Saturday, July 30, 2011

KK Kicks

Whitchurch C.C. 3rd XI v Easton Cowboys C.C, Saturday XI

The Saturday XI played away against Whitchurch 3rd XI but neither went to Whitchurch nor recognized the team as being their 3rd XI. Arriving in good time at Peasedown St John with a bowler-heavy side, Joe won the toss and elected to bowl.

He and RobT opened the attack, both often beating the bat, the former tightly economical, the latter having the batsmen plum LBW, although unfortunately the umpire didn't concur. The following ball possibly wasn't LBW, but with Gordon Guilt sitting on his shoulder, the umpire raised his finger.

After shortened spells, Ev replaced Joe and last week's most successful bowler replaced Rob, but the Whitchurch top order fought back, finding the short boundary and accelerating the run rate to around four an over. In fact, your correspondent returned his worst ever bowling figures for the Cowboys, just a week after his best, but such is the beauty and balance of cricket. Innit?

Joe eventually broke the partnership off Ev's bowling by taking a great Cider Moment over-the-shoulder diving catch at mid-off and after Rog had had no luck with the ball, Kalu had a go, immediately causing problems and creating chances: He dismissed the No.3 & 4 batsmen both for 32, one to a good steady catch by Ev at long-off, the other to a sharp caught and bowled.

The ground fielding was at times a bit patchy given the good surface of the outfield: Later there were fines for unnecessary and sometimes unsuccessful use of feet and absent or less than well-timed dives. Still, Kalu tied the opposition down and compensated for runs lost elsewhere and the best was yet to come.

The last tool in the box, seventh bowler Garnier ceased his green woodpecker watching and whirred into action. In common with the straight hitting frequent in the innings, after a while the ball was bashed back into the nonchalant waiting hand of the bowler, exposing the tail.

It should be noted that not all bash-backs were successfully held; Justin being hit around the waistband at near point blank range, foolishly / wisely averting his eyes for a crucial second.

Kalu got his third wicket by bowling the batsman with a yorker / full toss, finishing with 3-17 from his eight overs, Angelo was rewarded for his safe keeping all afternoon with a snick off Garnier and the opposition weren't looking like they'd last the full 40 overs with seven wickets down and less than 150 on the board.

Garnier then took two wickets in two balls, one to an LBW appeal and one to Ev's safe hands, thereby presenting a hat-trick scenario. In what could be considered jug evasion the bowler then spewed the ball wide down the leg side, the anti-climax worthy of a Cider Moment nomination or two.

Ev mopped up the No.11 to restrict Whitchurch to a final 154 all out on the first ball of the 39th over, Garnier finishing with figures of 4-20 from six overs.

Tea was had, in a clubhouse now populated by refugees from another sport who had been giving vociferous support to the home side.

The volume increased as Justin and Grover opened the batting, getting louder still as Justin was soon out LBW, Grover toed a wide one for a catch first ball, Angelo succumbed LBW and Iggy - despite taking the attack to the bowlers and scoring three quick boundaries - was caught near the boundary. In terms of Cowboy collapses, 19-4 was pretty dire, fuelling the home supporters' glee.

Ev and Kalu were now at the wicket, both steadying the ship, patching the damage to prevent submersion or submission. The bowling didn't look anything special and it was vital not to lose another wicket to a bad ball.

Better bowling did come, but the pair slipped into their roles superbly and after early circumspection Kalu lashed out as Ev supported, defended and nudged. It was possibly the partnership of the season to date, cruising past fifty, always up with the run rate, taking the total towards and beyond a hundred as, not for the first time this season, home supporters were silenced and started to leave.

Kalu passed his second fifty of the month - and his Cowboy career - driving the field back with his expansive shots, enabling ones and two into the gaps and further frustrating the fielders, who had failed to take a couple of chances that had come their way. Some took their ire out on umpire Iggy, especially when he adjudged Kalu not run out.

The partnership reached a few runs past Nelson - to which Ev had contributed not much more than a dozen runs - until Kalu got a very audible nick behind for an excellent and very useful 83. Or did Ev go first for 19?

(Time for confession: Your correspondent forgot to take the scorebook out of the safe / picture frame to the match after his performance last week - for which he was naturally fined - and therefore some of the finer details are unclear)

At around 130-6 with just under ten overs to go, it was left to Joe and Garnier to maintain the advantage and steer the Cowboys home, which they did determinedly, with good running between the wickets and shot selection.

It had been a good game, better for the Cowboys than for Whitchurch and largely thanks to Man of the Match Kalu.


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