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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Match Report: Corsham 3 (a)

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.

Match Report: Seagry (a)

One day, Cannings will cruise to a comfortable win, free from nerves, collapses or panic. There will be no rescues needed, no one will be watching through parted fingers and there will be no fears about throwing the game away. One day. But at the moment, it seems, that is just not the Cannings way.

On Saturday ACCC travelled to Seagry, a side in good form and whose season had developed much like our own. It was the third week running that Cannings’ opposition had sat second in the table and on this occasion they appeared to be the strongest of the lot. Batting first, Seagry’s openers delivered some brutal hitting, leaving Hugo Saye And Harry Easton toiling fruitlessly with the ball in the hottest conditions of the season so far. They put 86 runs on the board in 21 overs before the skipper finally misplaced one, sending a drive straight into Saye’s hands at mid off from the bowling of Garreth Robb.

But it was only a brief moment of respite for Cannings and the incoming batsman continued his side’s momentum. It was another 10 overs- and 69 runs- before the ball flew into Richard Mansell’s safe hands, and the home side were ominously set on 145 with 14 overs remaining and eight wickets in hand. To this point they had produced what was in many ways the perfect batting performance: solid, giving away few chances and latching onto one or two balls per over to send to the boundary.

From here, though, things changed. Outside the top three, only two more Seagry batmen managed to reach double figures as the wickets tumbled, with Robb eventually taking four and Graham Mansell a further three, and Matt Tilley also deserving praise for holding three catches. After a hot and draining 45 overs in the field, Cannings had managed to keep them to 213-9, the highest target of the season and made more daunting by a number of batmen being absent, but considerably better than it might have been.

Cannings began their chase in a manner that was slow and solid, with Richard Mansell and Tilley negotiating the first ten overs safely for 28 runs. Then Tilley edged to gulley and Robb- having scored back to back half centuries in the past two fixtures- nicked a bouncer to the keeper first ball and things suddenly looked bleak. Soon after, Mansell also edged behind and Ed McQuaid- who had taken a superb over-the-shoulder catch in the field- was unfortunate to play the ball straight back into the hands of the bowler, leaving Cannings desperate on 47-4 after 17 overs.

With so many recognised batsmen missing and the game looking all-but-gone, Graham Mansell and Doug Dickson stirred up something of a resistance. Suddenly bowlers who had enjoyed respect were seeing their efforts sent to the boundaries and the score rattled into triple figures. For the third time, though, a single over claimed two wickets, Dickson caught on 24 before Mansell was bowled for 45. The result of the match was now a formality. Nearly 26 overs had gone and Cannings were 118-6, with the task of simply salvaging as many runs as possible now given to Saye and Easton, opening bowlers who could at best be described as ‘part-time’ batsmen.

But they weren’t to succumb to defeat without at least making Seagry work, counter attacking strongly as boundaries began to flow. As the overs ticked by they remained at the crease and, almost without realising it, an impossible target moved ever more clearly into view. Suddenly the goal shifted from simply trying to get a couple of extra batting points to actually winning the game and this realisation swept a change in emotions through both teams. Seagry’s frustrations grew and, having been so comfortable, it was they who were now trying to persuade themselves that they could still win it, pleas which became increasingly forlorn as the runs flowed.

With just eight runs needed and plenty of time to spare, Saye met Easton in the middle of the wicket and advised him to just see out the accurate, economical opening bowler and take the runs from the others, but the younger man was having none of it. The first ball of the next over was slapped for four and the second lifted to an impossibly nonchalant six, winning the game spectacularly and bringing up Easton’s first ever half century in the process. In just 12.2 overs the pair had put on a 99 run partnership which had seemed unthinkable half an hour before, Saye not out on 43 alongside Easton’s unbeaten 51.

The remarkable is becoming increasingly commonplace for this side, although a poor start means they remain 5th in a thickly congested upper half of the table. They travel next to Corsham before the big clash with unbeaten league leaders Beehive at home on 11 July. Put it in your diary now and come along to watch; it’s going to be good.

Match Report: Wootton Bassett 3 (h)

In August 2009, Cannings and Wootton Bassett 3 were fighting a tight battle to win Division 5. On the second last day of the season, ACCC travelled to their ground for a head to head to effectively decide the title but performed poorly, never really getting into the game and allowing Bassett to take the match and, with it, the league. Six years on, a small measure of revenge felt long overdue.

Sitting second in the table, just as Potterne had done going into last weekend’s game, the confidence Bassett brought into the game would have increased when they were given the chance to play to their strengths by batting first. Their openers epitomised this, playing expansive strokes and getting the runs flowing early on until Hugo Saye made a breakthrough, finding the edge with Richard Mansell taking a low catch behind. A few overs later, the other opener popped the ball up to Matt Tilley, fielding in close, and Cannings had their way into the game.

Bassett fought back with a 71 run partnership for the fourth wicket with was eventually broken by the bowling of Rory McQuaid just as it was beginning to wear the Cannings bowlers down. At this point, special mention should go the young batsman who top scored with 76, but while he hung around Cannings simply attacked the long tail from the other end and wickets tumbled quickly. Harry Easton returned from a frustrating opening spell to take three in two overs and Saye added another two, finally having Bassett all out for 193 with just one ball left of their allotted overs.

With the visitor’s bowling not up to the standard of their batting, Cannings knew it was their game to lose and, typically, they had a decent try at doing so. No one looked troubled at the crease but wickets fell to stupid shots, with most of the top order getting starts but failing to go on. A short but very sweet 24 from Steve Parker tipped the run rate in Cannings’ favour but it was Garreth Robb’s second consecutive half century which kept them within touching distance of the total as the wickets fell around him.

With the tension building, Robb edged to gulley after an invaluable 51 to bring Doug Dickson out to partner Saye with the score at 153-8 and 40 still needed to win. The players in the pavilion could hardly watch. Some took showers; others covered their faces; one even took to crawling on his hands and knees with his legs seemingly beyond function. The boys in the middle, however, remained relaxed, bringing the score along at a decent rate while playing some uncharacteristically sensible shots to hold on to their wickets, even if they did ride their luck slightly at times. A flurry of opportunistic boundaries took Cannings into a strong position and sent them into the 42nd over needing just three to win. A wide inched them closer before Dickson attacked, drilling the ball over cover for four match-winning runs.

For the second week running the Cannings dressing room was filled with noisy celebrations as yet another scalp was claimed by this rejuvenated team. Potterne 3 were second in the table last Saturday until Cannings dispatched them. This week Bassett held second and Cannings dealt with them too. Seagry might reluctantly notice a pattern emerging, with these results passing them the mantle of second place and the fixture list placing them next Cannings’ firing line. A win there will leave no doubt that Cannings are back and aiming for the top of the table.

Match Report: Potterne 3 (a)

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.

Match Report: Wanborough (h)

Nothing says ‘All Cannings Cricket Club’ quite like collapsing to an inexcusable defeat one week then producing one of the most incredible performances in the history of the Wiltshire League the next. Consistency is not a trait readily associated with this team and after losing poorly to Ramsbury last weekend, they returned on Saturday to utterly destroy Wanborough in the most one-sided games of cricket most people will ever see.

Bowling first, Cannings took to the pitch full of confidence against a team who hadn’t won all season, but even the most wildly optimistic would never have foreseen the hour which followed. Hugo Saye took the new ball for the first time in a season and a half after a shoulder injury and, with Harry Easton at the other end, had the visitors on edge from the start. Wanborough held out through the first two overs before a Saye hat trick in third ripped the heart out of the visitor’s batting order.

From that point there was no way back and when Matt Tilley replaced Saye after eight overs, Wanborough were four wickets down with just six runs on the board. Tilley kept the good work going, taking two for seven, but the real star for Cannings was Easton, claiming his first ever five wicket haul at the expense of just six runs. When the final wicket fell, the visitors had amassed just 20 runs, one of the lowest totals ever recorded in the Wiltshire League, and Easton was clapped from the pitch by both teams with the match ball deservedly in his hand.

Cannings went straight out to bat, opening with Tilley and Tom Wellard. A contentious LBW decision saw one wicket fall but captain Steve Parker came in and steered the side home in only 4.5 overs. In just an hour and a half, Cannings had completed one of the most remarkable- and surreal- matches any of them had ever played in, and will now head to Coate next week to face Potterne 3 hopeful of back to back wins for the first time this season.

Match Report: Biddestone 3 (a)

In 2004, Iain Dowie coined the phrase ‘bouncebackability’. In 2006, it entered the Oxford English Dictionary. In 2015, it found a new definition: All Cannings Cricket Club.

As the sun set on Saturday night, eleven heroes strode from the field, victorious. Eleven Titans, who together stared the spectre of last weekend’s humiliation in the face and smashed it to the ground. Having sunk to new depths in Division 3 after being embarrassed by Wilcot, they travelled to league leaders Biddestone 3 and delivered a performance that will ring through the ages.

Bowling first, Harry Easton and Rory McQuaid restricted the home side’s runs before Graham Mansell and Garreth Robb came on and took a couple of wickets, with ‘Lethal’ Lee Billet closing down everything that came near him in the field. A moment of controversy threatened to ruin the occasion as Biddeston’s highest scoring batsman edged behind a nick to loud that everyone in the ground heard it, only for the umpire to give it not out. With Cannings rattled, the home side upped the pace and began to produce some big shots before a few late wickets had them ending up on 208-9.

With a target set way beyond anything they have yet scored this season, Cannings had to score well from the start and Mansell and Robb did just that. Everyone chipped in with their fair share of runs, including debutant Doug Dickson who, in his first game for six years, scored a 25 which included one mammoth six. The highlight, though, was Jake Rogers, who scored a 62 which was not only his first ever Cannings half century- something the entire team celebrated with delight- but negotiated a difficult middle period and put them in a strong position to win the game. He was finally bowled soon after nearly taking out our most loyal supporters with a six, but his work was done. With Cannings favourites but the game in the balance, McQuaid held firm to frustrate the bowlers before Hugo Saye, as the senior player, decided to take responsibility for getting the team over the line. Advancing down the wicket to the opposition captain, he sent a four to the boundary before dispatching a huge six right back over the bowler’s head. The final two runs were celebrated wildly and Cannings enjoyed a well deserved team victory in which everyone played their part.

Credit should also go to the hosts, who provided a match which was both thrilling and extremely good natured throughout. We look forward to seeing them again on July 25th. Next up, Cannings are back at home looking to continue this new-found form against Ramsbury next Saturday.