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Match Report vs Glamorgan Centurions 13 July 2023 @ Wenvoe (Skipper Luvvers, report Bryn)

What better way is there to kick off your match report debut than having the first ball hit through you for four? Perhaps my mind was elsewhere, pondering how to describe the following 40 overs of action. If this report is at all lacking in detail or accuracy, let’s say it’s because I realised I should probably concentrate on actually playing the game instead.

Taking a step back, the Casuals’ T20 fixture against Centurions was played on a mercifully dry Thursday evening, although the week’s rain had added even more ‘character’ to the Flaming Tikka Arena wicket. The home side showed up, mostly on time, greeted by the now-traditional welcome of muddy changing rooms, non-flushing toilets and no access to drinking water. A special mention has to be made to Drucey and Nishay, both being awarded their metaphorical first Casuals caps.

With Centurions batting first, Goffy and Luvvers opened up the bowling keeping things tight except for the aforementioned first-ball boundary. Both struck in their respective second overs, reducing Centurions to 26-2. A mix-up soon afterwards gave Rhys enough time to collect the ball, perform some elaborate keepy-uppies and do his tax returns before lobbing the ball gently to Jim, who checked over Rhys’ paperwork before removing the bails. A rare T20 maiden in Goffy’s third over helped keep them to 30-3 from 7 overs – Casuals on top early on.

Rob and Maxi came on to keep the pressure up as Centurions set about looking to accumulate. With a very strong lbw appeal turned down off Rob, the breakthrough came thanks to a joint venture between Maxi and the Wenvoe wicket – a probing ball on a good length almost bouncedd twice before crashing into the stumps for 55-4.

More success came in the very next over. Rob finally got his man, bowling the dangerous-looking number four off his pads. Good job it hit the stumps, it probably wouldn’t have been given as lbw either otherwise. Rob got his second of the over to leave the opposition 60-6 from 13 overs.

The tall southpaw remaining at the crease decided the time had come to tee off, which he managed with some success. This was partly thanks to being dropped twice by the author, although in my defence, the second would have been a worldie. Maxi toiled away without further success, and Nishchay looked tidy in his first Casuals outing, but Centurions found their way to triple digits by the end of the 16th over, 105-6.

Tim came into the attack and, while he struggled a little with his line in his second over, he prevented the increasingly frustrated batsmen from hitting a single boundary. Luvvers used captain’s prerogative to give himself the final over of the innings, and repaid the faith in himself by somehow bowling the Centurions number eight with a short ball. The innings closed on 139-7; despite the middle order picking up the run rate late on, some excellent Casuals bowling restricted the total to probably a touch below par.

G Day 4-1-9-1
G Loveridge 4-0-22-2
R Owens 3-0-14-2
M Cullen 4-0-36-1
N Bhatt 3-0-27-0
T Bluff-Hughes 2-0-17-0
(The book hadn't been totalled when I took a picture, so please do forgive any discrepancies.)

With 140 to win, Rhys and I strode out to the crease. Clearly my mind wandered to writing the match report once again, because how else could we explain my missing a straight one and getting bowled for 3. Rob joined Rhys in the third over, and the two set about milking ones and twos, helped by fields that Pat Cummings would be proud of.

There’s not a lot to say about the following ten overs, partly because I spent a few of them sulking in the changing room, but also because the boys were able to tick along nicely at six an over, barely having to play a shot in anger. There was a relatively simple caught and bowled put down, but otherwise, things looked serene. 81-1 from 13.

But, never underestimate the importance of scoreboard pressure. After clearing the boundary for the first maximum of the match, Rob looked to pull a ball that stopped dead in the pitch and was caught at mid-wicket for a very well-made 29. This brought debutant Drucey to the middle, who made a wonderfully Casual start to his Casuals career by getting bowled first ball. Robbie kept the hat-trick ball out, but was also bowled two balls later. Triple-wicket maiden, 81-4 from 14, 59 more to win. Game on.

The captain entered the fray and showed his intent, slog-sweeping his first ball for four. Rhys looked to join the party, but was stumped charging down the wicket, departing for 37. Despite the minor collapse, the uptick in the run rate kept Casuals in the contest – 104-5 off 16, 36 more to win from 24 balls.

Jim, in at an unfamiliar number six, smashed a boundary but didn’t quite get hold of a second one, and was caught at cow for 8. A Luvvers six kept the chase on track, but Maxi was soon the next to fall, offering a return catch to the bowler for 1. Nishchay was next in, hoping to help steer his team home on debut. A beautiful lofted drive took us to 123-7. 17 runs to win, 12 balls left. It’s gonna be a close one.

Or so we thought. The Centurions bowler may have misheard some advice to not bowl full tosses on Luvvers’ leg stump, and the skipper duly sent two of them over the short mid-wicket boundary, one finding its way into the brook. Ever the leader, he then got under one and was caught for a rapid 30, allowing his teammates to take the winning runs.

Goffy, fresh from departing his umpiring stint still holding on to the bowler’s hat, added insult to injury by sweeping his first ball for four, to bring the scores level. On the final ball of the penultimate over, he steered one down to fine leg, and they crossed for the one run needed. Centurions did appear to briefly consider taking off the bails as Goffy and Nishchay met in the middle to celebrate*, but the Spirit of the Game™ prevailed, and the Casuals were home and dry by two wickets with an over to spare.

B Wilkes 3
R Davies 37
R Owens 29
T Druce 0
R Sayers 0
J Hodkinson 8
G Loveridge 30
M Cullen 1
N Bhatt 5*
G Day 5*

Goff’s refusal to go for runs made him the pick of the bowlers (1-9) despite Luvvers’ (2-22) and Rob’s (2-14) wickets. With the bat, Rhys (37), Rob (29) and Luvvers (30) can take equal credit getting us over the line. But, there’s only one statistic that matters: another not-so-casual win for the Cardiff Clinicals.

*Fun fact: according to Law 18.8.2 and Law 38.5, a run would not have been awarded, as the batsmen leaving their ground, even after reaching the crease, would have meant the run had not been completed prior to the run out. Another fun fact: applying Laws of the Game to obscure situations in cricket is a sure-fire way to make friends at parties.




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