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.