The new season is now two weeks in and The Mighty Gibbon have set a blazing trail actually winning both Cherwell League matches! But the weather has dampened aspirations for the Buckingham Midweek League with both games rained off without a ball bowled.
You need to search back to 2011 for the last time Marsh won the opening league games and that was back in the OCA. That year 7 of the first 8 were won and “I’ll eat my Cap if we repeat that achievement this year!” said Skipper according to undisclosed sources.
The first match saw Long Marston visit the Gibbon for the first time ever and a top notch Man of the Match performance from Tom Leonard set the standard for all to follow, as he batted and bowled Marston out of the game.
Surprisingly, Marston put Marsh in on a belting track and Marsh looked in control until Chambers was caught and skipper trapped in front in consecutive overs (33-2 from 11 overs). With a shortage of top order batters available Tommy was bumped up to 4 and abruptly righted the ship. A third wicket stand of 112 in just 20 overs was largely watched by partner Thornton as T. Leno fell just short of his maiden Ton, on 84.
Borsky was next out for 31, then Seb Fox (7), Coultate (15) and debutant Wheatley for a duck, before a red-ink flurry from Chairman Kyle (29) and Cobby (6) rallied the Marsh total to 212-7 in the 45 overs.
Yes, they are back at The Gibbon – no where else it seems, but that is everyone else’s loss! Cricket without Team Teas has no place on the agenda and Mrs Timms (plural!) reset this time honoured tradition with aplomb!
Callow struck first for Marsh, thanks to debutant (number 164) Jordan Wheatley snatching a sharp catch at square leg. Tomlinson and Mistry then settled the visitors taking the score to 79 before Cross hit Mistry’s timber.
Tomlinson was hitting well and keeping Marston on the required rate despite a Needham double strike reducing them to 99-4 from 21 overs.
Guns Leonard had not started his bowling spell too well and his variety of length and line was to Tomlinson’s liking, conceding 46 from his first 5 overs, but shortage of bowling meant the show must go on. Then came the vital break through from The Crab as he trapped Tomlinson in-front on 73.
Cameo innings from Ilangovan and Cutler meant Marston were still in the match, but a finely judged catch from a steepler off Ilangovan brought Tommy a C&B, followed in the same over with a sharp stumping by Skipper and at 186-7 from 41 Marston needed 26 from 4.
Chambers Senior bowled Clayton and without any more runs being added Tommy bagged the last 2 wickets to close out the innings on 194, still 18 short. As the sides were led from the pitch by Guns (8-0-65-4), Borsky checked one last time if he was fielding in the right place?!
GAME TWO – WOLVERTON TOWN II
A glorious day and more availability challenges for Skipper with last weeks hero absent at Wembley (that’s a shame), but on the positive, his brother was back from pretending to work last week and didn’t get an invite to Wembley (that’s a shame). Also the Gibbon were to be graced by Player Number 3 – Martin Deeley, Peng Stringer making his second appearance, as was Jordan, plus Long Covid candidate TimDog back in the field.
Skipper won the toss and it looked like a batter’s track so asked Chambers and Vice Joe to pad up. This day was to be Big Brother Joe’s, as he looked at the scorebook and his brother’s exploits against Marston and muttered “anything you can do I can do better!”
…And he came close! Rattling off 70 runs before, like little brother last week, he missed a straight one.
With an even keener shortage of batters this week, Crouch was elevated to number 3 after Chambers Senior fell LBW to Ali. I am certain the Club Records do not need to be consulted in order to confirm that Crouch has never been at that berth before! Nevertheless, he classily scored a creditable 14 before also being bowled by Ali who was keeping it tidy and getting swing.
Skipper (23) and Vice took the score to 135 before the traditional Marsh Collapse made its’ first appearance of the new season. From 135-3 to 140 All Out! The Tail was not wagging today!
Needham and Callow opened up with the new cherry for Marsh and the early strike came courtesy of Skippers fast hands, stumping the advancing Ahmed off Crouch. (22-1 off 8).
Cobby Chambers was in on the action to snatch opener Bakhat off Crouch in the 10th over and Wolverton were 33-2.
Tanveer looked like a dangerous hitter but one swing too many top edged Chambers round the corner for Kyle to bag.
The Champagne Moment came in Kyle’s last over as he swung the ball away from the left hander, catching the edge and sending the cherry whistling toward slipper Deeley’s forehead – Schmack – and the ball was glued into the Deeley palm!
With Wolverton 60-6 the scales were tipping in Marsh’s favour, despite the miserly total of only 140. But the 7th wicket stand was led by Ali and took Wolverton to 90 in only the 28th Over.
With The Crab struggling to get reliable line and length, Skipper was swapping the bowling .around and Ali had already scored 4 quick boundaries so the field was set deep as Chambers bowled and he pulled high toward Kyle at square leg to hug it like Jurgen was about to do with the FA Cup!
J. Lennon(?) entered the fray with the ball and immediately got turn and lift to take 2 wickets – bowled. With Wolverton at 92-9 surely the Marsh victory was a formality…..but just like a Chelsea penalty, you cannot take the result for granted.
Van EeDen was at the crease and from ball one he tee’d off as if at St. Andrews. With senior partner Dickinson stoutly defending his stumps, the runs were ticking down and nerves were straining. Skipper turned to his opening bowler and Number 3 bat, who had stiffened up in his fifth over and been hobbling around ever since. Now was the time to break through. A few looseners and then – PING – Not the golf club, but Van Eeden’s middle stump!
120 All out. Callow finishing with 3-25, Chambers 2-22 and Needham 2-23 (We wont mention The Crab on this occasion). J. Lennon was MOM with his 3 wickets for just 14 and a solid 70 with the bat. – Keep it in the family, though he did not not quite eclipse his brother from the week before, but there’s always next week – unlike for Chelsea (that’s a shame).