Cambridge Meths July 2005

ALMONDBURY CASUALS versus CAMBRIDGE METHODISTS at the Clariant Ground, Sunday 10th July 2005. 

Weather: absolutely bloody boiling.

Cambridge Meths won the toss and elected to bat. 

Cambridge 252 for 7 off 40 0vers, Sivaswarmy 79, Brookes 75, Davis 4 for 18.

Casuals 70 for 9 (=all out) off 25.2 overs, Ian Cooper 22, Bone 3 for 8.

In a day of almost illegal heat, Casuals could only muster ten men. Cambridge won the toss and batted. After a few overs Walker was taken ill and had to be replaced in the field by a substitute from the opposition, leaving only 9 true Casuals on the field.

It was a spinner’s wicket where the casuals experimented with pace at the beginning but then resorted to slowing the pace to produce bounce and exploit any unpredictability in the pitch.

The Brown brothers opened the bowling but the obdurate Brookes withstood the strangling attack.

Cleave, Umbers and Larner were out of sorts with bat and ball despite Matthew Brown offering much-needed advice to all our bowlers. Nevertheless they had some inspirational moments with Cleave exerting good control in his first four overs, and Umbers produced some flighted tantalising balls.

In the field to the North of the ground, people bent their backs gleaning strawberries, but the only fruit that the casuals were able to pick was to frequently return their own cherries from amongst the nettles and horses in the Southern field. 

Paul Brown, the match captain, conjured bowling changes to keep the opposition guessing, and no doubt this intrigue will continue to be further refined in future matches. In the later overs, a magnificent piece of strategy brought Cooper and Matthew Brown on together to pull back the match that was fast running away from the Casuals. Sivaswarmy ‘s technically regal batting was ended as he was bowled by Matthew Brown. Britton junior, the centurion of the Meths’ match the previous day came in to hit out and Matthew Brown was then replaced by Daniel Cooper as father and son bowled in tandem. Then with a flash of inspiration, Paul Brown brought on Davis in the 34th over. Brookes, suddenly shaking off the form and concentration that had enabled him to make an obdurate seventy –five, attempted a huge hit off Davis and was caught by Matthew Brown who went down onto his knees for the catch in the deep like he was at prayer.

Noble came but the batsmen had crossed and Britton junior, attempting another massive hit, was then out caught by Crossland. Crossland was knocked over backwards by the force of the shot as he clutched the ball to his midriff. Davis had taken two wickets with two balls, but we had to wait until the next over to see what would happen with the potential hat-trick ball. Disappointingly it was carefully defended by Burnett

Then, in Davis’s third over Nunna fell to another magnificent praying catch by Brown and in the next ball Burnett was caught in the deep by Cooper parrying the ball off his wrist into his other hand. Once again Davis had two wickets in two balls but the Methodists again escaped the hat-trick, their captain Dodgson with the Houdini manoeuvre this time.

The Methodists finally finished on 252, an imposing score owing something to the heat and to the fact that the Casuals only had ten fielders, as well as to their superior performance on the day.

During the tea interval we were treated to the memoirs of Ronald, the Cambridge Meths scorer who had given sixty years of service to the club. Well done.

The Brown brothers opened the Casuals batting like they had with the bowling. They began the reply steadily enough, but the control of the off-spinner Bone soon put a stranglehold on the batting. Even though he looked as though he ought to be driven straight, it was not always possible to penetrate the in-field with enough speed to score.

Cooper carefully nurdled the occasional singles and attacked with some well-timed fours.

Unfortunately there then followed a major collapse as the Casuals attempting to force the pace lost four batsmen for ducks. Davis attempted to hold the fort for a few more runs but the Casuals were soon overpowered and were all out for 70.

The spectacular catching in the deep of Brown, Crossland and Cooper, and the clever bowling of Davis was a treasure to behold and worthy of medals if any could be devised for the occasion. But in this week of the G8 summit Cambridge Meths had given the Casuals a truly global warming.