Match report vs. Clytha
7th May 06, The Moat (Skipper on the Day - J. Furnham,
match report by A Furnham)
Fresh from 3 wins inside a week the Casuals made the now
annual trip to Clytha but this year earlier than normal. Despite
many new faces arriving this season, the eventual line up
had only one new member in Smitts playing. This of course
meant that a wealth of experience was on show.
As usual the players arrived in Clytha in plenty of time,
with the weather very warm indeed which led Steve to have
some pre match alcohol while sat on the grass outside the
pub. Sadly the weather was never any better all day.
The game was delayed when the resident cows (bullocks as
Muff told us) refused to move from the gate and then later
the cows actually got inside the field when a latecomer opened
. The highlight of (A) Furnham's day was not
while sat in the car surrounded by cows - that's for sure.
After skipper Hood won the toss and decided to bat we finally
got going about 2.50 pm with 35 overs per side.
Chris Ryde and Smitts opened up and it became clear straight
away that the pitch was not going to be a death trap like
last year. It also became clear that the bowling from the
oppo was a bit rusty. It was their first game of the season
and straight away wides raced away in the top scorer stakes.
It was not easy for the batters as they had no idea what was
coming next. The wides were real shockers but suddenly out
of nowhere a quality ball would come down. It was one of these
unfortunately that got Smitts out as his eyes lit up and tried
to launch it. Despite only getting 5 it was enough to see
the now recognisable "Smitts hit" when he does catch
it and races away for four. There will be many more. 17 for
Steve( with two young Arsenal fans in tow) was next in with
memories of last years 4 sixes in a row. He didn't quite make
it but a couple of lusty blows before he hit it up in the
air and was caught for 13. A good partnership of 37 to take
us to 54 for 2. Chris Ryde followed soon after also being
caught for a well made 18 which also included a most welcome
5 due to overthrows. The bowler who is known as Snowy had
taken all 3 wickets despite some of the biggest wides you
will ever see. 57 for 3.
S Gough and P Stephens were now at the wicket with both of
them looking in no trouble at all. Stephens played a straight
drive off the back foot which would not have looked out of
place on a first class ground. Gough as ever just piled up
the runs. Stephens did survive a chance at short extra cover
which would have been an outstanding catch as he hit it with
extreme power. Apart from that he looked in total control
until he got a really good ball and was bowled for 13. 91
This brought M Stephens to the crease and looking to continue
his fantastic early season form. This form somehow eluded
him last season but no such trouble in 2006 as he continued
to look like a batsman high on confidence. Gough of course
was looking much the same despite the introduction of Andy
Norman who is their best bowler. Gough had made an easy 35
when he called "Come one" from the non strikers
end. It was not the best of calls but our level you would
still expect to make it but the throw was a good one. Gough
only called himself a "C*nt" once as far as I could
tell as he came off although the term "Japs eye"
was to be heard as well. Probably the only person who could
have got Gough out was himself which is what happened. 137
for 5. This was in over 23 of 35.
M Foote came in for his first bat of the season which was
all too brief as he was caught in the covers from an excellent
catch for 0. He was unlucky as despite making decent contact
he hit it straight at one of the few fielders who could have
caught it. 138 for 6. Kevin Mavely also came and went too
quickly as he was LBW for 1 which left us 149 for 7. We still
had about 10 overs to go but with wickets tumbling the score
of 200 to 220 that we knew we would need now looked in some
M Stephens had now been joined by skipper Hood who was also
in form after his 50 last Monday. The class and experience
of these two batters showed as they took the score past the
200. Stephens reached his first 50 since Rogerstone in around
early August 2004 and was most welcome. There was some confusion
as to when he actually reached the landmark due to some dodgy
scoring from some guy who spent most of the time lusting after
the blonde helping him. 50 he did reach though and even Gough
applauded despite groaning when his score of 35 had been passed.
Stephens was eventually bowled for 58 near the end of the
innings and reached the boundary with the immortal words "I'm
Fucked". Tiredness probably the main reason for his downfall.
The stand had taken us to 211 for 8 with the help of some
of the most inconsistent bowling imaginable. Gaffney managed
to bowl balls on a perfect length, ones that rolled, ones
that went straight onto his feet and threatened to take your
head off- all this in the same over.
There was just enough time for the Casuals oldest member
to play two lovely shots for 2 not out and for the unflappable
Hood to hit several more boundaries to take him to 28 not
out and the final total to 229 for 8 in 35 overs. Of this
total 173 were scored by the batsmen and out of the extras
only 6 were leg byes or byes. Wides and no balls were a huge
There is no food at half time at Clytha but there was still
time for M Stephens to tell us exactly how many runs he has
scored this season which turns out to be more than the whole
of last year. He also rolled off how many sixes, 50s etc and
then told me he would be unbearable later. He also explained
how one shot in particular gave him wood.
Was 229 to be enough? P Stephens bowled the first over which
was excellent with Foxy at the other end picking up a wicket
with his first ball. Steve behind the stumps running to take
the catch. Pauls second went for 16 and he asked to be taken
off. It was obvious the kid could bat. It was also obvious
that if you bowled a bad ball then you would be punished.
Foxy however then took his 100th wicket when M Stephens took
the catch after moving himself to the perfect position. A
proud moment for Foxy and he didn't have to wait long for
number 101 and this was very important. Andy Norman who has
done some damage against us in the past couldn't cope with
the change of pace and hit it up in the air to the safe hands
of Muff as it was not his own bowling. The ball seemed to
be up in the air for an eternity as the gravity of this wicket
was not lost on us.
Now all we had to do it seemed was keep the young kid off
This was easier said than done and his fellow partner despite
seemingly unable to play an off side shot started to inflict
damage on us as well. The scorebook does not have score for
fall of wicket or score after each over or final bowling figures
so it is hard to be exact about what happened but I do remember
they were 80 off 10. Muffy, Kevin, Goughy and M Stephens all
bowled well despite their figures probably suggesting otherwise.
For example, it appears that M Stephens bowled 5 overs for
41 but he probably only bowled a handful of bad balls. I couldn't
tell you exactly how much the partnership was (anybody?) but
it was lots and the situation was starting to look bleak.
There was the thought though that one wicket could change
The wicket that came was not the one we wanted but most welcome
as Jones was bowled by Andy Hood for 40 after nicking one
onto his stumps and then into Steve's hands just in case.
Hood had dragged us back into the game and despite some lusty
blows from the other end the required rate had crept up a
bit so they were on about 190 after 28. The kid had by now
passed his 100 and instead of seeing the game through seemed
intent on bashing his way to victory. He survived a difficult
one that Chris Ryde could not really be expected to catch
and soon after was bowled by Hood for an awesome 122. Could
he depend on his team mates to see it through.
The game had now turned on its head and as P Stephens came
back to bowl over 32 they needed about a run a ball. At this
moment the Casz were favourites but at the end of it the momentum
had gone the other way as 13 was taken off it. Hood though
was not about to give up as his last over was a wicket maiden
with an LBW. His final figures are something like 5 -1-14-3
which in the context of the game are truly remarkable. Hoods
performances over the past week have been of the highest class.
Even better for the Casz was the fact that the real Paul
Stephens turned up for over 34 and of the 8 needed he only
gave away 2 and took the wicket of the guy who hit him a few
times in the previous over. The 2 in that over should have
been none had Furnham junior (A) fielded the ball properly
and run either batsman out. Instead he fumbled it and while
on the floor threw the worst throw imaginable (well not quite
as bad as the one he threw over the boundary last year) which
passed through the middle of the wicket for an overthrow.
A shocking piece of fielding which was not his first fuck
up of the day as earlier he tried to protect the boundary.
Most of the time he did ok but twice he badly let his bowler
down and despite the shocking outfield he has no excuse.
While making that crap throw in over 34 Furnham had other
things on his mind. Skipper Hood had made a small error and
Furnham (A) was going to have to bowl one over at the end.
The wonderful over from P Stephens had left 6 (I think) left
to win. It was now dark and had started to rain so it was
not easy for the new batsmen. Furnham (A) however has been
unable to bowl this season and was not supposed to today but
duty called. He had not turned his arm over for about 6 weeks
and that was in nets bowling leg spinners that didn't turn.
Last year Furnham won the game with a four and was a hero.
Would it be the same this year or would he be a complete and
utter twat and ruin our day.
Thankfully Furnham manage to get them straight against some
lesser batters and the upshot was four needed off the last
ball. Casual fingers were being bitten as they mostly patrolled
the boundary. No worries as the batsman could only mange to
get a pad on it and somehow out of nowhere The Casuals had
won. For the second year in a row Furnham (A) had done bugger
all in the game but came in to it just at the end to play
a part in the final blow. When being interviewed afterwards
he confessed that he was a lot less nervous than he was when
surrounded by lots of cows earlier in the day.
The rain took over as we packed up so we finished just in
time. Many players commented later that it didn't feel like
we had won as we were on the back foot for so long and looked
like getting thrashed at one point. Wides and no balls were
probably the difference in the end as they scored quite a
few more runs than us off the bat.
An excellent serving of food back at the pub finished off
an excellent days cricket with the result still sinking in.
Foxy told us all how proud he was to have taken wicket 100
while Mark actually left some food (which Furnham (A or J
- probably both) had) though he promised he would have a Chinese
later. Smitts had about 20 tomatoes on a single plate and
there was one bird with a seriously fit body for our viewing
The first week in May has been a good one for The Casuals
and we can only hope that this continues. With so many batsmen
hitting runs early season and TH to come back, things are
looking good for the team in 2006.