MUCH goes on behind the scenes to enable a cricket match to take place, and Kevin Beare’s dedication to the square and ground at Gunnislake is second to none, writes Stephen Lees.

As a result, two matches were able to take place at Gunnislake over the Bank Holiday weekend: Yelverton Bohemians using the pitch on Saturday and Gunnislake at home to Newquay III in a re-arranged match on Bank Holiday Monday.

With Gunnislake seeking one more win to secure Cornwall Cricket League Division Five safety, they faced a Newquay side chasing promotion, with mixed team availability to compound the challenge.

There was a welcome return to the team from Simon Beare and on loan for one match from Callington’s Spencer Whatley, young player of the year for Gunnislake in 2022. A late dropout also saw Jake Roberts borrowed from Saltash St Stephens to complete the Gunnislake starting 11.

Newquay won the toss and elected to bat on what remained a soft wicket. The clear target was at least 200 and maximum batting points and Newquay set off with intent.

The openers were bounding along at six an over until Dinesh Thirupuvanarajah interrupted progress with two wickets in the sixth over. Opener Reuben Bratley was bowled and then Usman Tariq lifted two balls straight for four before glancing his third ball down leg side, falling to a well taken catch by the wicketkeeper Kevin Beare. Ten runs and two wickets came from an eventful over.

Newquay were, however, not deterred, with opener Jonny Keiller and captain Tom Backway continuing to push the total along.

Gunnislake bowled well, but Newquay defended well and punished the bad balls. After 20 overs the total stood at 91-2 and Newquay were well poised.

The breakthrough after drinks came when Mark Everett trapped Keiller LBW for 47. Backway followed soon after, run out for 41, but Newquay pressed on, passing 150 in the 30th over.

As the end of the innings approached, Newquay suffered a series of errors and mishaps more reminiscent of Gunnislake. From 199-6 their last four wickets fell for two runs, Evan Sefton and Obaid Shams were bowled, while Sam Millatt and Theo Bilkey were both run out.

Newquay just sneaked their fifth batting point, while Gunnislake also secured maximum bowling points. Dinesh ended with four wickets while Everett chipped in with two. But as a bowling unit the team performed well, with excellent contributions from Spencer Whatley, Simon Beare and Jack Roberts.

Simon Beare and Stephen Lees got the reply off to a fairly brisk start with Mohammed Tahir being taken out of the attack after only three overs.

But Newquay have a strong bowling side and there was no respite, Usman Tariq tying one end down, with six overs for only five runs.

Beare was out in the 11th over with the score on 40, caught behind off the bowling of Nazi Ismail for 24. Progress then slowed, with Newquay taking regular wickets. Lees fell for 38, bamboozled by the leg breaks of Henning Kaaber, as he left one and was bowled.

At 78-5, Newquay were firmly on top. Phil Skerritt, batting at number seven did, however, take the attack back to Newquay, hitting an excellent 42, including nine fours.

He perished in a gallant search for runs, bowled by one that kept low, the last wicket to fall as Gunnislake’s reply closed on 143.

Kaaber was the leadin wicket taker with three, while Tariq claimed two while conceding less than two runs an over. 

And so the match was over, Newquay reclaimed second spot in the League and Gunnislake, with a much-improved bowling and fielding performance, managed eight points.

This Saturday will be pivotal for both Newquay, who play third-placed Bude, and Gunnislake, who now face a must win trip to lowly St Austell.

Newquay III 201 (J Keiller 47, T Backway 41, S Milat 28, N Ismail 26; D Thirupuvanarajah 4-41, M Everett 2-37). Gunnislake 143 (P Skerritt 42, S Lees 38, S Beare 24; H Kaaber 3-23, U Tariq 2-15). Newquay III (20 points) beat Gunnislake (8 points) by 58 runs.