If you want the general picture of Saturday’s game, you could do worse than to re-read last week’s match report. If you’re still unclear, try looking back to the week before that too. Once again, Cannings were set a challenging target and once again they toyed with defeat before pulling through to a nerve-wracking win. There is something of a theme emerging this season, but to do it easily would just be boring.
After recent wins against a collection of the top teams- and with next weekend’s fixture against leaders Beehive Southwick on the horizon- there was a danger of underestimating a young but able Corsham 3 side, but a tough start soon swept away any ideas of complacency. The artificial wicket gave very little to the bowlers and for the second week running Hugo Saye and Harry Easton toiled with the new ball, a gloved bouncer to slip bringing the solitary wicket of the first half of the innings.
Wickets fell a little more freely in the second half but it was still hard work, made all the more so by some loose fielding. Rory McQuaid was the pick of the bowlers, finishing up with 2 wickets for 34, but Corsham’s final total of 224-7 was a measure of the difficulties faced with the ball.
After recent performances, and given the favourable conditions, Cannings were confident of successfully chasing down the large target, even after Matt Tilley was caught at point on the first ball of the innings. Three balls later, though, Richard Mansell did exactly the same thing and out of nowhere Cannings found themselves on the verge of catastrophe at 0-2 from four deliveries. This, however, was the point at which skipper Steve Parker arrived at the crease, and the game changed.
It was by no means the typical captain’s innings. Parker lasted only until the 15th over and faced just 38 balls, but by the time he was caught in the deep the score had leapt from 0 to 132. The momentum was turned with a fierce savagery; bowling figures had been remorselessly shredded and fielders in all directions sported freshly bruised hands as Parker’s brutal hitting plundered 70 runs, including 14 boundaries. Graham Mansell also played his part from the other end, smashing a couple of sixes on the way to a total of 46. When Mansell finally fell, Cannings were 201-7 from just 27 overs and required only 23 to win. With only three wickets in hand, however, knocking them off was by no means guaranteed.
As the nerves became increasingly frayed on the sidelines, Ed McQuiad, the youngest member of the side and making only his second appearance, appeared the calmest person in Corsham and played the situation beautifully. Six boundaries were included as he reached 38 not out, bringing the score to 221. For the second week running, Easton then finished the job in style, slapping one last four back past the bowler to carry Cannings over the line with a third of the innings still remaining, the team having scored at more than 7 runs per over.
It was yet another impressive batting performance but Cannings’ bowlers will be looking forward to returning to their more accommodating home ground next week, where the game of the season awaits. Beehive are as yet unbeaten but Cannings have dispatched all challengers in recent weeks to win five on the spin. Excitement is already building among the players as the opportunity to prove a big point lies in wait. All support is, of course, greatly welcomed and it should be yet another tremendous match to watch; the form team against the league leaders. Recent results have been the warm up: Beehive Southwick, we’re coming for you.