My favourite part of cricket is the opportunity to play it

It was Robert I of Scotland who spurred his troops with “If at first you don’t succeed try, try and try again”  based upon watching the stoic efforts of a spider weaving his web.  True indeed, but he was a jock and seeing as they are still to win anything significant of a team sporting nature I think I’ll come closer to home for inspiring words at time of need….

A much more local lad born at Blenheim Palace gave us many quotes of defiance in the dark hours and my favourite still applies in everything today. “Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.”      

Six straight defeats this season is not fatal for MGCC.  It does not mean that a win is not waiting on the next pitch, nor does it mean that the ability to win does not reside within us.  But we need to rekindle and unlock that potential and let it burn.

Winston Churchill’s words were for a much more perilous time and in the face of severe consequences of failure. Many individuals were dying as he said them and that was pretty fatal for them individually.  His words are about the collective struggle of a nation, a globe of peoples…a large Team (a very large team).  

As individuals of MGCC we must confront our own game and succeed or fail each time we cross that white line. Some will fail in a victory and others will succeed in a defeat.  It is the culmination of those individual battles that defines the Team.  It is only the total view that matters at the end.  Individuals have not won or lost on a Saturday afternoon, but a Team has won or lost.

So quotes from national leaders to rally their troops and their nation at time of war resonate in a sporting context as sport is now the legitimate replacement for war.  (If only those countries constantly at war put more energy into sport.)  But for a true sporting quote for The Mighty Gibbon I’m turning to Vince Lombardi as these truly match our times and how we should each reflect for the coming weeks. 

“It’s not whether you get knocked down; it’s whether you get up”

Six games down….leaves us 12 to be up for.

 

          

Is there a Doctor in the Ground?

Marsh travelled to Garsington on 25th May to play Cowley at their latest ground, following their latest merger.  Certainly a vastly improved location and deck from the previous encounter. 

Skipper had had a torrid week trying to get 11 out on parade with Uni exams, holidays, man flu, footie club reunions  and family sojourns all reducing availability to the bone.   But he had done it and called up “Shrink wrap” and “whippet” to fill the line.

A beautiful day and a good looking  ground awaited.  Skipper won the toss and knowing the Chairman needed to leave at Tea and his bowling would be critical – decided to bat.   He then promoted his last weeks number 11 to number 1. You certainly cannot accuse the Skipper of being predictable!

But it was a plan that worked as Needham and Vadivale were tasked to take the sting from the G&C attack.  They duly did so and ambled along until Satty (looking mobile and positive) feathered to the keeper on 5.  Skipper joined the old man in the middle and the two saw off the opening salvo and started to plunder the change.  The wicket was playing true and boundaries flowed until Kyle (28) was caught in the deep with the score on 77 in the 19th over.

A double strike as T-Leno, who was seemingly fresh despite the footie do the previous night when he picked up the league winners trophy for MGFC, played across the line 2nd ball and was triggered. 77-1 became 77-3.      

Rodders did not die wondering and after 2 sighters got the 7 Iron out and crashed a hat trick of boundaries before missing the straight one.  One over – 12 runs. If only we could bat with 45 of him!

The experienced (and less forthright) Jules entered at 94-4 in the 23rd over.  Time to support the skipper who had found his range and needed a partner before we were down to the Cabaret Trousers.  Julesy is the man for that and steadily worked the ball around to keep the Skipper on strike.    

Skipper reached his 50 in 61 balls before creaming an extra cover drive a full 80 yards over the fence and the 50 partnership came up at 144-4 off 32 overs.  G&C heads were now down and with the heat and restrictions of Ramadan sapping strength Marsh were poised to post a challenging total. 

But opener Abdullah returned and got the critical breakthrough for G&C with a seamer toppling Jules’ bails and bringing the Abbott to the crease.  Determined to support Skipper and struggling to find form this season J-Bot battled before nicking off to Mauz for 5 .

All Marsh momentum ceased as Skipper was adjudged LBW just a dozen short of an expectant Ton with the score on 161.  An excellent knock of 94 balls.  As he returned to the Pavilion someone shouted “Send for the Cavalry” but all we got was the Cabaret!

Wearing trousers that appeared to have been shrink wrapped to his frame, Luke Connell (Neckache, or Neck for short) strolled out for his Originals debut (Cap Number 153).  The bat appeared as a mere toothpick in his hands yet the first balls were negotiated successfully in a style purely of his own making.  Unfortunately the technique was observed for only 4 balls before the 3 X’s went up from the judges and that was that. Sadly no encore despite the cheers of the audience.

Timmo was now out in the middle with young Chambers and their instruction was clear “Get to 175 and 4 batting points”  Timmo duly obliged with a couple of boundaries but then found the fielder once too often and was caught at mid-on. Jacob had been keeping the G&C bowlers out there for as long as possible with some technically correct play and with just four balls to go young Charlie Tipping was bowled with Marsh finishing on the desired 175.

Tea was served and with Jay-Z very impressed with the warm vegetable curry the boys stoved in, knowing that a solid bowling performance with early wickets and we were in with a good shout.

With Skip rallying the troops, the Gibbon took to the field without openers Crouch (manflu) and Kyle departed for a very important dance performance, luckily for the audience, he himself wasn’t performing! J Leno took the mixed approach to the opening attack, with JAbbott firing in with good pace from one end and Satty from the other providing some nice F&G. A steady start from both, but it was Satty who provided the breakthrough with a gorgeous delivery which drifted and turned just enough to deceive Aizaz for 18. It was the same fate that took Abubakar (21) as Satty produced another pearlier.

Rodders replaced JAbbott and started well, however after attempting to field the 4th ball off his own bowling the big lad hit the deck with a knee injury and needed to leave the field (probably wanted to get to the Cotswolds with his girlfriend a bit quicker), so 10 became 9.  T Leno replaced Rodders, with Ahmad and Malhotra going nicely picking off regular boundaries and the ample gaps in the field the game was getting away from The Gibbon. T Leno got in the action bowling Usman (0), then came the next medical incident as Timmo had a ‘funny turn’ on the boundary, coughing and spluttering.   Is there a doctor in the house?

Timmo eventually recovered without the need for medical assistance as JAbbott was brought back into the attack in the hunt for another bowling point. The Wild Boy delivered with a peach of an off stump Yorker to remove the impressive Ahmad for (88) giving Marsh another important bonus point. Malhotra (22*) hit the winning runs in the 34th over with G&C 4 wickets down. A sterling effort from the the personnel left on the pitch and still standing.

Skipper made the official announcement that ‘our season starts next week’…!

 

      

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