14.5.2004 Whitley Bridge

WILKINSON’S WICKETS NOT ENOUGH FOR CANNY CASUALS

Casuals      162 for 7 off 40 overs

Whitley Bridge 164 for 8 off 39.1 overs

Crossland E. – 23 Cooper I. – 47 Cleave – 31 Brown – 20 Larner – 11

Cooper I. – 1 for 19 off 4 Cooper D. – 1 for 17 off 4

Ward – 1 for 16 off 2 Wilkinson – 5 for 26 off 8.1

Crossland W. – 0 for 20 off 7 Larner – 0 for 8 off 1

Sam Wilkinson, despite a magnificent personal bowling effort, had his dream of winning here for the first time shattered as ‘bridge’ knocked off a decent Casuals total with 5 balls to spare.

Casuals batted first. Ian Cooper and Duncan Cleave built on Ed Crossland and Paul ‘Nosser’ Brown’s confident opening stand. In there somewhere Will briefly attended the crease for an innings which will not have pencil manufacturers rubbing their hands in glee at the sight of their sales figures.

Duncan arrived looking rough and uneven. Whilst waiting to bat he lay on a boundary bench in some futile hope of reversing what had gone on the night before – a latter day Denis Compton. He perked up for the beginning of his innings and then started poking and scraping, presumably having resumed his catnap. On 31 he shook himself, took a mighty swipe, but unlike his mentor who would have cleared the surrounding housing estate, he holed out at deep midwicket. As he returned to the pavilion there was something about him that suggested he had made a mistake with his shot selection.

162 can win it some weeks. Other weeks it doesn’t. Despite being behind the rate earlier on in their reply, Whitley were always in touch. As they entered the last ten over acceleration Wilkinson capitalised on his mostly reliable line and length, four of his victims clean bowled. Bill Crossland was the other pick of the bowlers for little reward. He would have been even more miserly if Walker had bent his back at third man, but rumour had it he was a tad cleaved (see footnote). Your correspondent is endebted to Bill for inserting this important event into his match notes whilst he wasn’t looking. The rest of the fielding was outstanding. Duncan, Will and Ed could not be faulted.

A word about The Cooper Brothers. Well its a sentence actually, in case Rupert reads this. They are very promising young cricketers.

Footnote   Cleave – verb. to feel rough and uneven, usually in direct proportion to the amount of shiraz consumed the night before. Colloquially referred to as feeling like a turkish wrestler’s jockstrap or a gorilla’s armpit. Also looking like one.

LIVELY LARNER HAS WINTERED WELL

Last Sunday at Eggborough, fresh from winter coaching in Yorkshire’s nets, a rejuvenated Stuart Larner turned out for his first game of the 2004 Casuals season.

His helmeted innings started with the conventional forward press, but pretty soon we saw boundaries from the slog-sweep, initially pioneered by Lance Kleusener but now taken to a new height by Stuart. Higher still the lob wedge to short midwicket and finally the classic thick top edge to backward of square. 11 runs and pleased as punch.

But it didn’t stop there. Following the tea interval, Stuart showed us the discipline it takes to play at his level. Twice round the square and several stretches had jaws dropping in the pavilion – making way for the last pieces of chocolate cake.

Then his over of slow off spin was pure mystery.

His fielding came from the much vaunted oscillating school of coordination. No one was in the slightest doubt as to the outcome when a short skier entered into his area of the pitch. But then he caught it.

A true casual.

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