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Match Report vs Chepstow 15 August 2021 @ Chepstow (Skipper Rob, report Will)

A grey and dreary morning, followed by heavy traffic and heavier rain on the M4 led to a few unenthusiastic comments about the prospects for cricket in the Casuals WhatsApp group, but further east things were brighter, and on arrival in Chepstow (at around 1:25 for a 1:30 start) I actually noticed some blue sky creeping through…

I think the toss was decided rather than won, with Chepstow batting first to make sure “a game was made of it”. They looked quite young and mobile (always a worry), as we generally look the opposite, but for this game we had managed to field some of our own (comparative) youth and mobility, in the contrasting shapes of Luvvers and Cheese. Dan, from the pavilion end, and Goff opened up on a greenish wicket that looked true, but showed signs of a bit of variable bounce. Dan got the first opener – a young chap who got a bit bored in Dan’s second over and took a big swipe across the line to be bowled for 1. Goff probed away at the other end, swinging it away from the two right-handers and beating the bat a number of times. Both bowlers were miserly, aided by some tight fielding from Luvvers particularly. Goff picked up the next wicket, after beating the bat with a jaffa that just missed off-stump, two balls later he induced the number 3 batsmen to drive at wider one, finding a thick edge which Will, behind the stumps, took diving away towards second slip (action replay available here at around 1hr 9 minutes: ). Dan bowled through his 8 overs, beating the bat of the remaining opener again and again, and also picking up the wicket of the number 4, another young fella who looked very organised, but who, after creaming two drives straight to fielders wafted a bit lazily at one outside off and nicked a much more regulation catch through to Will behind the stumps.

After the opening spells, Chepstow were 25ish for 3, with the Casuals looking in real control. The Stephens brothers replaced Dan and Goff, both bowling tight, but generally uneventful spells, the only real drama coming when the opener, now on 30ish, rifling a 'dolly' to Dan at cover point only for him to inexplicably spill it – this might be a bit harsh, he hit it fairly well and wasn’t a small chap, though Dan will probably admit he should have taken it. Would it prove costly?

In short, yes. The opener and number 5 steadily increased the rate, taking the score to around 110ish with ten overs to go, looking more aggressive and more comfortable against the older ball. Alex came on to bowl his second spell for the Casuals, which was also his second spell in about 10 years I think? He bowled some good full balls, but these were particularly to the liking of the opener who hit a few big drives down the ground and having moved past 50 accelerated. The number 5 at the other end also joined in, hitting both Alex and Cheese, bowling from the other end, through the leg side for boundaries, and going to his 50, eliciting a large cheer from the watching crowd (as it turned out it was his first one). Cheese was replaced by Luvvers for the final couple from the pavilion end, with Luvvers bowling quickly and eventually getting the opener bowled for a dogged 90. All that remained was for Goff to come back to bowl, at the new batsmen, what was bound to be a tight last over….Of course, the new bat summarily dispatched Goff for a boundary followed by a maximum over cow, before Goff tried to be ‘clever’ and bowl wide of leg stump, only to bowl a massive 4 wides (15 or so off the last over definitely wouldn’t be the difference though, right?) Chepstow 185-4 from 40, Casuals 186 to win.

Casuals Bowling

D Lewis 8 – 4 – 13 – 2
G Day 8 – 0 – 43 – 1
M Stephens 8 – 0 – 28 – 0
P Stephens 8 – 0 – 44 – 0
A Stratford 4 – 0 – 33 – 0
E Stuart 2 – 0 – 15 – 0
G Loveridge 2 – 0 – 9 – 1

Tea was taken – with the casuals eating whilst most of the oppo warmed up(!).

Luvvers and Cheese opened, against some decent looking pace from one end and left arm spin from the other. After 3 or 4 overs something which I have never seen in my 9 year casuals career happened – we had a rain break! Now I’ve played many games where it’s rained, we’ve gone off, and that’s that, but here it rained quite heavily, the covers were put on, it stopped raining, we hung around for half an hour while the outfield dried, then the players re-took the field to carry on! Luvvers hit one nice boundary off the quick, but then succumbed to first real bad ball the left-armer bowled, a full toss that Luvvers creamed straight to the man at long leg, who took a good catch. Will was in next, and he and Cheese saw off the opening pair whilst rotating the strike. The first change brought a slightly less quick from one end, and another left arm spinner from the other. The left-armer did the damage, with Will coming down the wicket and tamely chipping to mid-on for 12, moments after confirming with his batting-partner that there was no need to do anything silly at this point…Steve-0 was next in, and customarily didn’t last long, run out for 9 (I was in the shower at this point so missed it).

Skipper Rob was next to the crease, and he hung around for a while with Cheese, taking the score past 100 before being caught for 12 in the 30th over with the score on 107, 79 required from 10 overs and looking increasingly unlikely. Alex came and went quickly, bowled for 0, before Richie added a couple before going the same way. Dan joined Cheese and these two set about making something of a game of it, Dan customarily clubbing to leg and Cheese customarily slicing through the offside. With 5 overs remaining the score had moved on to 136-5, 50 required but casuals with just a sniff if these two could stay in…sadly it was not to be, in the next over Cheese could only sky one to be caught in the infield, leading to rather wild celebrations from their opening bowler, who then approached Cheese to commend him on his innings and offer a shake of the hand – both of which Cheese politely declined (“Fuck off, you Fucking Twat”, was I think Cheese’s choice of phrase). The bowler wasn’t best pleased with this, but Cheese trudged off before they could have an actual fight, and the bowler settled down after Steve “The Peacemaker” O’Reilly, apologised on the Casuals’ behalf. Goff was next in, and, as with many of the Casuals in this game, performed customarily – out stumped for 3. Shakes was in at number 10, and he an Dan batted to the last over leaving themselves 28 to win. Between them they could only muster 4 off the first 3 balls, but Dan did manage to hit a 4 and 6 before a wide took the Casuals up to 172-8, in the end only 14 short, and ruing the decision to let Goffy bowl our last over….

An enjoyable game, played (for the most part *cough* Cheese *cough*) in good spirit was digested along with very moreish potato-based spiral snacks – and the oppo even bought us a jug!

Casuals Batting

G Loveridge, caught, 15
E Stuart, caught, 72
W Mason-Wilkes, caught 12
S O’Reilly, run out, 9
R Owens, caught, 12
A Stratford, bowled, 0
R Holliday, bowled 2
D Lewis, not out 22
G Day, stumped, 3
M Stephens, not out, 1
P Stephens DNB



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