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Match Report vs Wick 21 July 2019 @ Wick (Skipper Dan, report Will MW)

The Casuals arrived in a confident mood at Wick, scene in recent years of fairly convincing Casuals’ victories, on a 6 match unbeaten run and undefeated all year on Sundays. Nothing but smooth sailing in sight then on our way to the victory that would take us to 7th heaven….

Dan had cobbled together a team from old parts, spare parts and a couple of new parts – another Dan (not young Dan), though another young and athletic looking chap getting back into cricket after a break, and Mike, who had come to give cricket a try at the Casuals because he had read about the club’s welcoming atmosphere and friendly ethos (more on this later). Skipper Dan arrived to Wick late and from the changing room instructed VC Jesus to toss up and if we won bowl first, being as our batting was, on paper, and putting it generously, “a bit thin”. Jesus called tails, lost, and we were batting…Pabs and Jim ‘Hands’ Hodkinson opened up. Wick were without their usual opener (I think I spotted him walking his dog on my drive to the ground) much to the watching Casuals’ relief. Thus, the opening bowling was not quite as threatening from both ends as it could have been – however, it was still accurate enough and seemed to be doing a bit through the air. Pabs was watchful, working the bad balls for singles. Jim, after a few nervous swishy drives in the opening overs, soon settled down and began to find the middle, dispatching a couple of nicely lofted shots to boundary on either side square of the wicket. The Casuals made their way to 30ish from almost ten, which brought the first bowling change and wicket. Pabs got a beamer which followed him a bit, and then next ball got a better ball that left him and hit the top of off. Casuals 37-1 at the end of 10.

Jesus joined Jim in the middle, intent on not ruining his average at Wick (182 at start of play). He almost failed spectacularly in this regard, chipping a relatively straightforward catch to mid-off when on 6 only to be dropped! The youngish Wick bowlers bowled with enthusiasm, though not always accuracy, and both Jesus, after getting a life, and Jim were able to cash in a bit, putting away the fairly regular bad balls for boundaries and keeping the score going nicely. By drinks the total had reached 109-1, and in the final over before the break Jesus reached 50, hitting a full toss back over the bowlers head for 6 then turning one through square-leg to bring up the milestone.

Not long after drinks Jim, after reaching his highest score of 43 (he knew because he was counting!) got one that stuck in the pitch a little and chipped a simple catch to cover point. This brought the left-handed Dan (maybe we can call him “upside” because he’s like a reverse Shagger, imagine Goffy saying “upside Daaan”…) to the crease. He timed the nuts of his first ball, though straight to the fielder who had dropped Jesus, who promptly did the same to give Dan his first life. His second life came two balls later, when he was dropped on the boundary, but after that things settled down a bit…The bowling had improved by this point, with an off-spinner from one end getting noticeable turn, and the seam from the other end becoming more accurate. Dan and Jesus kept things moving, Jesus hitting a nice straight 6 from the offy, though they never accelerated as much as they might. With the score having passed 180, Dan was out in the 32nd over, stumped trying to take on the decent off-spinner, but not before some controversy had erupted on the boundary edge.

From my vantage point, I could only see the new player Mike storming around and shouting a bit, but Skipper Dan, umpiring, had caught more of the gist of things, and it transpired that Mike, after at the start of the match seeming keen and very talkative, had decided he no longer wanted to play for the Casuals – what had brought on this sudden and extreme change of heart you may ask? A quick glance at the team sheet will reveal one G.Day in the XI, and it appears that Mike had fathomed rather more quickly than most that playing for the Casuals involves spending quite a lot of time in Goffy’s company, and made the eminently sensible decision to up-sticks as soon as humanly possible…in all honestly, as Mike later explained to me after I was out, a bit of a falling out had occurred over the batting order, which was exacerbated by Mike’s self-professed recent struggles with his mental wellbeing. After explaining at length to me the ways in which we could improve how we welcome new players to the club (step 1: keep them well away from Goff) he had calmed down and he left amicably enough just before tea – this did mean we would be fielding with 10, so back to the cricket to see if we would have enough to defend…

Richie had joined Jesus at the crease, and kept the score going, but all eyes (except those on Mike, so no eyes) were now on the increasingly weary Jesus as he neared 3 figures. After being cruelly denied a century by his own old and talentless team-mate in last year’s fixture, this year Jesus was cruelly denied by his own lack of fitness and concentration. Sensing he was nearing 100, the tiring Jesus went for the big hoick over mid-wicket, but only managed to tickle an inside edge through to the keeper to be out for 94. Goff went in and produced his usual array of swishes and sashays and alongside Richie took the score past 200. Richie was out in the 38th, once again stumped off the offy – though admittedly I didn’t see it as I was in full PR mode listening to Mike. Dan went in to continue the slogging and both he and Goffy hit straight-ish 6s before, inevitably, Goffy, according to the book, was stumped (off the last ball I think but it’s not entirely clear) in an entertaining finish to the innings. The Casuals finished 227-6, a decent total, though probably a few less than we might have hoped for.

Casuals Batting

P Stephens – bowled, 12
J Hodkinson – caught, 43
W Mason-Wilkes – caught behind, 94
U. Dan – stumped, 27
R. Holliday – stumped, 10
G. Day – stumped, 12
D. Lewis – not out, 12

Extras: LB 1, W 14, NB 2

Total: 227-6

Tea was good, though there was no sun-warmed pork pie like there was last year, so I was a bit disappointed.

Skipper Dan and Dave opened up, Dan hoping to, for the first time this season, take more than 1 wicket in an innings. The first couple of overs went by without incident, but in the 4th DT made the breakthrough, enticing the opener to have big sweep at one that he only managed to loop in the air to the waiting Jesus, gratefully lodged at slip, who took a simple catch. 17-1 from 4. Dan was the next to strike, in the 7th over bowling the other opener to leave Wick 25-2 and with a bit of work to do. In his next over Dan did what until this season he had failed to do – take another wicket, with another good delivery bowling the number 3 for 5, leaving Wick 31-3 from 9. Dan, content with his 2 wickets, brought Goff on to replace him, and DT bowled 7, in his last over taking the wicket of the number 4, who had a hit a couple of boundaries but only managed to get a little bottom edge onto his own sticks. Wick now 61-4 from 14. The next man in was Wick’s large bearded captain (interestingly, whilst serving drinks his wife had mentioned to me that whilst I was batting she had confused me for her husband, she should be so lucky etc etc…) who had scored some runs against us previously. He set about building a partnership with the established number 3, keeping the run rate going and at the start of the final over before drinks Wick had crept up to 99-4, only just over a run a ball required, 6 wickets in hand and with 2 set batsmen at the crease.

Enter then, the mighty Mr Bump AKA Tim Bluff, having come on to replace Dave in the 16th and seeing his first 2 overs tonked for 19, in one over he turned the game decisively in the Casuals favour. Second ball he enticed the number three into a high lofted slap down the ground, which Skipper Dan positioned himself under and snaffled securely, and then three balls later he repeated the trick, luring the new batsmen into a similar shot, which this time was mistimed and looped once again to Dan at mid-off who took an even better catch, ‘diving’, or at the very least falling, forward and just scooping his fingers under the ball as it dropped in front of him. Wick 103-6 at drinks.

Following Tim’s decisive over the Casuals had one major, and bearded, obstacle between them and victory. Shakes came on to replace Tim and Upside Dan came on to replace Goff with his left-arm(!) spin. Both bowled tightly and kept the run rate down, and it was Shakes who made the decisive breakthrough, trapping the bearded Skipper LBW (I was very convinced, Shakes less so, and their match report suggests the batsmen might have been a little annoyed, but their umpire gave it, so hey ho). After that the Casuals raced through the tail. Shakes got another with a good caught and bowled, again a dive/fall and snaffle inches off the turf. Dan also got one on debut, 2 balls after finding the edge of the number 9s bat with a chest high no ball which flew to slipper Jesus who managed to hold on, he found the same edge with a classic left-arm spinner, which turned away from the right-hand batsmen and came through at a much more regulation height for Jesus to once again take the catch. Richie replace Dan and bowled a maiden (?!?!?!) before Shakes finished things off, bowling the number 11 for nought to leave Wick 118 all out in the 30th.

Casuals Bowling

D Lewis: 5 – 0 – 20 – 2
D Thomas: 7 – 0 – 23 – 2
G Day: 5 – 0 – 29 – 0
T Bluff: 3 – 0 – 25 – 2
D O’Boyle: 4 – 2 – 8 – 1
M Stephens: 4.3 – 3 – 3 – 3
R Holliday : 1 – 1 – 0 – 0

Extras: B 5, LB 4, W 3

A very good all round performance by the Cazh, with a solid batting platform laid and then good bowling and fielding taking us to a very comfortable victory. We headed to the Lamb and Flag to book in an EGM to discuss new player induction policy…..7 wins and counting!



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