Results From The Home Front And The Italian Campaign
Brendan has reported thus from Italy:
Easton Cowboys reached the last 12 at Mondiali Antirazzisti, beating gringos 3-2, and Azerbaijan on penalties, before narrowly losing out to Amici di Pablo. Amazing tournamant, brilliant atmosphere. Smashed it! 🙂
The Saturday Team lost to Stanton Drew 1st by 14 runs:
On a hillside amongst the patchwork Mendips, in view of the Iron Age hillfort Maes Knoll, the sweet smell of mown grass and clover in the air, the Cowboys took on Stanton Drew. The covers hadn’t been on the night before, apparently for fear of them blowing away, but despite the earlier deluge the pitch was playable.
As the Cowboys got it together, almost all of them showing some enthusiasm for warming up and fielding practice, the opposition captain rode up and down the wicket on a heavy roller, then over-egged the pudding a bit by trying to suggest to Budge that it was a batting wicket. Having won the toss, Joe was having none of it and gave the new ball to his bowlers – well, himself, downhill, with the wind behind him. Garner was left to take off uphill.
The combination of a left and right-handed opening pair kept the Cowboys on their toes in the field and tested the bowlers’ line. The score crept along at around three an over but when the breakthrough hadn’t come by the eighth over, Budge replaced himself with Evan who promptly got a wicket with his first ball when the batsman drove and Kalu took a smart catch. The following ball, the incoming batsman did exactly the same as his predecessor but Kalu was unable to take an almost identical chance. He went some way to atoning for that by coming on to bowl a maiden with his first over and getting the batsman a short while later, thanks to a good catch from Joe.
An even better, Cider Moment catch eventually came, when BenP dived and clung on and rolled and came up celebrating close to the boundary, where the batsman had tried to loft Kalu.
The score crept along, never too threatening but persistent, aided at times by some deficiency of due care in the field and not helped by the refusal of all LBW appeals. The bowlers – your correspondent included – continued to be tested by the left/right-hand partnership, gradient and stiff breeze. In a return spell, Joe removed the middle order, via catches from Kalu and Angelo, and finally the left-hander for sixty, thanks again to a good catch from Garner after Roger’s return to bowling hadn’t borne fruit.
The return of your correspondent up the hill prevented the tail from wagging, but after all forty overs, the score had crept marginally above four an over to end on 162 for 8.
A fine tea, including giant baguettes, kept the Cowboys quiet during the break, after which Angelo created an extra quiet zone in the dressing room for some kip while Iggy and Paul went out to bat and solitary spectator Duncan got his binoculars out.
While the bowler from one end bowled consecutive maidens, the one from the other bowled first Iggy, then Paul and in his sixth over Ben: Within a dozen overs the Cowboys were 26 for 3, then 37 for 4 when Alan’s resistance ended and he was bowled by the change bowler from the top end.
For the next ten overs, Ev’s reliability and stout defence partnered by Kalu’s intent and stroke play lifted the run rate above five an over and put the innings back on track. When Ev was the fifth consecutive Cowboy to be bowled with the score on 96 for 5, Angelo’s alarm clock went off and he found himself at the wicket but his feet were still asleep and he was LBW for a duck.
Your correspondent had been in the duck pond on his last outing and had no wish to return. Kalu, who’d earlier flicked a ball over the rope behind square for a perfectly timed six, was playing one of his finest innings and in between the well-run singles and twos he cleared the ropes again on his way to his first half century for the Cowboys. The opposition captain barked his orders incessantly and a few got shirty about wides. A new bowler came into the attack and without advancing his score, Kalu mistimed a pull and was caught: Fifty runs to get, ten overs and three wickets left.
Joe came in and was bowled for a single, Roger was caught behind off the returning opening bowler without scoring and now the Cowboys needed a run a ball for seven overs, the opposition, one wicket. Garner helped keep the dream alive and in the process hit the ball high in the air and hurt a child underneath, as the last pair scurried between the stumps. The required run rate crept up, but only just, until with two overs to go and fifteen runs to get, very regrettably your correspondent misjudged an on drive and was caught and bowled, stranding Garner not out at the other end.
Most from both teams then adjourned to the Druid’s Arms and garden behind, as the sun hit the Cove of standing stones and Kalu was voted Man of the Match for another great all round performance.
The Sunday Team beat Failand & Portbury CC by 3 wickets. Dunc reports thus:
The day is set fair with only a whisper of a breeze titillating the lush outfield emblazoned by full mid-summer sunshine at Horse Race Lane, the tucked away home of Failand and Portbury. The Easton Cowboys Sunday 1sts arrived with a last chance of securing another away victory for the season against a side whose grit and never-say-die attitude has given us many a tough game and has this year taken points against the Bristol Indians, no mean feat.
Upon winning the toss, Bolts palmed his double headed coin back into a deep pocket and announced his intention to field. Result, as the pitch was damp in parts and decidedly green. Omar and Rob had the downhill and uphill respective tasks of opening and Omar rose to the challenge with pace, bounce, a dodgy gleaming white headband, and then immediate reward as foe opener fizzed a catch to Jim Pitcher at square leg with no score on the fancy electronic scoreboard. Rob struggled a bit and then some more and was duly replaced by Mark W who floated the first ball in, which was thwacked in the air straight to Dave T waiting in the shade of a tree. Dave looked dismayed as he could only help the ball across the line on one bounce for four. Mark stoically got on with it, and ball after ball on a good line and length applied pressure to the now cautious batsmen. Omar removed the number three with a simple caught and bowled routine before passing the Headband of Bowling Power to Hidayatt whose usual speed and control was apparent, with edges and singles being the bulk of the scoring shots.
The run rate was thusfar never fast, and pushing it on proved perilous as Dean caught an Easy Peasy dolly at mid-wicket to remove their skipper and Justin, between commentary, did the same sending an aggressive left hander packing without scoring. At 65-4 the innings has not really got going, but Bolts and old codger cowboys alike know that complacency is an unerring bedfellow for failure, and to allow it between the sheets for so much as a sniff of action would be insufferable. Bring on The Vice, Dean to replace Mark’s unusually wicketless but 2/over spell. With Hidayatt finally being driven to the boundary by their keeper/batsman and a brief spell of aggression from a stalwart Chris Smith batting, the run rate took an upward slope, reaching three figures. A well pitched up ball from Deano was unluckily edged onto the stumps, but it seemed like fair reward for an increasingly tight spell of bowling.
Bring on Failand’s true maverick, Mr. Harrison, whose firebrand intent was immediate. Was this to be a turning point? Well, in a way indeed it was as the cowboys finally got their man Smith who, having reached 54, contracted the aggression bug. A good catch from a rocket shot which never got higher than Rob’s chest, the young man on the square leg boundary pouching with no mistake. It is worth mentioning here that the upslope square boundary is about 30 yards from the crease, making it an inviting target for cross-batted riskiness. A rare bowling performance from your author, strangely tighter than his own wallet, and constant verbal badgering from Justin frustrated and wound up the lower middle order. At the other end, Rob returns and is dispatched by Neil Harrison. Although taking a wicket in this spell, Rob had the yips, and tried but couldn’t find the rhythm required to round off the innings. Omar had suffered a truly terrifying blood blister to the right first finger, thus keeping him out of the death attack. The innings concluded on a respectable but very gettable 178.
Tea, sandwiches and fags dutifully guzzled, scoffed and puffed, the Cowboys set about their task with the willow.
Neil and Justin took no time signalling their strategy with smart calling and running. This plan of attack was working well, and a couple of healthy boundaries augmented the scampering, keeping the run rate very competitive indeed. All things must pass, and Bolts, having quickly reached 34, attempted another hoist over the leg side infield. He fell short by a few joules of clout, and was caught at mid-wicket. With Justin in some good form, Mark joined the fray but was unable to fully capitalise. In an attempt to do so was stumped on 11 by the determined and competent keeper. Enter yours truly, not in the form of the early season. After a scratchy few overs which included edging a pull to the stood-up keeper’s face removing a crowned tooth, our no.4 was back in the hutch thanks to a poor sweep shot top edge. It wasn’t long before Dave T, much to his disappointment and chagrin, was strangled down the leg side, very well taken by the keeper. The score was 105/4, and nerves beyond the boundary ropes were beginning to jangle. Now Justin is accompanied by Jimmy Pitcher, in great jug avoiding touch for the seconds in recent weeks. A raw full-faced batting onslaught against a potentially very miserly attack ensued. The pairing push on until Justin, on 54, just couldn’t quite keep out a full straight ball. Hidayatt replaced him and instantly kept the total rolling. One square cut off the returning opening bowler was absolutely wonderful to watch from this writer’s position at square leg umpire. One couldn’t help spontaneous applause. Jim ‘Dick Turpin’ Pitcher had now plundered enough runs to reduce the asking rate down from around 6.5 to about 4/over. Distant echoes of unthinkable defeat were fading fast, but J.P. skied a pull to the deep and paid the price. A twist in the tail perhaps? Rob T2 marched purposefully to the crease, and made amends for his earlier tatty bowling show by striking a very brisk 9 runs. With the scores now tied, in an attempt to blaze the winning runs in style, Rob promptly unbalanced himself in the midst of another full on swipe , and fell backwards on his arse and all over the stumps. It was an ignominious end to a cameo of great effect. Omar, next up, just struck his first attempt to mid-wicket for a simple single. The Cowboys have snatched a good win amid cheers from the clubhouse veranda which were rather more than slightly tinged with the pungent whiff of relief.
Thanks to Failand who were always in the game, always wanted to win, and proffered us a decent pint and friendly chat afterwards.
Ding dong. The Sunday 2nd Team lost to Portway and their ringers.
There follows a report from last weekend by Dunc on the game where the Sunday 1st Team lost to Bristol Indians by 7 wickets:
Combe Dingle Sports Complex may sound like a nasty series of injuries which can bruise the spirit of any lochinvar, but it actually houses a trio of greenswards and nestles in the leafy suburbs North of our fair city.
Batting on a pale but slightly tufty strip, Bolts must know a depleated side had a tough task on it’s hands this Sunday against an unbeaten side of great repute.
At 22 in the first few overs, no losses against our name, it all seems quite normal. But then, Justin’s eyes lit up with another short ball, wide enough to cut over the point region. Sadly, to the waiting fielder instead of clearing him, and J is striding off with a single to his name. Not long after, Mark suffers what was to become a familiar fate, bowled by a quick ball with a bit of movement. Back from intercontinental exploits, your scribe is not up to scratch and cannot break the shackles of fast bowling. After a cracking straight drive from the pages of the textbooks, Bolts had a go at a wide half volley but skewed it almost straight to a grateful square point, who was rather chuffed to take a good low catch. Dave F, Rob T2 and Aaron are all victims of straight quick bowling within minutes of each other. Sahil Patel then added one of five victims to the ‘W’ column, namely my self, bowled through the gate. The Cowboys were now a pathetic 50 runs up for 7 wickets down and staring down a fully loaded double-barrelled blasting. Though Dean struck valiantly, there were no quarters given by a very good bowling attack, and our vice captain was left stranded on 5 by a tail of Omar, Jeff and Sayed.
Six ducks, three of them golden. 55 all out in 17 overs in any game is a very poor show.
All that was left now was to come out on the attack in full realisation that an absolute miracle of near biblical proportion needed to unfurl for anything other than miserable crushing defeat to ensue.
Never let it be said that hope and belief are painless. Sayed struck a blow in his over, bowling their number 2 who was busy watching the clouds instead of the straight ball.
Omar took his wicket next, full and straight again the order of the day for success. At 14 for 2 there is a tiny pinprick of light at the end of a short tunnel. Reality soon took a hold of the proceedings again as a stand of 33 put any chance of astonishing victory to bed. Though it was satisfying for Rob T2 to get his deserved wicket, again clean bowled, with a mere 7 runs to play with, the inevitable was just around the corner. Final victory by 7 wickets came in the 15th over of the Bristol Indian innings.
The game was done well before 5pm, which left us plenty of time to enjoy tea, a swift half, and for my self, an early bath at home.
I have it on good authority there was not much joy at the debrief.