Cavaliers Cricket Club, Colchester, Essex, England

27 June 2010

Vinter Heroics in Vain

The 2nd XI losing streak continued with a home defeat at the hands of North Springfield (PDQ Div 4) in a fixture brought forward to Noon and reduced to 40 overs-a-side so as to accommodate "Fat Frank and co." at 3pm.

Having lost the toss on the one day they really could not afford to the home side were asked to field first. This was unfortunate on two counts, first on account of the sweltering conditions and second on account of the fact they faced the prospect of fielding the first half of the innings with only 9 men! (the 2nd XI Rustlers were seen to strike again late Friday evening)

As could have been predicted before the innings began it was to prove to be a very tough day in the field for the home side with the majority of the bowlers struggling to contain the visitors batting line up given the good pitch, lightening (and bumpy) outfield and the fact that one of the bowlers was Luke.

With the N Springfield openers having taken the score to 113 without loss in next to no time things were looking very bleak indeed thankfully Steve R in his first game of the season got the breakthrough courtesy of a catch behind. From there on wickets tumbled fairly regularly but the visitors were still able to pile on the runs despite excellent spells from Jim K (9-0-39-0) and latterly Rasa who having arrived belatedly at 1.30 had within an hour or so ended up one short of a richly deserved Pfeiffer (9-3-34-4).

Unfortunately for the Cavaliers the fall of wickets did not stem the tide of runs with Luke taking the brunt of the punishment going for a majestic 74 off just 9 overs [somewhat miraculously he did pick up three wickets - we think - out of sympathy].

At 2.50 with numerous parties fidgeting nervously both on and off the field in the hope of making it over to CUFC to be demoralised by Muller and co. the innings closed with the visitors making an impressive 247-9 (40 ov).

Faced with the biggest chase of the season, a depressed (though surprisingly sober) batting line up and recent performances the omens were not good for the home side - though the arrival of Jon R to aid the batting effort boosted morale somewhat.

The early loss of both openers saw Vinnie and Luke put the run chase on the back burner as they looked to consolidate. Refreshed from drinks and requiring a daunting 201 off 25 overs both batsmen went on the offensive albeit in slightly different styles (ie one with, one without - you decide). Boundaries began to flow and Vinnie returning to form duly brought up his half century in 67 balls. Having put on exactly 100 for the third wicket Luke (33) fell playing the slog sweep [note: with permission] at which stage the Cavaliers still required 140 off 16 overs - tough but by no means impossible.

Hopes for a successful run chase were dented somewhat with Rasa's rapid departure, however, Alex was soon helping out his skipper making a run-a-ball 22 before he like his brother was caught behind (183-5). Requiring 65 off 7 overs the visitors remained firm favourites but with Vinnie and Jon R at the crease optimism prevailed on the sidelines (sound familiar?)

Despite the obvious tension the N. Springfield bowlers maintained line and length admirably and in conjunction with defensive field placements and lengthy boundaries ensured neither batsman could pierce the ropes as often as was required. The home side finished an agonising 18 runs shy of what would have been a remarkable victory.

The defeat for the home side was tempered only be the innings of their skipper whom having entered proceedings at No3 in the very first over batted sensibly throughout and brought about a richly deserved century (115*) in what can only be described as a faultless innings scoring at almost a run a ball.

On a day of "might have been's" for both Fat Frank and the 2nd XI (?) one wonders what the outcome might have been had the Cavaliers been in a position to take to the field with 11 men, or just 10 for that matter.

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