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Europe edge tight win against MCC

A European XI pulled off a two-wicket victory at Lord's against MCC

Europe 184 for 8 (Klokker 47, Johnston 48) beat MCC (183 for 7, Stephenson 51, Duncan 40*) by two wickets

Kyle McCallan roars an appeal ... in vain © Martin Williamson
A European XI pulled off a close victory at Lord's against MCC, despite both teams doing their best to lose the match. Chasing 184, Europe slipped to 33 for 5, but then Freddie Klokker's 47 and Trent Johnston's 48 help them sneak home by two wickets.
Europe's experience of one-day cricket showed as they turned in a tight display in the field, but that was almost undone by a wretched start to their innings as Paul Hutchison and Hamid Hassan reduced them to 22 for 3.
Hutchison showed why he was so highly regarded a few years ago before injury and loss of form left him on the fringes of the county scene while, Hassan, the first Afganistani to play at Lord's, bowled with good control and a more than a hint of pace.
Two more quick wickets - both to John Stephenson in his first over - put MCC in the box seat, but then Johnston and Danish wicketkeeper Freddy Klokker, playing as a batsman, revived Europe's hopes with a stand of 69 before Johnston chipped tamely back to Guy Bulpitt.
When Klokker was dismissed, again by Bulpitt, eight overs later the game had again swung MCC's way. But Craig Wright (23*) and Kyle McCallan (25) put on a 43 for the eighth wicket to take Europe to within one hit of the win.
Earlier, Stephenson and Alan Duncan, the MCC Young Cricketer called up as an 11th-hour replacement for Chris Cairns, rescued the MCC from 94 for 6 with an 89-run partnership, Stephenson scoring the only fifty of the match.

Trent Johnston shies at the stumps but hits Alan Duncan © Martin Williamson
After a very cautious start he struck 51 from 73 balls, bringing up his half-century off the penultimate ball of the innings, and then ran himself out on the last. Duncan (40*) batted sensibly and is clearly a fan of the reverse sweep, playing a delightful one to the boundary off the final ball of McCallan's spell.
Although the bowling of left-arm spinner Glenn Rodgers to the seventh wicket pair was tight to the point of soporific, the collection of children at the Nursery End certainly made their presence felt, constantly pestering the boundary fielders for autographs and starting Mexican waves among themselves.
At one stage the MCC went 73 deliveries without hitting a boundary and their slow scoring throughout the innings, combined with several dropped catches, including skipper Rob Turner putting down Klokker when he was on 15, in the end proved decisive.

Alan Curr is a freelance journalist based in London