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Match Report vs Whitchurch Heath 01 June 2011@ Whitchurch Heath (Skipper Ed, report Goff)

Admittedly the 2011 season Casual’s Captain has been likened to; Arthur Daley’s missus, Nick Swainey’s mother in 'One Foot in the Grave', Norm’s wife in 'Cheers', “Monkey” Harris in 'Only Fools and Horses' and even the infamous Maris Crane from 'Frasier', all influential characters…but never been seen!

But for the benefit of those who conspire, Muff is very real and very influential so when the Whitchurch Heath fixture was first posted on the web and our skipper reinstated his intention “never to play on the Heath again…. Just watch out for the dogshit and used condoms” you can understand the trepidation felt by Casuals community.

So, what followed was not a rush of availability but more a trickle and following Sunday’s spirited victory at Monkswood, there was even talk of cancellation! Up stepped Britpop, not only would he provide the extra players needed to complete the team but he would also spend his entire Bank Holiday Monday researching the opponents and analysing their strengths and weaknesses. This I can categorically confirm because at the Test Match whilst Sri Lanka were demonstrating a ‘casualesque’ 10 wicket collapse, I found him sat in the Really Welsh stand with his head buried in his laptop.

It was during this research that Britpop discovered that we were not in fact heading for Muff’s nemesis of a ground but for the leafy idyllic village of Whitchurch and to a ground near a decent pub! Rock & Roll, let’s get it on!! I mean Whitchurch is proper nice, the only area to avoid in the whole of the village is the Hospital as we all know it’s a nuthouse, loony bin, funny farm, cuckoo’s nest call it what you want but it’s full of mentalists and should be avoided!!

Hang on……we are playing there!...... you are joking? We can’t play cricket in a loony bin!!?? When we see blokes in white coats, we won’t know if they are umpires or doctors!! Are any ‘residents’ playing? Do we get trained in restraint procedures? Skipper Ed put my mind at rest just before going out to lose the toss with these wise words.., “well we have all learnt how to deal with SteveO…………”

Fortunately the Whitchurch Heath were not a ‘residents’ team but a decent friendly bunch of young and olds. Ed’s customary coin tossing ensued and the home team opted to have a bat. This caused a minor issue as the bloke who had previously moaned about how we always manage to start our evening games at nearer 6.30 than 6 had not arrived yet……..and he had 2 other players in his car!! Nonetheless, Britpop did make it with a Tom and a Harry in tow. I thought the cry of here comes Tom, Dick and Harry was a bit unfair considering all the preparation Britpop had put into the game.

The game…, yes the game, I know I’m 6 paragraphs in a ball hasn’t been bowled yet but I am facing a dilemma. It was really quite an accomplished Casz all-round performance and I am really struggling to single out any performances in which I can really abuse, slander and be insulting about!

In fact even my banker target Tesh safely cradled a high one at mid-off, bowled 2 overs for only 9 and went on to score an unbeaten 46!! Ok, there was a single piece of shocking umpiring which left everybody completed stunned (which I will come onto later), but apart from that, disappointingly good!.........or was it?.............

In the 2nd over Skipper Ed struck the woodwork with one that came in – 13 for 1. In the 5th Napalm cradled an outside edge at 1st slip from a straight one from Gwion – 25 for 2. The 6th saw Ed strike again with the aforementioned catch from Tesh and the oppo were reeling a bit on 26 for 3. Only 12 runs were added before the 4th wicket, Ed throwing in from midwicket for WK Goff to gather and remove the bails. 38 for 4 after 10.

A partnership began to build and we had to wait until the 16th before Napalm was bought into the attack and saw his consistent line and length being rewarded with a nick which was safely pouched by Goff. 69 for 5. A 6th fell in the 19th over as the oppo’s main batting threat on the night was caught well at deep mid-on by Gareth and giving Gwion his 2nd wicket. 93-6. Skipper Ed took the responsibility of the final over and was rewarded by hitting the top of the leg stump. That was directly after chucking one down the leg side which sped off to the boundary and the only byes of the innings. Obviously as wicket-keeper I am showing no bias when I say it should have been 4 wides!! Whitchurch Heath finish on 102 for 7

Gwion 4-0-20-2 (5)
Ed 4-0-17-3 (4.25)
Gareth 4-2-12-0 (3)
Napalm 2-0-7-1 (3.5)
Harry 2-0-15-0 (7.5)
OB1 2-0-0-18 (9)
Tesh 2-0-0-9 (4.5)

Now surely there could be no mishaps with the chase here. A fraction over 5 an over needed and a relatively short pavilion side boundary to assist. Surely we should knock these runs off in less than 15 overs………………………………..shouldn’t we?

Kim and Tesh opened and maintained a steady 6 an over rate for the first 10. Nothing major to report apart from Kim’s customary dolly gift was dropped and he was allowed to continue. 60 on the board with 10 wickets in hand after 10 and now for the slug fest surely?

Well you would have thought but Kim and Tesh had a better idea, why don’t we slow the run rate down even more and see if we can drag this game out longer? So on Geoffrey ‘Kim’ Boycott and Chris ‘Tesh’ Tavare plodded on until finally Kim was caught having just reached his half ton in the 16th over with the score on 92.

So from 43 needed from 60 deliveries we now needed 11 to win off 18. That’s right, with 10 wickets in hand we had managed to score 32 runs off 42 deliveries!

But no need to panic, it really wasn’t the most threatening of attacks and surely we would comfortably knock these off. Harry came out to join Tesh and 5 more were added.

At the start of the 18th over Harry was facing their seventh bowler of the innings. 6 needed. Hang on…..this boy was quick and accurate, 3 dots later, Harry was back in the pavilion. 10 needed off 14 deliveries, Goff in at 4 and leaves alone the last 2 of the over and leaving the accomplished batsman Tesh on strike, but still 6 needed from 12 balls.

But now for the most controversial incident probably in the history of limited over cricket. Yes it was that shocking! Knowing that the no 7 bowler would be taking the last and that he was quick and accurate, Goff and Tesh agreed that a single a ball would see us home without needing to face him again.

The first 3 balls went exactly to plan, 3 singles and 3 needed for victory. The fourth, Goff facing and swept, not a clean connection admittedly but nonetheless bat onto pad and down to fine leg for the single, 2 to win.

Hang on…………….. Gwion (Casuals player note!) the umpire didn’t see it that way. Oh no, he was the only person in the whole ground who saw it differently. His finger was raised and Goff was sent back to the hutch, LBW and worse, no run scored!! A travesty of justice, even the oppo fielders was saying it hit his bat. It was very lucky that the victim of this dreadful and inexplicable umpiring decision had a cool head or I believe there could have been carnage out there!!

Napalm in at 5 and blocks out the over to leave Tesh facing the last with still 3 needed to win. Skipper Ed is by now feeling the pressure and trying to work out how he is going to explain this result to the Casuals Board. Would his vice-captaincy position be questioned?

It was looking that way after the first 3 deliveries as Tesh played and missed. Still 3 needed and 3 to come. Tesh got bat on the fourth and the pace on the ball beat the close in single saving fielders. It also beat a chasing fielder to the boundary and the Casuals record a 2nd consecutive win.

Kim caught 50 (5 x 4, 2 x 6)
Tesh not out 46 (6 x 4)
Harry caught 1
Goff LBW 1
Napalm not out 0

In summary and all joking aside, a really pleasant evening, nice ground, very pleasant oppo who are keen to play us for more mid-weekers (Ash, give them a ring if we have any midweek gaps as they are desperate for more games). Good fielding performance again from the Cazh and great knocks by Kim and Tesh.
Evening pleasantly rounded off by a few beers in the local nearby pub. Onwards and upwards.


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