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Match Report vs Rhiwbina 12 July 2011@ Wenvoe (Skipper Muff, report JR)

A mainly grey and overcast day had turned into a mainly grey and overcast evening as the casuals arrived at Wenvoe and went out to inspect the pitch. The marked pitch had obviously been used at least once before and was thoroughly dry and cracking to the extent that it wasn't so much a case of getting a key in the cracks but putting your hand in them. It looked ominous but actually played ok and had little impact on the game.

I am assuming we lost the toss because I don't know and we were asked to field. Dan opened up from the pavillion end with Nadders taking the new ball at the quarry end.

Dan started well but Rhiwbina twice managed to find a way to the boundary in his first otherwise unblemished over. Nadders first from the other was 12 balls long but only gave away 7 in total. Rhiwbina 15-0 off 2.

In the tight third the Cazh got the breakthrough the openers deciding that there was an easy run when hitting the ball straight to John F at mid off. Dead eye Furnham threw down the stumps with a direct hit for an easy to call run out. Rhiwbina 17-1 off 3.

Nadders' second was only 7 balls long and only produced 4 runs but also got Nadders a wicket, a mistimed pull being swallowed by a greatful cheese at midwicket. Rhiwbina 21-2 off 4.

Dan finished off his spell with good figures of 0-16 off 4 and Nadders bowled another 17 balls to finish his spell of 1-34 off 4, with only his third over really being punished with 14 from it. He also had a sharp caught and bowled chance which would have removed the dangerous opener but failed to get hands on it. Rhiwbina now 50-2 off 8.

DT and Muff took over bowling duties and the casuals fielding standards plummeted. JR who had stopped one with his knee early on and was nursing a sore leg, spilt a stop at mid off which Muff (bowler) had to recover and then JR didn't get down to another one he should have stopped. But worse was to come, six drop catches in close succession. First one off DT to Dan at long on, never looked like he could get there but he did only to spill it when he got both hands to it. Then John took over running in and calling for a ball lofted to mid off from DT's bowling but it went down. John dropped another on the boundary that thudded into his chest and may have actually been a good stop and three runs saved. Muff joined in the action running from midwicket for a ball spooned up in the air but misjudging it and it went over his head. John made it three for him before Muff did the hokey cokey going in then out only for it to go just over his head again. In the midst of this Muff also had a caught and bowled attempt which nearly took his head off but he managed an excellent impression of Neo in the matrix and dodged the bullet.

After 12 Rhiwbina were 71-2 and Gaz took two from the quarry end to give Muff a break. DT finished 0-31 off 4 but should probably have had 4 or 5 with the dropped catches. Gaz managed to keep it tight enough until his last three balls went for 4-6-6 by the opener who was still there despite the catching chances and putting together a big score. Gaz finished 0-28 off 2. Rhiwbina moving to 123-2 with four to go and looking to set the Casuals a formidable total.

Foxy came on from the pavillion end and Muff returned to finish his spell. Foxy was his usual wily old self and only had 3 taken off his first over and got the wicket of the opener for a score of 89 thanks to a Steveo stumping. Muff was tight his his over (6 for it) and so they wanted to go after Foxy but the old head came out on top taking another wicket again thanks to a Steveo stumping. Muff again kept it tight with the last and managed to pick up a wicket as Cheese gave a master class in catching holding a high one on the stream boundary. Foxy finished with 2-14 off 2 and Muff 1-25 off 4.

Rhiwbina setting a total of 150-5 including 20 wides or no balls but no byes thanks to Steveo who was excellent behind the stumps.

Dan 4 0 16 0
Nadders 4 0 34 1
DT 4 0 31 0
Muff 4 0 25 1
Gaz 2 0 28 0
Foxy 2 0 14 2

The total looked formidable at 7.5 runs an over and Muff grasped the nettle by sending in Steveo as a pinch hitter with John F to open.

What followed was a master class in how to take a game away from an opposition. The runs from the first eight overs were 9, 5, 9, 13, 11, 8, 13 and 9 with John and Steveo batting with consumate ease and always putting pressure on the field. There were lusty blows and there were classy shots but the main feature was the fact that in those first eight overs there were only 15 dot balls. There were nine boundarys and everything else was hit for ones and twos as John and Steveo never let the field rest. The two opening bowlers were reasonable pace and good line and length but Steveo was on top of everything and seemed to have time to punch every ball away even if it didn't deserve it. Steveo scored four boundarys mainly straightish drives on the onside whereas John was happy to hit the boundarys anywhere he fancied. After 8 overs Casuals were 76-0 and well ahead of the run rate.

Both batsmen had begun to tire and the lusty blows had diminished in the last three overs which had seen Steveo call for water. It was the change of bowler that did for Steveo. The dangerous opening batsmen coming onto bowl, with only a short run up and gripping the ball like a spinner he managed to make the ball zip off the surface and was very difficult to get away. Steveo got tucked up and was bowled for an excellent and never more needed 31. Tesh joined John and luckily the change bowler at the other end was one the Cazh could try and get after, his first going for 9. Cazh 87-1 off 10 needing 64 off 60 balls.

Tesh got after the dangerous opener in the second lofting a ball to mid on which the fielder failed to claim and bagging Tesh four runs. The bowler got his revenge with the penultimate ball of the over finding one of the cracks and the ball shot through with no bounce to hit the stumps. Tesh gone for 7. Cazh 95-2 off 11 (56 off 54)

Gaz came in the replace Tesh and despite having pulled his calf John soldiered on never giving the fielders a chance and always keeping the pressure on. Another 9 runs off the next with a four for Gaz. Cazh 104-2 off 12 (47 off 48)

6 runs off the next including another boundary for John and then Rhiwbina changed the bowling again. Cazh 110-2 off 13 (41 off 42)

The new bowler was punished early on by John and Gaz before Gaz was caught for 10. JR joined John in the middle and lofted his first ball towards the covers, luckily it fell safe and two runs were picked up. 12 off the over Cazh 122-3 off 14 (29 off 36)

At this point it was being made clear that not losing wickets was as important as the victory in the Casuals quest for a place in the Shield. So JR tried to see off the dangerous bowler but failed at the last being bowled for 2. Ed joined John in the middle knowing we really didn't want to lose anymore wickets. Cazh 123-4 off 15 (28 off 30)

10 runs from the next including a boundary for Ed took the Cazh to within touching distance, 133-4 off 16 (18 off 24)

This brought the captain on. First ball was wide but then the captain thought he had put a lid on the runs as three dot balls followed. John decided this wasn't the case and lofted a huge six over the mid off boundary which missed a sleepy parky and his windscreen by about a foot. 141-4 off 17 (10 off 18)

8 off the penultimate over including a 2 and a 4 for John and it was left to Ed to finished the run chase off the captain's bowling. 149-4 off 18 (2 off 12)

The field came in and the first ball wrapped Ed on the pad. Everyone went up but Nadders at umpire was unmoved, this didn't make the captain any happier but the ball looked to be going well down leg. Ed waited for one that was outside off stump and cut to the stream boundary to finish the game.

Cazh 153-4 off 18.5 overs

John 79 no
Steveo 31
Tesh 7
Gaz 10
JR 2
Ed 9 no

Extras 15

An excellent and assured win despite the dropped catches with stand out performances from John and Steveo.



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