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Match Report vs Usk 16 September 2018 @ Usk (Skipper and report Dan)

The final fixture of the 2018 season was upon us and like a few recently it was in the balance due to the weather. The forecast had not been as suggested (for the better), so the captains agreed to go for it. It turned out to be the right decision. The Usk team are usually a young bunch interspersed with a few old heads, today – they were all young. We calculated that all of them were younger than our youngest (Martin)– who is our youngest player by far at 22.

Captain Dan tossed for the last time and for the 20th time lost (never call heads) and the Cazh were fielding. Not the first choice of Captain Dan, but as it turned out quite fortuitous. Luvvers was asked to open from the Pavilion end and Dan from other (finally choosing the wind behind end). The wicket having been undercovers was dry and hard, the outfield wasn’t much different – a little damp on top and surprisingly quick to the large boundary-but this didn’t affect the not so new pink ball we decided to use. Luvvers found his length in the first over and just went for 2 runs, however, the young opening pairing thought they could snaffle a quick single after hitting directly to Dan at mid-off – it seemed suicide, and it was as the yet to face non-striker was run out by a mile with Jesus whipping off the bails. Next over things didn’t get much better as the No3 decided to play a cross the line slog second ball (Dan was impressed with the shot), but was bowled in a wicket maiden. Things were looking decidedly sticky for Usk, especially as the no4 was about waist height. Luvvers looked very nervous, as his second over his length was lost (short) and although the remaining opener helped himself to back to back cut shot boundaries – he was worried that this would be dangerous for the new young short chap. However, needn’t have worried – the young lad could bat and happily directed a few through covers. Luvvers got the next breakthrough in his 5th over, bowling the young lad, and Dan finished his spell with another wicket maiden – tickling the leg stump of the new No5. 53-4 off 11overs.

Dave and Obee1 took over, which was a little disconcerting for the skipper as one of the older lads now came to crease and he seemed intent on going large. After going large for a few overs, Dave did something that is not something a Casual will see that often…the older lad (must have been about 17) skied it, Dave found himself almost dragged as though in a tractor beam towards the flight of the ball. Dan shouted for someone to call, but the silence was broken only by the galloping hoofs of Steveo charging in from cover. Thankfully, Keeper Will held his ground – the 3 of them coming together would have caused an almighty mess….Fortunately Steveo couldn’t get there as the ball found its way into bosom of Dave (now only 1 off his milestone of 25 career catches - works out about 1 per year). Excellent catch. At drinks Usk had made it to 88-5 off 18 (the match agreed to be 35overs). Luvvers took the gloves off Jesus and at some point the opener decided to retire on the unusual score of 63 to let someone else have a go.

Obee1 plugged along at the other end and went for only 2 boundaries off his 7 over spell. Paul replaced Dave and Steveo replaced Pete. Paul was subjected to a battering first over – going for 3 back-to-back 4s, but it was Steveo who got the revenge – inducing an unlikely double bounce stumping by Luvvers (reaching his stumping milestone). The same fate was to meet the next 2 batsmen – both stumped – one off Paul and another off Steveo. Steveo picked up yet another wicket – this time caught by Martin. By this time (and unbeknown to Dan), the retired opener had come back out again – which was fine. Jesus had been furiously warming up his bowling arm – needing 1 more wicket to equal Kim’s wicket haul for the season, so he was given his chance. There was a worry that he would yet again not get to bowl as with 1 wicket left Paul still had an over in hand. Fortunately for Will, his chance was granted and 2nd ball removed the returning opener with a ‘googly’ – but looked more like the one that doesn’t do anything!

Usk were all out in the 33rd over for a healthy 174.

Luvvers – 6-0-31-1
Dan 5-2-19-2
Dave 7-0-51-1
Pete 7-0-28-0
Paul 4-0-26-1
Steveo 3-0-14-3
Jesus 0.2-0-1-1

A slow tea was had and as the Usk team made their way out to field the first light shower was had – but it soon cleared, but remained a little dark.

Rob and Big Willy opened up against a sharp away swinger from the cow field end and a quickish more erratic bowler from the other. Scoring was mainly off the erratic bowler as the swinger bowled 3 maidens from his 5 over spell. However, no wickets were lost. Will looked to be continuing with his confidence in shot making since his 80 two weeks previous, and Rob liked to practice his nurdles. There wasn’t much running as it turned out Will had ‘done’ is calf – which might have explained why he was unable to chase down an almost motionless ball when fielding during the skippers spell… 30-0 off 10. The run rate did increase during the first change bowlers and there were some fine shots played. Just before drinks the breakthrough was made…in a very unlikely manner. Rob on strike twatted the ball back towards the bowler about a foot above head height, the bowler instinctively put his hand up but and no way looked like catching it, however, it did ricochet directly on to the stumps as everyone was taking evasive action. Unfortunately Will was not in his ground, not even leaning on his bat, he did look a bit bemused as he and Richie were surrounded by youngsters appealing. 81-1 off 18. Will trudged off and a spritely Even bigger Big Will came to the crease.

The 100 mark was reached and passed in the 21st over. 2 overs later the drizzle began, and 2 overs after that, the Usk players started to lose their motivation to continue. However, Rob had just reached his maiden half century for the Cazh! (though never raised his bat…) Seeing that the game was losing its appeal and the rain coming down a little firmer, Jesus decided to farm the strike and push on - scoring the remaining 45 runs off the last 3.5 overs and a flourish of 3 back to back boundaries to complete the victory and reach (he thinks) his 4000 run milestone. 177-1 off 28.3

Will G 41 ro
Rob 55 no
Will MW 63 no
Martin/Steveo/Luvvers/Paul/Dan/Obee/Richie/Dave - DNB

5 minutes after the game finished the heavens opened and on the motorway on the way home it looked like a monsoon.

An enjoyable game and a very rare victory at Usk and an enjoyable day out and good pint after. Unfortunately, Martin was unable to get to the middle (batting at 4!) and score the 2 runs needed for a season average of double figures….and Dan may have diddled himself out of 30 wickets in the season... Bloody good season though! (wins to losses ratio 13:11 for the first season in ages)



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