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Casuals vs. Rhiwbina at Wenvoe 21 July 2005

Casuals 116 - 4
Rhiwbina 91 - 6

With the eyes of the cricketing world focussed firmly on Lord's, two lesser-known teams (even the groundsman forgot to turn up) met at Wenvoe for a game which lost nothing in comparison to the mighty Ashes contest in terms of excitement, controversy and the display of innate cricketing ability.

Set 117 for victory, Rhiwbina were brought quickly to the point of desperation by an excellent opening spell from Dan, bowling down the slope, and Paul. Beginnning with a maiden, Dan finished with figures of 3 overs for a miserly 8 runs and was most unfortunate not to find the edge of the bat on several occasions. At the other end, Paul went for 12 off his three, removing one of their openers as he unwisely tried to force some runs through the leg-side.

Struggling at the end of 6 overs, with only 20 on the board, Rhiwbina welcomed the sight of John Prior warming up at the Pavilion end. Not for nothing, however, is this man labelled 'the fox', and his animal cunning and lithe spinning ability brought two wickets in quick succession; the first a steepling drive well-held by Dan at mid-off; the second bagged by an obviously delighted Muff, at mid-wicket. That proved Foxy's final break-through, and he finished with figures of 3 overs, 19 for 2.

Meanwhile, Kevin Mavely was whirling away at the other end to some effect. His 3 went for only 11 runs and included one wicket, bowled all ends up, as they say.

That brought the dynamic duo Muff and Horse into the fray, and with Rhiwbina looking to force the pace Muff suffered a little, going for 27. Still, he had his revenge, with a decent wobbler utterly baffling the batsman and breaking his stumps. Horse, at the other end, went for 13 and with one convincing LBW-shout granted by the ump.

A tight all-round performance, with bowlers well backed-up by fielders (and only a couple of over-throws) meant Rhiwbina never looked close.

The Casuals batting, earlier in the day, had been a delight to watch. With Goughy undone by a brutish delivery that seamed sharply to remove his off-stump, Hood and O'Reilly piled on the runs until Steve departed (unluckily, it has to be said, for he was tying his shoe-laces at the time) for 18 in the 7th over and with the score on 47. Andy Hood carried on, with the Horse for company, until he was stumped charging the spinner in the course of the 11th over, for 21. That brought Richie to the crease and he quickly smote two successive short-pitched balls contemptibly over the boundary wide of mid-on.

Soon, though, the skipper went, LBW stepping back and across his stumps, for 9 and bringing Muff to the crease with the score on 88 at the start of the 15th over. Together the pairing of Muff and Horse took the innings to a close finishing 9 and 33 not out respectively and with the total 116 for 4.

That total included 26 extras compared to only 6 ceded by the Casuals; a fact which reflects the professionalism of the Casuals' performance in securing a comfortable victory.

Match report by TH


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