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MAL beaten by Octopus

    Newly promoted Middlesex Sunday League Division Three outfit MAL were beaten by 24 runs in a friendly against Octopus in Highgate.

    Skipper Gav Lebens won the toss and chose to field, with the outfield long and the pitch a little damp. Michael Klinger and Mark Lazar bowled well with the new ball, Lazar picking up a wicket with his first ball, a fine caught and bowled to dismiss Lamplough.

    Klinger soon bowled Hodge off an inside edge for 8, and Lazar picked up a second caught and bowled. With the third wicket falling at 20, MAL looked in complete control, but a combination of some sensible batting from Webber and Winter, and a bit of loose bowling from the change bowlers, meant that pressure was not completely maintained, despite some tight lines from Charlie Sherrard, who was wicketless in his eight overs but went for only 20 runs.

    Avi Gelley picked up the fourth wicket, Webber well held at mid-wicket by Mark Landau for 37. Gav Lebens had Ogilvie well held at mid-off by Josh Begner to leave Octopus 80-5.

    Some poor catching allowed Octopus to get up to a defendable total, with Winter the chief beneficiary, as he was dropped four times on his way to 54, though wickets continued to fall at the other end; Josh Begner bowling an impressive spell of medium pace inswing to pick up three wickets, two of them bowled and one caught well by Charlie Sherrard.

    Winter was eventually last man out, caught by Gav Lebens on the run off debutant Will Vignoles. With the outfield so long 142 looked like it could be a decent target, and so it proved.

    Some tight bowling early on made it difficult to score runs, but Max Sherrard played aggressively and managed to get a couple of boundaries away before Josh Begner was caught and bowled by Ogilvie for 2. Leslie Allweis was unfortunate to be bowled for 0.

    Landau joined Sherrard, whose aggression eventually got the better of him as he lofted a catch to mid-wicket for a positive and promising 21. Landau stroked three pleasant boundaries before slapping a short ball from Hodge to point for 16, and Susser was also caught for 11 having struck two sweetly timed 4s.

    Vignoles quickly followed, the ball stopping on him a little as he was caught at short midwicket for 2. At 62-6 a MAL victory looked highly unlikely but there was some excellent lower order resistance. Gelley battled hard for his 6 alongside Lazar, before being bowled by Webber.

    Charlie Sherrard struck a clean boundary before finding the man at mid off for a brisk 6. Michael Klinger joined Lazar and the two battled well, with Lazar growing increasingly fluent, blocking the good balls and punishing anything short or off line. Klinger eventually fell with the score on 110 for 12.

    Gav Lebens threatened to pull something out of the bag, crashing his second ball over cover for four, but he perished looking to hit over the top again, leaving Lazar unbeaten on 25.

    Octopus CC 142 (Winter 54, Webber 37, Josh Begner 3-22, Mark Lazar 2-11)

    MAL 118 (Lazar 25*, Max Sherrard 21, Hodge 3-12, Webber 2-9, Ogilvie 2-12)

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