Crusaders vs Infidels - Match report

Friday 06 May 2016

It is difficult to imagine a setting more appealing to a Crusaders team filled with undergraduates than Girton College, and a game against the Infidels, their dubiously named Old Boys, on a sunny, May Bank Holiday Sunday afternoon. With distant chatter of revelry and misdemeanour wafting up the Huntingdon Road, the Crusaders ensured that their recent run of good form was extended with a convincing victory over their alumni. Stand-in skipper Goodwin, leading the Crusaders for the first time, won the toss and, despite the protestations from the then-seven Infidels, opted to do what any good captain-cum-opener would do, and bat first.

After the arrival of some stragglers and the generosity of the Crusaders lower-order, the Infidels took the field and got off to a roaring start; the wily leg-spin of Carson whisking through a maiden, before the frustration told on French at the other end, who saw his stumps dismantled seeking to hoist one towards Jesus Green. This brought Bhushan to the crease, thankfully this time fully-equipped with both thigh pad and box. Alongside captain Goodwin (47), the pair sought to consolidate, keeping the strike ticking and notching the occasional boundary, with the patented wristiness of the skipper earning him two Kohli-esque boundaries through the legside. The duo’s patience was soon rewarded, as the Infidels’ change bowlers came in for some serious tap. As erstwhile Crusader Rory Sale might put it, it went the ‘D’. Goodwin in particular was the beneficiary of some generous bowling, carving a double-bouncing half-volley over extra cover for four, before flaying another loose delivery over the offside for his first CUCC maximum. However Goodwin’s newfound aggression was soon to be his undoing, a floaty full-toss somehow finding itself in the hands of short mid-wicket. What followed is becoming an all too familiar story for this year’s Crusaders, as Corner (5) and Martin (1) were both bowled in quick succession. Thankfully, Bhushan continued to plod on, expanding his repertoire of shots exponentially as the innings went on, even unfolding a ramp over the keeper’s head to finish on an important 36*. Combined with some lusty blows from the languid Senanayake (6*) and the ungainly Taylor (9), the Crusaders managed to post a respectable but below-par score of 124 from their 20 overs.

No doubt roused by some fiery words from senior-pro and Cardiff-native Jacob Pockney, the Crusaders came out all guns blazing after the interval. Sam Jelley in particular, with the odds stacked against him after inhaling a healthy portion of lasagne in the tea break, came out with a point to prove. His first over was a wicket-maiden, his probing line and difficult length proving too difficult for the Infidels opener, and providing a first CUCC catch for Varsity Newspaper’s Music Editor, Alex Mistlin. Despite seeing a regulation slip-catch shelled by the Leverock-like Taylor, Jelley struck again soon after, pouching a steepling return catch that took even French by surprise. Jelley’s onslaught continued as he trapped another in front with a ball that didn’t bounce, and an appeal that didn’t end. Despite some fluent resistance from the Crusaders-own Tom Blanchard (27), the damage was done. Miserly spells from Taylor, Dewhurst and Senanayake all saw them pick up wickets and, despite French’s best attempts to invite the Infidels back into the game with his solitary over of leg-spin, the Crusaders dismissed their opposition for 100 to earn another victory. As self-professed Mr. Commitment Jacob Pockney rightly claimed after the game, with not long now until Varsity, the Crusaders appear in fine-fettle.

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