Cavaliers Cricket Club, Colchester, Essex, England

16 August 2009

Simon Says...

The Cavaliers 2nd XI duly put their defeat at the hands of St.Osyth the day before behind them with a four wicket victory away to Cressing.

Luke again deputising for Paul kept up his 100% record for losing the toss and the home side opted to bat on what looked to be an "interesting" pitch likely to deteriorate rapidly as the day progressed. Hoping to chase a small total the opening bowlers Dale & Rasa did not disappoint as they soon had the home side on the ropes collecting the first three wickets in double quick time. It was however apparent to all that Rasa was simply too quick with the new ball on a pitch that was breaking up and offering uneven bounce and so it was that Rasa's opening stint was ended prematurely as Luke opted to take a little pace off (for fear of injury) and introduced debutant Steve Reynolds into proceedings and the left armer bowled some excellent deliveries in his maiden five over spell and can consider himself unlucky not have picked up a wicket. Alex, struggling a little from his efforts the previous day, replaced Dale at the scrap yard end for a quick three over spell and though a tad expensive did pick up the key wicket of Barefield (30) thanks to an excellent catch at midwicket by Cavaliers' other debutant Craig Finch. It was at this point that the Cressing batters began to recover and accelerate the run rate and with the new ball having been lost and subsequently replaced with a far softer ball Rasa was soon brought back into the attack and with immediate effect dismissing the determined Bailey (17). Jon was subsequently asked by his skipper to bowl at normal pace and he didn't disappoint as he clean bowled the dangerous Lane (39) with an excellent delivery ... with the introduction of the very young Elwis both Rasa & Jon sportingly reverted to spin which proved nothing other than a) Rasa bowls as fast off one pace as he does ten and b) Elwis has a bright future in cricket. With Rasa struggling to control his pace Craig came on to bowl his first overs of slow left arm and was perhaps unlucky to end up bowling to Grimwood who having seemingly run out of partners had no choice but to go for his shots subsequently dispatching Craig to all corners in his second over forcing Luke's hand in bringing Rasa back into the attack again with instantaneous results as he removed Elwis. Once Jon had bowled Grimwood (43) the innings was soon wrapped up as Jon collected a further two wickets returning final figures of 9.1-0-20-4 surpassed only by Rasa who despite having had his spells shortened still maintained sufficient ryhtym and control to return figures of 7-3-13-4, the home side's innnings ending with the score on 182 off just over 36 overs.

183 was undoubtedly a significant total to chase on a pitch that was always likely to prove to be something of a leveller but on a small ground and with a strong looking batting line up a successful run chase was perhaps odds-on. However, the quick departures of both openers left the visitors struggling though Rasa quickly turned defence into attack supported briefly by Luke who then fell playing across the line (again) putting the Cavaliers onto the back foot once more. With Rasa soon following the stand-in skipper back to the pavilion for a well played 31 and Jon dismissed soon thereafter the Cavaliers were undoubtedly teetering at 55-5 and in need of some special contributions from those lower down the order. With Simon joined in the middle by Dan and with roles quickly established the Cavaliers keeper proceeded to play his best innings for the Cavaliers thus far as he closed out his own end allowing Simon to build his own innnings without the need to take any undue risks. As Simon increasingly found the boundary the home side's confidence began to wane and the prospect of a seemingly unlikely victory began to seem possible... with the sixth wicket pair having put on an excellent stand of 72 Dan (12) finally succumbed to the pitch as much as the bowling leaving the visitors at 127-6. Thus still requiring a further 56 for victory and Simon in full swing the onus fell to debutant Steve to assume Dan's role and support his more established batting partner as best he could this he did and with some aplomb defending the good balls and despatching the bad to the boundary (including a particularly nice six over deep midwicket) and so it was the the pair saw the Cavaliers home with ease, Simon bringing up a fautless half century ending unbeaten on 72 and Steve ending unbeaten on 24, a sterling effort on debut.

An odd game if truth be told down in no small part to the pitch but undoubtedly played in the right spirit for a Division Five clash ... special mention to Cressing who should take great confidence from their performance here which was in truth a marked improvement on the performance earlier in the season at the Rugby Club and this depsite missing half a dozen regulars and their normal skipper. We wish them well both for the remainder of this season and the next.

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