Nat Gimson began the season in spectacular style inspiring his side to a thrilling one wicket victory over old friends The Moose in the CtC's now traditional season opener.
Nat is certainly a cricketer who defies simple analysis. There are those for example who thinks the squinty eyed cartoon pirate look-alike is underserving to have been a former ‘player of tour’ winner (Tourfu, 2014); those that consider himself the clubs most talented batsmen – despite being classed as a specialist bowler in the CtC official LMS squad and having had a sequence of four golden ducks in five innings last season, those who think his bowling would stand up at a higher level than any other CtC regular bowler, and of course well-respected cricketing pundit Henry Rudkin who considers him a Jonty Rhodes standard fielder. Whilst we may not have definitely been able to definitely answer those questions on Sunday, Nat’s nerveless batting in a last wicket stand of 27 with Ollie Fairbank certainly earned him a place in CtC folklore on Sunday.
Coming to the wicket with CtC in some disarray at 155-9 requiring 23 to win, opinion was split about the chances of HMS Ironsides seeing us home after four rations of Stella and several ships biscuits during tea. However, showing no signs of nerves, the squinty eyed train driver played the square cut that have given the clubs net bowlers nightmares for years, to send his first ball for four. Much like his doppelganger Shaun Murphy he then played a very straight cue to see off the remaining overs from the dangerous opening bowler ably supported by Leeds comrade Ollie Fairbank at the other end. With the openers bowled out the game was over in no time with Jessie Ryders heavier homologue who finished the game with an enormous six.
Little chef had also starred with the ball taking 2-35 from his 7 overs, including a sharp caught and bowled to dismiss the opposition danger man Munro. Otherwise skipper Davidson shuffled his pack to great effect, using seven bowlers, including Dillon who each claimed a wicket, with debutant Fairbank the pick of the rest with 2-10 off his four overs. In the field CtC were unusually sharp, with Baggo taking his mandatory worldie, and Rudkin a good take at first slip.
Set 178 to win in 35 overs on a pitch without any serious demons, CtC appeared to be cruising after an opening stand of 40 between Rupert Rudkin and Guy Skinner, both on red ball debut, and a second wicket partnership of 42 between Ben Cassels and Skuttler. Cassels however, dropped to number three by new captain Davidson on the occasion on which he became the only man with 100% appearance record, chucked his wicket away in typically lazy style and then Skinner edged behind to leave CtC wobbling on 120-4. From here CtC suddenly panicked losing 5-25, mostly to a 15 year old who completed his 5-for. Dillon was the only man to offer much resistance, making a somewhat fortuitous 24 amidst the carnage at the end, which saw Rudkin (1), Rutt (1), Shaw (0), Baggo (10) all fall without making a significant contribution. With the score on 143-8 captain Davidson, having promoted himself above specialist keeper Shaw, was joined by Fairbank with Moose very much in the driving seat and their opening bowlers returning. Both played with a straight bat and a great deal of responsibility, not adding many runs, but crucially eating up the overs and sucking momentum from The Moose. Just when it looked as though Capt D’voe would justify his promotion aboe specialist wicketkeeper Simon, would see us home however he was adjudged LBW and Gimson, was tasked with finding the 22 runs required still for victory.
Cambridge to Casablanca Cycling Cricket Club