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Match Report vs Usk 03 May 2015 @ Usk (Skipper and report Jesus)

Awakening from his hung-over slumber, captain for the day Will was amazed to find no text confirming the cancellation of the game against Usk. Given the biblical nature of the downpour that had occurred throughout Saturday and through the early hours of Sunday morning (which he may or may not have experienced first-hand in a drunken stupor) Captain Jesus was convinced that no cricket would be played that day. Bleary-eyed he checked the forum, only to find that a pitch inspection had taken place at 11am and the game was confirmed on!

On arriving at Usk, he and the rest of the Casuals were greeted with the sight of what appeared to be the final resting place of a herd of bouncy castles along the boundary edge. This in fact turned out to be the extensive covers, now removed, which had done a fine job of keeping the rain off. With the sun now out and a warm breeze blowing, the day was (remarkably) a lovely one for a game of cricket. This, however, was not the view of the Usk groundsman, who stalked along the boundary looking to all the world as if he couldn’t imagine a worse possible use for the 22 yards of hard earth he had slaved over than playing a game of cricket on it.

With the wicket looking flat and firm despite the rain, Captain Jesus’ instincts told him bat – at least one Casual disagreed with this, but a captain must be firm in command, and have the courage of his convictions (even one who is secretly hoping to lose the toss so as to abdicate as much responsibility as possible…) Often in life, however, we are forced to face up to the challenges it presents us, whether they are desired or not– winning the toss, Captain Jesus chose to bat!

Winky and Tesh were sent to the middle to open the Casuals’ innings, with Captain Jesus at three on the side-lines, nursing his hangover and struggling to deal with his various captainly duties such as organising umpires, scorers and a batting order below no.5. In this last regard at least his worries began to seem unfounded, as Winky and Tesh set about building a solid opening partnership. On a pitch that due to the heavy rain could have held some demons, both batsmen were watchful to start, with Tesh taking 10 balls to score, and having just 4 from his first 20 balls faced. Winky scored more regularly early on, manoeuvring the ball around and finding the odd boundary to keep the scoreboard ticking, but Tesh soon began to express himself, hitting a number of crisp boundaries. The bowling was reasonably tight, with only a handful of extras, which left the Casuals, after a considered opening 10 overs, at 42-0; a healthy rate with no wickets down putting the Casuals in an excellent position to kick-on and build an imposing total in the remaining 30 overs (at least that was the idea!) The next 7-8 overs continued in much the same way, with both Tesh and Winky rotating the strike and hitting the bad ball to the boundary. In the 19th over, approaching the 75 run mark in the opening partnership, Tesh, now well set on 25, in an attempt to accelerate the rate played an expansive drive looking to hit over the top of extra-cover. Unfortunately his shot was miscued and he managed only to find the man in the ring, who clung on to the catch. 74-1 after 19.

This brought Captain Jesus to the crease who, with hangover recovery greatly aided by his openers 1st wicket stand, and with a solid foundation built, now had license to up the rate. The first task, however, was to consolidate and make it through to drinks unscathed, which Winky and Jesus managed with the score on 78-1 after 20 overs. With the pitch increasingly flat and ever drying in the warm breeze, the ball softening and bowlers tiring, Winky and Jesus set about building a decent partnership. Winky was content to give Jesus the lion’s share of the strike (or Jesus managed to nick it at the end of every over) but for the next 7-8 overs the run-rate remained around 4 an over, Jesus getting the pace of the pitch and the bowling, content to wait for the regular four-ball offered up by the Usk bowlers. The Casuals hundred was bought up in the 27th over, leaving them on 104-1 with 12 overs remaining.

It was at this stage that the promised rate-upping finally began. Both Winky and Captain Jesus were now well in tune with the pace of the pitch and the bowling and began to score freely to all parts of the ground, hitting a number of fours and a couple of straight sixes. Captain Jesus however, found that a particularly fruitful scoring area was the Usk deep fielders’ hands, hitting the ball on at least three occasions directly to them, only to have it spilled across the turf allowing quick singles, or even palmed over the boundary for 6! Taking advantage of this generosity Captain Jesus moved past 50 and the score rated similarly climbed, a particularly noticeable jump came between overs 32-34 with the scored moving from 137-1 to 168-1 – 31 runs added in just 2 overs. Winky continued in serene manner, rotating the strike and not missing the opportunity to score big when it came along. The 100 partnership was brought up in the 36th over, but in the 38th the obligatory Casuals collapse occurred. Captain Jesus was first to go, swiping tiredly across the line at a straight one from the left-arm spinner and being bowled for 72.

Jesus’s dismissal bought returning Casual Will Goad to the crease. In his first game for the Casuals in (I believe) over half a decade Will had been forced to watch on as his team-mates produced an extremely un-Casual display by only losing two wickets in 37+ overs of cricket. With the shouts of encouragement of his watching family ringing in his ears, he strode to the crease for a couple of overs of pressure free run-scoring, safe in the knowledge that his team mates had done the hard work and all he need to do was relax and enjoy himself on his first visit to the crease in a few years. Unfortunately, this lack of pressure may have affected Will’s concentration, as his visit to the middle didn’t extend to the full 2 overs. Delivering his first ball to the new batsman, the bowler sent down what can only be described as a rank, leg-sidish half-tracker, the perfect delivery for the left-hander to dispatch over the short leg-side boundary. Will swivelled onto it, but such was his delight at this gift of a delivery, that in his eagerness to cart the ball away he arrived at it early, only managing to tickle an under-edge onto his thigh pad. The ball looped through to the keeper, standing up to the stumps, who it must be said to an excellent diving catch, low to his right, to snaffle the luckless Will for a golden duck in his first game back – cricket can be the cruellest of games.

Cheese was next to the wicket, and after slicing a couple of cut shots for consecutive 2’s was out third ball, caught. The bowler, whose figures previously read 0-42 from 5 suddenly had 3fer and felt much better about his day’s work. Pete Obee then came to the crease and supported Winky gamely for the last two overs. Winky at some point during this had moved past 50 and in the last 2 overs farmed the strike effectively (a laudable and praiseworthy trait in any top order batsman…) moving the score past 200. The Casuals finished on 208 for 4, Winky carrying his bat for an unbeaten 65 and Pete Obee there at the end with him on 3 not out.

As the two teams left the field, almost on cue the heavy clouds moved in and it became noticeably darker and chillier. The opposition team, at the behest of the increasingly agitated looking groundsman were called away from tea in order to put the covers on. As the first drops of rain began to fall, I was witness to what I’m sure will remain one of the proudest moments of my Casuals captaincy career. After enjoying their first platefuls of tea, the Casuals, on noticing that the opposition had been called away on cover duty, in an act of unspoken unity, in much the same way that a venue* of ravenous vultures descends upon the carcass of a wildebeest bought down by hungry lions, fell upon the still substantial remains of the tea, virtually picking it clean and leaving little but the odd crust for the sodden Usk players who returned from their watery toil.

This proved to be the last meaningful action of the day. Though the Usk captain was keen on hanging around and waiting for the weather to pass, the rain grew increasingly steady until, around half-past five, the deluge increased to such an extent that even their skipper conceded that there wasn’t much chance of a second innings being played that day. The Casuals retired to the bar to curse the weather, celebrate a good batting performance and congratulate ourselves on an even more ruthless performance at tea!

Match Abandoned at Tea due to Rain


Cardiff Casuals 208-4 from 40.0 overs

M Hirani – caught - 25 – 4x4s
A Hood – not out – 65 – 6x4’s
W Mason-Wilkes – bowled – 72 – 10x4’s, 3x6s
W Goad – caught behind – 0(1)
E Stuart – caught – 4
P Obee – not out – 3
P Tangney –DNB
R Owens – DNB
L Edwards – DNB
G Day – DNB
D Thomas – DNB

Extras: Wides: 11, No balls: 7, Byes: 19, Leg Byes: 2

*apparently venue is the correct word to describe a group of vultures, at least according to google…



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