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Match Report vs Monkswood 02 August 2009 @ Monkswood (Skipper and Report Jam)

Amazed at the thought that we were actually going to play some cricket, the Casz turned up at Monkswood to find a load of spotty teenagers mucking about on the pitch. Before we could tell them to sling their collective hook, we noticed they were playing with a cricket bat & ball and looking pretty handy … ah, that’ll be the opposition then. To be fair, they did have some old guys in the side as well, so we didn’t all feel left out.

I won the toss and decided to have a bowl first as we seem to have done better when chasing this season, but also because it was difficult to tell what a good score would be on a soft pitch with a damp outfield.

Two of the aforementioned teenagers opened, one looking very useful, and one not so. Andy H got rid of the latter in the 3rd over, whilst the former played some exquisite drives and was keen to run everything. In the 5th over, he drove Andy towards mid on where Shakes was prowling and immediately called for the run: the councillor swooped to collect the ball one-handed and in one movement, threw the ball underarm for a direct hit to effect the run out – a terrific piece of fielding and a big, big wicket for the Casz. Dan had their captain caught at mid on by Andy F in the next over, so with Monkswood 24-3 after six, it was an ideal time to take the pace off the ball and keep Andy & Dan for later.

Jeff Clapham bowled an immaculate line & length in an unbroken spell of 8 overs, conceding just 13 runs. Dave and Shaky were not quite so consistent, but with the field well set, the run rate was kept well down. Pablo replaced Jeff and was also very economical, keeping the batsmen guessing by mixing up the pace and a variety of spin.

By now, the two youngsters had put on about 70 runs (even if it had taken some 22 overs) so the captain turned to Dan in the hope of taking a wicket - sure enough, he delivered in his first over back, getting one of them caught by Pablo at gully. That sounds really good, doesn’t it, even if it was a leg side full toss that skewed off the back of the bat!! (It’s a ‘w’ in the book, Dan). The kid sloped off muttering some nonsense about a no ball but it was clearly dipping below waist height.

This spurred his mate Malson into trying to up the pace by playing some shots and running everything. Unfortunately for Monkswood, he succeeded in running out two of his partners, one from a sharp piece of fielding by Dave at cover (yes, you read it right, by Dave) to Andy H at the bowler’s end, and once by Winkie off his own bowling to JF behind the stumps.

In between the two run outs, Andy bowled one about 40 feet in the air over the batsman’s head, over the keeper’s head and landing about 100 feet behind the stumps which led to much amusement; then he bowled another of their youngsters, leaving them 7 down, and then he got the big wicket of Malson, going for another big shot but caught smartly by Jeff at mid off for a very good 68 runs.

Their number 10 was not much of a batsman and in a desperate attempt to get his partner on strike in the last over, he hit the ball back to Paul and set off on a suicide run; Pablo gathered easily to effect yet another run out and then clean bowled their last man off the final ball. Monkswood 137 all out off 40 overs.

Andy Hood 8-0-25-3
Dan Lewis 7-1-29-2
Jeff Clapham 8-1-13-0
Dave Thomas 5-1-15-0
Mark Stephens 5-0-17-0
Paul Stephens 7-1-30-1

It was a low total, but a few of us felt it would take some getting on a slow pitch and an even slower outfield. Never mind, tea was a fantastic affair with a variety of sandwiches, pizza slices, quiche, sausage rolls (and some cheesy vegetarian equivalent), onion bhajis, chicken dippers, mini scotch eggs, sausages, loads of cake, tortilla chips etc. Even the fruit was really tasty with melon, grapes and strawberries all on show (though not for long). In fact, it was such a bounteous affair, that there was quite a lot left over!! You could almost hear people thinking, ‘Skipper, I’m available for Monkswood next year’ and ‘if I’m not picked I’ll come along and watch!’

Anyway, the Monkswood lot were out on the field and JF wasn’t padded up and in need of a pee, so Ash went up the order to open with Chris Ryde. The pair played steadily, putting on 20 before Ash was undone for 15 by one that stayed low - bowled by Malson, the kid who had scored half their runs and who now set about trying to take half our wickets swinging the ball prodigiously. However, it was Easy who fell next at the other end caught well at mid on for 2. Malson then accounted for the skipper (5) caught low down at slip. Pikey (7) played a glorious shot for 4 before becoming Malson’s next victim, bowled through an immaculate looking forward defensive shot! Shaky followed next ball, also bowled not moving his feet and at 35-5 off 16 overs, the Casz reply was looking a bit sick. The only saving grace was that Malson had bowled out with impressive figures of 8-2-13-4.

Jeff & Pablo set about rebuilding the innings, taking no risks but punishing the bad ball. JC was hampered by a muscle injury, so there weren’t many twos taken, but the pair batted intelligently for 16 overs and put together a partnership of 59 vital runs before Jeff cut one straight to backward point for a well made 25. 94-6 after 32 overs and the Casz were back in the game.

Disaster struck two overs later when Dan, thinking the ball had passed the keeper, called Paul for a run when the ball had in fact only squirted about 5 feet from the wicket. Paul set off, immediately turned back and would have been out by a yard but the keeper missed the stumps: unfortunately, Dan had already run past him and claimed the ground at the keeper’s end, so the backing up fielder lobbed the ball to the bowler’s end and Paul (26) was run out by a mile.

Although he managed to club a couple of boundaries, the run out was still playing on Dan’s mind when he was bowled round his legs for 17 (off 11 deliveries) off the first ball of the 37th over with the score on 114-8.

DT joined Andy H and after playing and missing at three in a row, managed a two before another dot ball. 116-8 after 37 overs, 21 needed off 3. Winkie took a single off the first ball of the 38th, Dave went dot, two and then a lovely outside edge between slip & keeper for four! 7 off the over, so 14 needed off 12 deliveries.

As the bowler stepped up to bowl the 39th over, the scorers shouted that he’d already bowled his 8 - their skipper had miscounted. Instead of coming back on himself, he called up one of the guys who’d been minding his own business on the boundary. First ball was a long hop which Winkie dispatched for 4 through wide long off – 10 runs needed off 11 balls.

Second ball was flighted up so Andy went down to meet it and smacked a high 6 over long on – 4 needed off 10 balls. Next ball was dragged down again and Andy pulled it through midwicket for another 4 and just like that, the game was over, the Casz winning by 2 wickets with an over and a half to spare.

Easy caught 2
Ash bowled 15
JF bowled 5
Pikey bowled 7
Jeff caught 25
Shakes bowled 0
Pablo run out 26
Dan bowled 17
Andy H not out 16
Dave T not out 8
Andy F dnb

A tense finish and good game all round, but the victory was set up by that superb partnership between Jeff & Pablo which brought us back from the brink.

After the game, we retired to the adjacent pub to have a pint and tuck in to what was left of tea (honestly!). I had a word with their skipper who asked if we would go back next year and I said we’d love to: he suggested we try to get in two fixtures next season, one early and one later in the season. I mean, come on – great tea, pub on the boundary and a decent game of cricket played in the right spirit against a good bunch made up of youth & experience. What more could you want from a Sunday? Over to you Mr Fixture Secretary …



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