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.