Our first game against a talented young Abbotskerswell side ended with a Cavaliers win for the first time this season. It was a long overdue result given that our last Sunday win was against Cockington way back in June 2011, and we hadn’t won at all since August of that year.
Huge amount of credit to Abbotskerswell for sending over a team consisting mainly of youngsters with one or two senior players keeping an eye on things. These are often our closest and most exciting games, but this really was a men-against-boys situation and in the early stages the boys clearly had the upper hand. McMurray and Beasant set about our attack with relish, both playing superb and chanceless innings – wherever we moved the fielders, the lads would guide the ball through the gaps to the boundary. It was real exhibition stuff and we were quite fortunate that they both took pity on us and retired after scoring 50 each. It was a good job really – we’d have never got them out!
From then on the game started to turn our way. I came on as fifth-change bowler and got our first wicket, though it was somewhat fortunate as I bowled Lovell around his legs. No luck with our next wicket though as Si gloriously hung on to a flyer at point and probably notched himself a Cahill in the process. From then on we had the upper hand, Steve and Si both taking two wickets and Aaron one, though a late flurry got Abbotskerwell to 189-7.
It would of course be remiss of me to omit a mention for the wonderful bit of fielding that must surely be awarded another Cahill. The ball was stroked towards the boundary and Karl and I gave chase. Knowing he was behind me I tried to flick the ball up for him to catch as I ran past it, but only succeeded in scooping the ball high over my head and over the boundary. It was quite a feat, if a tad embarrassing.
We’d only ever scored this many once before, and that was the 204 we’d hit at Cockington nearly two years previously. With a decent batting line-up and a couple of batsmen in good form, we thought we might have an outside chance, but we suffered an early blow as I chased a wide one in the first over and lobbed up a dolly catch to the fielder at short cover. Aaron soon followed for 2, and all of sudden we were in a bit of trouble.
Fortunately Chalky was continuing his good form at the other end and Nick (10) and Karl (21) kept him company as he hit his usual succession of boundaries. When’s he’s on his his game he’s great to watch. He rode his luck at times but it was a great knock and when he retired at 50 the game was back in the balance. When Meds was out lbw for three and Chris Ward caught for two shortly afterwards though, the game looked to be up.
Si and Steve came together at the crease with us still needing 70 to win. Si of course only knows how to play one way and the slow bowling very much played to his strengths; Steve on the other hand took some time to bat himself in. Some aggressive hitting and sharp running took our score up past 150 and we started to take notice in the pavilion – perhaps the game wasn’t up yet. One wicket for Abbots and they were very much into our tail, but Si and Steve looked increasingly comfortable and when Steve started finding the boundary you could see the youngsters starting to flag. It had been a long day. Steve finished on 37 not out and Si was also unbeaten on 34 as we reached our target with a few overs to spare.
It was a somewhat unlikely victory but well deserved for some excellent performances, not least the lads down the order who turned it around for us. We very much hope to welcome Abbotskerswell back to us next year.