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  Batting brilliance buries Patong:  

Liquid Lounge Lizards recorded only their second win of the Island Furniture Cricket League season last weekend – yet in doing so they delivered one of the finest individual innings played on the Alan Cooke Ground (ACG).

Patong, with their reputation for taking things seriously at the best of times, were particularly focused going into the game, as they needed a win to stay in finals contention. Lizards, meanwhile, were looking to put a disappointing season behind them
with a consolation win over their fierce rivals.

Patong won the toss and elected to bat first, but lost opener Dean Noble for a duck in the first over after Neil Culpan beat the bat to shatter his stumps.

Fellow opener Seemant Raju (8) joined him in the pavilion just three overs later with the Patong score at 23.

Danny Hyams (32) and Neil Quail (23) survived four LBW appeals between them to carry the score to 66, before Quail picked out the safe hands of Nifty Catts off the bowling of Tim Lenton.

Lenton – the self professed “backyard cricketer” – then seemed to become a man possessed, running through the Patong middle order on his way to figures of 6-29
off his eight overs.

Manish Sadarangani and MF Khan ensured the Patong tail had some wag, but they couldn’t stop their side cracking under the pressure to be all out for 169 off 30.3 overs.
After losing opener Ian Lenton in the second over with only seven on the scoreboard, Lizards piled on the biggest and most impressive partnership the ACG has ever seen through Neil Culpan and Shar Syed.

Culpan found the boundary 14 times, and cleared it a further two on his way to a massive 115 not out, the biggest single total recorded to date at the ACG.

He brought up his 50 off 54 deliveries, and was given a life on 68 when he was dropped at fine leg by Raju. He then powered through his next 32 runs to bring up the ton off just 88 balls.

Syed also did his job admirably, holding down the other end to grind out 28 off 72 deliveries, though his job was made easier after being given two extra lives by some sloppy Patong fielding – he was dropped off his first ball by M Khan at second slip, then again by Khan at first slip while on 2.

Syed eventually fell in the 29th over, but by then Lizards had reached 151 and the damage had already been done.

Patong managed to pick up a couple more wickets as MF Khan snared Tim Lenton and Graham Johnson in the 32nd. But that would prove the final over as Nifty Catts brought up the winning run just three balls later, ending a legendary game of island cricket.

The result ended defending champions Patong’s finals ambitions for 2011-12, but there is still one spot up for grabs.

With Village already having confirmed their place, Island could still claim the maximum seven points against Leopards this weekend to overtake Laguna in second, though that would still depend on Laguna being soundly beaten by TNT next weekend. As last week’s game showed, anything is possible.

© ACG Phuket Cricket and Sports Club • Supported by The Courtyard, Island Furniture and Alan Cooke MBE