Match Report: Wilcot (a)

So it seems last week was just a blip, an unwinnable game in which Cannings were always consigned to defeat before a ball had been bowled, and not the further turning of form’s fortunes as it may have threatened. With the sting of last week’s perceived injustice still raw, Cannings reacted against Wilcot by producing one the most comfortable wins of the season.

Put in to bat first by their local rivals, Matt Tilley and Richard Mansell started cautiously but steadily. They never looked troubled, suggesting it would be a day in which all Cannings’ problems would be of their own making, and so it proved when a mix up saw Tilley run out on 33, just as he was starting to open up and play some big shots.

Captain Steve Parker, moving up to number three, then joined Mansell in the middle and immediately proceeded to bat as he always does, hammering the ball to all corners. His more significant innings always give rise to the same debate: does he get dropped often because he hits the ball so hard, as he claims, or is he just a man with luck on his side? The frequency with which catches are put down while he bats certainly suggests there is more to it than simple coincidence, but either way four further drops on Saturday allowed him reach a quick 53 before he teed one up that even the slipperiest of fingers couldn’t fail to hold. Changing his mind halfway through a shot, a leading edge gently looped the ball back into eagerly waiting hands, but not before he had ransacked one unfortunate bowler’s figures to the tune of 33 runs from just three overs.

This set off a brief flurry of cheap wickets before Andy Plank, a former captain now returning to regular cricket, rolled back the years with a powerful and destructive innings which effectively ended the game. It wasn’t long before he was sending spectators scuttling for cover and raising his bat to acknowledge a half century. Like Parker, though, he wasn’t doing it alone and through it all the other end was held up by the stable hand of Mansell. Allowing the others to play the big shots, he finally reached his first 50 of the season after 40 overs. Having reached the milestone, he loosened up and added a further 26 in the last five.

Plank was finally caught in the second last over, his 71 only surpassed by the 76* collected by Mansell as he carried his bat successfully. Cannings put on their highest score of the season and set Wilcot a huge 261 to win.

Heading out into the field, the skipper deviated from the usual tactics to better use the crumbly wicket, opening with Rory McQuaid and Graham Mansell instead of the usual quicker bowlers. In truth it probably wouldn’t have mattered who had bowled as Wilcot batted with almost no ambition to actually reach the target, seeming content with just trying to survive their 45 overs instead. McQuaid took three early wickets before a stubborn and somewhat less-than-thrilling partnership of 27 runs from 15 overs sucked all life from the game.

Tilley bowled a good spell of spin, deserving of greater reward than just the one wicket he took, and Ed McQuaid took a further two from his five tricky overs. By the time regular openers Hugo Saye and Harry Easton eventually did get the ball in their hands there was no contest remaining. A couple more wickets fell as Wilcot saw out their overs with a score of 151 for 8, giving Cannings the big win they wanted without ever really having to move through the gears.

Next up is the visit of Biddestone 3, the win against whom in June first sparked some life into Cannings’ season. Another win will make it seven in eight and go a long way towards guaranteeing the top half finish which is particularly crucial this season ahead of the Wiltshire League’s restructure. Please come from 1pm to offer some much appreciated support.

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