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Match Report - 7th July vs. Blood Service at Blackweir. (author Ed TH))

Blood Service: 98 for 7
Casuals: 102 for 5

On a day when the nation was jittery in the aftermath of terrorist attacks and bomb scares, the Cardiff Casuals held their nerve to seal a final-over victory over the Blood Service in a well-tempered and enjoyable game in the pleasant surroundings of Blackweir on a muggy July evening.

Having been set a target of 99 to win, the Casuals response - three men down from the start, and on a pitch offering variable bounce and some degree of movement both in the air and off the seam - was never quite emphatic, but a sturdy opening partnership of 29 between Andy Hood and Steve O'Reilly provided a solid basis for the innings. Steve O was for once to play the role of anchorman; his 23 containing only a single boundary and a great deal of airy swishing, before he succombed to a good caught and bowled. Andy Hood,though, was the first casualty of the Casual response, falling in the 8th over for 15 and by the time 10 overs had gone, the Casuals were only a third of the way towards the total required.

No matter. Some lusty blows from first Richie Holliday, and then the in-form Dan Lewis, gave the momentum back to the Casuals and by the end of the 15th over the score had doubled to 66 (for the wickets of Hood and O'Reilly). The 18th over saw the demise of the skipper(15), bowled by a full toss, and in the next over Dan followed for 18.

That brought Andy Furnham and the Horse to the crease with 9 runs needed from the last 9 balls. A couple of wides helped, but Furnham, trying to steal a quick single from one of them, failed to make his ground and was run out for 1. Again, the Casuals held their nerve. Talking Horse benefitted from some wayward fielding to give him a solitary boundary and level the scores, and Paul Stephens came down the wicket to strike the bowler back over his head for 4 off the first ball of the last over, thereby giving the Casuals a well-earned victory.

Earlier in the evening, the Casuals had got off to a good start with Dan Lewis taking a wicket from the third ball of the match - well-caught by Andy Hood high above his head at gully. Withthree fielders from the oppositon helping out, Dan's four overs went for only 16 runs and 1 wicket, while talking Horse was miserly at the other end - his four going for just 9 and 1 wicket, well-taken by Paul behind the stumps.

Andy Funham and Muff both suffered somewhat at the hands of two very proficient batsman, a six being scored from each of their opening overs, but both replied too with a wicket from their final overs - leaving AF 4 overs, 27 for 1 and Muff 4 overs, 23 for 1.

Paul, having exchanged the gloves with Steve O, bowled the remaining 4 taking two wickets - both bowled - for 21 runs and including also an impressive run out by Muff, whose dive and under arm throw resulted in a dead-hit on the stumps. With 12 extras overall, that left the Blood Service on 98 for 7, a total which was to prove insufficient to contain the mighty Casuals.

This report would not be complete without a brief lamentation for the fact that we were three men down - fortunately, a more atheletic and enthusiastic group of 8 men could not have been found than those present, and with the help of three oposition fielders victory was ours. Nor would it be complete without mention of the display provided by the female jogging population who made the most of a balmy July evening to our advantage. Three cheers for them.


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