As soon as they were back in the changing room, the Cannings boys were jumping around and singing. To be sure of winning Saturday’s local derby, Potterne had added enhanced their 3s with a few stars from above; Cannings took one look at what they had to offer then dispatched them with all the brutality of a Steve Parker six, sending them scuttling off back to the second XI with their pride as battered as their bowling figures.
Rarely have our players been so up for a game, with talk all week focussed on it, and that desire only grew when news of Potterne’s team filtered through a few days before. Losing the toss, we were put in to bat on very green and slightly damp pitch but began strongly against some aggressive bowling. Richard Mansell, despite taking one early delivery on the helmet, played with more aggression than we have come to expect and Matt Tilley showed his typical hard hitting to move the score quickly past 50. Tilley fell for 34 then Mansell too on 42, but the stage was set for our best batting performance of the season.
Garreth Robb and Parker both played themselves in steadily before deciding the time had come to accelerate the score along with some more expansive shots as the innings reached its final stages. Potterne sought to quell the advance by bringing their opening bowlers back on only for Parker and Robb, by now fully played in, to respond by simply pushing on harder. Six followed four, followed six; every savage blow an unabashed middle finger thrust gleefully into the face of the opposition’s selection policy. 200 came and quickly went before, eventually, they both mistimed, Robb being caught on 63 and Parker soon after on 74. The damage was done, though, and by the time the overs were bowled out Cannings had put together 245-5, setting Potterne a huge target to chase.
Taking the new ball, Hugo Saye and Harry Easton fought fire with fire, using the bounce well and it wasn’t long before one head height delivery was edged up to slip. Parker’s bucket hands then swallowed a second catch of the day, this time a brilliant effort so fast and low that holding onto it seemed to shock him as much as the batsman. The opening spell had Potterne wobbling, with Easton following last week’s stunning form by taking two of their most dangerous batsmen, until a partnership of over 120 from the middle order threatened to take the game away from Cannings. Just as things were getting bleak, Graham Mansell finally broke through to give hope once again before Robb stepped up for yet more heroics. Angered by an earlier umpiring decision, he blew Potterne away in a bowling spell which delivered three wickets for 12 runs and all but ended the contest.
A run out brought confirmation and Cannings ran to celebrate while Potterne hung their heads, all out for 217 and perhaps wondering if they ought to raid the first XI for players instead when the return fixture comes around. Cannings, meanwhile, simply savoured back to back wins for the first time this season and look like they might finally be performing regularly at the level they should be. With eyes now back on the upper positions in the table, next week brings the biggest game of the season so far against old rivals Wotton Bassett. Come along to the Bridge House Ground from 1pm to offer your support to a resurgent ACCC team.