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.