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Match Report vs Whitchurch Heath 9 June 2013 @ Whitchurch (Skipper Cheese, report Jesus)

On a warm but breezy Sunday afternoon the casuals arrived at Whitchurch hospital to take on a Whitchurch side sprinkled with a handful of first team talent. Most of the casuals appeared un-phased by (or unaware of) this, Kim appearing especially relaxed sun-bathing topless on the outfield as the skippers approached the middle for the toss. He was brought back to his sense by a quick dowsing from Darren’s water-bottle, which was fortunate for the casuals as he was required to open the batting after Cheese had, somewhat unexpectedly, won the toss and chosen to bat.

After a short (and unexplained) delay Kim and Darren headed out to the middle at around twenty past two. They were greeted with slingy left-arm pace form one end and accurate right arm off-spin from the other. Both batsmen were watchful during the early overs, but managed to keep the scoreboard ticking over until Darren played inside a ball from the off spinner which refused to turn and clipped the top of his off-stump, 22-1 after 6.

Out to the wicket strode Will ‘Jesus’ Mason-Wilkes, whose average of 140 so far this season was testament to the rich vein of form he had found himself in. After a circumspect start to his innings, scoring just 2 of his first 12 balls, the pace of his innings quickened. At the other end, Kim went about his business with all the calm assurance of a man who had scored 102 the day before, knocking ones and twos, with the occasionally 4 and maximum thrown in for good measure. After a solid 50 partnership, 21 of which were contributed by Will, he illustrated succinctly the truth of the phrase ‘form is temporary, class is permanent’; playing a wild swipe across the line to a straight one – the agricultural nature of his facial hair finally infecting his game, 72-2 after 17.

Gaz/Lovers was next to join Kim for his first knock of the season, and the two put on a useful 30, Gaz’s first scoring shot a 6 from his second ball continuing a tradition (I was informed) begun 2 seasons ago. He was then subject to an lbw appeal when attempting a sweep and once again Darren had the misfortune of giving one of his teammates out. 105-4. JR, in at 5, was quite possibly the victim of circumstance. The bowler, with his tail up, produced 2 good-full deliveries before pulling his length back a fraction and beating the bat, but unfortunately for JR, not the top of his off stump; 105-5. Next to the crease was Richie and he could add only 3 before being castled by the opening left-armer – now in his second spell.

In came Shakes, and with consolidation firmly on the agenda, he attempted to play a controlled innings, and did for an over or two, adding 9 of his own runs in a partnership of 12 before being caught; 134-7 after 30. With Kim rapidly running out of partners, Pablo entered the fray. Once again, an initially staunch and studied innings was required and Pablo duly obliged, allowing Kim, who at this point was well set, the lion’s share of the strike. Kim duly passed 50 and set about increasing his total, and the run rate. Hitting the ball to all parts of the ground, but mostly mid-wicket, Kim quickly reached his 100, his second of the weekend. He was then content to allow Pablo more of the bowling, and he added an extremely useful 29 of his own in the final overs, in a partnership of 93 which saw the casual finish on 227, a very competitive total on a reasonable pitch but a large and, in places, stodgy outfield.

Casuals; 227-6 from 40 overs

Kim – 114* (9 x 4’s, 4 x 6’s)
Darren – 9
Will – 21
Lovers – 17
JR – 0
Richie – 3
Shakes – 9
Pablo – 29*

Tea was a fairly decent affair, with a good selection of sweet and savoury – spicy fish finger wraps elicited comment from a number of casuals

Due to the late start of the first innings, and the unhurried consumption of tea, the two teams did not retake the field until well after 5pm. Cheese took the ‘new’ ball from one end with his skiddy swing and Pablo the other with his tricky spin variations. The Whitchurch openers looked to score from the off and made a good start, going at 5 an over until Cheese made the breakthrough with his first, but far from only, telling contribution to the match. After being hit back firmly over his head for 4 earlier in the over, Cheese sent down an ingenious slower ball which the batsmen failed to time, sending back a waist high chance which cheese this time managed to clasp just above his head; 34-1.

Pablo, now firmly in his rhythm, then removed the dangerous looking other opener with a beautifully flighted wide delivery which drew the batsmen out of crease and went past the edge, Will whipping off the bails to send him back to the pavilion. 55-2 from 12. Pablo bowled his 8 straight through, containing the batsmen with excellent variations, finishing with figures of 8 – 1 – 30 – 1.

Into the attack came Shakes and Pete Obee. Shakes bowled beautifully without reward, beating the outside edge on numerous occasions and prompting a number of barely strangled appeals from Will behind the stumps. Pete, though less consistent than Shakes, proved to be more damaging to the Whitchurch cause. Off his bowling, Cheese was once again able to produce a moment of magic, running out the number 4 with a direct hit from mid-on. This brought the imposing figure of the Whitchurch number 5 to the crease, a powerful striker of the ball who took a fancy to Shakies bowling immediately after drinks hitting him for three boundaries in three balls. However, he was less successful against Pete O’bee, managing only to pick out Kim, reclining after his exertions in a chair on the mid-wicket boundary, who plucked a knuckle-scraping catch off the turf to curtail the big man’s innings 93 – 4 from 22.

Pete was replaced by Lovers who bowled quickly and, once he’d found his line, threateningly, dismissing the dangerous looking number 7, bowled of his pads for 19. This was not before a brief spell from Richie had resulted in the dismissal of the number six, who had played a number of handsome shots, including a reverse sweep for 4. It was this shot however, which proved his undoing, dancing down the wicket and attempting a reverse flick, but only managing to play all around it and get himself bowled, much to his, and Richie’s, surprise.

With 8 overs remaining the casuals looked well in control, Whitchurch being 156-6, still needing 71 for victory. However, the left-handed number 8 played, and scored, freely, batting with the now well entrenched number 3 who nurdled his way to 50, managing to keep their team in touch with the run rate. Pete Obee returned to the attack and managed to dismiss the number 3, stumped off a wide.

This left Whitchurch 201-7, with 4 overs to bat, the dangerous left hand still at the crease. Tight bowling from Cheese and Pete restricted them to 5 from the next 2 overs, leaving Lovers to bowl the penultimate and allowing Cheese to produce another champagne moment, taking a diving catch at full stretch at a widish mid-on to dismiss the number 9. With 15 required from the last over Cheese spread the field, and then preceded to not involve any of them, first bowling the number 8 with a low full toss to dispel any lingering hopes of a Whitchurch victory and then, just to rub salt in the wounds, bowling the last man with the very next ball. An excellent victory for the casuals who batted, bowled and fielded extremely well.

Whitchurch 215 all out from 39.3 overs
E. Stewart – 7.3 – 0 – 3 – 34
P. Stephens – 8 – 1 – 1 – 30
M. Stephens 8 – 0 – 0 – 35
P. Obee – 8 – 0 – 2 – 46
G. Loveridge – 6 – 0 – 2 – 47
R. Holiday – 2 – 0 – 1 – 10

NB; apologies for the length of the report, Cheese told me it doesn’t have to be War and Peace, so I though Anna Karenina would probably be alright.



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