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Match Report vs Cardiff Hockey 14 July 2011@ Wenvoe (Skipper Muff, report Paul)

With hope rather than expectation we arrived at Wenvoe to battle Cardiff Hockey in the Willow League Cup Semi Final on a clear-ish muggy evening.

It became apparent that they only had 9 men at the toss and when they won Captain Muff expected us to be chasing the leather round the park. But wait, they asked us to bat! A massive surprise considering only 9 fielders were there to be joined by their big lad after 3 overs.

Anyhow Kim & Stevo opened up the fray; it was notable that there was no ball forecasting of how many balls Steve would last. This probably was down to Steve’s recent performances but also due to Dan still being in the changing shed when the innings started, Dan is normally the one who asks the inevitable question ‘How many then?’ [ED - that's slanderous] Steve started smashing them from the off, He was first out for 21, the score was 36 and he was dismissed by the 19th legal delivery of the day having hit 5 fours and a single. Kim retired at 25 hitting 4 fours and a six, I can’t quite remember when he did but he and Osama provided a great start that the rest of us did our best to fuck up.

The cheese was out next for 1, then JR for 2 both bowled and then Dion was run out for 1. Goff and Gaz were then both bowled for 5 each and we had gone from 66 for 1 to 77 for 7 in the space of about 5 overs, I forgot to mention that Shagger also got a golden duck, now I was getting my pads on at the time but Dan said he played a straight defensive shot while other more mischievous cads indicated a hack across the line [ED - not true - it was straight forward defensive...that was missed]. I can’t comment, I didn’t see it but I trust you Dan.

I joined Winkie in the middle to try and salvage some respect from an awful collapse, in this period by the way 2 of their bowlers performed well bowling straight and full, Bowler bowled his 2 overs for 8 runs taking 2 wickets and Hawker had the remarkable figures of 2 overs, 2 maidens 3 wickets for no runs.

Andy and I put on 24 in about 5 or 6 overs before a leading edge to point did for me for 13 and Muff joined Andy scoring off as many balls as possible before being bowled for 12. Kim returned from his exile to hit 6 off 3 balls leaving him 31 not out and Andy on 9 not out.

After a blistering start we scrapped to a disappointing 125 for 9 (the wickets lost need to be noted in the cup) off our 18 overs, 8 byes, 1 leg bye, 15 wides and 1 slightly controversial no ball making the exras total 25!

To the field, Gaz opened with an excellent first over going for 2, Muff admitted afterwards he deserved another but at least he would be blameless in the carnage to follow. JR’s over went for 11 with a wide and a 4 in his only over before we started bowling in 2 over pairs.

Steve and Dion were the next pair, Steve was consistent going for 15 and 16 in his 2 overs and Dion had a good 1st over going for 3 and then 11 off his second with 2 fours. By this time 1 of the openers retired on 25 and at the end of the 6th over they stood at 60 for 0.

The next pair were Ed and I, cheese didn’t get too much praise on the day but I think his 2 overs and mine were where we started to put a bit of pressure on the batsmen. Cheese finished with 2 overs for 9 runs going for no boundaries and I got 2 for 6 off my 2 overs. Our keeper had an excellent game, Goff got both mine stumped, the 1st one was after the batsman got frustrated after 4 dot balls and the reverse hack he tried did not come off and he had swung himself out of his ground, the 2nd was I think the slowest ball I have ever bowled. He came charging down missed it after I had chucked it a little wider and he was out by miles. The score was now 75 for 2 off 10 overs.

50 needed of 8 overs, their 2 best players were in and our fast bowlers were next up. Sanjay and Jones their ‘big lad’ are their best players and Andy and Dan had to contend with them. Andy’s 2 overs went for 7 for no wickets, there was an edge that eluded Goff and an excellent 4 by Sanjay over the bowlers’ head but he bowled a much-needed miserly spell. Dan was unlucky to go for 16 off his 2 overs. Sanjay hit him for a six just short of Penelope’s garden from a blameless ball and then there was the catch, Dan got Jones to loft one firmly to cheese at extra cover that just squirmed away from him. We had dropped 3 catches up to this point but this was probably the one that was going to do for us.

24 needed off 4 overs, Kim and Muff were our last pair. Sanjay & Jones were still in, Kim’s first went for 8 but the 5th ball was smashed low back to him and Jones was caught and bowled for 14 slitting his bat in half in the process.

16 needed off 3 overs, Muff’s over went for 6, for some reason they didn’t seem to be going for it full throttle, 1’s were not being turned into two’s and they didn’t seem to be that troubled bit the pressure was building [ED - I think Jones was carrying an injury].

10 needed off 2 overs, Kim bowled a great over going for 3 runs, he angled it past the right handers and they played and missed at 3 balls, 3 dots at this stage were priceless and we had a sniff to make this very interesting.

7 needed off the last over and Sanjay on 22 (remember you have to retire on 25), the 2nd ball saw Sanjay charging down the wicket to swipe as hard as he could and he missed it and the Cockney sparra whipped the bails off. We had 2 new batsmen in with 4 balls to go and the 4th ball was caught by Kim at long on with the batsman going for a slog, we had realised at this point that they would win on a tie as they had lost fewer wickets.

3 to win and 2 to tie (win) from 1 ball, Muff’s excellent calm over claiming 2 scalps ended with a squeaky bat pad dribbler to short extra cover for a single and the Casuals were in the 2nd Cup final in our history to be played on the 4th of August at the Cathedral School against Chartered Trust



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