24 Feb 2020
What a week!

Thursday gave the boys another well-earned rest break with a short trip down to Jumeirah beach planned. Jumeirah beach is one of the most famous attractions in Dubai featuring long stretches of beach and a number of impressive hotels dotted along the beach. The boys enjoyed a relaxing day at the beach which included a football game with some locals and a chance to explore the area.

After the disappointment of Wednesday, the boys faced an early start for their encounter with Desert Cubs Academy in Sharjah on Friday. A changed side once again took to the field with Josh Patel leading the team and, after winning the toss, chose to bowl on another good wicket. Stockport created plenty of early chances and were finally rewarded when Ollie VDP grabbed another wicket. The Desert Cubs innings then gained momentum however the scoreboard was kept under control with some tight bowling and good fielding. Desert Cubs eventually finished on 148/9 off their 30 overs with Albert Bradshaw, Josh Sullivan, Dom Hanson all picking up 1 wicket with Ollie VDP picking up 2 wickets. Again, fielding standards were high with 4 catches and a run out.

The Stockport innings got off to a blistering start with James Brace and Jack Tyley punishing anything not on the stumps until a mix up in communication brought about the end of Jack. This bought the captain to the crease. Josh went about scoring in a measured fashion however was rapidly running out of partners at the far end. The scoreboard kept ticking along and once he bought up a well-played 50, Josh decided it was time to go on the offensive. With just one wicket left but 42 runs needed, Josh then attacked, hitting the bowlers to all parts with Umar Chugtai rotating the strike well at the other end. Stockport edged over the line in the 28th over with Josh finishing on a fantastic 79 not out to win the game with 1 wicket remaining. The reward for the fantastic performance in the morning was a trip to Dubai mall in the evening allowing the boys to see more of the vast array of shops and restaurants.

Saturday was the last day of the trip with another early start on the cards to get checked out of the hotel, followed by 2 x T20’s at the Sheikh Zayed Cricket Ground against the Zayed Cricket Academy who would prove to be a tricky opponent. The ground, which hosts the UAE national team when they play international fixtures, once again provided a fantastic facility to play at. Captain Noakes lost the toss and Stockport were sent out to field. The fatigue of the trip was evident as the boys slogged away with no luck against a strong line-up. After the 20 overs, Zayed Academy finished up on 176/0 with both openers finishing up not out having passed 50. The batting display never really got going despite cameos from Noakes (22) and Welsh (24) however Stockport could only reach 126 all out of the 20 overs.

After a quick lunch break, a younger side took to the field for the second game. Having been stuck in to bat, the innings got off to a shaky start before Bonar (27) and Welsh (28) added some late runs to bolster the score, Stockport finishing on 87 all out. Knowing that a strong bowling and fielding display was needed, the boys were in high spirits knowing it would be the last time they took to the field on the trip. Despite some early chances, the bowlers toiled in the heat with no reward as Zayed Academy reached the score comfortably for no wicket.

The boys then had the chance to have a team photo on the outfield of the Sheikh Zayed Cricket Ground which was a great way to finish the tour. A quick trip to Yas Mall to get some food followed by an overnight flight home concluded a fantastic week.

Stand out batsmen of the trip were Jacob Noakes with 111 runs at an average of 55.5 from 4 innings and Josh Patel with 157 runs at an average of 78.5 from 4 innings. The stand out bowlers were Umar Chugtai with 6 wickets and Ollie VDP with 3 wickets.

A lot of thanks must go to Mr. Corbett and Mr. Makinson for all their help on the trip, your support and guidance was massively appreciated by the boys. Many thanks must also go to the Kit Sponsor East Cheshire Mortgages.