Swifts looking Game for another Throne

The second week of the Season and Marsh faced last years double winners: Witney Swifts.  Fresh from their 9 over annihilation of Stonesfield the previous week, Swifts arrived at The Gibbon with all the talent that had brought them league and cup success last term.  The games don’t come any tougher.

The first game at home for Marsh and the pitch was flat, hard and dry, thanks to the new ‘nappies’ that had protected the surface all week during incessant rainfall.  Skipper tossed well and had the option.  What to do?  Have a bat was nagging at Joe, but if there was anything in this white pitch it would only be early on and so he called it: We’ll have a Bowl.

It was up to Kyle and Crouch to take the cherry and deliver on the skipper’s hopes against the powerful Swifts batting order.  Perhaps the 5th ball of the innings was a bad Omen as Godwin was too quick to drive and lofted the ball to Webb at extra cover who could only spill the gilded chance.   Despite that early set back the bowlers kept runs in check with only 30 coming from 8 overs.  Then came Needham’s own double.  Hume was too keen and drove the slower(er!) delivery to Shipperley. Next ball and Asque was timberless.  Geoffrey would have been pleased…..30 for none became 30 for 2.  

Swifts needed to regroup and they did.  Slowly but surely.  Shippo replaced Crouch and surprised the batters with some challenging pace as his opening 5 overs cost only 14….but no further wickets.   The game was poised as Swifts ground to 72 of 20 overs.   Time for Skipper to tantalise the batters with his indescribable tweakers.  And so the fielders disappeared into the distance and down came the tweaks. It wasn’t going quite to skippers plans though as Godwin and Seacole found the boundary more often than not adding 50 runs in 7 overs to take the score to 122 after 27.  They say that if at first you don’t succeed – Give up!  But Joe was having none of that and eventually got his man as Seacole completed his half century and then holed out to buckets Rodnight on Cow Patrol.  

The game was now flowing at a quicker pace as runs and then wickets started to rain in.  31st over and the Skipper/Rodnight combination worked again, as now Godwin found the milkman in his corner.  That 5th ball drop only costing Marsh 69 runs….

Into the last 10 overs with Swifts on 183-4.  An excellent platform and a very large total looming with plenty of batting chomping at the bit watching Joe’s loopers land.  The Abbott had now replaced Shippo and struggling to settle as the batters sought to cash in on their solid position. 

Though Jaybone wasn’t getting involved with his bowling, he was the next man to clutch another J-Leno bamboozler.  Charlie Fisher this time mistiming.  192-5 off 37 overs.   Skipper made sure that the fielders were kept in the thick of the action, with first Timdog showing us his rabbit-hole hip-hop and Jules telling himself to dive, but not listening!  

Swifts Skipper Foggett had been successfully missing the boundary riders off his opposite number, but Joe eventually wore him out and Shippo clung on to an exocet which would have otherwise embedded itself deep into a tree!   Skipper finished with 4-69 from 11.   Jay-bone turned 211-6 to 212-7 bowling Townsend and Shippo (9-0-37-1) and Kyle (12-2-42-3) returned to apply the squeeze at the death, taking a wicket each and conceding only 12 runs in the last 5 overs to keep Swifts in check at 232-9 off 45.     

Another legendary D. Leonard Tea.  Oh, to be back home again and feast on a Marsh Tea!  

Was this a par score?  A strong Marsh batting line up was assembled and required 5 an over for victory on a good batting track.  Similarly, a powerful Swifts Bowling line up was ready as J-Leno and Chambers Snr took to the middle.   A decent start for Marsh with 20 from the first 5 overs incorporating punching drives from Skipper.  Then……

Skipper tired of chasing and missing short wide deliveries and decide to top edge one to the keeper instead. Then Chambers feathered one behind too and it was 40-2 from 12.   The new Fines Master with ‘Charlie the Pig’ watching on was brooding and building at his new number 3 birth.  Successfully picking the odd bad ball to find the fence, until like those before he edged behind.  61-3 from 17.   Still in the game. Plenty of batting to come.

Webby had been steadily wiping out his debt with a measured control of 4’s and 1’s in equal measure.  Guns was supporting Webby well and a rebuilding was taking shape as the total ticked to 90 from 24.  Something akin to jumping off a cliff edge then followed……

Webb on 33 from 45 balls was adjudged in-front to George Seacole and in double quick time Guns went for 4 and then Rodders, Abbott, Crouch and Timms were all bowled by Seacole for a collective 4 runs:  90-3 became 106-9 whilst Shippo watched on from the other end….. Thankfully Rupert cracked consecutive boundaries to bring up the 2nd batting point before cruelly running out Kyle without him even even getting a chance to face!   (OK – I ran myself out – Tw@t!) And with that Marsh closed on 114 from 30 overs….

Charlie was well fed and it was a pleasure to host the Witney boys again. 

A good battling effort from Marsh but no chinks in the Swifts Armour, perhaps this Game will be their Throne for a few seasons more… 

                    

                

                  

Gibbon Blink and let Ox in on the Blindside

New Gibbon skipper Joe Leonard welcomed his two winter signings: Rodders and Pip (Middleton was the early nickname shout…) to the Club. He presented shirts and caps before losing the toss and being inserted for the season’s opener, on a cold showery day at Jesus College. 

Skipper and vastly experienced Chambers opened as Vice-Vadivale had declared himself unfit earlier in the week after tweaking something whilst completing 4 overs, a portion of pilau rice, side of sag aloo and a dozen samosas, the previous weekend!  A steady start with 19 after 6 overs before Skipper feathered behind and was followed back by Jules almost immediately after over-reaching and popping the ball into short leg:  21-2 off 9.   More misery followed with another double wicket blow when the new Fines Master, promoted from last years skipper, Stuart, was also caught for 1 close in and debutant Pip Webb lost a bail after a composed 15.  The score stood on 36-4 from the first 15 overs, with Mir and Wright sharing the wickets. Wright bowling particularly well and straight on a decent track with some seam movement coming through.

Rodders and T-Leno (of ‘The Guns’ fame) responded by wrestling the initiative back and Rodders started to dent the fence with a brace of 4’s and maximums in just 5 balls.  However, he was cruelly undone by a shooter when on 21 from 14 deliveries.  Nevertheless he had given impetus and Tommy kept the board ticking, joined first by J-Abbot (8) and then Kyle (12).  

It was difficult to assess a par score as the boundaries were short square but the outfield lush and with Marsh on 113-7 off 32 the skipper was targeting 150+ as a defendable total, and looking for little brother to steer the tail there.

Crouch, who had got the late call up to replace the Vice and was hoping his broken hand had repaired sufficiently to hold his willow (matron!) batted with thoughtful restraint and supported Guns to the required 150, before being caught on 18.  Mitchell (5) and Timms (2) gave tail end support to Guns who fell in the last over on a commendable 54 from 88. 

Marsh closed on 170 for 9 from 45 overs.

There has been much comment on the OCA Forum over the winter about ‘Tea cost and value’ – I think Oxenford misread this for ‘Tesco Value!’  There was more plastic containers on display than David Attenborough could shake a camera crew at. 

Suitably refreshed (of a fashion) Marsh looked to defend 170 and knew the Oxenford batters would come at it hard as they always do with some quality hitters in the line-up.  

Chairman Kyle and Crouch took control.  An accurate and probing opening salvo cleared out the top order with a pair of wickets each the bowlers reduced Oxenford to 39 for 4 off 19 overs.  Pip got in the act as he retreated backwards to clutch a steepling top edge off Pamu.

Rain came during this time and though brief the time taken to on and off the Covers led to a reduction by 3 overs and 7 runs, leaving Oxenford requiring 163 from 42 overs.     

Kyle bowled out (11-4-18-2) and was replaced by Mitchell, whilst Crouch held 2 overs back and was replaced by Abbott.  Both bowlers hit their stride and took wickets to keep the pressure on and Marsh in the ascendency.  Oxenford were looking out for the count on 75 for 7 and needing almost a hundred runs at close to a run a ball when Khaled and skipper Wright started to take advantage of the bowling which started to lose the potent length and direction that had got Marsh to this advantage. 

Chambers (5-0-23-1) brought some control back to the bowling and with 25 required from the last 20 deliveries and with two set batters at the crease this was too close to call now.  

Crouch’s (10.2-2-35-2) return could not stem the flow of runs and well timed shots from Wright pierced boundary riders too easily as Oxenford moved to within 5 runs with 7 balls remaining…..Chambers bowls….Howzat?….Out!   

5 required from the last over, but the new batter at the non-striking end and Skipper Wright facing……FOUR!…..and then a single to win the game with 4 balls to spare. 

The pendulum swung several times during this entertaining opener to 2019 and the side that stayed the distance ultimately prevailed.  Lesson Learnt – let’s hope!

Next Week….The Double Winners visit The Recreation Ground at Marsh.     

        

        

        

    

Marsh In-Betweeners Dates are Out!

Tommy Guns Leonard will lead his In-Betweeners against 5 other sides in the Bucks Midweek League this year.

The matches are on Wednesdays and commence on 8th May, when we travel to Gawcott.  The following week it’s a road trip to Preston Bissett and then we play our opening home fixture against Maids Moreton on 22nd May. 

The other sides in the league are Hinton and Great Horwood. 

The league format concludes on 10th July. 

Make sure you let Tommy know of your availability as he will look to give all the opportunity to participate in this friendly league format.    

2019…..The Season Ahead: Dates and Stuff

Thanks to the Vadivale Family for an exceptional evening of South Indian cuisine and culture.  A great evening, though I am not sure The Mighty Gibbon will be starting our own Bollywood Troop any time soon, but never the less an evening to be repeated!  

…and so to the Year Ahead!

Sunday Nets and Tuesday Bowling Introspective are both underway and it is time to get yourself down the ground for 10.30am every Sunday until the start of the season for full Net practice.  Those wanting to give their match bowling a little more focus should attend the Introspective on Tuesday evenings at 6.30pm. 

OCA Fixtures are now on the OCA Website and we begin the campaign at Jesus College, Oxford to play Oxenford, on May 4th.  (Let’s hope it is drier than last year!)   With the exception of Club Day on 18th May its cricket all the way through to 7th September.

Bucks Midweek League will also start in early May and we will get the fixtures after the AGM in mid-April.  Not sure on the format yet as proposals are afoot to increase participation and length of the thrash to 15/16 overs – light dependent.  

Skipper-Joe is back from the Caribbean and Vice-Vadivale back from Sri Lanka, so we look forward to some new international batting theories which involve scoring runs this year….

New Saturday Format Proposals will be discussed and voted at the OCA Captain’s Meeting on 11th April and these include the number of overs and restrictions per bowler as well as other items – like no Tea!!!  These changes may come in for the lower leagues, from 5 down, but not expected at the top end. We shall not be voting for any changes.

New Player Flyers will be going out to surrounding village houses to see if any new residents are interested in joining the World’s greatest Cricket Club!   Obviously we pride ourselves on being an inclusive family Club and it may be that there are cricketers new to the area and looking to join a club.  Be great if we can attract one or two new players, to add to skipper’s winter signings….

Ground Preparation continues and a Working Party erected most the boundary fencing and portable Net at the start of April.  Next we will clean and position the Sightscreens. 

The New Covers are nearing completion and will be ready before our first home game on 11th May when we welcome last years League and Cup Double Winners, Witney Swifts.  A chance for Joe to get chummy with his ‘Rep-Mates!’

The Square is ready.  Football will be finished in April and the outfield is looking good for this time of the year. A little more TLC and all will be sound for May.   

We are offering a new flexibility to Annual Subscriptions and Match Fees this year to make it even fair(er) for all.  We keep our cricket fees unbelievably low already, but for those that might only play a handful of games paying the £50 annual subscription might be steep.  So, instead for those that might not play that often there is no need to pay the Annual Subscription but simply pay an extra fiver per game actually played.  That means we keep essential funds coming in and have a level playing field on paying for playing.  To make it even better, if you end up playing more games than anticipated and wish to pay your Annual subs, then you get the extra fiver paid back – a sort of rebate, making it cheaper to pay the annual subs and £10 match fee, if you play 10+ times in the year.       

Remember each game costs the Club £105 on the day, with Match Ball (£20), Umpire (£35) and Tea (£50), not to mention all the costs of ground rates and upkeep all year round.

You can also support our Fundraising by buying a Square in the Lucky 500 draw.  First Prize is £250, 2nd Prize – £50 and all it costs is £2 to own one of the 500 Squares.  We shall be selling to visiting Teams and anyone with 2 pound coins to rub together, across the Summer.      

So we are almost there….the Bar is Stocked and it’s time to clean off those pads, wash your Horizons and sand the red marks off the edge of your bat, it’s time for the Lord’s game…..

Amen.

 

      

      

      

An Indian Extravaganza Awaits!

On Saturday 23rd March we shall be hosting a South Indian Evening with cultural dancing, historical commentaries and a 3 course traditional meal, all for only £20 per head.

The evening will be at the Village Hall, Marsh Gibbon.  A glass of complimentary sparkling wine (or beer) will be offered on arrival from 7pm, with a full (competitively priced) Bar open throughout the evening.

The entertainment will commence at 7.30pm, with the meal*  served to your table interspersed with topical items of interest.  Tables will be of 8-10 people and can be reserved.  

All tickets must be purchased in advance of the night for catering purposes and to buy your tickets please email :  sathyavadivale@gmail.com or ca_needham@yahoo.co.uk    (Payment can be made by online transfer, cash or cheque).

All proceeds to go to support Cricket in the Village, through Marsh Gibbon Cricket Club.

This is a great chance to learn about South India through its music, dance, culture and the taste of home made delicious food!

Why not get a group of friends together and come to enjoy this relaxed and fun evening? 

 

 

 *Food may contains nuts and other allergens.      

The King is Dead. Long Live the King!

Big Stu stood down as Club Captain at the end of the 2018 Season and left a sizeable gap requiring very broad shoulders!   Everyone thanks Stuart for his additional year as Captain and leading the boys to a secure finish and second year in Division One.

Naturally, Stu will continue with his mitts in the gloves next year and will be wielding his willow aiming to reach and surpass 7,000 runs for The Originals. 

And so the King has to pass on the Crown to his successor. 

The Committee has great pleasure in keeping it within the Leonard Clan and appointed Joe Leonard to lead the team this Summer.  

Joe was Stuart’s ‘captain of vice’ last year and in his 3 stand-in games won each time to demonstrate his growing knowledge and confidence with decision-making on the field – where it matters. 

Like Stuart, Joe is determined to lead from the front through his own performances with the willow and build on his 3 centuries and 18 Half centuries so far.  Achieving a half century on average in every 6th innings for The Originals got him noticed in 2018 and selected for the OCA Representative side, though he’ll have no time for that kind of hobnobbing this year!

As a 10 year servant of the Club, Joe knows his Squad and the underlying ability within.  He said “When we put a team in the field from our core Squad we are always in with a shout against anyone.  If we could just improve Saturday availability by just one or two games each player, we would then have that added consistency to make silverware a reality.”

Similarly, he is keen to strengthen the core with some new clubmen and said, “I am confident of bringing at least two new faces to strengthen us for the new campaign and will be welcoming them down to The Recreation Ground for pre-season Nets.”               

We wish Joe success and I call on us all to check our new 2019 calendars and mark those Saturdays, from May to September, when you WILL be making yourself available ahead of other plans.

Yours, Chairman Kyle. 

 

2018 Awards & Thank You’s

The end of season social on Friday 5th October was exactly that, with the drink flowing and pizza eaten!   Chairman Kyle and the two skippers, Guns for the Inbetweeners and Big Stu for the Originals, gave their annual review and presented the awards for the year:

Originals
Batsman – Sam Richardson with RPI average of 37
Bowler – Carl Needham with RPW average of 22
Fielder – Michael Timms
Youngun – Jacob Chambers
Outstanding Performance – Archie Mansfield for unbeaten 73 vs Stonesfield.

Midweek (Inbetweeners)
Batsman – Stuart Leonard
Bowler – Tommy Leonard

Hine Memorial Club Award
Carl Needham

The Chairman also thanked the many club members for their invaluable contributions to yet another successful and entertaining year at The Mighty Gibbon:

Umpires: Barry Timms and Mark Leonard
Groundstaff: Nick and Steve Turner
Cricket Square: Himself!
Maintenance Men : John Tofts and Barry Leonard
Fencing, Screen washer and Crack Fillers! – Grant Cross, Joe Leonard, Tom Leonard, Stuart Leonard, Luke Connell & Mark Leonard.
Midweek League Organisation: Barry Timms
Treasurer: Michael Timms
‘Retired’ Secretary: Will Honour
and the wonderful Tea Ladies! Led by Debbie Cross, with Kim Leonard, Trina Needham, Emma Timms, Caroline Fox, Amy Callow (and Mum!), Athis Vadivale (and Sangeeta!), Sally Chambers, Donna Leonard, Vanessa Honour and Elaine Shipperley.

Finally, the Club Toasted our ‘Absent Friends’ who left us this year: Margaret Yardley and President Horace Leonard.

 

End of Season Social

The End of Season Social will be held at The Pavilion on Friday 5th October. Bar opens at 7pm.

All Members, friends of the Club and family members are welcome.

The Skippers will sum up their years for the Originals and In-Betweeners and announce their Trophy Winners and Awards.

Looking forward to seeing you there and toasting our inaugural season in Division One and the Silverware we won!

Cheers
Chairman Kyle

See You Next Year Division One!

“Success is not final. Failure is not fatal.  It is the courage to continue that counts.”  

Winston Churchill.

Two weeks ago failure in the guise of relegation to Division 2 looked imminent for MGCC, but a mighty Churchillian spirit got us off the beach!

Two victories were required from the last two games, both away and both with players absent, but those that turned out – turned it on. Consecutive hundred run opening stands providing the platform to both victories.

And so, to the win at Stonesfield……

A cool day with morning drizzle and a covered pitch on arrival.  Thankfully the clouds lifted and a greenish track was revealed, looking true but slow.  Skipper duly lost the toss and Stonesfield elected to bat as neither Skipper Burns nor main bowler Gubbins were on parade.  Needing only 1 bonus point to secure their Division 1 status Stoney were relaxed and gunning for a big batting swing!

Marsh seeking a controlled start began with more than 100 years of experience as Needham and Chambers opened up!  Redknapp and Hart (where was Jamie Burns?) were positive and despite the earlier precipitation the outfield was still hard and fast.  The breakthrough came in the 9th over with the score on 37, as Needham found the edge of Hart’s bat and a sharp low catch to Joe at 1st Slip was executed perfectly.  ‘One brings Two’ and Chambers struck the very next over trapping Redknapp deadeye in front for the 2nd time, and this time Umpire Razza was awake to give it!

Joe was catcher again just 2 overs later as he clutched a drive from Grist-Perkins at mid on from Chambers and Stonesfield were 58-3 off 13.

Birkett and Farrant then went boundary crazy with all out attack and skipper turned to Joe to tempt the error.  The plan worked as Farrant (who’d scored 35 in 3 overs) thankfully missed a straight one and was bowled. 85-4 from 16 overs.

With this wicket Marsh wrestled back the initiative from Stonesfield through tight bowling and fielding (and some odd throwing – Abbott and Vadivale!) and only 20 runs came in the next 10 overs as Needham completed his spell conceding 2 runs in 5 overs (12-5-33-1) and Joe tying up the other end.

Birkett and skipper Burns were still there and though contained by the Marsh Spin-Twins (not identical though same body profile!), the batters were looking secure at 122-4 at the 30th over mark. Marsh needed another breakthrough as a final 15 over onslaught could be damaging with still 6 wickets in hand.

Joe (8-1-35-1) was replaced by Jabbot to return some pace into proceedings. Finding a good line straight away Jayson and Satty kept the pressure on and the rate in check.  Then came controversy in the 36th over.

Jayson found the edge of Jamie’s bat and Skipper Stuart took a low catch.  Simple enough.  However uncoordinated and indecisive umpiring got the situation in a spin.  Stuart wasn’t sure if the ball carried and the catch taken clean.  The two umpires agreed the ball had been hit and carried but didn’t simply confer and say ‘Out’ and were leaving it to the players to debate. With things getting unnecessarily tetchy Jamie realised what a cock up they were making and sensibly walked.  The right decision – the wrong way.

Stonesfield looked to accelerate in the last ten but a wicket for Vadivale in each of his last 3 overs, claiming the impressive Birkett LBW for 56 and then 2 sharp Stumpings for skipper (almost making up for his earlier missed one!) kept Stonesfield to 201-8 off their 45.

The simple equation at Tea on the last day was :  To Win and stay up Marsh needed 202 runs in the next 45 overs.  The whole season rested on the next 175 minutes.

Joe and Archie strode out and set the right tone immediately with confident batting from over one.  10 overs and 47 on the board – no scares.  Whilst Joe kept using his bat instead of his pad and Archie didn’t hit the ball to a fielder and call for a run things stayed calm.  And the runs kept coming…..

12th over and time for Gubbins spin to begin.  Having taken 49 wickets in the season to date and taken a wicket in every game he bowled Tom Gubbins was looking for the milestone 50th wicket.  Both batters kept on the front foot turning over the strike to keep things unsettled.  It worked.  15 overs and 72 on the board.

Joe reached his 50 first in the 19th over and then in the 22nd over the pair achieved their 2nd consecutive 100 run opening partnership.  To be confirmed, but probably the only back to back Century Opening partnerships for the Club.

The stand was unfortunately broken in the 25th over on 118 when Joe, caught in-between smack or tickle ended up chipping the ball into midwickets hands. A quality 60 scored from 74 balls.  But Archie was still there and reached his 2nd consecutive half century.

Alex Wallace joined Archie and as he needed to be at two 40th Birthday parties that evening had no time to linger.   Indeed parenting duties had kept Briefcase from the crease for Marsh since the 2014 Telegraph Cup Final victory and the years of missed batting was desperate to surface….and so it did!

Whilst Archie timed cuts through point to the rope, Briefo stood square and powerfully thwacked it over mid on and square leg.  The last required 87 runs coming in just 10 overs.  In the end, only the thought of Amy’s tongue-lashing for tardiness could extricate Briefo from the middle and he ‘Retired’ with the scores level on 201 and ran off to a brace of parties!     Skipper strode out to see Archie complete the victory with a final boundary hit directly into the jubilant Marsh team.

Archie finished unbeaten on 73 from 98 balls and Briefo (unbeaten) scoring 49 from just 33 deliveries.  Retiring on 49 – That’s what I call Jug Avoidance!

Mission Accomplished. Division One status Confirmed!

No need for: Jules, Jayson, Sat, Alex C, Jacob, Mikey, or Kyle to wield the willow as Joe, Archie and Briefo scored 205 from 35 overs.

Congratulations to the Stonesfield boys for their mid table finish as well and the usual banter and hospitality.  Hope the Race night was a success.

The courage to continue when all seemed hopeless kept the Club up and showed what can be achieved.  A perfect place to start from – next May!

 

Torrid Run Comes To An End – But Is It In Time?

Things were looking good when The Mighty Gibbon beat Faringdon at The Recreation Ground on 14th July.  Just past half the season completed and despite sitting mid table no one was getting carried away and the target remained two more victories from the last 8 games in order to stay up in Division One.

Then followed 6 weeks without a win.  True, there were some close calls when defeat was cruelly snatched from a winning position but the facts are: 6 games, 5 defeats and 1 rained off (when in a winning position).

The cumulative effect of this meant Gibbon lay bottom of the league with just 2 Saturdays of the season remaining.  The return match with Faringdon was now crucial as defeat would mean relegation. Do or Die!

A dry warm day and Skipper lost the toss. He’d already laid it on thick how poorly we had been playing (very true) and Faringdon skipper seemed uncertain what to do and after some thought decided to bowl.

The average Opening partnership from the last 6 games stood at an unimpressive 12 from 5 different combinations, but skipper had liked the look of ‘Nicest Man Ever’ Mansfield in his knock against Cowley and coupled him with Rep Boy at the top of the order.  A wise choice as both played securely and steadily moved through the gears. 50 up in the 15th over with good acceleration as the spinners came on.  Joe reached his 50 with an imperious straight drive and the pair brought up 100 by the 23rd over and a platform was set.

Unfortunately Joe was caught on 72 from just 63 balls, including 14 x 4’s and the opening stand of 101 came to an end.  Sambo Richardson (nice-bloke-but-not-as-nice-as-Archie) was intent on forcing things along but missed a straight one and was replaced by Skipper (Not-a-nice-bloke-in-fact-a-bit-of-a-bully).  Archie (Nicest-man-ever) and Skipper got into their stride and moved the score along finding regular boundaries across the rapid hard outfield.

Archie was caught shortly after reaching a fine first half century for the Gibbon on 53, after the pair had added 67 for the 4th wicket. Skipper followed him back shortly after, but not before he hit a sweep shot directly at young Finn Johnson reducing him to tears (As I said – bully!) Skippers quick fire 48 came from only 50 balls and Marsh were on 176 for 4 from 38 overs.

The boys that followed put everything into maximising the score in the last 7 overs and between them added a further 46 to push the total to 222:  Chambers (7), Abbott with a hard-hitting 21, Luke Fox (doctor-type-bloke 6), Timdog (2*), Mitchell (tall-bloke) – out for a Golden 1 (work that out!?) and Honour (another-awfully-nice-bloke) with 7* from the last 3 balls – surely his highest ever strike rate!

Faringdon kindly provided a fine free Tea in recognition of the fracas caused by a now ‘former’ player in the earlier fixture in the season at Marsh, a gesture much appreciated.  And Marsh took to the field to Bowl…..

Mitchell had failed his fitness test at Tea and so Richardson opened the attack with Needham (oldest-bloke).  Faringdon openers Owen and Tomes were positive and striking the ball with an intent to chase the total from the outset.  However, Marsh were as determined and Needham struck once, twice, thrice, to reduce Faringdon to 48 for 3 by the 18th over.   Needham (12-2-47-3) and Richardson (very-economical-bloke 12-6-25-0) bowled through and by the 25th over the rate required by Faringdon had risen to just shy of 7 runs per over.

Jabba and Chambers (experienced-bloke-but-not-as-old-as-Needham) looked to continue the run shackling but Brown and Hume had other ideas and, despite the bowlers beating the bat and forcing the occasional misplaced half chance, the two struck some lusty blows to put a century stand together and keep up with the rate.

64 runs required from 10 overs and the (runs) worm had turned. Skipper needed to find a break-through bowler, or this game would slip away with increasing certainty. He threw the ball to Rep Boy.

Brown took on the spinner and with consecutive firm blows split the long-on and cow boundary riders; once, twice, thrice….before a little extra flight and bounce got the critical nick into Skippers gloves. (Well walked.) Next ball and Booker skied only to be clutched by the bowler himself.  The breakthrough was made, but Hume was still there and steering runs confidently.

Now Jabba (wildboy-rugby-type-bloke) joined the party.  He had been sending down some sharp deliveries and Hume looked to guide one too many down to third man only to produce a slight snick which was gleefully grasped behind by the Skipper again.  167 for 6 from 38 was only a dozen runs less than the Marsh score at the equivalent point in their innings, but with fresh (and less effective batters) at the crease and the Marsh fielders set deep, the question was whether the pressure from the runs on the board would be too much for the Faringdon batters?

David James took on Rep Boy’s flighted leggie next over and Timdog (fair-rule-making-bloke) steadied himself to bag the batter’s attempt to clear the rope.  Robinshaw was now Faringdon’s last hope and he swung effectively with boundaries sufficient to keep the game alive.  In fact, his hard-hitting became his downfall as he hit a low bullet of a shot to Long Off only to find bucket hands Fox racing in to pluck the ball from its’ boundary bound trajectory.  And with that (Leonard 5-0-38-4) the game was all but up.

Jabba (11-0-45-3) cleaned up the last 2 wickets in the last over and bowled young Cook with the very last ball of the game to secure Gibbon a maximum 30 points with Faringdon falling 21 runs short.

It was ‘Do or Die’ and Gibbon ‘Did’.  The last weekend of the season may now be the most tantalising ever in the top league’s history with only the top 4 safe from relegation!  Six teams still require more points, or sides to falter, for salvation to be secured.

The Gibbon’s task remains as clear as it was at Faringdon:  Win and stay up.  This is your mission Mr Phelps!