A Gap In The Clouds
The Cup Team beat The Old England by 5 wickets. Jeff “The Fertile Plumber” reports thus.
It has been a while since The Easton Cowboys C C played The Old England/Bristol Sikhs in a competitive match, so Wednesdays rescheduled Butcombe Shield T20 at Harptree was a rare chance to gain serious bragging rights over our beloved long standing rivals from Montpelier. Many of the cricket team have been denied playing in recent weeks due to cancellations, so driving toward the Mendips on a sunny June evening promised anticipation and delight in equal measures.
Cowboys skipper Justin won the toss and opted to bowl on a fairly soft spongy wicket and may have been questioning his own decision slightly as Old E openers Josh Ward & Ferdy Brown got off to a flying start, filling their boots with boundaries as the ball stuck in the pitch a sat up nicely to be dispatched off the front foot. Some shoddy fielding and slight bafflement as to exactly how to effectively bowl (and in my case Keep Wicket) on the pudding pitch were letting the opposition start to run away with it and although Ev came on and tightened things up and Aran (Iggy’s Mate) bowled Ward with a peach, the first quarter of the match belonged to Old E. Their number 3 came in and carried on where the opener left off, but the fielding was improving, Justin was bravery itself fielding at silly mid-off had introduced Kahlu to the attack.
Now everyone was getting to grips with the pitch, the skipper brought on Wayne ‘Granpa’ Kelly from the other end. Now 3 days earlier Wayne had taken both MOM & Cider Moment for actions above and beyond to call of duty, whist skippering the Sunday 2nds to their first victory of the season. So we looked forward to the proper consistent line and length we have come to expect from him, in he came, over went the arm, lets go late, bounces once halfway down the track, bounces twice where the first bounce may have been?, swooosh goes the number 3′s mighty blade, misses, hits his foot which takes it over the popping crease, grubs along to finish hitting middle stump. Wayne looks embarrassed, we look delighted. That brought in their number 4, Iffy Hussain. He and the other opener continued to push on, and after nobody called for a skied dolly from the the later, which was dropped, it was with great relief that Kalou trapped the fellow plum LBW. The ball hitting his back foot in front of the stumps after swiping at, and missing a good length turning ball, left Guest Umpire Pagey with no choice but to lift the finger.
Old E wickets then started tumbling with Evan using the pitches unique properties to his advantage and clean bowling a couple of hastilly padded up victims. Wayne did get hit around a bit, including a couple of blows that clattered into hedgerows without bothering to touch the earth on their way. The batsman who hit the biggest of the sixes in question tried to repeat it next shot and was the subject of ‘Granpa’s revenge’ as Wayne bowled him out beautifully, one of two victims in that same over, both bowled. Old E veteran Andy Christie held his end up well in the tail to finish 12 not out, but all else fell around him. Kalou bowled out one with a grubber and there were two run outs. One by myself, whom learned a great deal that evening, in typical fashion, stopping byes down leg, with my box, scrambled to the ball and threw down the stumps from a couple of yards, faster than the poor batsman could scramble home.
Evan finishing the turnaround and their innings with quick work at Third Man, a pin point throw leaving me virtually nothing to do for the run out. That meant the Old E were denied the often punishing final over and the second quarter belonged to the Cowboy’s.
A quick smoking break later and Kahlu and Simon Strange strode manfully out to the middle to start the reply amongst the darkness and gloom that had begun to descend upon the arena. Darkness and gloom soon descended upon the on looking batsmen in waiting as well as those in the middle, as a slow start coupled with tumbling wickets saw us reduced to 14 for 4 after 7 overs. Iffy Hussain, whom opened the bowling showed his quality, eventually finishing with figures of 4 overs 2 maidens 4 runs 4 wickets to go with his useful 16 from the bat. Iffy also had three LBW decisions given by Pagey. Not the first time the words : decisions, Pagey, LBW and Iffy have been grouped together so I am told. Although to be fair neither Angelo nor Kahlu had any complaints, although to be fair they are both extremely philosophical gentlemen. Hussain also bowled Matt Caven for 3 so it was now for Rob Taylor to come out of the hutch at No. 6 to face their ace for his last 3 deliveries. He did so with a big, flat, straight piece of English willow to see out the over. Evan and Rob knew the task they had in front of them: 4 men down, almost half the overs gone and nearly 9 an over to win.
The Old E meanwhile had grabbed the third quarter of the match, stuffed it neatly into their pipes and smoked it. Change of bowlers and also weather, as the sun dropped below cloud level to bathe the field in warm light and long shadows. This was also the moment Ev decided to explode in action, smashing and dashing 16 off the over. Andy Christie came at Rob from the other end, but again straight balls were met with a big straight bat. Only not gentle like before. This time RT2 big size 12 front foot was being planted firmly forward, followed by fielders retrieving the ball from garden and car park both.
For the next half an hour a limited overs batting master class ensued. Both batsmen worked together to squeeze singles from the good balls and smiting the not so good beyond the boundary, in Rob’s case often straight over the rope. The running between the wickets was so good that the fielding side began to get frustrated and panic somewhat. This helped turn probable twos into run fours thanks to overthrows and men not backing up. This continued on and the watching Cowboys cheered and applauded each blast and thoughts of “what is the least we have ever been bowled out for?” were replaced with “we can win this!” As the evening sun sank in the western sky, hopes of an Old England victory were sinking via the power of the Easton Cowboy’s batsmen.
Ev was eventually stumped for a classy 45 coming down the track. He did turn and get his bat back down, but with Brian Salt umpiring at square leg completely unmoved, Evan decided to walk, showing even greater class. That meant our skipper Justin (who had remained calm and collected all game) needed to come to the crease and finish the job with Rob, that Evan had started. He did not disappoint, cracking a rapid 9 to take The Cowboys over the finishing line, with RT2 on a marvellous 43 Not Out, 8 balls to spare and 4 batsmen not required.
The match was played in a competitive yet good natured spirit throughout. Evan received Man of the Match for greatness in all 3 facets of the game and beer in the Plough tasted sweet with victory.
The Saturday Team beat top of the table Keynsham IV. TT Reports thus:
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.
The Friendly Team beat Frenchay. Brian reports thus:
Despite poor response from cowboys Brian Failded at team of three cowboys and one cowgirl plus members of Frampton Cotterell and Eric and his mote from the Old E !!
Frenchay fielded a youthfull team , the result being a closely fought match which was balanced with the pendelum swinging both ways. Batting first we achieved a total of 183 with a cameo opening spot fro Rich Groves and substantial scores from Frampton team members Ashley and Steve. DC2 and Rich (both taking a wicket) bowled economically at a time when Frenchay were starting to look like they were dangerously threatening our total. Tight Fielding and catching however saved the day, but with three overs to go and Frenchay needing twenty runs young Mathew from Frampton bowled a dangerous looking number nine and with their no. ten running himself out the victory was ours. Special mention for Amanda whose fearless fielding saved lots of runsand gave her a few bruises.
The other bonus is that Frampton are up for a evening 20/20 and Frenchay want a return match. Thanks to all those who turned up for our first victory over the Frenchies.
Both Sunday Teams lost and both were too depressed to write them up.
Sunday 1st Team Scorecard
Sunday 2nd Team Scorecard