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Match Report vs Sully Centurions 05 June 2011@ Sully, Burnham Avenue (Skipper Ed, report JR)

Ed told me that the cricket part of the report had to start before the seventh paragraph so the cautionary tale I was going to start with will follow at the end.

On a cloudy but fine day at Sully by the sea eleven good men and true had made it to the venue on time to play what seemed a very youthful Centurions side. Except for the one who was over 60 everyone else looked like they were still in high school even if they did drive up in 4x4s. The pre match talk between club captain and club chairman was for the need to bowl first at all costs to extend the game, harsh but as it turned out pretty fair.

If I am correct captain Ed won the toss and put the centurions into bat. The book is sketchy on the Centurions innings but I will do my best to elucidate the highlights.

The batsmen and umpires were out on the square while Steveo and Dan were still in the changing room but we were soon underway with Winky taking the opening five from the sea end and DT bowling through his allocation from the other.

The first three overs went for about 21 and it looked like it may be a long afternoon. This included four byes that raced away to the boundary on the firm but sometimes unpredictable out field. However, the first chance was soon to come our way and off the bowling of DT the ball was lobbed up to mid wicket for a waiting Shakey, unfortunately the chance wasn't taken but Shakey would soon atone. The missed chance seemed to stem the flow of runs as the batsmen found the gaps harder to come by.

Dan replaced Winky coming up the hill from the sea end and bowled through his full allocation, switching to a short run up half way through the spell. Dan made the breakthrough and took the first wicket thanks to an excellent diving catch taken low to the ground by Shakey, yes that's right excellent diving catch and Shakey did just appear in the same sentence. The opener falling for 22.

I'm going to say that the second wicket was taken by DT but I may be wrong, it came about thanks to excellent catch on the square leg boundary by Winky who looked liked he hadn't judged it but leapt forward at the last minute to cradle the difficult chance. Second opener gone for 41 and DT bowled out his eight for very good 1-29. Steveo was brought on to replace DT.

Dan bowled number four batsmen for 2 to give himself figures of 2-41 off his eight. Then Steveo trapped number five batsmen lbw for 6 and at drinks after 21 over the score was 90-odd for 4 and things were looking good.

After drinks the two new batsmen looked to accelerate the run rate and Pablo replaced Steveo. Steve Read replaced Dan at the sea end and after being slapped around a bit in his first few balls came back well with good pitched up deliveries that got the batsmen playing defensively. The run rate acceleration wasn't stemmed until Pablo had taken three wickets. Number three batsmen bowled for 28, number seven batsmen bowled for 15 and safe hands Goff taking a catch in the covers to dismiss batsmen number six when on 49. The batsmen had played excellently until he got to about 45 and then desperately wanted to get past the landmark asap, Goff had no sympathy and held the looping catch.

Pablo finished with excellent figures of 3-35 from seven and Winky came on to bowl his last three from the sea end. Steve Read finished with 0-26 off 4.

The tail found the ball a bit more difficult to get away and Winky got his reward bowling batsmen number nine for 1 and finishing with 1-37. Steveo bowled the last and finished on 1-33 off five. The Centurions setting a target of 217 to win.

Winky 8-0-37-1
DT 8-0-29-1
Dan 8-1-41-2
Steveo 5-0-33-1
Pablo 7-1-35-3
Steve 4-0-26-0

217 looked like an achievable target if a couple of Casual batsmen got good scores so we set about tea with gusto. There was a range of sandwiches, crisps, cake and chocolate bars that erred on the side of low maintenance but was welcomely devoured all the same.

Cheese and Shakey opened the innings and from the off Centurions threw down good line, length and pace. This lethal combination was too much for Cheese whose off stump was clipped right at the top towards the end over the first over with the score on zero.

At this point it should be pointed out that while the Centurions had been batting they had been perfectly polite and well mannered. However, in the field the banter turned to that found in a school playground who delighted in the most childish of profanities at each other. This isn't necessarily the worst thing that an oppo had ever done but the incessant nature of it from as soon as each ball went dead until the next ball was delivered grated somewhat and had me wishing I actually knew whether as an umpire I was allowed to tell them to shut the f**k up.

Steveo strode out to the crease complaining that he wouldn't have eaten as much tea if he'd known he would be batting so quickly. The opening bowler took himself off after two maiden overs with a wicket and Steveo had tried to open up a bit against the bowler at the other end who was also bowling good lines with pace. The replacement bowler started with 3 wides down leg side before finding a couple of straighter ones that Steveo didn't connect with, followed by a delightful cover drive punch for an uphill boundary. After a number of uncharacteristic forward defensives, the inevitable happened and the bowler found a straight one which did for Steveo who returned to the pavillion for 6 with the score on 15.

Akbari joined Shakey and tried to steady the ship putting together a partnership of 22 off the next seven overs before Akbari fell to a straight one he couldn't keep out for 9. Shakey was still stoically battling on at the other end.

Steve Read joined Shakey but the only thing more incessant than the banter in the field was the straightness of the bowling. Steve Read sent packing for 3, another victim bowled with the score 50-4 after 15 overs which had taken literally hours to bowl.

The fielding side realised it was starting to get dark and many of them wanted to go home so they started to push through the overs a bit more. However, JR came to the crease determined to make them field for as long as possible and to give none of them the satisfaction of his wicket. Therefore followed many a blocked forward defensive which caused groans from oppo and Casuals alike.

The pace bowlers were replaced by a spinner and a slightly younger medium pacer who sprayed the ball around a bit. JR hit two fours off the medium pacer in one over though one was put down as no balls as it was up around shoulder height. He also gloved a single off the spinner which umpire Akbari called a bye but did he complain? Well yes a little bit.

Most of the hard work was however done by Shakey who started to punish the bad balls while JR blocked out nearly everything he faced.

Shakey was next to fall caught of the medium pacer after 35 had been added in the next nine overs. Shakey had played an excellent openers innings including the usual dabs you would expect but also some impressive fours including a particularly good pull shot.

Goff joined JR but was also done by a straight one by the medium pacer for zero. Pablo was next in and was asked on his way out whether he had a plan, "To still be here when the rain comes" was the answer however his early batting didn't show it anyway the rain never materialised. The spinner who had bowled five overs at JR for six was hit for 12 (three powerful fours) and then 5 in his next overs by Pablo. Pablo eventually fell for 22 with the score on about 113-7 off about 31. He was out caught to the spinner but I can't remember it. This left Casuals needing about 11 an over as Dan joined JR in the middle.

The oppo had brought on the 60 year old bowling loopy spinners, one of which JR performed a 360 swipe to a delivery that was two foot outside leg and slapped between wicket keeper and slip for four to the thirdman boundary. Dan might just have been the man to push the score along but the Centurions had other ideas and brought a fast bowler back on to finish the event. The quickie bowled Dan for zero and got JR out lbw for 13 off about 18 overs although it should have been 18 runs.

Winky and DT were the casuals final hope and both had hit good fours, yes that's right DT hit a four to the point boundary, before Dave was caught off the quickie with about five overs still remaining. The Casuals finishing on 130 all out with about 30-odd in extras swelling their total (although 5 of these should have gone to JR)

Cheese 0
Shakey 35
Steveo 6
Akbari 9
Steve 3
JR 13
Goff 0
Pablo 22
Dan 0
Winky 7no
DT 4

I leave it to others to pass judement on the overall calibre of the performance but the fielding was pretty good with held catches an unusual feature. The majority of the team trooped off to the Seashore Bar n Grill for more free food :)

Now for the cautionary tale (it has an uneventful ending), I arrived home to be told that my wife had been trying to get hold of me all afternoon. My 3 yr old son had rugby tackled his 7 yr old sister and hit his head on the patio to which his immediate reaction was to vomit. My wife's immediate reaction was to seek medical attention and had tried to get hold of me at about 3.30-4.00 to take him to A&E. She needed me because she couldn't find my parents phone number despite it being programmed into every handset in the house. Also she didn't want to drive her courtsey car which has been parked in the drive way since her car was taken to be fixed after someone reversed into her. So she got the kids seats in the courtesy car and tried to reverse up the drive, she couldn't and nearly ended up in the garage door instead. The 7 yr old suggested that an ambulance may be in order and so they went to A&E in an ambulance. The A&E immediately sent them away because he was fine but they then had to get a taxi home. So the moral of this story is that while spending your time and energy trying to prolong an already lost match and annoy the opposition there may be more important things going on elsewhere.
[ED - if we had realised the drama unfolding at the Roach household we would have gladly given him out lbw far earlier than we did :)]


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