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Match Report vs Whitchurch Heath 02 August 2020 @ Whitchurch Hospital (Skipper and report)

The Casuals arrived at the Hospital Ground on a glorious early August afternoon. They were greeted with a picture. Improvements to the ground since our last visit in 2017 were obvious, with the outfield a bowling green and the pitch a straw coloured wonder that screamed bat first and bat big. Calling tails finally paid off for the Skipper (0-3 at the toss to date) and with an ‘on paper’ decent looking batting line-up (that most dangerous of things) Will didn’t hesitate to stick us in.

The Casuals innings started brightly, with 3 dot balls bowled before we lost a wicket, Luvvers the victim, nicking the sharpish left-arm over opening bowler through to the keeper for 0. Casuals 1-1 after 1. 1-1 became 4-2 from 2, Darren this time being cleaned up by a beauty from the other opener, bowling accurate right arm round and swinging one in before seaming it away to clip the top of off-stump. Richie joined Will at the crease and these two put on 9 before Richie got another beauty, this one from the left-armer, trimming the off bail to leave the Casuals 10-3 after 6 and in a spot of bother.

Patrick was in next at number 5, playing his first game as a Casual (and at that point probably thinking it would be better if it were also his last). The talk on the boundary edge was of getting home in time to catch the start of the Grand Prix, but Will and Patrick had other ideas. Playing watchfully the pair saw off the openers (or their skipper took them off to give us a bit of a chance) and the first change bowlers posed less of a threat. Will and Patrick took the score on to 49-3 from 14 before Patrick was bowled by one that kept very low. Next in was Steve O, playing in his usual unique style. He was able to find the gaps in the field (the ones just over the fielders’ heads mostly) to score 4 before being bowled just after drinks to leave the Casuals 77-5 from 21. Jim was in next, and he and the skipper set about building a partnership. Whitchurch rotated through their bowlers, with the first teamer coming on to bowl some off-breaks, only to be dispatched by Will over square-leg for 6 – he didn’t like this very much and came off his longer run and bowled accurately but with no reward.

Will and Jim kept the score moving, Jim hitting some powerful blows through mid-wicket and extra cover and Will putting the bad balls away when they came. The score moved past 150 and in the 35th over the Skipper went to 100, dabbing one into the gully before raising the bat. This was to be his last contribution, however, taking a very large and fairly exhausted swipe at the next delivery he faced – from their skipper, another accurate pace bowler – which cleaned him up, leaving the Cazh 154-6 from 36. George was in next, and he and Jim added 8 together before Jim was out caught and bowled (I can’t quite remember what happened here so Jim can update in the comments I’m sure). Dan and George batted to the close, taking us to 171 before Dan, doing as expected by heaving towards the short leg-side boundary, was bowled by the last ball of the innings. The Cazh 171-9 from 40.

Cazh Batting

Luvvers - caught behind, 0
Darren - bowled, 0
Will M-W - bowled, 100 (4s x 14, 6s x 2)
Richie – bowled, 1
Patrick – bowled, 5
Steve O – bowled, 4
Jim – c&b, 34
George – stumped, 2
Dan – bowled, 5
Rob O – not out, 0
Dave W – DNB

Batsmen’s total: 151
Extras: 20 (b7, lb1, w7, nb5)

Total 171-9

Dan and Dave ‘Barry’ White opened the bowling against the previously mentioned first teamer and another first/second teamer, Dan with his normal accurate seam, and Barry wobbling it about (and also bowling…). Both batsmen, however, looked the part, batting very correctly and with very little risk, hitting in the V, running hard and doing all the stuff you’re meant to do if you’re good at batting and looking pretty smug about it. Dan did manage to create one chance, with the ‘other’ opener flashing one to Luvvers at cover who couldn’t hold the chance. After 15 overs Whitchurch were 74-0 and coasting to victory. A change of bowling had seen Rob O and new casual George brought on, and it was George who finally made the breakthrough in the 16th over, removing the ‘other’ opener, who after complaining to the umpire about the lack of pace on the ball duly skied one to Luvvers who took a good catch coming in off the boundary at cow. Shortly afterwards the first team opener retired for a well-made 50. The two new batsmen were of a more Casual calibre, and the scoring rate dipped noticeably. With the ball looping around off the number 3s bat particularly, we had a quintessential Casuals champagne moment from George whilst bowling, inducing a top edge from the number 3, back-pedalling in his spikeless bright blue trainers, only to lose his footing and end up flat on his back as the ball landed safely behind him.

After 25 overs Whitchurch had crept up to 113-1, requiring only another 58 from 15. In the 26th over Richie struck, removing the number 3 bowled. Unfortunately for us this bought in a somewhat more competent batsmen, who over the next 4 overs took the score to 147, leaving 24 to win from 11. Sensing the end was near, the Skipper brought himself on for one over to make his maths easier, but in doing so he facilitated the second champagne moment of the day. Will bowled a full ball to the now set number four, who struck it low and powerfully through mid-wicket, being patrolled by the creaking figure of Steve O – miraculously however, Steve plunged (fell?) to his right and clung on one handed, to the general amazement of everyone at the ground. Steve was predictably understated in his celebrations - “THAT’S HOW YOU CATCH A FUCKING BALL BOYS!!!” was, I think, roughly what the people on Whitchurch High Street will have heard him yell. 150-3 from 31 became 152-5 from 32, Luvvers in his first over, bowling with all the pent up frustration of an opening bat who had nicked off for a 4-ball duck, first bowled the new number 6 for 1 before finding a thin edge from the number 7, which Jim snaffled behind the sticks. Dan followed Luvver’s over with a maiden, and in his second Luvvers struck again, clean bowling the number 8 (amazing what happens when you pitch the ball up, hey Luvvers?!?) and just maybe giving the Cazh a sniff at an unlikely victory. Things were looking even better after a wicket maiden from Dan, nicking off the set number 5 batsmen and putting the Casuals firmly in the game with Whitchurch 157-7. 3 runs but no wickets came from Luvvers next over, and in the 37th Dan managed to take another wicket, this time bowling the number 9 for 2, but conceding 6 runs in the process, leaving Whitchurch requiring just 6 with 2 wickets in hand.

By this point, Cazh heads had begun turning to the boundary edge to work out if the retired opener was intending to come back in, with talk that he’d be well into the beers by this point, but with his side 8 down we saw him wearily strap his pads back on. As it turned out, he wasn’t needed, the 9th wicket partnership getting the job done for Whitchurch in the 38th over, with the young number 11 carving a short ball from Luvvers to the boundary behind square for his first, and the winning runs. Whitchurch 172-8 from 38.3, Cazh lose by 2 wickets.

A good effort from the Casuals to get close in game which pretty much from the first over we never really looked like winning, but which we made them work for in the end. Post-game Kronenbourgs were provided by Dan and enjoyed by all - or at least by those that didn’t check the best before date…

Casuals Bowling

D Lewis: 7 – 2 – 25 – 2
D White: 6 – 1 – 19 – 0
R Owens: 5 – 0 – 28 – 0
G Phillips: 5 – 0 – 27 – 1
S O’Reilly: 4 – 0 – 15 – 0
R Holliday: 3 – 0 – 20 – 1
P Dean: 3 – 1 – 13 – 0
W Mason-Wilkes: 1 – 0 – 3 – 1
G Loveridge: 3.3 – 0 – 15 – 3

Extras: b6, lb1, w3


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