Match Report: Buscot Park (h)

Cricket has a grand tradition of the ‘captain’s performance’, whereby the skipper steps up to deliver whatever is necessary for his side to win the game. This year, Cannings enjoy two captains and, after Garreth Robb took Ramsbury apart a couple of weeks ago, Matt Tilley produced on Saturday a performance of which Steve Waugh, Graeme Smith or Alastair Cook would have been envious, and helped concoct a 175 run win over Buscot Park.

Batting first, Cannings sent their bickering brothers out to open, Richard Mansell playing in his usual steady style while Graham attempted the more expressive shots. His ambition got Cannings off to a decent start but it wasn’t to last and Graham was soon caught on 17, bringing Tilley to the crease.

Struggling for runs so far this season, the skipper at first looked slightly nervy and took some time to feel his way into the game. With Richard Mansell still at the other end, the game went through a solid (some cynics might say boring) period but fortunately that wasn’t to last. Tilley eventually found his feet and from that point on the ball was disappearing to all corners of the boundary with such frequency that needing to actually run between the wickets was becoming a bit of a novelty.

Even Mansell got swept up in the excitement, winding up his creaking shoulders and daring to hit the ball beyond the square, at one point notching consecutive boundaries. Eventually the 137 run partnership was broken, Mansell out LBW for a hard-earned 50, an innings which had provided the base for his partner to really rattle through the runs.

Tilley followed soon after, caught at point after playing a tired shot, by which stage he’d smashed 18 fours on his way to a towering 109. His tempo was continued by Robb who added a rapid-fire 37, while Ed McQuaid, Andy Plank and Alex Surman also attacked freely.

The first 20 overs of the innings yielded just 73 runs; the second 20 brought 153 and the last 5 a further 47, giving Cannings a daunting total of 273.

In reply, Buscot never really got going. Jake Rogers, opening the bowling for the first time, took two wickets to add to the other early victim claimed by Hugo Saye. Ryan Simons bowled well to take three, including breaking the one partnership Buscot managed to put together, but the pick of the bowlers was Harry Easton, whose pace and bounce had the batsmen floundering like a bunch of Englishmen facing Mitchell Johnson at the Gabba, finishing his nine overs with figures of 2-11.

But it was Tilley’s day. After his ton, he held two superb catches in the field and took the ball to finish off the game, bowling just nine deliveries which gave him two wickets for a solitary run. The standout individual in one of the most complete team performances Cannings have produced in years.

As a final note on a memorable day, Buscot Park should be congratulated for their honesty- from rescinding an appeal when Richard Mansell was incorrectly given out LBW by his brother, to admitting a foot had strayed over the boundary while fielding and walking after getting an edge with the bat. They played the game with the spirit most teams- ourselves included- should aspire to, and that deserves recognition.

This Saturday sees Cannings look to repeat their form away against Marlborough 2, while the next home game is on the 18th against Wanborough. As always, your support will be most welcome.

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Match Report: Chippenham 2 (a)

Some people learn lessons, others don’t.

Chippenham 2s had been told to report to their ground a full hour and a quarter before Saturday’s match started so they could run through their warms ups and fielding drills. In contrast, Cannings, clearly feeling that wearing new club training tops was professionalism enough for any given weekend, were still in a pub in Devizes, beers in hand. It was probably clear even then that Cannings would face a tough afternoon.

It all started reasonably well. Batting first, Graham Mansell and Matt Tilley both got themselves in and after 17 overs ACCC were 58-1. From that point on, though, a steady procession of wickets fell, and only the lovely cover drives of young Ed McQuaid provided any real bright spot. McQuaid top scored on 31 as Cannings put together a disappointing total of 132 all out in good batting conditions.

To have any hope of winning, Cannings needed early wickets and got a dream start as Hugo Saye found their opener’s edge for Richard Mansell to catch behind with just the second ball of the Chippenham innings. That raised hopes of an unlikely victory. Certainly no one expected the rest of the game to pan out as it did: no more wickets fell as Chippenham frustrated the Cannings bowlers to rattle off the runs and record a nine wicket win.

Overall Chippenham just looked the sharper, more complete team. It wasn’t the first time we’ve looked a decidedly amateur outfit compared to our opposition, and you may think this time Cannings might learn a lesson and prepare a little more thoroughly in future. We won’t though; we’ll talk about it then keep on doing as we’re doing. And we won’t really mind failing to win quite as many matches as we might because we’ll be having a laugh as we do it, and that’s what makes us Cannings.

Curry Night!

Friday 27th May

ACCC family curry night, with a variety of dishes (including vegetarian), a raffle and the odd drink or two. Come along, bring the family and help raise some money for the club.

£10 for adults, £5 for under 14s and free for under 5s.

Tickets available from the village shop, from club members or on the night.

See you there!

Match Report: Ramsbury (h)

Traditionally starting about as quickly Lee Billet’s Rascal van, Cannings recorded a rare opening day win on Saturday to end the first weekend on top of Division 4.

Ramsbury’s captain made himself the least popular man in the away dressing room, winning the toss during an unexpected window of sunshine and choosing to hand Cannings the good weather to field in. Hugo Saye shared the new ball with Ryan Simons, returning to ACCC following his inexplicable decision to spend last season at Potterne, but both were frustrated by some stubborn batting and missed opportunities.

In the seventh over, Saye made a breakthrough and followed it up with a second in the 17th. When Graham Mansell and Garreth Robb took one more each, the Ramsbury batting order opened up nicely and Matt Tilley and Jake Rogers swept up, both finishing with figures of 3-7 from four overs.

The temperature plummeted and Cannings set about chasing their 100 run target under grey skies with a miserable drizzle. Tilley never settled and fell for four in just the second over, bringing Steve Parker to the crease. Immediately, the field spread, Ramsbury clearly still scarred by the savagery of his’s century against them last season.

They needn’t have worried- a good length delivery kicked up off the pitch and caught him unprepared, causing him to edge to slip having scored just four. It was Parker’s only appearance of the season before disappearing completely beneath the thumb of his girlfriend and shipping off to New Zealand, and last summer’s skipper and top scorer will be missed.

With Cannings on 16-2, Robb arrived and formed a steadying partnership with Richard Mansell. There will be far more exciting run chases but ACCC ground their way forward, losing three more wickets on their way to 96-5. With 44 to his name, Robb then dispatched the ball over the long on boundary to both win the match and bring up his half century in style.

Next up, Cannings face Spye Park in another home game, starting at 1pm on the 7th. Come along and give your support!

Match Report: Potterne 3 (h)

The luck couldn’t hold every time and on Saturday one of those classic, down-to-the-wire games finally went against Cannings.

The previous week had seen incredible batting performances by Steve Parker (120) and Garreth Robb (133) give a massively depleted Cannings side a brilliant win over Wanborough, but it couldn’t be repeated here against Potterne 3.

Bowling first, Cannings took some early wickets and made a solid start, with Hugo Saye taking three for 17 from his 12 over opening spell. But then the game swung as two batsmen Cannings know well put on what turned out to be a match winning partnership. James Page is a regular in higher teams than the 3s- becoming both the gun batsman and opening bowler when work commitments force him to play in this team- while Mark Colyer too spent many years playing at a significantly higher level than this. As such they provide the sort of test that Cannings players always enjoy and this was another gripping contest with two very good players.

While much of the bowling was solid, a few loose overs let the score creep up and past the 200-mark which is so dangerous on Cannings’ bowler-friendly wicket. Eventually Page fell to the bowling of Jake Rogers for 75 with a couple of overs to spare, allowing the innings to open up slightly and a few more duly followed. Rogers took another before Robb took back-to-back wickets with the last two deliveries, bowling Colyer for 71 with the final ball of the 45 overs, and setting a target of 227 to chase.

With Matt Tilley having returned to his winter football duties, Cannings sent out young Ed McQuaid to open the batting. Alongside Richard Mansell, he played some confident shots before being caught for 10 to bring Parker to the crease.

After his heroics in the previous two matches, the captain was looking at the prospect of three consecutive hundreds and realistically Cannings needed him to get close again if they were to win here. He started confidently, despatching the now-familiar hand-stingers to the straighter fielders and finding the boundary with his usual frequency. He had put together 38 before playing an ill-judged shot to a bowler against whom he should have been pretty comfortable, seeing the ball knock his stumps to end a promising innings.

Robb took his place, fresh from hitting the third highest league score in Cannings’ history the week before, and also started brightly. A couple of big sixes to either side of the ground suggested his form was continuing but he too played rashly at one and missed, finding himself stumped for 26 as a consequence.

With Mansell at the other end through all this there was still hope. As usual, he was providing the foil to the more expansive batsmen, ticking things along sensibly and frustrating the bowlers. But as the middle order crumbled he assumed greater responsibility for pushing Cannings over the line and optimism remained when ten an over was needed from the final six.

Graham Mansell joined his brother and looked good, but then Richard too fell to the curse of missing a crucial ball and he was stumped on a season-best score of 94. Saye came out at number 11 having seen the side home from similar situations multiple times before this season, but on this occasion it wasn’t to be. He hit a six into the road before taking a foolishly aggressive swing at a straight one and getting bowled with the team just 13 runs short and 8 balls to spare.

Despite the disappointment it had been an exciting and enjoyable match, strange in the fact that Cannings had maintained a chance at winning right up until the final ball despite never really being in control at any point. Two games now remain, away at Wootton Bassett this weekend before finishing a memorable season at home to Seagry on the 29th. As always, please come along to support.

Match Report: Ramsbury (a)

Rather than engage in a costly and deeply unpopular invasion of Iraq, Tony Blair and George W Bush might have been better served taking a quick look inside Steve Parker’s kit bag. Somewhere in there, in amongst the tangles of unwashed kit and old boxes, lies something no-one ever found anywhere near Baghdad: a Weapon of Mass Destruction crafted of finest English willow.

Having been hugely disappointing in the first meeting this season, Cannings travelled to Ramsbury with a strong batting team looking for revenge. Winning the toss and batting first, Richard Mansell gave hints of what was to come with a four from the first ball. Alongside Matt Tilley, the pair then continued reasonably at a decent if unspectacular run rate with the aim of setting up a burst later on.

After an early flurry, Mansell settled into his usual stubborn game as Tilley started to get slightly more expansive. With Cannings on 77-0 from the first 20 overs, one Ramsbury bowler was even heard to announce that he was happy with the run rate, a comment he would later regret. It wasn’t until the 30th over that a wicket finally fell, with Tilley caught on the boundary for 72 and the team on 114.

By now there were concerns that the score needed to accelerate, and captain Parker strode to the crease with that solitary aim in mind. There are few players in the Wiltshire league who hit the ball harder than the Cannings skipper and, after a slightly scratchy start, he began to display his talent once again.

Mansell too began to shake of his conservative nature and celebrated his half century before being caught on 64. But it was at the other end that real action was happening as the ball was dispatched time and again through and beyond the boundary. Before long Ramsbury has set a cordon of four fielders from mid-on across ‘cow corner’ but still they couldn’t stem the tide. The fielders would likely have been better off just taking cover. Someone should have sounded an air raid siren in the village as cricket balls rained from the sky.

It was hard not to feel some sympathy for the young bowler whose three overs went for 57 runs, but Parker, now batting with Garreth Robb, was having too much fun to go easy. Eventually the skipper managed to run himself out in a manner as ridiculous as his hitting had been sublime, but by then he had notched the first ACCC century of the season, departing for 101. Wickets fell in each of the final three overs as the batsmen wasted no time playing themselves in and tried only to push the score as high as possible.

By the time the innings was over, Cannings had put on an astonishing score of 308-5. The final 14 overs brought 191 runs- 109 coming in the final seven- and the boys had struck 34 fours and 12 sixes. It had been utterly brutal and Ramsbury looked understandably stunned as they came in for tea wondering how on earth they should approach their innings.

The answer came early as Ramsbury hit 14 from the first over, their openers admirably deciding to have a go at the target rather than just try to frustrate. They were playing a risky game though and in only the second over one was mishit, being skied high and falling into the hands of Richard Mansell from his brother Graham’s bowling. At the other end Hugo Saye was then lucky to bowl the other opener with a poor ball, but followed it up in his next over with one much more deserved. It was his 150th league wicket, making him only the second Cannings player to reach the landmark after Graham Mansell got there earlier this season.

Ramsbury batsmen came and went at regular intervals after that but with 20 overs gone Cannings suddenly found themselves under pressure from an entirely new source. The score was 70-6 but grey clouds were gathering and small sports of rain starting to fall. League rules state that for a match to count, the second innings must reach at least 25 overs before being rained off, otherwise all is null and void.

With that now in mind the game needed finishing as soon as possible, so up stepped Tilley who delivered a stunning hat trick when it was needed the most. His three wickets in three balls took the last resistance from the home team and allowed Robb to finish the game off as Ramsbury were all out for 72. It completed a 236 run win, the largest margin of victory recorded by any team in the division this season and the second largest the team have ever recorded.

Cannings travel next to Wanborough with around 10 regular players missing, hoping to raise a team which can continue their run of form. Next home game is against Potterne 3 in what should be another exciting match. Come along to watch on the 15th, but make sure you have a phone to hand and you’re ready to dial 999; Cannings are on fire.

Match Report: Biddestone 3 (h)

After a relatively comfortable ride last week, Cannings returned on Saturday to their regular ways of doing things the hard way. It was in the tight away fixture against Biddestone 3 back in June that ACCC began the turnaround in their season, and this proved a game of equal tension and uncertainty.

Batting first, Richard Mansell and captain for the day Matt Tilley struggled for runs against the tightest opening bowling they have faced all season. Tilley was then just starting to find some runs when, on 29, a slow, short ball stuck in the wicket, causing him to mis-time his shot and the first wicket fell.

From that point, wickets began to go down at regular intervals- Mansell eventually being bowled on 28- with Garreth Robb holding the innings together but no real partnerships being built. The run rate was beginning to creep up when Hugo Saye came to the middle and played with his usual disregard for defence. In turn, this seemed to bring the best from Robb whose luck turned and he began to find the boundary instead of fielders. The pair put on 43 in five overs before Saye was run out, but Robb’s heroics continued with the sixes now flowing. Where once it looked like they would struggle to reach 140, Cannings managed 179 before the final wicket fell, with Robb not out on 70.

Relieved at the target they set but knowing they would still have to be at their best, Cannings took to the field. Despite having spent 20 overs with the bat, Robb was given no rest and was chosen to open the bowling alongside Harry Easton. Biddestone began aggressively, however, attacking their total instead of allowing the innings to drift, and quiickly had Cannings in trouble. After 20 overs they had pushed on to 81-2, both wickets taken by the tricky Rory McQuaid, while ACCC had been on just 38-1 at the same stage.

Biddestone continued to push and before long they were just 72 runs short with 19 overs to get them in and eight wickets still in hand. Cannings heads were starting to drop as Biddestone took charge when Tilley came out from behind the stumps- passing the gloves on to young debutant Will Barker who proceeded to keep with remarkable assurance- and brought himself on to bowl. He was joined at the other end by Saye and the two formed a game changing pair.

Cannings knew that a couple of quick wickets could reverse the momentum and so it proved. Tilley got the crucial breakthrough before Saye took two in two balls in the following over, the first caught by Mansell and the second caught behind by Barker. The ACCC players sensed the shift, believing themselves now in charge of the game but with a lot of work yet to be done. From there the wickets tumbled steadily, Ed McQuaid and Doug Dickson holding further catches to set up the final stand.

It was a position that looked almost impossible at one stage but Biddestone had gone from 107-2 to 136-9. Saye then pushed a ball across the left handed batsman who nicked an edge. Barker dived full length towards it, failing by millimetres to grasp the ball but it sailed effortlessly into the waiting hands of Andy Plank at slip and the game was over.

Eight wickets had fallen for 29 runs and, once again, Cannings had faced up to the grim prospect of defeat and turned the game around. Tilley and Saye had taken four wickets each but it had been a complete team performance, all catches being held and tight fielding putting pressure on the batsmen when the game threatened to run away from them.

Seven wins from the last eight matches has Cannings looking very comfortable in an increasingly tight top half of the table. Next up is an away trip to Ramsbury, who inflicted an embarrassing defeat on ACCC early in the season, before a second away game at Wanborough the week after. Next home game is at 1pm on the 15th of August against Potterne 3 and as usual all support is encouraged.