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Casuals not Conned by new boys (Skipper on the Day - R. Holiday)

On a warmish (warmish for 3 May !!) evening the Casz made it's first visit of the season to slow, low Wenvoe that we know as home hosting the Consmen for their first outdoor game in a 20 over friendly.

This was my first game of the season owing to injury and a after losing the toss (some things never change) the opposition decided to put us in to bat on what was rather a 'pudding' of a pitch.

Easy and Manish opened up and things looked to be difficult from the off with the usual early season indifferent bounce appearing to be, well, indifferent. Easy departing after a struggle without scoring (bowled).

Next in was Jamie Pike who seemed to make light of the difficult batting conditions with both he and Manish stroking the ball around the ground in a fine stand of 67 before Manish was bowled for 24.

Will joined Jamie in the middle but departed soon after without troubling the score falling to the same fate as the first two batsmen out.

Enter Andy Furnham, unable to bemuse the opposition with the ball early in the season due to a shoulder injury so promoted up the order to show his prowess with willow in hand.

We looked to be heading for a respectable early season score reaching 70 for 3 off the first 15 overs - plenty of time and wickets to really push on to post a challenging target to the new boys.

But with Andy being adjudged LBW for 1 from a full pitched delivery the stutter had started and wasn't really helped by me following him back to the boundary shortly afterwards for 1 (bowled).

BA (Paul) was next in and out (bowled for 2) allowing Kim to make his debut.

Jamie fell last for a fine 42 to the second LBW of the innings - a solid knock which was the core of the Casz total.

Kim (9 not out), who looks to have plenty of shots in the locker, was joined by James Roach (1 not out) for the final few deliveries of the innings and the final score reached 87 for 7 off 20 overs.

Consmen came back well for the final quarter of the innings and restricted the Casz to 17 off the last 5 overs. A total of 7 extras (1 NB; 7 W) was helped by some 'generous' wide decisions - not the sort of umpiring that would go down well in a league game but this was an early season friendly after all.

So with a not too daunting total to defend but a bowler friendly wicket to assist the Casz took to the field.

An opening pairing of Shagger and Muff started proceedings with Dan on a hat-trick ball following his last game on the B/H Monday afternoon. Despite failing in this feat he bowled superbly through his spell to finish with a rewardless 4-0-9-0 - although without reward Dan's opening spell (with Muff) put the pressure on the batsmen from the off and they were always looking to try and up the pace which allowed the later bowlers their reward. Muff started a 2 over spell taking a wicket (caught Jamie with an excellent diving-forward catch) [2 for 1] but also dropping an easy chance off his own bowling.

Replacing Muff at the countrified end was Kim and backed up Dan with an impressive effort returning figures of 4-2-9-2. Kim's first wicket taking care of their opener (bowled) [11 for 2].

Pablo replaced Dan at the 'Pavilion' end and was right on the mark from the first ball. A combination of excellent bowling and difficult conditions ensured that the next three batsmen returned to the sidelines without adding to the score. Kim took his second wicket (also bowled - batsman #4) [11 for 3] with Paul's primary victim (their # 3) bowled for 6 [11 for 4] quickly followed by batsmen #5 (also bowled) [11 for 5].

At the halfway mark the score was 17 for 5 and things looked grim for the Consmen.

James replaced Kim and with the light quickly fading the Casz rushed the change round between overs to ensure the game didn't end in the pitch dark.

Paul collected another wicket with batsmen #6 given LBW for 6 [18 for 6]. A decision which their batsmen queried with the(ir) umpire but was assured the correct decision has been made - straight and true was the line. Paul finishing with figures of 4-1-8-3 - another good day at the office you might say.

Wickets 7, 8 and 9 all belonged to James with the first (batsman #7) caught (by Dan) for 12 [31 for 7], the second (batsman #9) also caught (by Muff - proving he could!) for 3 [36 for 8] and his last (batsman # 10) bowled without troubling the scoring [36 for 9].

No further scoring was made before the final wicket fell with a run out with Muff throwing in to Will to bring an end to proceedings

James ended with figures of 2-0-8-3 after an entertaining spell and Muff was as mean as ever with 3-2-2-1.

36 all out off 17 overs.
Extras 1 (1 W)

An excellent early season win to go with the result on the Monday before against the Wanderers. Again sadly we relied on one partnership for the bulk of the score but it was heartening to see a committed fielding display to back up an excellent spell of bowling all around.

In the first 3 games of the season the Casz have used 22 different players, giving outdoor debuts to 7 new players. This looks like it's going to provide me with a different set of problems this season in keeping so many players happy (so to speak!) But I think the Casuals will benefit overall with players being fresh and eager to play, which, due to the dependence on a certain core of players over recent seasons hasn't always been the case. Hopefully a defining new chapter in the rollercoaster of a novel (borrowed from Blackadder the Third) that is the Casuals.

Played 3 - won 2 lost 1


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