Phuket sports: Lizards chase the Tiger’s tail

PHUKET: Unlucky for some, the 13th match of the Island Furniture League saw a battle between league newcomers the Thanyapura Tigers and former champions the Liquid Lounge Lizards (LLL), at the ACG last Sunday.

Both sides were in desperate need of a win to advance up the table and boost their title hopes. In a closely fought match, the Tigers eventually managed to wrestle victory from the Lizards, largely due to timely captain’s innings from Barrie Buck.

Overcast early morning conditions encouraged the Tigers to put LLL into bat after winning the toss. A methodical start was fractured in the fifth over when opener Ian Lenton (10) was clean bowled by Barrie Buck. Fellow opener Neil Thacker (9) fell in the next over with the score on 37.

Big-hitting Dave Kellerway (11) then joined Neil Culpan (62) and they pushed the score along until Kellerway was bowled by Paul Lattimore. Alf Hodges (0) venture into the middle was short-lived, bowled on the second delivery he faced.

With four wickets down for 63 runs in the 12th over, LLL looked at risk of collapsing. However, captain Nifty Catts (18) played a guarded innings to support Culpan in a 91 run partnership before Culpan was caught by keeper Martin Hill in the 30th over with the score on 154. Catts was then dismissed shortly after the drinks break. David Ogden (10 not out) showed some resistance in the lower order, but was offered little support from the remaining batsmen, which included a golden duck for Steve Hill and two run outs.

LLL were eventually all out for 181 runs in the final over. Pick of the bowlers for the Tigers were Sid Prabhu (3 for 51), Paul Lattimore (2 for 24) and Ryan Dunn (2 for 29).

With conditions noticeably warmer in the afternoon session, the Tigers’ innings got off to a shaky start with their top three batsmen not showing any respect for the accurate bowling from LLL’s opening pace attack of Culpan and Catts, which included Culpan breaking a stump when he clean bowled Joseph Nagy (8).

At three wickets down for 29, Ryan Dunn (12) strode out to the middle looking to stabilize the innings. But Culpan achieved the vital breakthrough, bowling Dunn early in his innings. Dane Halpin (2) was then bowled by Hodges and at five wickets down for 55 runs, LLL looked as though they had a real chance of victory with only the tail-end to clean up.

Burger Marx (22) and Buck (74 not out) steadied the innings with a critical 45 run partnership before Marx was trapped lbw in the 18th over with the score on 100. Hill (11) then joined his captain and played another key support role, putting on a further 43 runs, while LLL made one last effort to bowl out Tigers bringing back their strike bowlers of Culpan and Catts.

However, Buck and Lattimore (5 not out) remained a thorn in their side, and they took TNT to victory reaching their target of 182 runs with seven wickets down in the 35th over.

Pick of the bowlers for LLL were Culpan (4 for 27) and Nifty Catts (1 for 35). Man of the match was Neil Culpan with Barrie Buck second and Paul Lattimore third.

Today, Laguna take on The Village in what could be the most crucial match of the season. A victory for Laguna could see them advance to top of the table, while a win for The Village will most likely book them a berth in the final.

The Phuket Gazette is the Official Phuket Media Partner of the ACG.

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