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Match Report vs Sparsholt 01 September 2012@ Wenvoe (Skipper Ed, report Shakey)

Day 2 of tour saw the 15 Casuals eventually assemble at sun-drenched Sparsholt, a little later than planned. The early morning casualties this year centred on the spoofers, veterans of an expensive for some drinking game. Some of the spoofers had already drawn crosses for the match and were excused the pleasure of playing on one of our rare summer days. The others had taken their chances and it would be interesting to see how Dan, Daz, Gaz and Goff (surely a Dickensian law firm!) would fare on an increasingly warm day.

Captain Ed won an arranged toss and the Cazh took to the field to allow them selves to run off last night’s booze against a Sparsholt team which looked young, fit and out for revenge after their surprising loss in the 2011 fixture.

Andy and Dan each started with a maiden and their opening spells produced the odd ball which beat the watchful bat. But Sparsholt took advantage of the odd loose ball and accumulated runs elsewhere so that by the end of the 10th over they had moved to 39-0. Gaz and Dave replaced them and it was Dave who secured the breakthrough, confusing the more fluent of the openers with a rank long hop which was well caught by Winkie. The other opener followed soon after, caught off Gaz by Winkie again as they reached 59-2 in the 15th over.

That was it wicket-wise for the next 17 overs as Sparsholt made good progress against a disciplined Casuals attack. A stand of 81 for the third wicket was broken by Paul who bowled the number 3 and soon after Dan deservedly claimed the number 4 after a catch from Richie. The Cazh had half-chances and saw the ball pop into gaps but the stand allowed Sparsholt to gather pace as they scored 60 runs between the 20th and 30th overs.

However, the wickets set them back and they could never quite recover the scoring momentum. Paul picked up three more wickets and Andy also came back late to claim a wicket as Sparsholt picked up 15 runs in the last 5 overs to finish on 179-8, perhaps 19 more than the Casuals would like to chase but 20 less than the score had suggested after 30 overs. The end of the innings saw an incredible catch by Goff who ran in from long-on to claim a knee-high catch on the run to the surprise of everyone watching – and not least the grinning fielder who correctly judged that he should attempt to catch the shiny one of the three spoof-inspired balls that quickly came into view.

The Casuals reply got off to a bad start with Jam bowled for 2. Some watchful defence was interspersed with the odd run and the odd well hit boundary, particularly from Cheese who creamed four of them before he was bowled and not long after Richie followed suit. At 48-3 in the 13th over the game was in the balance as Gazza walked to the wicket to join Daz. As one of the tour virgins Daz had earlier fielded in women’s tennis shorts and a fetching pink women’s tennis top. The shorts had gone to protect his chaffing legs but the top remained and it seemed to sober him up. Yes so he couldn’t drive to the ground, nor could Gaz. But suddenly we had some control and the odd boundary kept us reasonably close to the rate. Daz hit a four and a six, Gaz hit five fours and two sixes - one particularly huge in the direction of the next village. The score progressed to 105-3 when Daz fell to an excellent catch at mid-on for a well judged 32.

It was the over that changed the game as at its end Ash and Goff had also gone, bowled by full deliveries, and they were soon joined by Winkie in the hutch to leave us on 109-7 in the 24th over. Dan stuck around for a while before Paul joined Gazza needing 59 runs off 12 overs with two wickets left (let’s be clear one of them was Dave).

In the next 4 overs Gazza smashed a four and a six, Paul also hit a 4 and we were somehow up with the rate. But then Gazza was bowled for an excellent 57 after one too many hoiks across the line and Dave lasted one ball to leave us 140 all out. While Gazza was there we still had an outside chance but at least we hadn’t embarrassed ourselves.

The Cazh headed back into town for a curry at the Bengal Sage as the clouds steadily gathered.



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