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Match Report vs Sudbrook 08 May 2022 @ Sudbrook(Skipper Luvvers, report Steveo)

This was a day to remember for the Causals, who no doubt will speak of it for years to come. It will be hard to describe to those who were not present, but we shall try to capture the excitement and thrills of this momentous day. Cursed will be the generations of casuals to come who will only know of it by reputation, while those present will speak in hushed tones, as they recall the splendour of the adventure they witnessed that day.
But more about the Tea later…

Sudbrook CC is a well maintained and well supported club with excellent facilities. A flat ground with decent boundaries and a pleasing vista. It is a shame it’s a 45-minute drive East of Cardiff or else we could happily play there more often I’m sure. The opposition are a friendly bunch and a fair but testing day lay ahead.

As the sun shone over South Wales the team gathered in fits and starts. Even the Skipper was delayed by some unfathomable ‘golf business’ ( similar to cricket as it involves a stick and a ball, but more akin to croquet on a massive scale). Luvver’s tardiness meant he was highly amenable to the apologetic (sorry not sorry) noises by yours truly as I, unusually, arrived a few moments late for the early start. Fellow casuals (players and non-players alike) had already critiqued my time keeping (thank you) without being aware of the heroic sacrifice being made as I rushed from a pleasant beach rendezvous in Bridgend, making the journey somewhat longer.

But all this was quickly put to one side as the full team finally gathered, to look out upon the sunlit ground, with its popular clubhouse, raised scoring box and changing room balcony. We had either won or lost the toss, and chosen or been made to bat, an excellent decision by whomsoever made it. It allowed the latecomers to relax and watch the openers as they set in for a long stint at the crease.

Well that was the theory at least. The openers were the redoubtable pairing of Stephens M and Owens R, two of the most solid batters in our armoury (Shakey in both senses of the word). A fine start was made, with Bagpuss facing 7 before even attempting a run; Rob’s first 8 dots interrupted by a 2nd ball 4 which must have been a fluke I’m sure ( I was still getting changed…).
Keen to play my part in supporting the team as ever, and batting at No. 6, I rushed out to replace an umpire in my usual spirit of enthusiasm. However, the immediate effect on the batters was less than beneficial, as Rob immediately succumbed to a caught behind with 13 on the scoreboard, and then in the same over ( the 6th) Shakey fell for a miserly ( or should that be miserable) two. Crook was the bowler, his name not a description.

2 for 14 is not a happy place to be, but luckily the multi-talented and multi-named William Jesus Mason Wilkes strode gleefully to the middle, already imagining the bagful of runs he was about to snaffle. And with Jack Sim to keep him company, Skipper loveridge and yours truly at 5 & 6 slowly padded up without much expectation of being required before tea.

Faithful readers will understand the folly and irony of that thought. Yet, mighty Will was having none of it. Optimism abounded as his first 3 balls faced accrued 2 singles and a four. Perhaps, however, somehow, deep in his soul, it was if he knew he didn’t have long. Playing freely, WMW managed to clear the sizeable boundary 4 times in his first 14 balls faced. Alas, these were all he faced as he was caught off the change bowler Palmer (by player WTFKs as the book doesn’t say). His mutterings lasted all the way back to the changing room and long into the afternoon as he lamented the bagfull of runs he had let slip from his grasp.

With our three strong openers all too soon vanquished, in only 11 overs, some of us were concerned we might not make a day of it. Jack also faced 14 balls before being bowled by Francis (or French? …the handwriting is appalling it has to be said). But J Sim had made a handy 8 and got out to a good one ( I imagine).

I must confess that when O’Reilly was called to the crease it was with a heavy heart. It felt like a Caszh collapse was inevitable, and the possibility of not even reaching drinks, let alone 40 overs was all too real. But the youthful and handsome skipper had other ideas, and quickly instilled a bit of Forces discipline and rigour as he went about the task of keeping us alive in the game. Luvvers’ harvested 13 runs from his first 10 faced, including a brace of fours, but was cautious enough to then allow 7 dots as he awaited the ‘bad ball’. Supporting artiste Steve O’ was less prodigious but equally able to score and leave. 10 overs later Gareth had managed to almost double the score with his contribution of 54 in a partnership of 56 with Steve O ( on 8) in the 26th over, well past drinks and now with some hope of using a good portion of the allotted overs. The seven 4’s and two 6’s added to the 12 run balls was a strong display of intelligent cricket by Luvvers, and much needed.

Buoyed up by this new found optimism and the sunshine, and the memory of a pleasant morning on the beach, yours truly was able to enjoy his game and expand into the senior role, guiding the young Jimmy ‘look no hands’ Hodkinson into a more cautious and effective approach than the "i’ve hit it to the nearest athletic fielder so lets attempt an impossible quick single despite Steveo bellowing NO" of a previous game. It worked well, with the now steadied ship progressing a further 6 overs before a, possibly over eager, Steve O’ top edged an offside delivery giving a very simple catch to the oldest oppo player who was ‘hiding’ in the gully. A pleasing 23 was added to the total, but with 155 now on the board and a possible 8 overs left there was a desire to push on and make a good game of it.

James did not disappoint; Joined by the impressive frame of Le Château ( well done Dave), 'Jimmy the Gloves' ( or ‘Gimme the Gloves’) used an impressive range of dots, 1’s, 2’s, and six 4’s to last 40 balls faced for an impressive and very useful 42 before falling caught to the same bowler as the previous batter in what was by then the final over. 199 scored – a fantastic effort, but could we hit the psychological barrier of 200? Pete Obee was given much advice as he entered the fray but the object was simple – run like buggery. Which the pair duly did, giving Alex a single off the last for his well-played 10, Pete a splendid Not Out and a truly unexpected 200 off 40 for 9. DT was DNB, as per.

Batter Dismissal Bowler Runs
1 M Stephens Bowled J Crook 2
2 Owens Caught WK? J Crook 7 1x4
3 WM Wilks Caught Palmer 21 4x4
4 Sim Bowled Francis 8
5 Loveridge Caught ? 54 7x4 &2x6
6 O’Reilly Caught Vokes Palmer 23 3x4
7 Hodkinson Caught ? Palmer 42 6x4
8 Shatford NOT OUT 10. 1x4
9 Obee NOT OUT 0
10 Thomas DNB
3 byes/2 leg byes/18 wides/6 no ball Extras 29

Well done all, now came the reward.
I will not pontificate too long here, as the Tea Report should take precedence, but suffice to say that after years in the wilderness, the Casuals had come home. Two overburdened tables faced us in the tea room, all manner of delights to be had, it was all I could do to restrain myself as I rushed to get my phone for the photo before diving in. So far, this was about as perfect a cricket day as we could ever hope for… let’s enjoy it while it lasts.

The silence of a casuals team at trough was almost a long lost memory, but thanks to the magnificence of Sudbrooks Tea it was back with a vengeance.

And so, to the field, eventually.

Jim took the gloves, luvvers opened with the ball, with DT at the other end. Sadly, the scorer wasn’t as attentive as our own, although it has to be said the handwriting was at least human, so stats are sparse but legible in the book. Casuals made their way through the oppo with a mix of LBW, bowled and catches. Sudbrook had a mix of ability and ages, with a couple of very handy players. Their bowlers batted around middle order (4-8) which showed they were giving everyone a go. Batters 2 through to 5 didn’t manage to trouble double figures, but the opener R. Lund hung around a fair while, and was joined by No 6 Burton, who came in with a clear game plan and a destructive bat. Up til then Loveridge and Thomas had both got an LBW, one accepted readily and one not so if I recall, and we were grateful for the clear umpiring ( in the first innings Burton had questioned a turned down appeal off their bowling by Umpire Shakey Stephens, or trigger as he is sometimes known, not realising of course how impeccable are his standards of impartiality).

DT and Shakey also hit the wickets in their spell and things were looking well balanced. But with the danger man Burton swinging to good effect it was decided we needed a change of bowler. Cometh the hour etc etc and wise captaincy by Loveridge brought all-rounder O’Reilly, a leading wicket taker at this point in the season methinks, into the fray. Oft criticised, for reasons unknown, this quiet but effective player humbly took up the challenge, and with guile and dogged persistence bowled a tricky line and length that perplexed the batters. Soon the breakthrough came and the dangerman Burton, poised on 49 and looking forward to pushing on and saving the game, instead fell for a gentle teaser that stroked his bat and fell effortlessly into the unmoving gloves of young James, who thoughtfully didn’t let it bounce out again. A quiet celebration from the modest bowler and it was back to work. In no time a 2nd wicket as the handy J.Crook, on 10, scooped it to Mason Wilks who didn’t miss the chance to take part in the game and took a good catch/ dolly depending on your view.

Finally, it was looking like no way back for the opposition, so O’Reilly, always a team player, told the skipper to take him off and let someone else have a go. Although happy with his days work, he did let anyone know who would listen (not many!) that he now needed a catch to round off a good days contribution. Well dear reader, you will not be surprised to hear that his efforts were rewarded when R Owens bowled to M Crook who offered a half chance that was determinedly snaffled by Old Steve, who allowed himself some quiet self-congratualory words ( and possibly an expletive) as he completed his treble of runs, wickets and a catch. It should be mentioned that Jack Sim put in a shift of four overs for an decent 14, and that WMW got tonked for 11 of 2 ( sorry, off 1, as the other was a maiden!)

Not to be outdone, the recently returned presence of ObeeWan was able to exert the force and took a pair, LBW & caught behind, which left the oppo on a worthy 142 off 38.5 overs for 10, with 13 extras. A very good display all round and A CASUAL VICTORY!

Bowler O M. R W
Loveridge 4 1 13 1
Thomas 8 1 18 2
Shatford 4 2 3 0
Obee 7.3 0 31 3
Stephens 5 0 30 1
O’Reilly 2 0 9 2
Owens 2 0 9 1
Sim 4 0 14 0
Wilkes 2 1 11 0

Well done all, a very good game that surprisingly got to 40 overs for us, and was played in good spirit by a welcoming team. A lot of clubhouse spectators present, who proved not to be actually spectating, as shown when a ball hit a chap full in the back, which was preferable to hitting his baby! But a lovely ground and a lovely day for the mighty Casuals.

Sudbrook card

1 R Lund LBW Loveridge 14
2 Wallace Bowled Thomas 6
3 Denton Bowled M Stephens 9
4 T Palmer LBW Thomas 8
5 A Palmer Bowled Obee 2
6 Burton Ct Wk Jim O’Reilly 49
7 J Crook Ct WMWilks O’Reilly 10
8 Francis LBW Obee 24
9 M Crook Caught SO'R Owens 2
10 O Lund Not Out 3
11 Voke Ct Wk jim Obee 5

3 byes/2 leg byes/7 wides/1 no ball Extras 13
38.3 overs



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