Wednesday, August 31, 2011
Monday, August 29, 2011
Sunday, August 28, 2011
Saturday, August 27, 2011
Easton Cowboys C.C. Saturday XI v Keynsham C.C. 3rd XI
The young scorer who accompanied the top of the table Keynsham 3rd XI was quite forthright in explaining the make-up of his team (not to suggest that they were all wearing mascara): Apparently, some of them usually played for the 2nd XI but "hadn't been doing very well" and had been demoted, thereby altering the appearance of the side that the Cowboys had managed to beat back in June.
Still, the Cowboys had a new addition too, welcoming back Gary for the first time this season, to significantly enhance an already pukka team playing their penultimate game of the season and still in with a chance of promotion from Division 3.
Torrential rain the previous night had left the wicket at the Fry's ground like an undercooked chocolate sponge. Winning the toss was paramount. Losing it was unfortunate.
Ev and Justin opened the batting and kept the ball out for the first few overs, grabbing a single now and then until Ev lost his off stump. The following over, Ben lost his leg stump and when Alan went to a faint edge in the next one, 17-3 wasn't a good place to be.
After ten overs, Gary and Justin had pushed on to a healthier 30-3, the former masterfully lashing the ball to the boundary several times but then Justin fell and RichG entered stage left. A promising partnership ensued, Gary riding his luck in being dropped two or three times, although bizarrely, it was his good fortune that led to Garner's downfall, when a catch that everybody assumed would be taken was labouriously dropped, by which time Garner at the non-striker's end had turned to stare at the trees, out of his ground and was run out from behind. Not so much a Cider Moment as a Mogadon Moment.
Just before the halfway stage, the Cowboys were 51-5 and in need of some watchful, applied batting to last the distance. It didn't really come. Gary finally holed out, Joe and Gretch tried their best, your correspondent managed to bat out a few overs without hitting the ball off the square until attempting a heave he took a divot out of the chocolate sponge with the bat before lamely connecting with the ball and sending it back to the bowler. Neither Rog nor Rob troubled the scorer much either and the Cowboys' innings spluttered out in the 30th over with only 59 on the board.
It wasn't even considered practical to take tea between the innings, partly because the urn wouldn't have been switched on yet. This could have been a tactical error, as a long walk back to the pavilion and some protracted teamanship might have opened the window on some dark clouds, heavy rainfall and match abandonment.
On the other hand, not being one to mess about and with the wicket still giving a lot of assistance to the bowler, Joe led the Cowboys out to defend the meagre total, hoping for some early inroads into the Keynsham batting line-up.
The left and right-handed opening pair looked solid and powerful, attacking the bowling from the start and punishing the occasional bad, and good, ball.
Joe bowled tidily into the wind, eventually inducing the right-hander into a top-edged pull, the ball looping and spinning high towards square leg where your correspondent was not going to spill it. Roger took a far less regulation catch a while later and earned some Cider Moment nominations for a blinding one-handed diving pluck at a ball driven off Ev's bowling. Your hack had a go after Joe and found the seam movement and swing rare and exciting, but although beating the bat (in between the boundaries) and demanding nods of appreciation from the opposition batsman, he couldn't dislodge him. Gary threatened with the ball too, back in the groove and generating pace from a few steps, thumping the ball into Gretch's swift hands but unable to halt the Keynsham progress.
To be frank, the reporter didn't look at the scoreboard once since shortly before the end of the Cowboys' innings, so unpleasant was the sight: It had been a burden, literally, ever since he'd had to carry it from its usual home at Frenchay several hours earlier (although car transport was also involved). At the time of writing the score hasn't been posted on the website, nor is the scorebook available, but suffice to say, Keynsham reached their target in the 13th over, inflicting an eight wicket defeat and heavy blow to the Cowboys after five wins on the trot.
Refusing to fade away quietly, they returned to the nearby Keynsham home ground, where Gary was voted Man of the Match and the entire team was fined at least once for being rubbish. Post-match analysis continued long into the night for some back at The Plough, one conclusion being that it all went wrong the moment that someone started singing Phil Collins.
Thursday, August 25, 2011
Tuesday, August 23, 2011
Monday, August 22, 2011
Saturday, August 20, 2011
Easton Cowboys C.C. Saturday XI v Churchways C.C. 1st XI
With Angelo reportedly by the side of a motorway somewhere having lost his car in a plume of smoke and Kalu inexplicably AWOL, there were a few last minute tweaks to the Saturday XI to play Churchways at Frenchay: Hats off to Wilko and Justin for stepping in and maintaining the fine pedigree of a side still daring to dream of promotion.
Rain arrived around the same time as the opposition who, having won the toss, took a further half an hour to make their minds up while the drizzle fell, eventually deciding, rather peculiarly, to bat.
Budge hared down the hill, theoretician Garner up it, initially strangling the left and right handed batsmen as they tried to get to grips with the swing and vagaries of the pitch. A couple of boundaries raced away across the customarily fast outfield before Ev snapped up a catch in the gully off Garner to make the breakthrough.
It was DaveB whose ornithological interests were first aroused when he noticed an additional fielder on the square, snacking on grass seed. Unaware of the heavy penalties for twitching, the small white and red streaked bird (Crested Zebra Finch?) was soon surrounded by several large white and red streaked humans and sensibly rediscovered its power of flight when Rog 'Birdman of Frenchay' tried to pick it up. Fines for all involved.
Ev replaced the skipper from the top end and commenced bowling one of his most miserly spells to date (eventually going for only nine runs from his eight overs) removing the second opener thanks to Wilko at slip, who later pouched another chance off Garner to have the opposition three wickets down around the time of the drinks interval.
A freak occurrence won several Cider Moment nominations when a ball from Ev passed through the batsman and clipped the top of the bails but left them intact. No glue was found to be present.
RobT ensured that he hit the stumps more directly to bowl Churchways' captain cheaply, then took a catch off the bowling of your correspondent who'd been allowed to skip in down the hill. When Rog trapped the highest scorer to date LBW with a fuller ball, it looked like the opposition might be restricted to not much more than a hundred.
Disconcertingly, the lower order batsmen had other plans and the run rate that had been at below three an over rose significantly as the boundary was found regularly and chances and half chances went to ground. Alan took a catch to ensure that the tail didn't wag too violently, Roger bowled the No.7 and after 40 overs, the opposition No.8 remained unbeaten on 45, from an innings total of 154-8. It was still a modest total for Frenchay, by a side whose strengths purportedly lay in batting
Tea was served by butlers under Garners direction, hand-delivered from Fortnum & Mason's and comprising only the most intelligent deceased animals, a fine wedge of stilton and grapes. Possibly shocked by the absence of cakes and muffins (as many understandably were) DaveB didn't open the batting but walked about looking confused as Wilko and Ev went out to face the music just before six o'clock.
The innings started slowly but all was well until Wilko, having reached double figures, wafted at a wide one and looped the ball up to deep point. BenP joined Ev and by the 17th over the score was a healthily poised 55-1, both batsmen looking in fine and stylish form, glancing, cutting, driving and pulling an array of shots out of the bag. At the halfway stage it had moved on to 68-1 but soon after, Ben pivoted, played back and was adjudged LBW by the presiding Garner for a very useful 33. Alan, sporting a fetching pink hat this week, walked out to bat as the evening drew in.
Having bowled out their overs, the fairly economical opening pair was replaced by an oddly rotated assortment with which the batsmen had few problems. The partnership accumulated runs until a shout of 'great shot' was a little premature as Ev cracked a full toss, allegedly a trap, to the mid-wicket boundary fielder and was out for 28. The same bowler soon got one through DaveB, whose earlier ornithological interests now extended to duck territory.
Justin, now rested from valiant keeper tumbling duties, was a confident late entrant at No.6, intent on seeing it through, joining Alan who appeared composed and capable, whatever lurked beneath. The hundred came up with a wide around the 30th over, the required run rate now up to five after a couple of maidens.
A couple of boundaries in quick succession soon put a dent in the target, but it was getting increasingly dark and there was rain in the air. With seven overs remaining, 27 runs were required. Two runs came off the next over and the rain became heavier. Churchways had little fight left but Alan, on cue, had plenty, lofting a six over long-on for a Cider Moment and bringing victory closer. A total of twelve came from the over, leaving just thirteen needed from five overs: A piece of cake - missing from earlier. The rain eased, a rainbow glowed through a murky sky.
Four overthrows won the match for the Cowboys on the first ball of the 38th over, the batting partnership undefeated in a six wicket victory, Justin not out 20. Alan was voted Man of the Match for his innings of 44 not out, Ev's bowling, batting and catching had been commendable too.
Friday, August 19, 2011
Wednesday, August 17, 2011
Tuesday, August 16, 2011
Saturday, August 13, 2011
Wrington C.C. 2nd XI v Easton Cowboys C.C. Saturday XI
The Saturday bunch headed out past Bristol Airport to Wrington. For those unfamiliar with this particular North Somerset parish, a quick look at a Wikipedia entry from last year, allegedly written by a Cowboy who was absent from the match this weekend, would have told you the following:
"Although a lovely village, Wrington cricket ground can be susceptible to it's own little micro climate and suffers from showers and floods and all types of weather and geological conditions, although earthquake and volcano have not occurred in the last few seasons, they are arguably the only reasons left to postpone games. These events normally happen at times of crunch matches and when promotion hopes are high. sometimes they only occur against formidable opposition. they are very localised events, cricket continues most saturdays and sundays in a lot of the surrounding area without a whiff of bad weather, flood poverty or pestilence. My advice to the visitor is to watch your cricket at another village ground if you're after a fair days cricket, if you're a travelling cricket team to have your whits and wellies about you as they'll be up to all shenanigans on and off the field. umbrellas at dawn!"
The doors to both dressing rooms were plastered with freshly printed sheets of paper detailing the nuances of acceptable and unacceptable sporting language, gesture and behaviour, adding to the tension inherited from previous encounters and Wikipedia hacking, although in reality, there were no problems for those who didn't go looking or question umpires' decisions.
After Joe lost the toss, the Cowboys found themselves batting first on a slightly damp and pockmarked wicket, under a slate grey sky. DaveB and Ev faced the new ball and worked hard at keeping out the opening attack, negotiating the variable swing and bounce and finding it difficult to hit the ball off the square. In fact, it was one of the slowest starts to an innings all season and after ten overs there were only fifteen runs on the board. More importantly, there had been no damage from the opening salvo. Oh! Dave's out, caught forcing the pace.
Kalu joined Ev in the middle and after initial caution, the runs started to flow more easily. Ev was then bowled by the first change bowler, bringing BenP to the wicket and together the unbeaten pair from last week built a steadily accelerating partnership, running well and finding the boundary with pleasing regularity. After putting on more than fifty, it all ended in tears when Ben was run out for twenty.
Iggy was caught early on, one of some thirty - or more - catching opportunities presented by both sides throughout the afternoon, much less than half of which (mostly the difficult ones) were taken. Alan came in and provided the perfect foil for Kalu, both looking in cracking form as they welded another partnership against a slightly thin bowling attack, before Kalu was bowled for thirty.
With five wickets down the run rate was now a healthy three an over, climbing rapidly as Ange took full advantage of the balls remaining, finding the middle of the bat and clouting a top score of 34 in quick time as Alan stroked stylishly from the other end. After Ange was bowled, Rog was run out cheaply trying to scamper and maintain the positive momentum against an opposition who by now were snapping at their own heels. Garner went in to hold Alan's hand for a brief while until the end and the well paced collective innings concluded after 40 overs on an above par 166-7 with Alan 26 not out.
After a good though perhaps tactically heavy tea, which wasn't as your correspondent initially suspected laced with ketamine, the Cowboys took to the field, Alan in a fetching / fineable orange 'Mani' hat. Swifts flew inches above the ground, darting about successfully catching insects, utterly unlike the fielding display soon to unfold.
Although one of the regular opposition opening pair (the leading run scorer in the division) was absent, the other, their skipper (also highly productive this season) wasn't. Budge and Garner opened the bowling and apart from rare exceptions kept things tight but couldn't make a breakthrough. That's the trouble with bowling well and making the ball swing. It wasn't until Ev replaced Budge that the young opener was out caught.
>> Note to self: Data absent
>> Insert Appendix detailing all catches taken and dropped; go easy on Rog and Iggy, praise the skipper.
>> Those who didn't stay in The Plough until closing time will be less likely to be suffering amnesia.
Replacing Garner, your correspondent forgot to let go of his first delivery then noticed that he could have run out the non-striker by yards. He didn't, more concerned with the possibility that he'd forgotten how to bowl. He was soon taught an early lesson by having a reasonably good ball clattered to cow corner, where the Friesian spectators chewed. (Other non bovine spectators included Jeff and SteveO - the latter may have some photographic plates of the occasion.)
Not long after, the pinioned new batsman messed up a drive and Budge had a second, tastier catch. He plucked a third after Rog overcame initial radar difficulties and the batsman favoured the aerial route. Kalu beguiled with flight and accidental googlies, earning respect from batsmen falling behind with their run rate and prompting the fall of the next wicket, when Garner swooped to pouch a rebound from Iggy's slippery hands, and in so doing was a worthy winner of the Cider Moment.
The opposition skipper remained, steadily accumulating, reaching his half century as his partners came and went. The Cowboys' skipper rotated the six bowlers expertly, showing a fine head for mathematics. Field positioning was crucial, as was Ange's diving behind the stumps. Alan took a great catch on the long-on boundary, where he appeared little more than an orange dot in the fading light by the hedgerow.
Wrington, bar their captain, were crumbling, despite all the dropped catches, yet they weren't out of the game. Unperturbed by the ability to swing the ball, your correspondent bowled straight and hit the stumps. Budge's fourth catch off Ev at long-off was sublime, as the batsman threatened to chase a run a ball for the last few overs, then, achieving some kind of poetic justice, Ev aptly bowled the batsman who'd previously bowled him.
In the dusk, from some distance, the scoreboard was deceptive and it was unnerving to discover that 38 overs gone was actually 36. Their captain was looking like carrying his bat and possibly capable of achieving their target as Rog sought to contain him, but in the 38th over Ben made no mistake with a fine diving catch and he was dismissed for 73. Not even unexpected localised seismic activity could save Wrington now: Game over, victory by 20 runs.
Budge's catching and captaincy won him an equal share of the Man of the Match vote with the embedded hack who acquired a small clutch of wickets.
Monday, August 08, 2011
Saturday, August 06, 2011
Bath C.C. 4th XI v Easton Cowboys C.C. Saturday XI
Arriving at the Brownsword ground in Lansdown, the well-organised opposition appeared to be going through their exercise routines in the far distance. On closer inspection, they were in fact much nearer, but mostly tiny.
With Budge away at Eastnor Castle for the weekend, RT1 took the helm, lost the toss on what looked like a fine batting wicket bathed in sunshine and was asked to bowl.
The opposition captain, one of the few adults in the team, opened the batting with a very competent colt. Together they proved solid against RT1 and Ev's opening overs, finding the boundary several times across a fast outfield. Rob bowled a particularly tight line but it was Ev who was unlucky to have their skipper dropped to a diving chance at point when barely in double figures.
Disconcertingly, the same batsman developed a propensity for hitting a good length ball on off stump across the line, behind square to the boundary. After ten overs Bath were 40-0 and Ev's usual tight rein on the runs had been loosened, so RT1 decided to bring on a bowler who'd been spanked for eight an over last week.
Fortunately, the muscle memory or whatever kicked in and he bowled a tidy line and length which didn't get clobbered, at first, but then their skipper lashed out successfully across the line into a vacant leg-side field to the boundary. It was a risky but effective shot. The ball wasn't swinging and there was little movement off the pitch. In the 17th over he reached his fifty with a six over mid-wicket and the bowler was not amused. Two balls later he attempted something similar and was bowled to much relief.
Rog had replaced RT1 at the other end but not initially mirrored his economy. The new batsman hit an early boundary but the next over Simon covered ground to pouch a great catch - the Cider Moment if memory serves. Rog then immediately struck, trapping the remaining opener LBW and when he removed the incoming batsman in the same manner for a duck in his next over, the screw was starting to tighten on the opposition.
The next batswoman distracted a few Cowboys, not only for the rumour that she'd played at a national level and it fell to your correspondent to, er, tie her down. Eventually, in her attempt to break free, she clipped a ball to leg and was half way down the wicket before she realised that she'd been sent back: Calm proficient fielding and keeping ran her out by miles.
In six overs, the Cowboys had taken five wickets for thirteen runs and reduced Bath to 89-5. Kalu then came on to bowl and without getting much turn, took the remaining five, four of them ducks, in a spell of 5 for 10 causing the innings to capitulate to 113 all out in the 35th over. Given the regularity with which he is mentioned in these despatches, suffice to say it was a fine mopping up job, aided and abetted by keen attention to field placement and a couple of regulation catches. The fielding had been close to excellent, Gretch had coped admirably behind the stumps with a back injury and opinion was divided as to whether batting conditions or performances had deteriorated as the afternoon had unfolded.
Tea was taken just as the rain arrived and sandwiches were postponed as the covers were rolled into place. There were brighter skies in the distance and after an extra wedge of fine fruitcake the showers passed and the Cowboys' innings commenced.
The opening bowling appeared fairly friendly and batsmen Ev and DaveB looked comfortable until the latter fell on the offensive to a sharp catch in the covers, bringing BenP to the wicket. The score ticked along nicely, both batsmen looking in good form, playing straight and picking off the bad ball. The bowling was rotated frequently but rarely threatened and the fifty came up in the 14th over, just as it had for the opposition. The partnership was looking invincible when Ben imagined a second run which Ev had no chance of finding and was run out on n-n-n-n-nineteen.
Simon looked at home and capable of reproducing the bludgeoning witnessed in the nets, until bowled by the wicketkeeper who had taken her pads off to come into the attack. When Iggy was well caught in the covers the following over, that familiar nerve jangled for an instant, despite the depth of the batting to come, but with only thirty runs required, six wickets in hand and Ben and Kalu at the crease, Bath were about to be rinsed.
Ben brought up (not last night's curry) his fifty with a boundary having made the most of a good wicket in a near chanceless innings while Kalu got in on the act and smote three boundaries, both remaining not out and earning Man of the Match nominations for their respective superlative roles in the game as the Cowboys comfortably crossed the line in the 26th over.
Returning to the main ground in the city for a pint, the Cowboys reflected on the afternoon's play and as the match in front of them concluded, dared to imagine the possibility of playing in a higher division.