Thursday, June 30, 2011
Tuesday, June 28, 2011
Monday, June 27, 2011
Sunday, June 26, 2011
Saturday, June 25, 2011
Keynsham C.C. 4th XI v Easton Cowboys C.C. Saturday XI
So, what was to be the manner of execution inflicted on the Easton Cowboys by an undefeated, top of the table Keynsham?
"Er, no, freedom actually."
"Yeah, they said I hadn't done anything and I could go and live on an island somewhere."
"Oh I say, that's very nice. Well, off you go then." (Python - Life Of Brian)
With Joe away at Worthy Farm, RobT stepped in as skipper and proved that there ain't nothing to this tossing business and stuck the opposition into bat on an overcast and windy afternoon at Wellsway School.
Soon the batsmen were disappearing faster than cigarette lighters out the back of The Plough, thanks to some phenomenally tight bowling from Ev, Rob and Rich and despite an early chance uncharacteristically spilled by Ange, a mud-spattered renegede from the Pilton Pop Festival.
Things were going well, even after your correspondent came on to bowl, until DaveB - a late arrival who hadn't participated in the meticulously planned and randomly executed warm-up routines - thought about chasing a ball from point: After falling to the ground, he departed to hobbledom with a pulled hamstring and was fortuitously and competently replaced in the field by 12th man Arran.
The Cowboys' fielding was always committed, if not always successful, with Alan taking one on the jaw at square leg and a couple of catches going to ground. Gretch pulled off a smart stumping off the bowling of Kalu, who provided a nearly unanimous Cider Moment by bowling the batsman around his legs, with a ball that without the tremendous leg spin, would probably have been a wide.
Constant pressure, a fairly unpredictable pitch and some generally less than confident batting led to the Keynsham innings petering out in the 32nd over for 76 runs.
Tea was served half a mile away, back at the main ground - where the home side had already won - and comprised a fine spread of canapes, roast potatoes, pasta and sweet things. The bar was temptingly open and the sun momentarily came out.
With DB absent injured, Iggy joined Angelo to open the batting and soon found that the young home bowlers could extract swing and variable bounce to match the Cowboys' previous efforts. The frequent short pitched bowling, although threatening, also provided opportunities for runs.
Progress was slow, for some time slipping below the opposition's meagre run rate, but with all the time in the world to get the runs, Angelo and Ev built a foundation for Alan to build on after Iggy fell cheaply. Still apparently wearing a ball magnet in his head, Alan did well to evade more short pitched bowling and also exquisitely thread the ball through fielders square of the wicket to the boundary.
After Simon's swift departure, Kalu showed signs of wanting to reach the slowly approaching target with the usual positive intent, but after striking a few blows he was bowled while looking into the middle distance.(Photographic evidence exists)
Gretch joined Alan to see it through and in the 29th over, as the Man of the Match stroked the ball across the boundary again, the Cowboys had achieved a fairly comfortable victory, returning to the Keynsham home ground for some cheery hospitality and to face the skipper's kangaroo fines' court.
Thursday, June 23, 2011
Wednesday, June 22, 2011
Tuesday, June 21, 2011
Monday, June 20, 2011
Saturday, June 18, 2011
Easton Cowboys C.C. Saturday XI v Whitchurch C.C.3rd XI
Despite enough rain in the morning to nearly drown a local strawberry grower and doubts about the exact location of their 'home' ground, the Cowboys' Saturday XI started their match on time against Whitchurch 3rd XI at the King George V Playing Fields in Downend.
Contrary to reports last week and to considerable cheers, skipper Budge proved that he can be a successful tosser and asked the opposition to bat. Continuing with a positive assertiveness that was to last all afternoon, he opened the bowling downhill with the wind behind him and was soon exploiting the vagaries of the pitch. RobT opened from the other end in a sprightly fashion, dropping his sails and motoring headlong into the gale.
It was evidently a tricky pitch to bat on and the damp outfield and alert fielders further limited the runs on the rare occasions that the ball left the square. The pressure soon took it's toll on the opposition batsmen; Justin took a sharp catch, DaveB another, stumps were clattered. Gretch's remarkable agility behind the stumps was matched by Ev fielding at point, who stuck out a hand on an elastic arm to catch an uppish cut off RobT's bowling and earn himself the Cider Moment.
Having barely conceded any runs and bagged his long awaited first wickets of the season, the skipper replaced himself with Ev who produced a similarly miserly spell while RichG sprang in from the other end, passing the bat and making light work of the headwind. By now, the opposition No.5 was proving not only stubborn but powerfully adept at occasionally smashing the ball down the ground and so it was with some trepidation that your correspondent came on to bowl. However, aided by an able supporting cast the runs were limited, Iggy's wait for a slip catch was rewarded, DaveB caught a lofted drive close to the ground and it looked like the opposition wouldn't bat out the full quota of overs.
After Ev's precision, RobT and RichG returned to see off the tail who had shown a sliver or resistance, but when the latter hit the stumps for a second time, no disco pose appeal was necessary and the Whitchurch innings was over in the 37th over, two short of a hundred.
Tea was taken a short walk or (if you were really lazy/tired) drive away, comprising rustic grazing provided by your correspondent, aided and abetted by Joe, RobT and Gretch. As crumbs were swept away and cases of food poisoning administered to, DaveB and Iggy padded up and strode out to get the measure of a drying but still tricky wicket.
The ball was still in relatively good condition and atmospheric conditions, the wind and opposition bowlers combined to produce swing through the air, while certain patches of the wicket produced unexpected trajectories. Despite all that, Iggy played with positive freedom on his welcome return from hobbledom, DaveB more watchful and apparently solid. Angelo was just remarking how solid everything was looking when a fuller ball hit the base of Dave's stumps off a thinside edge and Justin went out to replace him.
Iggy played more shots, evading fielders by luck or design but after getting bogged down, played one too many and was bowled for 21. Ev went out to join Justin who was playing the ball late off the pitch in a watchful innings, but the score stalled. Around the 15th over, the bowler from the top end, leaking even fewer runs than Joe and Ev had done earlier, bowled Ev for a duck and Angelo a couple of balls later.
Four wickets down and not yet half way to the target, Kalu joined Justin and Iggy went to umpire. With hindsight, opposition fielders might have gone a bit deeper as Kalu's first scoring shot was a six. A few more boundaries later they did. When opportunities came their way they missed or spilled them and Kalu rode his luck, clattering the ball with a lightening fast backlift and spring action punch.
When a catch was eventually held and Kalu departed for 28, still grinning, the balance of the game had swung back in the Cowboys' favour, although a bowling change and some less than friendly vibes were starting to threaten that. When the other umpire, who had travelled with the opposition, made a bad decision in giving Justin out caught off his arm, off a bowler who propelled the ball to the stumps via the Moon, the mainstay and anchor of the innings was a tad reluctant to depart before confirmation.
With around twenty more runs to get, skipper Joe strode out to join a less than comfortable looking Gretch, the remainder of the tail not feeling very chilled either, except by the wind. Still sensing a chance, the opposition appealed for everything and finally got the only LBW decision of the day from a harangued but even-handed Iggy, Gretch falling without playing a shot.
Like the impatient groundsman, Joe wanted the match to finish, but unlike him, he was passionately bothered that the Cowboys would emerge as victors. With no nonsense straight drives he found the boundary twice, smashing balls from the ultra slow bowler back at your correspondent's head, at the non-striker's end, at many times the speed at which they came towards him. The following over, a straight ball kept low and was kept out, a wide ball was called a wide - and the Cowboys had won by three wickets with eight overs to spare.
The skipper's all round performance (but mainly winning the toss) won him the Man of the Match vote and the appearance of Mr Maroon, aka Dick Emery, aka SteveO at the ground and Plough later was another noteworthy CM nomination.
Tuesday, June 14, 2011
Saturday, June 11, 2011
Easton Cowboys C.C. Saturday XI v Wrington C.C. 2nd XI
Well blessed were our souls as the Friday night deluge didn't carry over into Saturday and the Frenchay topography, groundstaff and heavy roller facilitated the prompt commencement of the match against Wrington.
The Cowboys' skipper, it has to be said, is not much of a tosser: Once again he lost and the favoured option of bowling was taken by the opposition but the opening pair of DB and Angelo rose to the challenge, picking off quick early runs against a relatively lacklustre bowling attack.
When Angelo fell to an equitable LBW decision, last week's flashing blade Ev came to the wicket and occupied the crease as DB played shots at the other end. By now, the run rate had dropped from a rosy six an over to around three, as opposition bowling changes revealed depth and threatened.
After Ev was bowled for a long duck, SteveO and Alan stuck around as DB headed towards and just past a half century, but when he was well caught, the innings needed the impetus and improvisation shown by Kalu to muster a respectable total: Time and again, exquisite lofty late cuts evaded fielders and raced to the boundary, but when he was eventually caught for 46, the late order and tail failed to make an impression against tight bowling and worse, left more than three overs unbatted in being all out for 149.
A fine tea from RobT refreshed and revitalised spirits, with the man himself coming out of the kitchen after the break to produce a tangerine with the first ball of a fine spell from the bottom end to bowl the Wrington opener.
Joe tore in from the top end but despite unsettling, couldn't dislodge the batsmen and when Ev replaced him and your correspondent took over at the other end, the Wrington No.3 was establishing himself as the backbone of their run chase.
In bright sunshine the skipper took the first of two good catches, although the real pearler, voted as the Cider Moment and a contender for catch of the season, was plucked, prevented from reaching the ground and presented like a jewel in Angelo's fingertips, diving forward at cover.
After economical bowling and fielding pressure had unsettled the opposition middle order into giving up several wickets, a rotated bowling strategy saw a confident Kalu given the ball and as he started to prise out the first of three batsmen, there was hope in the Cowboys' camp. Most, if not all catches were taken, Gretch kept well behind well kept, recently varnished stumps, but despite good return spells from RobT and Joe, Wrington overhauled the target for the loss of eight wickets with three overs to spare.
Kalu was voted Man of the Match for his fine all-round performance, verging on jug-avoidance, but his post-match tutorial on coin tossing imploded when his demonstrations repeatedly failed.
Friday, June 10, 2011
Thursday, June 09, 2011
Monday, June 06, 2011
Saturday, June 04, 2011
Shepton Mallet C.C. 1st XI v Easton Cowboys C.C. Saturday XI
Having lost their home game against Shepton Mallet in May, the Cowboys' Saturday XI travelled south across the Mendips on the first weekend in June in anticipation of a tough away fixture. On paper it was a strong team, but would it hold up on grass, in a field at Oakhill?
The sky was heavy and the outfield thick with buttercups and daisies. Despite the drone of distant agricultural machinery it was not the weather for hay making - or losing the toss - and so it was with caution and watchfulness that the Cowboys' opening pair of DaveB and Angelo strode to the wicket.
The new cherry swerved and bounced awkwardly but tended to die on the occasions that it was stroked off the square. At times the opposition had three slips menacing for an edge. Within half an hour, both batsmen had been bowled and by the time Ben's resistance had ended in a similar fashion the score was still paltry.
Simon and Ev gradually adjusted to the conditions and change bowlers, lifting the ball - and with it, hopes of a defendable total - towards if not over the boundary. After successfully keeping out good bowling, it was disappointing but perhaps predictable that several batsmen fell to bad balls, unable to snaffle their pies without making a mess and causing their unnecessary demise.
Still, the innings was starting to get some colour in its cheeks, largely thanks to Ev (for whom the boundary markers had been cruelly located to deny him a couple of sixes from lofty blows) aided by Kalu's positive intent and Gretch's plucky solidity. Unable to find the boundary himself, your correspondent resorted to giving the opposition catching practice while scampering up and down, eventually finding the middle, of the fielder's grateful hands.
The tail maintained occupation of the crease until the final over, with Rob not out and promising more, Rich and Joe talking to the ducks and the score on 129.
At tea, on being asked by the skipper to open the bowling, your correspondent stuffed some standard fayre white rolls and muffins aside for later and loosened his truss. Kalu echoed an unorthodox attack from the other end.
The Shepton Mallet opening pair had scored over a hundred against the Cowboys in the season's earlier encounter and with bowling conditions less favourable than they had been a few hours before, it was going to be a hard task to restrict their cavalier confidence. It might have been an idea to have hidden archers in the woods into which they despatched the unfortunate Kalu in his first and second overs. Sticking to a plan of spin from one end, the skip then brought DaveB into the attack but the young opposition batsmen continued to go aerial.
On the rare occasion that the batsmen made errors in mistiming drives from the other end, the chances proved too tricky to cling onto and although pads were struck and stumps shaved, the longed-for breakthrough wouldn't come. Rich bowled tidily and got some swing but when he found a top edge, Gretch appeared to step onto an imaginary roundabout from which he emerged with the ball gone to earth. Your correspondent bowled out his eight overs wondering whether the cause might be bettered by another option: We'd be blinkered, apathetic automatons if we didn't each favour different bowling strategies, but it falls to the skipper to plot the course and sometimes walk the plank.
It wasn't until late in the day that Joe brought himself and Rob on to bowl, to no avail, as both batsmen cruised past their fifties, overhauling their target in the twenty-third over.
Ev's innings of 44 deservedly won the majority of Man of the Match nominations and the Cider Moment was either Gretch spinning out, Ev not getting a six, or the moment we drove past the Shepton Mallet cider mill.