43, Mottram 3-35, J Akram 2-21, Gudka 2-24
Stanmore CC won by 22 runs