Station Road Rendezvous, or a case of Déjà vu? Either way don’t get too excited about it.

It has been 17 years since the Village teams from Twyford and Marsh Gibbon clashed in cricketing combat and the dust needed to be scraped off the scorebook containing Marsh’s last victory at the other end of Station Road, which was almost 2 decades ago in June 2002.  Nevertheless, 7 players that graced the pitch in 2002, (in short trousers), were back to face off once more: The 2 Lyon’s and Roberts for Twyford and Chambers, Cross, Needham and Stuart Leonard for Marsh.  Indeed, news of this fixture had reached far and wide and former Marsh players also graced the boundary edge with; Taf Gibbons, Martin Deeley and even the Great Bolsh-man Ian Rawlings himself in attendance….would they revive the victories of old, or have travelled in vain?   

The sky was blue and the sun out, Skipper Stu, Vice Joe and those senior pros of Chambers and Kyle weighed up the decision on what to do if the coin came down as called? It was not as straightforward as expected, for the track was certainly hard, dry and flat, but had as many scarification grooves as a Max Bygraves Album.  What impact would this have if any, and would it best suit the seamer or spinner?

Captain Leonard made his choice and called correctly at last! “We’ll have a Bat.”

Openers, Joe Leonard and Paul ‘Borsky’ Thornton strolled out and set off with an explosion of runs. Twyford were lacking 2 players. Starting with only 9 players and a lose line was seized upon by Gibbon as Vice Joe crashed Roberts for 3 boundaries in the first over. 36 runs from the first 18 balls was as fast as HS2 will be when it skirts the ground later this decade. But the breaks went on when Joe nicked off and Borsky decided to walk past a wide one from Lyon to be stumped and Marsh were suddenly 37-2.

Pip Webb and Captain Leonard came to the crease knowing that a strong Twyford batting line up and lightning outfield meant that a good total was required and Webb looked in form as he punished any bad ball superbly, including two huge maximums from the impressive turning ball of Rory Lyon. Skipper was more watchful and left his partner to ignite the fireworks for now. 50 overs is a long time at 20+ degrees and he intended to keep Twyford out in the field for the duration. On 41 from just 49 balls, Webb miscued to long on from the bowling of Lyon, noting as he came back to the pavilion “that wasn’t meant to go there, and it was off the inside edge” despite very nearly clearing the fence.

Fox joined the Skipper with the score at 94-3 from just 15 overs and a run a ball would be assured if he remained at the crease, but that was not to be as he was returned to the pavilion for 7 after being judged LBW, off the bowling of Jackson. Next in was the swashbuckling socialite Shipperley – in a hurry to leave from the moment he arrived due to his hectic social calendar and the evenings’ dinner adventures that lay ahead for him. The talented left-hander put away anything loose and along with skipper’s constant additions the neon scoreboard progressed steadily.

A lively partnership of 71 between the pair was just what the Gibbon required to push towards the desired high total. Shipperley’s impressive innings of 41 from 46 balls including 3x4s and 2x6s ended under the umpire’s digit as he was also judged LBW from the bowling of Aslam.   No time lapsed before Skipper Leonard was the third LBW victim from the HS2 End, again to the bowling of Aslam.  A very patiently constructed innings of 53 from 95 deliveries ended before his real destructive force could be unleashed.

Jay-Z Chambers was now in the middle; The veteran of many successful skirmishes down Station Road, including his most famous adventure, when he stole away with his greatest treasure – Sally!  Who was back and watching on, knotted between compelling allegiances to husband and son (12 man) for Marsh, or birthplace Twyford?

Chambers and Michael Timms – also represented by his 3-month old son at the game to watch dad for the first time, kept the scoreboard moving, despite interruption when Borsky returned to military sapper mode crawling inexplicably under the sightscreen.  His attempt at ’whiteout camouflage’ failed abysmally and he was spied from the middle and all waited for him to slither off.

The classy Chambers manipulated the Twyford attack with singles and twos all around the wagon wheel.  Unfortunately, Timdog went for 12, but not before showing son William how to score a 5!   Kyle went first ball hammering one straight to point and declaring “that was the best shot I’ve played all year, how dare they put a fielder there.”   Chambers looking ever imperious reached 32 before being the last Marsh wicket to fall with the total on 232. Leaving Nathan ‘Crouch’ Callow and Grant ‘The Crab’ Cross to utilise the remaining deliveries unbeaten, with Crouch’s closing salvo a glorious straight drive for four. The Gibbon finished on 240-9 from their 50 overs. 

Enough, or slightly below par?  The track had played a tune that Tom Jones, never mind Max Bygrave would have been proud to croon and there definitely were still a few chords left to be played out this afternoon.

Tea was taken in the sunshine accompanied by Kyle’s leek sandwiches and cake supplied by Vice Joe’s better half. With the suncream and deep heat applied, badly in one respect…Caution is always advised when applying the hot stuff in the pant region Mr Callow.  Or, perhaps, he was just preparing to come steaming in!

Indeed, Kyle and Crouch opened up and immediately got into the swing of things producing excellent line and length before Callow castled the dangerous Elkington for just 5. Chairman Kyle was looking to make a vast improvement on his midweek performance for the Oxfordshire OAP’s and responded well knocking over Twyford’s other opener Jackson with a little tickle of the off-bail and Twyford were 20-2 from 7 overs.

In came the Goff, Twyford’s in-form man with a century the previous outing and he looked dangerous again with a couple of early lusty blows.  The innings foundation began as the pair of Goff and Aslam roared to a 50 partnership and got Twyford on course. Until that is, Skipper brought Chambers into the bowling attack and the demise of Aslam as he was caught skewing to square leg and grabbed by the constantly laid back Webb; 76-3. Nio respite as Chambers struck again immediately trapping his second victim of the day as Rory Lyon was on his way back to the pavilion first ball.

Marsh kept the pressure on the open wound with the introduction of medical man Fox at the other end and the tall medic bowled Sam Lyon, and followed up sharply after with the wicket of Bridges being superbly snatched inches above ground by Crabby Cross at second slip, 102-6 from 21 overs.

With the fall of each wicket Skipper took the opportunity to keep his troops focussed and repeatedly insisting that all should stay calm and not get TOO EXCITED…!  

Fox then took an unfortunate blow to left thumb fielding off his own bowling and with claret spurting everywhere had to take a few moments off the field to patch himself up. “You’re a doctor – deal with it.” Chambers Junior was certainly pleased with Foxy’s temporary exit as he could join dad in the middle as substitute fielder and give him some pearls of wisdom from Mid-on.

Come-Dine-With-Me Shipperley was tasked to finish off The Foxman’s over and very nearly took a wicket with his only delivery of the game.

With scoreboard pressure high and The Gibbon electric in the field, apart from Crouch who preferred diving over the ball rather than stopping it, Goff had to go big and took one too many chances and skied one off Chambers and was easily pouched. Was this the end for Twyford?  105-7 from 24 overs left the Twyford team needing 135 at 5 per over which was not out of the question, but with only 3 wickets in hand. The return of County Boy Kyle to complete his allowance solved the riddle – and the demise of Twyford Skipper Roberts on 16 and Best on 3, both snaffled behind as both edged the swinging ball to Skipper and Vice in turn.  Twyford were now looking down the barrel at 136-9.

Short drinks break and Shipperley was on the phone to his guests advising that he was only going to be 90 minutes late to host his own dinner party!  Foxy returned with his thumb professionally strapped up (by himself) and despite a couple of lusty blows from number 11 Akram, Foxy claimed the final wicket of Shafaqat as he swung across the line and errantly verred to the gleeful Webb to pouch at backward point….very slowly, of course.

19 year Deju-vu for The Gibbon who were professional throughout and were led directly from the field of play straight to The Crown Public House by Skipper Leonard for a very well deserved pint…..whilst Shipperley headed home for canapes….and no one got Too Excited at all!  

This week the Gibbon face Cairns Fudge at home in the first venture into the mysterious world of Win-Lose-Draw cricket. Much to the delight of Chairman Kyle who cannot wait to relive his previous life from 1874 when he scored 3 runs from 48 overs…and Crouchy who cannot wait for the opportunity to bowl 15 overs straight through….

A special thankyou to the Scorers on the day, especially the whooping Mullis, whose tourettes of joy each time a Twyford wicket tumbled, were audible from the middle!

“Dont get TOO EXCITED!!!”


ICC Announce Population Totals To Factor In New Cricket Scoring Method

Hopefully you spotted that title as Fake News, but Captain Leonard’s motivational idiom before the match against Leighton Buzzard Town lent on the catchment population available to opponent Leighton Buzzard compared to Marsh Gibbon.  The players sat in mute bewilderment to skipper’s barked question, “What’s the population of Leighton Buzzard?!” immediately chased by, “What’s the population of Marsh Gibbon?”  The fact that Leighton has 40 times the Gibbon catchment was the answer, but not the point; How the actual 11 players on the pitch perform will dictate the games outcome.   Eventually the players caught up with skipper’s line of thought….which was good because their performance was what separated the teams in the 6 hours of cricket that followed.  

An unprecedented May with three consecutive abandonments due to rain, rain and rain had finally come to an end and The Recreation Ground was respendent, green, yet flat and ready. 

Thankfully Leighton Scorer, Jules, is highly skilled in Cherwell laptop scoring ways and spent the better part of her afternoon training the Marsh players in the fine art of online scoring – to such a level that even Crouch and Guns declared it a “piece of ****” . (We are most grateful to Jules!)  

With the online scoring excitement raging on Skipper duly lost the toss and Marsh were inserted as the mercury rose to unchartered heights for 2021.  It is true to say that Marsh were significantly under strength in the bowling department due to : childcare duties, University exams (aka University drinking) and a famous Shipperley wedding tolling out for Zoe and Luke. (Congratulations to them from all at MGCC!) So, batting first actually was the plan and a relief.  

Vice Joe Leonard and Chambers Senior (no longer under his Sandford nom de plume) started well, seeing off the opening attack of McNeil and Cowley to reach 42 off the first 10 overs.  However with the 50 partnership achieved and all under control vice was caught for 18 and Briefcase marched out for the Gibbon a mere 999 days since his last appearance, when he retired himself on 49 in order to get home under Amy’s instructions.  This time she came to the ground and he went one better.

After a typical 30 minute swash-buckling demonstration from the In-Betweeners Deputy Head, comprised of 7 fours and 2 sixes, Alex had crashed a 50 taking the lead in the critical 74 run partnership with Julian, to give Marsh impetus at exactly the right time. At the half way point (25 overs) Marsh sat on 131-2 with Skipper now in the middle with Julian. 

Leighton now fought back and the next 25 overs went the way of the bowling side. With an approach ‘Bomber Harris’ would have been proud off; high loping deliveries dropped from the skies and undermined one Marsh batter after the next…with the exception of Chambers who pushed soundly forward despite partners coming and going.   The pavilion bound batters were very aware of the importance of the innings as Chambers reached his 25th half century for the club, which included a spell batting with Chambers Junior whom he abandoned when eventually skilfully stumped by keeper Claridge on 67. 

Whilst the Marsh batters generally hung around a while, none got going and wickets fell with regularity and the halfway promise spluttered to add only 72 runs in the last 25 overs when Connell was last man out with a Fantasy Cricket -20 point Duck!

Top bowling for Leighton came from Bertie Barrett with 4-27. At Tea, skipper again reminded the team of his fascinatiing Census research and the batting performances from Briefo and Julian needed to be supplemented in the field if the Mighty, yet seemingly outnumbered, Gibbon were to prevail!

Chairman Kyle responded to skippers wishes from the Edgcott End castling Raine with the very first ball of the innings to set the Marsh populace marching. Tyas was the next victim trapped plumb in-front and Kyle had his tail up. Left-handed Barrett adopted a ‘leave strategy’ to the away swinging left-arm bowler and in response Captain Leonard changed the field repeatedly to increase the temptation for Barrett to drive. He resisted stoutly, but the ever increasing lure of a wide open offside he drove….only the outside edge connected and the ball fizzed to Chambers at Slip who saved his handsome features with the sharpest of head high snaffoos!

Claridge’s off bail was her Achilles as Needham claimed his fourth victim of the innings and 600th for Marsh in OCA, and now Cherwell league matches. Bowling through he finished with a population defying 4-21 from 10 overs. A great start for Gibbon with Leighton 39-4. Guns Leonard and Tennis Star Al Bevan making his debut took over from Crouch and Needham. ‘Bev’ was very keen and hid his disappointment at not getting a ‘new ball’ at the 7th over decided that he wanted his first over to last…double faults followed until after 11 deliveries he got it consistently inside the tram lines and allowed Tommy to have a go.

Tommy’s injured ankle was still plaguing him and whilst Bev was struggling with right and left direction, Tommy was struggling with up and down – so much so that he peppered the batters’ midriff twice and decided that removing himself from the fray before the umpire did was the best thing…..though not before he managed to get one on target to bowl Smith. Thus at 20 overs, the Leighton metropolis were 73-5

Skipper needed to get the vertical and horizontal control back in the bowling and turned to Vice Joe Leonard who tweaked them back onto the straight and narrow. He winkled the key wicket of Cowley with Connell storming in from Long off to take a fine running catch which anyone with half his stride length (that’s about 8 feet!) would have failed to reach. Leighton skipper Purdy was pivotal and Marsh’s quality fielding slowly increased the pressure leading to a mix-up with Gurney, stranding them both prone at the same end for an easy run out : 125-7 from 31 overs and the game was tipping Marsh’s way. Only 4 runs per over required for Leighton victory and only 3 wickets for Marsh.

Skipper had scoured his entire populace and the man he looked to in his moment of need was Marsh Gibbons number One…MoM Chambers once more….now surely on his final grams of energy. In fact the hour of need was cut short as Chambers needed only 5 overs to wrap up those last 3 wickets and Leighton were dismissed for 161.

A tremendous Cherwell League debut culminated with victory and considerable socially distanced celebrations led by the 3 oldest stooges from the Marsh Cricketing Population as they celebrated Team success and their own personal milestones: Skipper Leonard on his 400th game for the Gibbon. Chairman Needham for his 600th wicket and The Original Original Farmer Chambers with another Match winning performance with both bat and ball.



Cricket At Last – Oh, The Telegraph Cup!

The drought of April was truly reversed with the monsoons of May and the rain had continued unabated washing out the opening two league fixtures and it seemed the same fate awaited the Sunday fixture in the Telegraph Cup against Sandford St. Martin II’s.   So much so, that Captain Stu warned the Sandford skipper the day before the game whilst waiting for the VAR decision on the Chelsea equaliser, which in itself was a shock, as there is no VAR in the FA Cup! 

Both Michael Oliver and the Met Office needed external assistance as both were wrong and whilst there was no reprieve for Chelsea, there was for the clash between MGCC and Sandford, as the rain forecasted failed to fall as foretold and a dry window of weather would allow for the corridor of uncertainty to be tested for the first time this season.

Skipper had been practicing his tossing all week and was concerned as he had not been able to have Kimberley bless his tool of choice that day and got his wrist position all wrong with Sandford Skipper Ben Proctor calling correctly (worth pointing out that this was not ‘the’ Ben Proctor former skipper of this Parish and only skipper to lead the Mighty Gibbon to a winless season, just saying).  However, surprisingly Marsh were not inserted as expected on a pitch damper than young Master Timms nappy.  The only male Timms not to be in attendance as Middle Timms was gracing the green grass of Gibbon for the first time in over a year and Senior Timms was standing in adjudication.

Old man Kyle and fitness fanatic Callow opened with decent lines on what would be a testing track for the batters whilst the ball was hard and likely to seam.  Both were on the money from the off and perhaps it was the allure of skippers’ dazzling new white gloves that attracted the new cherry into them as both openers were caught behind off sharp snicks.

Anson and Reynolds were quickly joined by Tanner in the pavilion as Kyle trapped him plumb in-front leaving Sandford on 28-3 from 13.  Both bowlers completed their allotted 8 overs to be replaced by Sam-boy Richardson and Guns Leonard.   An immediate impact from Guns as his ‘surprise ball’ (the one that does not bounce and is about 2 feet outside off) was launched into orbit by Dobson, only to return and drill Crouch into the earth, who clasped on to it and climbed out from his crater.   Despite the success Tommy’s football injury (not the Chelsea result but his ankle) was too much for him to continue, though he did stretch his second over to ten balls – as if suggesting he didn’t really want to come off!

The ‘G-Man’ brought calm and order to proceedings despite his own concerns over young Alfie’s new cricket trousers and the potential reaction of Deborah to the residue stuck on them from the cow field!  

Crossman bowled Welch in the 24th over, reducing Sandford to 104-5. However, before catching Goffe and giving Grant his 2nd wicket, Guns had struggled with an earlier opportunity off Richardson….He could not extricate himself from his new blue MGCC Panama whilst attempting to bag a skier. Calamity as he eventually won the battle with the hat only for the released mop of hair to fall and distract from clasping the chance.  Sam-boy could be philosophical though as Crouch managed to race in and take a diving stylish catch to remove Lamb shortly afterwards.

Crossman put the strangle on in the middle overs conceding only 19 runs and taking 3 wickets in his 8 overs and with scoreboard pressure mounting quick singles were being sought – though ill-advised to try them to Charlie the Ship, he is the sort that pings the ball back with interest and skipper Proctor was left to rue his decision. 

Chambers came on justin time to loosen the muscles and get the old swing-o-meter rolling before Joseph closed out the innings with the turning ball to bowl Skinner ending the Sandford innings in the 40th over on 143.            

With Covid restrictions still imposed the wonderful Marsh Teas could not be sampled, unless you happened to be Mrs Needham, who had done more than sample, but had eaten her husband’s tea that he had prepared for himself!

Joe and Charlie strode confidently to face the youthful and excessively energetic Sandford attack, needing to take the seam off the new ball and most importantly not play across the line…..

….Richardson joined Shipperley midway through the first over…..

The excitement on the pitch was matched by the excitement in the scorebox as the strange and unpredictable world of Duckworth Lewis came into effect for the first time ever for Gibbon and the total required immediately exceeded the runs obtained.  This was not phasing Richardson who blocked and blocked and blocked…and blocked with unyielding commitment. Of course, he might have changed tactics had he been aware of the worsening position displayed prominantly for all to see on the new D/L scoreboard!   Thankfully for Marsh, Fossy eventually bowled Samboy for 2 (from 28 deliveries faced).  Next game is at home Sam – you can go Direct!

With Guns’ visit to the crease lasting as long as his spell of bowling and Shipperley, who was looking relaxed and hitting ball well, chopping on for 17 from just 14 deliveries, the club looked to the experience of Skipper and Chambers who was Justin to join skipper. 

Sandford bowlers; Proctor, Fossy and Goffe had bowled very well and had them in a strong position with Marsh 50-4 when the two came together.

Evaluating the situation, Jules was reticent and reliable, flicking singles to both sides and stamping down on anything straight!  Skipper had a look around for a while and wandered a few singles, but with black clouds looming and Marsh behind on the DL score, the Kraken was unleashed on the Sea Bass and the Lagoon was filled with cricket balls.

Four Sixes and Six Fours later Skipper wrapped it up with an unbeaten 63 accompanied by Chambers senior – who had kept Chambers Junior sitting padded up and waiting for his dad’s demise for 26 overs!   Jules ended up on 27 in the unbroken partnership of 96 in 18 overs.

It was a pleasure to host the skilful and youthful Sandford St Martin at the Gibbon for the first time and wish them success in their fixtures ahead.

Meanwhile, The Mighty Gibbon will be travelling away for the next round of the cup and hosting mates of old from the OCA, Watlington, in the league next weekend.                   




To Affinity and Beyond!

Marsh Gibbon Cricket Club is very proud to announce local support from new sponsors, Affinity Hair Design, of Waddesdon

Debbie Fenton, Affinity Hair Design partner said “We’re very excited to partner with the Marsh Gibbon team and wish them the best of luck this season. Hopefully we’ll be there to cheer them on once the post-lockdown rush has calmed down!”

Marsh Gibbon Cricket Club Chairman, Carl Needham said, “2020 was a difficult year for everyone; from families, to businesses and sports clubs. The signs are that we are all now on a positive trajectory forward and the support from Affinity Hair Design is phenomenal and invaluable for a small village club like ourselves. We are incredibly thankful to the Affinity Team and look forward to welcoming our friends at Affinity and opposition teams to The Recreation Ground at Marsh as soon as we are allowed to safely do so.”

Subject to all Coronavirus restrictions, Marsh Gibbon begins the 2021 campaign at home to Buckingham Town III, on Saturday 8th May, in Division 5A of the newly expanded Cherwell League.  Marsh had competed in the Oxfordshire Cricket Association for the past 30 years, winning league and cup honours. During the winter this league joined with the Cherwell Cricket League to form an even larger association of 84 clubs with 178 competing teams across the six surrounding counties. 

Leading MGCC at this historic time will be Captain Stuart Leonard and Vice-captain Joseph Leonard, who have collectively scored almost twelve thousand runs for the club and will be looking to add to their impressive tally of centuries and fifties!



What’s that coming over the hill? Is it a Marshian?

It has been a long lockdown winter, but something uplifting and inspiring is coming over the horizon – The Cricket Season – and if BJ is good to his word and we all get a jab and keep to ourselves a little while longer, The Mighty Gibbon will be back in the Middle at the start of May!

Many things will be starting afresh;  New league as we join the Cherwell, new format as we play 50 over win/lose and 100 over win/lose/draw cricket for the first time, new opponents and grounds to visit, new Skipper with Stu’y tossing, and hopefully bolstered by some new players that we look forward to welcoming.   

Some things will remain the same though: Crouchy running into the wind, Joe taking a single off the last ball, Borsky playing a forward defensive, Jules telling Cubby to ‘get-it-in!” Crabby farting in the slips, Stu glaring after a leg side delivery (from JJ!), Foxy having a look at the bowling – for 2 balls, Rodders not bothering to have a look, Scotty, Beardie, Shippo(s) starring in one game and then retiring till the next season, Guns making friends with the umpire, Vik claiming to be a batter but taking more wickets than scoring runs,  Al waiting for his family to arrive before hitting anything, Webby frightening the Oppo turning up in his pikey van, Costa on the boundary with a bottle of red, Willo carrying the most expensive Willow, Samb….(careful!) Richardson being on call……and Kyle winning the Bowling Cup!   


Of course everyone is now well into their pre-season conditioning and getting toned for the onslaught.  I’ve certainly made a good start on my ‘Beers of the World’ subscription anyway.

Outdoor Netting starts down the ground on Sunday 4th April at 10.30am and will continue each Sunday until start of the season. Additionally there shall be a Thursday evening Net starting at 6pm.  Get there if you can as every minute spent here will pay you back in May!

Finally, we continue to need financing for equipment and this season we will be replacing the Sightscreen slats for shiny bright new ones, amongst other things, so when Mikey contacts you about the Bonus Ball please reply promptly so it can start promptly from the beginning of April.

Cheers to another Great Summer at The Gibbon!



It’s Been a Long Year!

MGCC Tour Party to Brighton  

2020 will not go down as a stellar year for Cricket and as the year comes to a close, we are still guessing as to what will happen come next May?  We do know that we shall be playing in the Cherwell League, Division 5A, along with some old faces and new, but whether we will get started on time or not is still subject to Coronavirus. 

Despite the March Lockdown taking us through to July,  the Mighty Gibbon managed to get half a Season of matches in (winning half), rekindle the Tour bug (sorry Brighton!), and host an inaugural President’s Day Celebration in honour of the late, great, Horace Leonard.     

At the recent Annual General Meeting a number of changes were carried but the general ethos remains unaltered.  A special Thank you to Skipper Joe Leonard who stood down after 2 years at the helm.  Cousin Stuart will take up the reins (and try to control us!)

The Committee remains pretty much the same with Chairman Needham, Secretary Joe Leonard, Treasurer Timms, supported by Midweek Captain Tom Leonard,  Welfare Grant Cross, Originals Captain Leonard, with supporting Committee members. 

We look forward to the dawning of a new era following the OCA’s absorption into the Cherwell League and new game formats, match rules and competition structure, not to mention the dreaded Duckworth Lewis Stern method for rain affected games!

Stay tuned for more details on the fixtures schedule in the New Year, along with the exciting opportunity to participate in the next round of the MGCC Bonus Ball fund raiser.   Despite the loss of funds due to Covid last Summer, we do just about have enough money in the bank, but enhancements to the facilities will require more reddies before the Spring.

And mark the August Bank Holiday Weekend in your calendar now – as the President’s Day Match shall return. More than 50 current and ex-players and families were down The Recreation Ground to (socially-distance) play, or cheer on Chairman Kyle’s Elect to victory over Captain Joe’s Conscripts in a tense game which went right down to the 13th wicket!        

Also, you have GOT to save a few days holiday for the next thrilling instalment of “Gibbons On Tour” The question is, which peaceful seaside resort will suffer this time around?

Skipper Struggles From Death Bed and Vikar Delivers The Last Rites to Save Gibbon

After a very soggy and miserable week with the weather The Originals penultimate game of the Covid Campaign was at Stanton Harcourt, a ground never visited and club never confronted by the Mighty Gibbon. Despite skipper J Leno giving solid directions a number of the match day squad did end up in the building site close by instead of the ground, whilst the rest were late due to making their lunch, or having to stop en-route to buy it lunch…..Standard!

With copious amount of precipitation falling during the week the wicket was on the soft to jelly side, outfield very green and a chill in the air. If a day for cricket at all, it was one for the bowlers. An important toss to win: coin goes up, J Leno calls tails, lost, T*@t! The Gibbons are sent to get their pads on.

It was at this point that Skipper announces he slept funny and had seriously damaged his shoulder. Funny how he always sleeps funny the night before our game, which is the day before his appearance with his ‘friends’ in the OCA League Representative Game? Also, categorically nothing to do with his batting average standing in triple figures and the wicket looking like a paddy field! The team was far from amused.  Nevertheless, the energy was emitting from Borsky and Spud joined him to face up to the tricky conditions first.

Stanton bowled well to exploit the conditions. The experienced Walker and midweek transfer, Ayris, from Hanborough (who scratched their game?) putting the ball in exactly the right places and letting the pitch do the rest.

The Gibbon top and middle order, initially dispirited by damp then stunned by the skipper’s abdication, did not hang around. Walker ripping through both openers first (though Honour ground away for 26 balls). Vice Captain Stuart at three and Guns Leno at four were quickly followed by Noddy Rodnight who under instructions from the Skipper (on the boundary) to steady the ship, promptly capsized it, skying his 7th ball to be caught in the deep.  Vikram in at six was back in the hutch with his team mates 5 balls later. Marsh became perilously close to beating the lowest Club score ever when Crouchy went for a first baller and the score stood at 21-7 in just 12 overs. That record had stood for 28 years stretching back to Freeland when only 32 was scored. 

With the Skipper having now run out of places to hide himself in the batting, he dragged his sorry injured carcass to the middle and was joined by debutant Grant Cross. The opposition adjudged his style to be that of someone who has never batted before as opposed to someone with over two thousand OCA runs to his name.  

With the impressive Stanton opening bowlers allotted overs coming to an end, Ayris (8-1-17-1) and Walker finishing with an excellent 8-2-9-6, it was down to J Leno and Grant to get Marsh beyond the worst ever scores in the Clubs history and perhaps to a less laughable total. Simply put, they did it. The recovery from Skipper and Grant beat the best ever 8th wicket partnership for the club with 87. That beat the previous record of 61 set by Richard Cross and Nick Tyler, also from back in the 90’s. J Leno picked the gaps with boundaries and Grant ‘The Crab’ Cross went for a more direct approach, including one maximum which smashed straight through the sight screen!

The Crab played one big shot too many and was caught for a gallant 21, unfortunately Jacob and Chairman Kyle were unable to trouble the scorers too much both being caught for 1 and 0 respectively. Leaving Skipper high, dry and remarkably improved on 46. A final target set of 115. Quite a remarkable recovery considering it was achieved by a cripple and debutant!

Perhaps Skipper’s injury had come from whisking air into his wonderful Teatime cake? The boys were prepared for the challenge of keeping Stanton’s score to below 115, a tough ask on a drying pitch.

Chairman Kyle and Crouch opened up, with Crouch coming uphill into the breeze: good job his fitness levels are so robust. The pair bowled tight conceding only 12 in the first 7 overs, and critically bagging openers Epps (Caught at Slip by Cross off Cello) and Graham (LBW to Needham, or Leggy-B according to DJ Dave!).

The two bowlers went through their 8 overs each with Crouch snapping up Wastie leg before and Needham clean bowling Pascoe, who was looking to smash anything sent down. As the pair finished the Stanton score was on 45-4 from 16 overs. Skipper turned to brother Tom and leggy Pandit to mix it up as wickets could not dry up if this game was to be fully resurrected.  

However, Stanton moved slowly to 63-4 off 22 overs and the halfway mark was passed. Only 52 required at less than 3 an over. Stanton’s Ayris had settled and having seen off Kyle and Cello and it was looking ominous for MGCC until he belted T Leno to cover where Skipper Leno took a sharp catch diving to his left…cue ‘ouch my shoulder’!

At the other end Vik-ar was causing the batters a world of problems with some sharp turn. With wickets being key, Skipper had a very attacking field and men crowded around the bat. Unfortunately for Joe, he had put himself right in the firing line and was being peppered by Appleyard who found the ample barrier unmissable at such close range….much to the delight of the uninjured MGCC players!

Stanton sought to attack the slow turn of Pandit and found it much harder than it appeared from the fence. The result was Appleyard and R. Wastie both caught (by J-Leon and Vik himself), before Pandit clean bowled Jeffreys and Lighting Leonard whipped away Walker’s bails to leave him airborne and de-bailed.

The Vik-ar had turned the game to The Gibbons’ with 4 for 16 in his 8 overs, including the decimating 4 over spell in the middle where he took 4 wickets for just 2 runs.

With only one wicket left to get and still 30 required by Stanton, Joe turned to the experienced Craby Cross and Will ‘Noddy’ Rodnight to polish up the Stanton tail. Not all went according to plan, Noddy’s first over looked slightly suspect with whispers that he was suffering with ‘the yips’. Not to worry, he finally got one right and Pascoe ended up sky-ing one into the breeze that was gratefully grabbed by Skipper to settle the victory for The Gibbon by 21 runs.

There cannot be many victories when the opposition’s opening bowler returned figures of 6 wickets for just 9 runs, but a stalwart response from Skipper and The G-Man opened the door, which the Marsh bowlers merrily kicked down. Just shows what a bit of battle and fighting spirit can bring.

The boys look forward to following their Skipper as he leads from the front next week in the last game of the season against Trophy chasing Oxenford, at The Recreation Ground, Gibbon.

Scorecard link below –

Chairman’s Elect prevail in MGCC’s Inaugural President’s Day Match to Honour Horace Leonard

The Chairmans XI came out on top in a titanic encounter with the Captains XI as Marsh Gibbon Cricket Club hosted their inaugural Presidents Day on the August Bank Holiday Sunday competing for the ‘Horace Leonard Memorial Trophy’. Such was the desire to play in this prestigious game, that the match became a 14-a-side contest with player being turned away!

In front of a large crowd of supporters the Captains XI skipper Joe Leonard won the toss and inserted Carl Needham’s Chairman’s XI into bat in overcast swinging conditions. Saturday Original’s opening bats, Will Honour and Paul Thornton, strode out to face their fellow strike bowler Nathan Callow and the returning David Stringer, now playing in the Kent league. Stringer striking early trapping Honour LBW, brought Rupert Shipperley to the wicket, who entertained the crowd with some majestic hitting as he ably transferred from his usual Wales lnternational Hockey stick to cricket bat in scoring 47 (30 balls) to top score, before being caught off his younger brother Charlie, taking the first family bragging rights of the day….not to be the last!

Paul Thornton glued the early innings opposite Shippo before being caught by Leonard off Cello for 33. Then Stuart Leonard (30) kept it rolling and accelerated towards a respectable score at 135-5 with 10 overs remaining. (Rodnight came and went in Standard fashion!)

Handy cameos from Tom Leonard (13), James Mitchell (11) and Pete Stringer (9) who rolled back the years with his all action batting style and pre-war cap.  Martin Deeley (you can’t keep a good man down) was back to grace the Recreation Ground once more and showed that timing is ever-lasting.

David Stringer and Chris Coxhill the pick of the bowlers with Stringer 6-1-17-3 and Coxhill 3-0-15-3, with all other bowlers returning creditable figures.

Indeed tight death bowling from Julian Chambers and Chris Coxhill kept the lid on the final charge from The Chairman’s side as they closed on 177 (for 11) from their 40 overs. A challenging total, but well within reach of the Captain’s XI with some talented free scoring batsmen on display.

A tight start required from the fielding side as Captain Needham and Mitchell took the new cherry against James Coxhill, one of three brothers featuring in the game and first teamer Alex Coultate. Early strikes from both bowlers had the Captain’s XI at 7-2, as Mitchell bowled Coxhill and Lee Hodges clutched gleefully onto a slip catch from the evergreen Needham. Nick Turner was looking comfortable at one end despite the wildly hopeful stumping shouts. Not that they weren’t out more that Luke Connell, standing umpire at Square Leg, was dreaming of the row of cakes set up for Tea!

Captain Leonard now brought his master plan into effect. Having studied past golfing Ryder Cups, he knew this game would also be a match-up of individual players in the confrontation of Bat versus Ball. Consequently, he packed the middle order with his dangermen and the competition between bat of Black, Charlie Shipperley & himself versus the ball of opposing brothers Charlie Shipperley and Tom Leonard, backed up by the wily Crab, would be the Recreation Ground Battle of The Bulge!

All these swashbuckling batters possessed the power and skills to take the game away in an instant. Black started strongly, reminiscent of his time with the club back in 2011, dispatching anything loose, with Shipperley (R ) getting the brunt of it with three maximums in an over, before avenging this by bowling the former with a quick delivery, as Black departed for a typically aggressive 43 in just 25 deliveries.

Charlie Shipperley and Joe Leonard, despite some questionable running between the wickets, were looking set before a small change in the field worked perfectly for Will Honour to snaffle his Saturday Skipper Leonard at gully off Mitchell, for a poultry 28 by this season’s standards.

The removal of Charlie Shipperley was of paramount importance to the Chairman as he had also raced into the 40’s at quicker than a run a ball. Then he was also castled by his brother on 48 and the bragging rights swapped allegiance.  Would the runs be stemmed? Was it too late as the Captain’s team was surely on the brink of victory only needing 41 runs in 14 overs with 6 batters to come.  

Shipperley was now bowled out with 4-42, and Needham brought back the opening pair; himself and Mitchell. Leonard had played his hand and got close, but who would light the cigar?  Mitchell (3-29) bagged Chris Coxhill and Needham (2-23) got the crucial wicket of Chambers Senior (to the unbounding delight of Chambers Junior!), but the opening bowlers were now bowled out too and the introduction of Lee Hodges was pounced on by the swinging bat of Callow. 

The Captain’s crew needed only 20 runs in 5 overs with 4 wickets in hand. Nathan Callow (21) now anchored the lower order, but lost Tyler castled by Guns Leonard before the most astute bowling change brought on young Jacob Chambers. He promptly bamboozled and bowled Greg Bonne, then took the return catch from Coultate (in for a 2nd go to even the sides up). Callow needed to score a further 16 from 18 balls in the last wicket stand to take the game. But the Captain’s side completed their capitulation when Callow was caught by Thornton off Tom Leonard; the last 4 wickets falling in just 10 balls, for 4 runs, handing victory to the Chairmans Elect as the innings closed on 161.

Rupert Shipperley scooped the man of the match award (kindly sponsored by Chris Mullis) for his valuable contributions in both innings,

Nick Tyler the ‘Champagne moment’ (sponsored by Lee Hodges) for his first over in many years after returning to the club to a standing ovation and most important of all, the Horace Leonard Memorial Trophywas raised by jubilant skipper Needham, presented by Vi Leonard.

A fantastic day for the club and the memory of Horace Leonard. Many thanks to our sponsors, helpers and supporters of the event. Especially Debra for her wonderful cake organisation and the superb volunteer bakers for the array of cakes. Plus, Mark Leonard for keeping order out in the middle and Mikey Timms for keeping the numbers throughout. And watch out for the photos – thanks to Neil Honour for being our roving cameraman.

Finally, to the family bragging rights……

The Shipperley’s were probably even with 47 vs 48 runs, though Rupert managed to get the ball to bounce when bowling!

Guns Leonard and opposing Skipper scored blows on each other, with Guns taking the final 2 wickets to win the game whilst brother was wicketless, though scored more runs.

Whilst, Chris Coxhill bagged 3 wickets, brothers Jimmy and Matt, outscored him with the bat.

David Stringer showed his potency with the ball, but Pete’s 9 including a boundary shadowed his brothers Quacker….

And finally, did young Chambers eclipse the old man? Scoring more with the bat and taking more wickets with ball….We will leave Sally to referee that tussle!  



President’s XI

W Honour        LBW                       D Stringer        4

P Thornton     ct J Leonard        N Callow         33

R Shipperley  ct S Black             C Shipperley  47

S Leonard       ct & Bowled        C Coxhill           30

W Rodnight    ct J Leonard       C Coxhill              4

T Leonard        ct J Leonard      D Stringer          13

L Hodges         Bowled                 C Coxhill                1

G Cross                 Run Out                                             0

J Mitchell         ct S Black         J Chambers(Snr)  11

P Stringer         Bowled              D Stringer               9

J Chambers(Jnr)  Bowled        G Bonne                   5

M Coxhill           Not Out                                                  4

M Deeley           Not Out                                                  2

C Needham(capt)            DNB

Extras – 14

Total – 177 All out, from 40 overs


N Callow                              6              0              19           1

D Stringer                            6              1              17           3

G Bonne                              6              0              40           1

C Shipperley                       4              0              20           1

S Black                                    5              1              10           0

J Chambers(snr)               6              0              31           1

C Coxhill                               3              0              15           3

J Leonard                             3              0              17           0

N Tyler                                    1              0              4              0

Captain’s XI

J Coxhill                    Bowled                      J Mitchell              7

A Coultate            ct L Hodges              C Needham          0

N Turner                    Bowled                 R Shipperley            7

S Black                  Bowled                      R Shipperley          43

C Shipperley            Bowled                 R Shipperley          48

J Leonard(capt) ct W Honour           J Mitchell                  28

C Coxhill                               Bowled                 J Mitchell           0

J Chambers(Snr)               Bowled                 C Needham     0

D Stringer                            Bowled                 R Shipperley    0

N Tyler                                   Bowled                 T Leonard         2

N Callow                              ct P Thornton     T Leonard        21

G Bonne                              Bowled           J Chambers(jnr)        1

A Coultate (2nd go)        C&B               J. Chambers (Jnr)        0

L Connell                              Absent.

Extras – 3

Total – 161 All out, from 37.1 overs


C Needham                        8              1              23           2

J Mitchell                             6              1              29           3

R Shipperley                       7              2              42           4

G Cross                                  7              1              21           0

T Leonard                            4.1          0              19           2

L Hodges                              3              0              28           0

J Chambers(Jnr)                1                0                2           2


Originals Sweet Tasting Victory

A disappointing defeat at Combe effectively ruled out MGCC’s hopes of winning Airey Cup, Group B and progressing to the Final. A lamentable week of rain had kept the Covers on for 72 hours straight, plus strong winds had blown over a Sightscreen causing damage.  Overall the mood in the camp was drab.  The Originals needed a lift and it duly came in an opening spell of bowling that tore through the Cairns Fudge batting.

The Chairman had only managed 4 overs on tour and 2 overs at Combe due to a thigh injury caused by wearing excessively white boots.  Opening partner Cello had been inspecting the OCA stats and announced “I have conceded the most runs in the entire OCA.”  Just the inspiration their team mates needed before the pair took the shiny new cherry.

There was a strong wind from The Lagoon End and the senior partner chose to have this at his back whilst young Cello ran directly into it on his treacle legs.  However, both quickly adapted to their different conditions and the fun started in the 4th over when Crouch held it back and Hobbins popped it back to him for the first wicket, with the scoreboard on 12. 

Next over and Handscombe chipped to Costello off Kyle.  12 runs still on the board.  

Next over from Crouch and Stuart’s gloves were perfectly placed to take the nick. 13 runs on the board – 3 wickets.  

Next over from Kyle, Broughton cuts hard and uppish straight into Vikram’s smoking hands.    13 runs on the board – 4 wickets, just 7 overs bowled.

A small rally from Fudge until the 10th over and then lightning quick keeping from Vice to remove Lyle’s bails.  24 for 5 wickets.  Despite the wicket, 2 balls later Robson crashed Crouch for a maximum and stole the strike from the last ball.  Error.  Kyle trapped him in-front and Fudge were reduced to 31-6 from 11 as Kyle completed his 3rd Wicket Maiden from 6 overs.      

Perversely from this position, Fudge’s Shaw went onto the attack!  With the wind behind him he set about anything loose from Cello and ploughed 4 maximums into the hedge. Nevertheless, those early 3 wickets from Crouch were critical as Skipper now looked to spin and brought on Vik-The Vicar-Vikram.  He faired no better and was planted beyond the hedge into the field.  Meanwhile Kyle completed his 8 overs deceiving Baxter with his very last ball, taking off what little pace he has, causing Baxter to sky to Costello to bag another and the old-timer finished his 8 overs with 4 wickets for just 5 runs.  Injury? What injury!

Costa replaced Kyle and found a consistent 4th stump line whilst the ‘G-Man’ made his 2020 bowling debut replacing Pandit. Fudge’s O’Gorman had proved a valuable partner for Shaw, giving him time to seek a respectable total, but fell as so many before have done: By the rapid ‘Snatch and Stump’ from Stuart-the-line’s-mine-Leonard. 

108 for 8 and Fudge’s last man, Breary, joined Shaw (as they only had 10 players).  He ably resisted searching for the ball as Costello kept up the line and the total rose to 147 before the Crab struck.  Again, the Vice’s gloves were a blur as Shaw (77) lost balance and was bereft of hope and bails as Stuart claimed his 3rd stumping of the innings and Crabby got off the mark in 2020.    

Fudge could thank Shaw for his swash-buckling 77, taking them from 31 for 6 to a respectable 147 in just 30 of the 40 overs available.

How would the Marsh Wood Wielders respond?  Firstly, they needed sustenance and the packed Teas came out again.  However, the piece de la resistance came from Crouch and his collection of Fairy Cakes presented in a 3-Tiered Cake Stand, pink of course!  Top work Amy!

Skipper Leonard opened up with Pandit. Would the OCA Rep superstar be able to concentrate on today’s game, or would his thoughts drift off to tomorrow’s game against the Cherwell League, when he would meet up with all his, Ooh, friends? 

No fear, off the mark with a 3rd ball boundary and normal service resumed. Vikram was looking to settle in and get the pace of the game when he fell LBW for 13 in the 9th over, with Marsh on 39.   Pip Webb joined Skipper and the two set about shrinking the target, with sensible one’s and two’s, before unleashing.  The hundred came up in the 23rd over and with the victory in sight, Skipper started playing for a draw!  On 45 from just 52 balls he played out 14 dot balls before being C&B to the economical Breary.

Vice went to the middle knowing that only 46 were required for victory, but as with all Cricket games, there was a subplot.  Stuart needed 7 runs to catch up with all time MGCC Legend Julian Chambers and his Club leading career total of 7,077 runs for The Originals (as it stands).  Characteristically, Vice reached the total with a boundary and was warmly applauded by said Farmer watching from the boundary.   

Pip & Vice now moved things along rapidly and reached the winning total in the 28th over. Webby unbeaten, for consecutive half centuries, on 67 from 64 balls (3×6’s and 6×4’s) and Stuart 16 from 14 deliveries.

The return to victory was sweetened by the remaining fairy cakes, though none seemed to contain Fudge…that had all been devoured earlier.

Despite the pun, Cairns Fudge played with great spirit and sportsmanship for a side struggling to put out 11 each week. Hopefully that improves for them.

Meanwhile, The Originals travel to brand new opponents next week at  Stanton Harcourt.  Followed on Sunday by the Horace Leonard President Memorial Day, where 28 players, past and present, shall challenge in 2 teams led by the exemplary Chairman Kyle and the random Skipper Joe.   Teams to be announced by Stuart on Friday.                  



Rain and Runs Reign

Fresh, or not so fresh, from MGCC’s West Sussex and Kent Tour (Penshurst and Brighton!) the boys took to the field at Combe on Saturday 15th August.  The last visit to this ground was in 2007 when it was overcast and rained – Noah must have moved there as it was still raining!   The weather was not the only similarity, as on that day back in 2007 Marsh batted first scoring 210-5…..this time going one better and scoring 211-5.

The result was reversed however, as this time Combe were not bowled out for 106, instead they reached the required total in only 33 of the available 40 overs.

To begin with, Marsh were inserted in the mizzling rain, just good enough to play, and Will Honour was back in the pavilion to keep himself dry by the 3rd over.  Borsky and Beardy (making his first appearance in Covid Year) settled in and then set about a score.  With a short car park side boundary and damp conditions seemingly skidding the ball on, the two batters scored predominantly in boundaries, rattling to 98-2 in 24 overs before Beardie was caught on the boundary by an excellent catch with only inches to spare.  An excellent 55 in 63 balls with 1×6 and 6×4’s.

Skipper Stuart Leonard, standing in for absent cousin Joe,  joined Borsky and Marsh were becalmed as left armer, Chaundry, proved hard for Borsky to get away and Leonard was having similar difficulty with Nicholson.  Skipper (9) got an unlucky under edge to the keeper when looking to cut opener Eley and Marsh were 109-3 from 29.   

Dr Fox (TBD Jnr) joined Borsky and wasted no time diagnosing the problem…. His unbeaten innings of 58 came from just 33 balls, with only 12 dots in that, plus 1×6 and 8×4’s.  Partnering first with Borsky (34 from 80 deliveries) who was run out in that most cruel of ways as the ball hit back at the bowler cannoned off him into the stumps and ran out the hapless backing up batter.  Then supported by Tom-Hair Leonard, who rattled a run a ball 13 before missing the slowest highest delivery on record.  Finally, Archie Spittles on debut, simply thumped it about the place scoring 18* in the last 10 balls.

Merlot, Just Jimmy, Cello and Wing Commander did not bat.          

Marsh closed, as mentioned previously, on 211.   It was difficult to judge if this was a par, or strong, score as the mizzle had continued throughout and everywhere was now thoroughly wet, though firm (I’m resisting the obvious here).  

Things started badly as Kyle quickly succumbed to his tour injury and could bowl only 2 overs. Crouch was coming up the hill and struggling after using all his strength to put up the family tent the previous night in a Force 9 Gale.  Enter The Spittles-Fire, fresh from his 150 mile trip for the game…and thank goodness he made it through the Flak.  After 5 leg side wides from his first ball, he got the Radar working and was easily the pick of the Marsh bowlers eventually returning 8 overs for just 31 runs and 2 wickets.     

The Combe batters all played with intent attacking anything loose – and as there was a generous supply of that they quickly raced ahead of the rate, until the 14th over when Hugo Campbell-Bomber-Harris followed Spittles into the dogfight getting Dingwall in his sights before trapping him in-front.  Two balls later and Eley found himself in bomb alley as he slapped a high full toss at Borsky in Point. His reactions saved his facial features and ended Eley’s innings as he clutched the exocet.  Next over and Archie struck again to bowl Moore, top of off. At 81-4 from 15 the game was now balanced: Combe requiring 130 from 25 overs….and still it rained….

The game was then swung by Thompson and Nicholson who batted sensibly and almost chancelessly, continuing to punish anything offered up by the Marsh bowlers that was offline.  As the ball became soaked beneath its lacquer the bowlers found it increasingly problematic to grip and the batters found boundaries too easily to come by.  Skipper rotated the bowlers in short spurts with Costa, Guns and Mitchell probing for the breakthrough which did not come. 

Combe reached 213 in 33 overs with Thompson and Nicholson sharing an unbeaten stand of 132 to win the game.

We should be back at Combe next year in traditional league format, let’s hope Noah has moved by then….

Next Game:  Home to Cairns Fudge on 22nd August, 1pm start.  The Covers are on already!