A thriller in Argentina, and Balinese Easter action
Welcome to the latest edition of "Beyond the Test World", Cricinfo's look at cricket from the far pavilions. In this edition, the traditional North-South match from Argentina, Easter action from Bali and Peru, and we report on Belize versus ... Clayton Lambert.
This season Argentina has hosted three junior representative squads from Australia and South Africa. The Australian Emus (an Under-17 side from northern New South Wales) lost just one game during their tour, while squads from Northern Province and Natal in South Africa impressed everyone with their technique, spirit and on-field behaviour.
Argentina Under-15s also toured South Africa for 15 days in February. It was a stunning success for both cricket and personal development. The team was more than competitive in all matches and achieved two strong wins with rain spoiling the chances for a third.
The boys played against seven strong schools steeped in cricket tradition. These included Grey College in Port Elizabeth (the alma mater of Shaun Pollock, among others) and Wynberg and Bishops schools in Cape Town, whose old boys include Jacques Kallis and Herschelle Gibbs respectively.
The boys were also left breathless at the spectacle of a day-night international at St George's Park between South Africa and England. None had ever seen an international match "live" before.
On the domestic front, Lomas Athletic Club took out the annual Robin Stuart Shield for the first time in 20 years while the four top division clubs have been slugging it out in some terrific post-Christmas matches. Complete First and Second Division season summaries will be presented in the next edition of BTTW.
This leaves the annual North and South game, which will be rightly considered in future eras as a "classic". With three overs left on the third and final day, the North needed only three runs to win with three wickets in hand. After three days of methodical batting and tight bowling, it had come to this.
They did not achieve it.
The South declared on 276 for 8 (Grant Dugmore 116), the North replied with 260 for 6 (Gary Savage 66) and then the fun started. The South collapsed on the morning of the final day and limped to 157 all out by mid-afternoon, leaving the North 174 to chase with a minimum of 37 overs to be bowled.
The captain, Donny Forrester, stroked an effortless 75, and the North looked home and hosed - with seven overs remaining, they required just 28 runs with seven wickets in hand. But the pressure told; Diego Lord ripped through the middle order to finish with 5 for 59, and with one over left, the North still required one run to win. No run could be taken from the first five deliveries and then the sixth was top-edged to the keeper ... game over, scores level! -EJ Cartledge
* * *
Indonesia is experiencing one of the fastest growth-rates of any cricket country, partly due to its biggest event, the Bali Sixes.
The eighth annual tournament was scheduled to be held over the Easter weekend, attracting 10 teams from Australia, Singapore and several Indonesian locations. The defending champions, TopEnders, from Darwin, and the Cairns outfit, Top & Bottom CC, led the Australian assault.
Teams from Jakarta, Sumbawa (which has played in every Bali Sixes), and Surabaya joined the four Bali teams, including Udayana, Bali Geckos, Royal Resorts (mostly Indians) and the hosts Bali International Cricket Club.
Fittingly, the Bali-based Udayana was Indonesia's first all-local club, establishing a tradition where cricket is being taught in about 30 Balinese schools by three coached and accredited Indonesians who play cricket each week. A new outfit, Gianyar, has a male team along with Bali's first ladies' team, and the club's prime mover is an Indonesian.
Local officials proudly boast their Bukit ground in Jimbaran possesses the only turf wicket in East Asia. A wrap-up of the Bali Sixes will feature in the coming weeks.
* * *
When the former West Indies batsman, Faoud Bacchus, started out as a cricketer, he probably wouldn't have anticipated that his playing career would take him all the way to Lima in Peru, as a member of the touring Mirimar Masters team.
Miramar, a Fort Lauderdale-based social team for players aged 45 and over, tours the Western Hemisphere and recently won the South American Championships in Santiago, Chile, under the banner of Guyana Masters.
Over the Easter weekend, the Masters played against the home team, Lima CC, and Tacna, an important addition to the Peruvian cricket scene. Tacna comprises a group of Pakistanis who live and work in the capital and play on dirt pitches with a tennis ball.
For Lima CC, they provide welcome local opposition and prospective players for the next so-called South American Championships in 2007, euphemistically named, as neither of this year's finalists were based in South America. Again, full details will follow in the coming weeks.
* * *
Another former West Indian Test batsman to venture into unknown territory was Clayton Lambert, who almost single-handedly thrust the United States into last year's ICC Champions Trophy.
A couple of weeks ago, Lambert was part of an Atlanta team which visited Belize, formerly British Honduras, who are applying for Associate membership this year.
The composite Atlanta XI won matches against Under-30 selections by 113 runs and eight wickets before defeating Belize club champions, Wicked Eleven, by 71 runs. (We're still investigating how the Wicked Eleven earned their tag).
In good news for local cricket, Lambert held coaching sessions for juniors. In bad news for local glaziers, there was minimal damage to report to surrounding houses and car windows.
* * *
In the next edition, we round off the Argentine season, Easter action from Bali and Peru, and, held over from this edition, why each of this year's applicants feel they're entitled to a slice of the coveted Associate pie.
If you would like to contact us or send through a photo for Ground of the Week, please email firstname.lastname@example.org