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Match Report vs Rogerstone 08 May 2023 @ Rogerstone (Skipper Luvvers, report Will MW)

After the rain curtailed opening to the season the previous Thursday (we would have got 12 overs in if we'd started on time, but I digress) the Casuals arrived at Rogerstone to try again. Things looked more promising, with watery sunlight and temperatures in the teens, but the preceding 6 weeks of rain meant we were on the artificial wicket.

New skipper Luvvers began his tenure in true Casuals style - injured (though very unCasually the injury was exercise related) and losing the toss. Rogerstone stuck us in, and Alex and Brynn opened up. A quiet start against some accurate seam from either end before Alex got a good one and nicked off to first slip, 8-1 from 3. Will in next, watchful for the most part and putting away the occasional bad ball - with the aerial route most effective on a lush and moist outfield. First change bowlers were swingy and tall from one end, short and accurate from the other. Brynn rotated the strike before having a bit of a go at one and popping up a catch off swingy and tall. 38-2 from 12. Handsome Steve in next. An over later swingy and tall struck again, a half volley that Will couldn't get over, drilling it straight to mid-off who took it at knee height very comfortably (more on him later). 44-3 from 14 and a bit wobbly...Talented Steve was joined by his noisy namesake, and the Steves set about rebuilding the Casuals innings. A solid partnership of 43 steadied the ship before Senior Steve was caught for a 'well-made' 17. Jim in to partner Popular Steve, and after a steady start Hands really picked up the pace in the last 10. Good Steve eventually fell for 19 (another wicket out caught) but this brought our one-legged Skipper to the crease, who despite his injury still managed to make it look easier than most of the other Casuals, hitting a big six on to the community centre roof and running at least as well as his two-legged teammates. With Jim playing his part at the other end with some meaty and lofted swipes to leg the Casuals motored towards 150, before Luvvers fell in the 37th, bowled for a useful 26. Jim didn't let off the gas (steady on), and with Rob happy to rotate the strike, the pair eventually took the Casuals to a competitive looking 170-6 from their 40, Hands with a very handy 40 not out.

Casuals Batting
A Heath, caught, 3
B Wilkes, caught, 9
W Mason-Wilkes, caught, 23
S Biggs, caught, 19
S O’Reilly, caught, 17
J Hodkinson, NOT OUT, 40
G Loveridge, bowled, 26
R Owens, NOT OUT 6
D White, DNB
D Lewis, DNB
P Stephens, DNB

BYOT – I had leftover moussaka followed by orange and polenta cake, staking an early claim for most middle-class tea of the season (MMCTOTS(?))

Dan and Dave W took the new cherry. One of the openers – the one who’d caught me out – we learned had just been called up to the Wales squad, and was only playing the likes of us because the weather had been so crap and he hadn’t had a run out yet this year. Dan had a pretty close looking LBW shout against him early on, but given the circumstances it wasn’t that surprising he was given not out, and apart from that he looked pretty solid for the opening spells, though, initially at least, he did struggle to time it off the artificial. At the other end, however, things were a different story, Dave W knocking over the other, more prototypical Sunday opener, who chipped a catch to Will at square leg in the 4th over. The number 3 also looked quite tidy, but after blasting a 4 and a 6, Dan knocked him over with a classic in-ducker. 22-2 at the end of the 7th. After 10 Rogerstone were struggling a little at 32-2, but in Dave W’s last over, the 12th, things took an ominous turn, with the opener throwing off the shackles and hitting a big 6 into the car park, doing some vehicular damage on the way. This continued in the next over from that end, the 14th, with Rob the victim. The over went for 22, with 3 6s, 2 huge, one which almost killed a toddler, and one which wiped out Dave White’s rear windscreen. The third 6 only just cleared Will at long leg, but shortly after this the opener decided he’d had enough and wandered off for 56 retired, so in some ways Rob had done his job. This had put Rogerstone right back in it, less than a hundred required with 25 overs to go. Rob did find some redemption in his next over however (after Luvvers had convinced him to say on) having the number 4 caught, again at square leg and again by Will – much to Steve O’s annoyance. Pabs at the other end kept things tight and at drinks Rogerstone were 93-3.

The over after drinks, Pabs made the breakthrough, Jim (as surprised as anyone no doubt) doing the work behind the sticks to stump the number 5. 97-4 became 102-5 in the 25th, Alex replacing Pabs and bowling the number 7. Things seemed to be turning in the Casuals favour at this point, but the number 8, it transpired, was actually their other first team opener, so could hold a bat. Luvvers rotated his bowlers, with Better Steve, Other Steve and Will all having a go to no avail, as a steady partnership took Rogerstone to 139 from 32, only 32 required from 48 balls, with the winning line well in sight. Skipper Luvvers though, had an ace up his sleeve, tossing the ball to Dan who he’d held back for a couple at the end. This proved a masterstroke, with the big ‘quick’ knocking over the number 8 with the second ball of his second spell. He then picked up the number 9 in his next and last over, again bowled, turning the game well in the Casuals’ favour. Pabs and Rob came back to bowl the final four, but with the run rate climbing above a run a ball, and Rogerstone’s fire power depleted, the Casuals were able to see the game out, limiting Rogerstone 163-7, and sealing a 7 run victory!

Casuals Bowling
D Lewis 8-4-16-3
D White 6-0-38-1
P Stephens 8-0-24-1
R Owens 6-0-37-1
A Heath 3-0-9-1
S O’Reilly 2-0-9-0
S Biggs 3-0-15-0
W Mason-Wilkes 2-0-6-0
B Wilkes 2-0-6-0

An enjoyable first encounter of the season for the Cazh, who got off to a winning start – a relatively rare occurrence, at least in my experience of playing at the Recreation Ground. We decamped to a very busy pub in Bassaleg, while Dave W awaited the arrival of Autoglass…



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