Saturday 14th June 2014 – Caddington 2’s first league game for almost a month and also England’s opening match of the FIFA World Cup. In some ways Caddington could be compared to FIFA; an ageing Chairman who is slightly losing the plot, a whiff of corruption within the committee, and a distinct bias towards the upper echelons of the organisation, often at the expense of the general membership. Anyway I digress, on with the report.

A strong 2’s team rocked up to Wingrave, the venue for their last match, beating Cublington, to face a Wing and Wingrave side with a league record of one win, two losses and several cancellations. Robbie won the toss and inserted the opposition on a decent looking track. Khalid and Robbie opened the bowling, and after some very tight early exchanges it was the skipper who struck with a delivery that swung away, found the edge of the scoreless opener Ahmed and was smartly taken by Waseem diving to his right behind the stumps. One quickly became two when Boyle (5), batting at three, was completely deceived by a Cooper slower ball and could only watch the cherry cannon into his stumps after completing his shot with the ball still only three quarters of the way down the track. A brilliant piece of fielding then saw the other opener run out for 5 by Waseem after walking out of his crease. Hussain (6) fell into the trap set by Robbie and was caught by Anees in the process of attempting to go big over mid-on, and when Robbie and Waseem again combined to dismiss the Wing skipper for a duck things were looking very grim for Wing. Smith and Kitchen began a mini fight-back with some nice shots from the former and some pulls from the latter, before the skipper struck yet again, trapping Kitchen lbw for 8 when he attempted one swipe across the line too many. Wing then set about spoiling the fun for the C’s when Nixon Jnr joined Smith at the crease and got into Ieuan, who was making his first league appearance of the season and to a lesser extent, the tiring Robbie at the other end. The pair rescued some pride for Wing before Robbie struck in his final over dismissing Nixon Jnr for 15 when he prodded at the ball and was caught by Jay with a good low catch at short mid-off. Steve and Jay then came on to bowl and Steve got the big wicket of Smith for a creditable 40, bowling him through the gate. Jay polished off the tail with little fuss, taking two quick wickets and after reaching just 95 off 24.5 overs, the Wing innings was at an end.

Experience tells you that the C’s generally chase down low scores successfully but also generally make it difficult for themselves, so when Gary and Dan went out the start the reply, sensible batting was the order of the day. Gary obviously wasn’t listening however, as he hit six runs off the first over firing both scoring shots airborne. Dan was far more sensible at the other end, fending off a tight first over from Ahmed, before taking a single from the last ball and batting out a maiden at the other end. Gary then dispatched the first two deliveries of the fourth over for a 2 and a 6 over mid-wicket before clipping the fourth ball straight to the grateful Nixon Jnr at point and departed for 14. Anees was next in and he and Dan settled down to some proper ‘test match’ batting reducing the flow of runs to a trickle and leaving their watching team mates wondering whether Sam and James, our Barnsley blockers, had been advising them from afar. Overs passed and the runs dried up with Dan blocking for a draw and Anees completely taking the leg-side half of the field out of the game. Whilst they never looked threatened by the bowling attack, there was a point where it was questioned whether we’d make it home for England’s 11pm kick off time. Then came the turning point. After Anees had fended off the spinner Turner’s first over, Dan got his chance against the grenade thrower and saw his opportunity to up the run-rate. Four balls later and Dan had amassed 16 runs, smashing consecutive boundaries back over the bowler’s head. With the shackles finally broken, Dan then set about the rest of the attack and the only question left was whether he’d reach his fifty before the total had been achieved. He managed it by hitting the winning runs to finish unbeaten on 53 with Anees providing excellent support in his unbeaten knock of 18.

So another win, and with so many cancellations, it’s a tight league this year and a decent run could see the 2’s climbing the table rapidly. Robbie’s 6 wickets and Waseem’s brilliant keeping put them both into contention for man of the match, but this week that honour must go to Dan for his long overdue half century in league cricket…