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Match report vs Barry Wanderers August 08@ Hayes Point, Sully (Skipper and report John F)

Sunday morning didn’t look too clever, with gloomy grey skies and a bit of rain in the air, but an old-style Casz team turned up at Barry Wanderers keen to get some cricket in. The typical slow & low Wanderers pitch had apparently played even slower & lower than usual the day before, getting more difficult to play as the day went on, so on winning the toss, I had no hesitation in batting first.

The first ball of the match pitched just back of a length and went past the stumps about 6 inches off the ground, a sign of things to come. Knowing it would be a pitch to grind out the runs, Jam & Goughy started slowly (15 deliveries before the first run off the bat), but the score then accelerated nicely as both openers dispatched the bad balls. 46-0 off the first 10 overs was a decent start but the partnership was ended in the next over when Goughy was out for 14 scooping a double bouncer back to the bowler. He stood his ground for a moment querying whether it might have been a bump ball, but umpire Shaky and I both thought it was a fair catch. Kim came in at three and almost gave a chance straight away with an on-drive that just cleared the fielder on its way to the boundary. His luck didn’t last, however, as he was out plumb lbw attempting another expansive shot. Not the kind of pitch for those who like to play their shots straight away.

Steve came in next and played the only way Steve knows. Having played a few shots through midwicket, they put a fielder there to stop it. Next ball, Steve plays the same shot which flies about a foot to the left of said fielder!! They put another man on the midwicket boundary. Next ball, Steve plays the same shot only harder and the ball sails into the fence over said fielder's head for 6!! Useful runs and much mirth from the Casz assembled near the pavilion!

In fact a nice little partnership was developing and at 86-2 in the 18th over, we were looking well set for a decent total. Unfortunately, the now traditional collapse was not far away: JF was caught for 37 top-edging an attempted paddle round the corner and Chris Ryde was bowled soon after for 1.

At about this point the Wanderers brought on Jamie Keir (who’s normally a wicket keeper) to bowl. He himself admitted that he bowled ‘like a keeper’ but it was very effective on this pitch as his half trackers double bounced into slow yorkers which were very difficult to score off. Steve’s frustration got the better of him and he was bowled for a well made 28 off 28 deliveries. Muff came and went without scoring, again popping the double bouncer back to the bowler. Richie also looked frustrated as he either blocked or ‘windmilled’ – unfortunately he only connected with one of the windmills before he too perished for 7. Shaky walked to the crease looking to build on his recent excellent form but was undone trying to leave a widish first ball which jagged back onto his bat and onto his stumps - an absolute gutter, the Shaker’s first duck for 3 years.

In 13 overs, we had managed to add only 31 runs for the loss of 6 wickets: 86-2 in the 18th over had become 117-8 in the 31st.

Paul joined Jeff Clapham in the middle with a view to playing out the overs. Paul was uncharacteristically restrained, taking 19 balls to get off the mark, but exactly the right thing to do in the circumstances – intelligent cricket from Pablo as the score ticked over through extras and Jeff plugging away at the other end. The pair put on 25 priceless runs before Jeff was bowled for a patient 13.

Dan managed a single before also being bowled, leaving the Casz 145 all out.

Johnny F 37
Goughy 14
Kim 7
Steveo 28
Easy 1
Richie 7
Muff 0
Jeff C 13
Shaky 0
Pablo 5*
Dan 1

Extras 32

After a customary good tea, the Casz took to the field knowing that early wickets would be crucial if they were to successfully defend the low total. Muff & Dan kept both openers quiet, with Muff’s 4 over spell conceding a miserly 6 runs. It was Dan who made the first breakthrough, however, with an lbw in the 10th over (wicket maiden) and then followed it up with another wicket maiden in the 12th, leaving the Wanderers 23-2. I would like to have kept Dan going, but decided to keep him back for a couple of overs later in the innings. Paul replaced him but couldn’t bowl at his normal pace because of a shoulder problem and only managed 3 overs of spin before the shoulder stopped him bowling at all.

By this time, Jeff had replaced Muff and was his usual economical self, tying up one end with his usual metronomic stuff in an unbroken 8 over spell which only went for 18 runs (11 of them off his last over).
Shaky had replaced Paul and bowled 7 good overs – he only went for one boundary - but with two good batsmen in (Tim Sanders & Mark Ellis) and not needing to take many risks, they just milked the bowling and took the score on to 110 off 32 overs.

We needed wickets in a hurry, so I asked Dan to replace the good councillor, but before he came on, Goughy bowled a double wicket maiden, bowling Ellis for a well made 49 and Andy Fenton two balls later. Dan duly obliged with the wicket of Sanders in his comeback over and at 112-5 the Casz were back in the game.

By the end of the 37th over, the score had moved on to 128-5, and with Dan bowled out, it was down to Muff & Goughy to try and deny the Wanderers the 18 runs they needed for victory. The first ball of the 38th went for four, but Muff tightened up the rest of the over brilliantly and bowled Ben Collins off the last ball to bring up his 100th wicket for the Casz. (Do I hear applause all round).

With 12 needed off 12 balls, Goughy restricted them to three singles – brilliant! So it all came down to the last over: 9 runs required with 4 wickets in hand. Muff bowled two priceless dot balls, the second of which led to a run out. Still 9 required off 4 balls.
Muff then restricts them to singles off the next two deliveries: 7 needed off 2.
Next ball, Jamie Keir dances down the wicket and has a slap to cow corner for 4: one ball left, three to win, two to tie.
Last ball of the innings, the batsman dances down the track again, has an almighty swipe and … connects … hitting it for six into the trees at cow corner and giving the Wanderers victory by 3 wickets.

The cheers from the pavilion were in stark contrast to the stunned silence around the field.

The bowling figures speak for themselves. The truth is, we let ourselves down with the bat. We were in a position to score180/190 on a pitch where 160/165 would have been competitive, but we let it slip and in the end did not even use up all the overs. That’s where the game was really lost, not in the field.

Still, it must have been a brilliant game to watch. It was certainly an exciting one to play in.

Muff 6-0-23-1
Dan 8-3-16-3
Jeff 8-3-18-0
Paul 3-0-18-0
Shakes 7-0-28-0
Goughy 8-1-42-2

I felt gutted as I watched that last ball sailing over the boundary because it was a really cruel way to lose the game. However, once the realisation set in, I also felt immensely proud to be part of a team that never gave up, even though at one stage we were miles out of the game; immensely proud of the way we battled right to the end to turn the game around; and also immensely proud of the way we handled the defeat, congratulating the opposition on their hard-fought victory. That’s what it is to be a Casual.


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