Skipper Leonard Gets What He Asked For…

It was eight years since Marsh last visited Watlington CC back in OCA Division 2 when last over heroics from Timms resulted in victory for the Gibbon and gave Marsh a lifeline to escape relegation. Things were not that dissimilar this time around as Marsh sat one place above the relegation zone and Watlington rock bottom of the Division, as it was in 2013.

The Marsh Captain was the same man then as now and realising the importance of this occasion Stuart demanded the same outcome from his comrades. The win was crucial and skipper got things rolling by winning the toss and electing to bowl on a good looking deck.

The plan was to start fast and take the game to Watlington, whose confidence must have been fragile with no wins to their name in the Cherwell and missing their main strike bowler.

Nathan Callow responded to the skippers call and demolished the Watlington top order! A wicket in each of his first five overs for only 5 runs and another from Needham left Watlington reeling on 35-6 in 10 overs. Callow could not stop smashing the stumps apart on his way to career best figures.

Skipper had got the start he had demanded and Marsh were seeking to push the boot down hard. Meanwhile Maughan and Crockett had a different agenda and sought to stem the flow of wickets and to try and set a defendable target – and they made respectable progress. The eccentric Crockett was dragging out the time with his ball by ball rituals and blocking, whilst Maughan jumped on anything lose on his way to a creditable half century.

Fox and Chambers replaced Needham and Callow and bowled consistently conceding only 10 runs in their first 8 overs together. Watlington had the semblance of a recovery taking shape by the 25th over with no more wickets falling and the score on 85. The overall run rate was above 3 and they could take the extra 6 overs more than Marsh if they could stay out in the middle for their 53 over maximum.

Foxy had been troubling the umpire by straying a little too straight and plonking his size 11’s down the middle of the track and the umpire was on the brink of retiring the bowler when Fox found the perfect off stump line and Crockett was not quick enough on the draw and lost his off stump to the quick sly foul footed Fox!

With the partnership broken, skipper looked to spin and firstly turned to Vice Leonard replacing Fox (7-1-25) ahead of the umpire doing so! And then Crabby Cross for Julian (6 overs for just 16).

Maughan was running short on partners and sought to take the offensive to the spinners with consecutive boundaries in an expensive 2nd over from Vice Leonard. But the onslaught was short lived as Joe bowled House in his third over, followed by Maughan in his next, as the ball gripped and spun on from the batters pocket! Leonard closed out the Watlington innings on 136 as he caught last man Aajan off his own delivery.

A small post script to Marsh’s display in the field needs to be added here, as it was not to the usual crisp handling standard with the odd challenging catch going to ground, interspersed by mis-fields, a juggling Mitchell and even one fielder (called Timms) trying so hard to disguise his dropped catch that he claimed dislocation of shoulder until the good doctor Fox over-ruled the injury as more mental than physical! Indeed, the fielding mishaps led to an interesting debate at Tea on the merits or de-merits of the players on display. To the amazement of many, Sam Richardson didn’t find himself bottom of the pile, which could do nothing but to invalidate any decisions made by the self-elected panel sitting in judgement.

For the first time under Cherwell Win-Lose-Draw rules Marsh had bowled out the opposition well within their maximum 53 and would now benefit from acquiring the significant number of unused overs giving them 63 overs in which to reach the required 137. Certainly, run rate would not be the challenge.

But Marsh would need to see a tricky period of 14 overs before Tea could be taken and the Skipper again recited his battle cry for a determined and positive response.

Sunderland and Maughan opened for Watlington and Maughan fresh from his success with the bat had it going his way with ball too as a sharp edge from Chambers flew to Hargreaves at slip and Marsh were 6 for 1 down.

Skipper joined Vice and the two watchfully accumulated as the overs ticked by, such that by the Tea interval at 14 overs the deficit was already under three figures as the pair had calmly stroked their way to a chanceless total of 43-1.

After the Tea Interval the pair resumed where they had left off and all seemed under control until skipper skied a thick edge to Cover and was caught for 18 with the score on 53.

Foxy Bingo loped confidently to join Vice in the middle and characteristically got off the mark with a boundary! Unfortunately, his stay at the crease only lasted 16 balls, but that was ample time for him to crash 18 runs and with Joe timing some exquisite drives from the other end, though the partnership was short in time, the total leapt to 88 by the time of Foxy’s exit in the 25th over.

Brother Tom, now joined Joe and appeared to be in a bigger rush than the Foxman, perhaps the added incentive of every run he scored would reduce the total his brother could get!? A rapid red-ink 15 with 2 beltingly-timed consecutive flicks to fine leg off Maughan (souring his excellent day), brought the victory total ever closer.

Joe Leonard had got the measure of the tiring Sunderland and Maughan, and the friendly mystery of Devassy and Raj held no secrets for him as he sent the ball to the fence regularly on his way to an unbeaten 70. Leonard provided the quick drying cement Marsh needed to construct a victory which began with the explosive destruction of Watlington by Callow but just 5 hours earlier.

No need for Richardson, Mitchell, Timms, Cross, Callow, or Needham to don the pads. That is, no need for Cross Senior to don the pads, but Cross Junior had already played his part with his pads on – taking the sting from the Watlington attack as he faced them all down in the Nets for 2 hours whilst Marsh were in the field!

Unlike the last meeting between the teams, this one did not go the maximum distance, but just as with the last result Marsh left with maximum points. The only question that remains is whether this will be the platform to remaining safe in Cherwell Division 5, or will it all be in vain as it was in 2013?

Dinton Dent Marsh Hopes on First Visit To Gibbon

On a sweltering day at The Gibbon, Dinton Cricket Club were welcomed to The Recreation Ground for the first time ever.

The deck was looking fabulous, outfield short and fast and everyone wanted to bat first, even the solitary Umpire! Skipper Stu lost the toss, standard, and Dinton would bat first. The sun cream was slapped on and the wide brims slipped on, as Gibbon knew that it was going to be a toil, but taking regular wickets and staying positive was key in the Dubai like conditions.

Callow and Mitchell opened up with Senior man Croucher Callow taking choice of end for once as Marsh were missing Kyle due to domestic duties! Dinton’s opening pair gave very few chances and looked very comfortable against the new ball. Ripley. D and Humzah raced to a 50 partnership without incident.

The steady Ripley and impressive youngster in Humzah were patient and put away the bad ball. After 14 overs with Dinton 66 without loss, it was time for a change, Vice Joe was given the ball from The Edgcott End and brother Tom from The Lagoon End. Elder brother Joe got straight into his rhythm and gave the ball some turn and bounce, whilst sibling T was struggling with his length….not for the first time… T Leno had a short blast of 3 overs before being replaced by Jules 01 Chambers.

The runs had started to dry up considering the batting paradise like conditions with the consistent lines and lengths from Chambers and J Leno but wickets were illusive. The 100 partnership was reached in the 20th over and the 150 partnership in the 30th over.

The breakthrough eventually came when Chambers trapped Ripley in front for 55, then proceeded to announce to the skipper, “I’m done.”

Joe Leonard kept toiling away from the Edgcott End with brilliant control, even getting the odd complement from younger brother! Crabby Cross joined the attack from the Lagoon End and got straight to work to tie Dinton down. The pair kept it tight despite not taking the much needed wickets. Law had joined Humzah and was ticking along. In Cross’s 6th over Humzah took one too many chances and missed a straight one to be trapped LBW for a superb 102 from the impressive teenager.

With 9 overs to go Gibbon had done exceptionally well to keep the score below 200. Vice Joe eventually got the brace of wickets he had deserved in his 17th over off the bounce for just 61 runs. Callow was brought back to replace Leonard and took the wicket of Ali for 17 before Dinton finished on 246-5 from the maximum 53 overs. A valiant effort from The Gibbon having lost the toss on a scorcher of a day, with Dinton adding less than 100 runs in their last 33 overs when the heat had taken its toll.

Both teams took cover for tea to rehydrate with Marsh knowing that this was a very gettable score on this batting deck. Vice and Webb opened up looking to get The Gibbon off to a flyer, but it was not to be. Both went early: Leonard LBW off Shahid for 11 and Webb Quacked his way off courtesy of an off cutter from Shahid.

With Marsh 19-2 from 7, it was down to Skipper Stu and Borsky Thornton to steady the ship. And that they did. Both very watchful and playing with patient technique, the pair put on 53 methodically in 23 overs. Not a rate of knots, but essential to rebuild after the start to ensure Marsh had a chance of staying in the game as long as possible.

The Skipper looked to open up at theis point and began fo find the fence before clothing one from the bowling of Bolton straight to Dintons star man Humzah at midwicket and was gone for an important 45. Jules joined Borsky, but not for very long as he was adjudged LBW for 0. This precipitated a change of plan and swing from trying to win the game to get the Draw. Tommy Leonard strolled to the crease with the strict instructions to bat for time with only 11 overs remaining. Borsky had played supporting role to Skipper during his tenure and batted for the best part of 30 overs for 5 runs, and this time taken out the game was now invaluable for the side on the backfoot. He was finally dispatched by Bolton.

Timms came and went for zero, leaving it to Cobby Chambers and T Leno to see Marsh over the line with some grind and fight. Tom batted superbly with the field in chasing the wickets he went on the offensive to the vacant fences, finishing on a red-inker 41, including a glorious pull shot that even got applause from his brooding brother back in the hutch. The Gibbon finished on 138-6 from their 47 overs to take the draw.

This week Marsh travel up the M40 to Watlington to meet old OCA adversaries.

SEE MATCH SCORECARD –

https://www.cherwellcricketleague.com/scorecard.php?MatchID=9503

On Historic National Sporting Weekend, Marsh Don’t Pay ‘Penalty’ For Missed Opportunities And Bring It Home

The Gibbon ventured away to face unknown opposition as the earlier home game against Buckingham Town had fallen foul of the May deluge. The Winslow ground (where Buck Town III play) was last visited in 2013 when Marsh and Winslow Town were both relegated and Marsh needed a win this time around to distance themselves from the lower reaches after 3 consecutive league defeats.  

Skipper Stu excelled with his tossing abilities and chose to have a bowl on a pitch which was well worn and dry, yet looked highly suspicious. The opening attack of County Boy Kyle, fresh from Covid isolation and Nathan Crouch Callow, fresh from social cavorting, were bang on from the start conceding only 27 runs from the first 12 overs and taking the all-important first wicket.

With the exception of kitman Pandit whose limbs seemed to be under alien influence each time he tried to stop or throw the ball, the Marsh fielding was tight on any Winslow attempt to score. Catching, however, was another thing altogether as opportunities went down throughout. Opportunities for; Neck, Joe, Fox and Spud were spilled, with a total of 6 missed catches – might this ultimately haunt the Gibbon?  Thankfully, not as each redeemed themselves in turn through the inning. Neck came first when he gripped on to a chance from Spragg from the bowling of Needham. Further redemptions came later….

Crouch was on his longest spell of the season to date, fresh from Saturday holiday, stag night and wedding distractions. He had toiled hard at the Town End to no avail, until in his 9th over a superb off cutter crashed the stumps of the steady Johnson and Buckingham were  42–2.

Peshavaria and Thompson were at the crease with the pitch playing like it looked, slow and inconsistent and not easy to score on. A steady partnership of 29 was broken with the introduction of Jay-Z Chambers after a sharp piece of glove work from Leonard to stump Thompson.

Gibbon continued to keep things very tight in the field and with some excellent bowling. Callow’s longest ever spell came to an end after 13 overs for just 24 runs and brought the introduction of Foxy, who got some swing from the start.

Another partnership built between Peshavaria and Jenden brought a change of bowling, the introduction of the Leonard brothers T and J was an inspired change as younger brother Tom trapped Jenden LBW with his first delivery. At the other end, J Leno was tight in line and clothing and extracting some sharp spin from the dry surface.   The Town middle order were no match as Vice ripped out the middle order and Buckingham whose hopes were pinned on Freshwater, James and finally Pengelly. Two bowled and the third a fantastic grab off his own bowling (Never spilling a catch when he is the bowler).

With Buckingham now gasping on 116–7, it was time for Gibbon to wrap up the Town innings early and Needham was brought back in to mop up the tail before it might wag and he duly obliged taking the last 3 wickets in consecutive maidens, with catches from Fox (redemption and at last someone took a slip catch), Connell (starting to show off now) and yet another rapid stumping from Skipper (surely the most stumpings in the Cherwell this year?)

Town finished on 124 all out in 50 overs leaving Marsh the same time to complete the victory.

Time for tea and Tom Leonard tucked into a healthy diet of delicacies that were on offer at the petrol station, next to the air fresheners and screen wipes, including a 10p chocolate swiss roll and various long life pastries. Vice Joe was unable to provide home made team cake this week, much to the disappointment of Jules…maybe Francesca was too busy getting Vice Joe ready for his photoshoot the evening before at a fellow Gibboners’ wedding….a mammoth task in itself….Congratulations to Steve and Kelly!

Vice Joe and Jules took to the crease knowing that batting time would be the key to winning the fixture on what was a challenging deck, but a very gettable score. However, with the score on 16, Chambers was dismissed by a good nip backer from Bleasdale and was immediately followed by Joe Leonard trapped in-front from Dipple, 18-2 and a Marsh reset was required.

Captain Stuart Leonard joined Vik-ar Pandit. Pandit was clearly keen to impress the skipper and stroked a Leonard mimicking maximum straight down the ground from only his 7th delivery, but he missed a straight one shortly after and Marsh were 43-3 from 13 overs.

Skipper worked hard to get himself in and was resisting the temptation of the shorter straight boundaries.  Luke Fox, watched by his family entourage, joined Stu and played in the only way that he knows: Hard and Fast.  Five ferocious Exocets to the fence before a top edge to Pengelly in the 18th and though Marsh were now well placed at 74 in only 18 overs, the loss of 4 top order batters kept the game in the balance.

Spuddy Honour took to the crease with solid plans to bat time, support the Skipper and tick the scoreboard over.

Will played a fantastic supporting role, never looking in any trouble and along with Skipper  kept the scoreboard revolving nicely. As the psychological three figure threshold clicked round in the 32nd over, Town knew that wickets were required fast to be in with any shot and brought the field up to pressurise and assist Shengunshi who had only gone for 9 off 8 overs. This was the lighting of the fuse for focussed Skipper Leonard who subsequently ploughed into Shengussi’s next over and peppered the vacant boundaries. Half century for the Skipper and victory for the Gibbon. Game over.

The Gibbon stayed at Winslow to conclude the day with a couple of victory beers and fines from Finesmaster Fox. Vice was done for his PDA social media post ‘she wanted the picture!’, brother T Leno also didn’t get off lightly with his sharking antics from the night before. Skipper Stu was still outraged by the logic of having to pay more fees for his match-wining half century. Spuddy Honour was far too energic for finesmasters’ liking and was duly punished. Fines also from Chambers Jnr and Snr for a mid over outburst as young Cobby dived over a shot from his dads bowling.

An improvement on the last visit to Winslow in 2013, with a victory and an easing of any shadowy relegation fears. The next 4 weeks bring fixtures against the 4 sides below Marsh in the league and victories in these fixtures will eradicate any thoughts of the unthinkable.   

SEE THE MATCH SCORECARD – https://www.cherwellcricketleague.com/scorecard.php?MatchID=9498

Is a ‘Draw’ Progress, or just Magic?

On a glorious June day in Oxfordshire, The Gibbon and Cairns Fudge, former stalwarts of the OCA, embarked on their inaugural Cherwell Win-Lose-Draw format game at The Recreation Ground, Marsh Gibbon.

Certainly that other new confounder: Duckworth Lewis Stern would not be needed as it was, and had been, red hot Dutch all week. The pitch looked an absolute belter and there was only one thing required and that was for skipper to win the toss….. Despite all his practicing during the week, Skipper Stu’s tossing skills remained below par. The coin came down and Fudge chose to have a bat (unsurprisingly)

Marsh knew that a few key early Fudge wickets were important. Nathan ‘Crouch’ Callow and Kyle ‘County Boy’ Needham opened up and after 7 overs the run rate was being well tapered, 28-0. Fudge’s Tom Small was in terrific form coming into the game and continued striking the ball firmly. The introduction of Julian ‘Jules’ Chambers and USA international signing Pandit was required to mix up the attack to get that all important first wicket. Pandit delivered by knocking over the contained Baxter for 27 at 104-1 from 21 overs.

Joined by MacLaren, the runs continued to come from Small’s willow and he raced to his Ton in just 89 balls, including 15×4’s and 3×6’s, one of which nearly ended up in Brill…sorry Jules! Gibbon were ruing a couple of dropped chances to evict Small prior to reaching his landmark and now focussed on seeking to contain as best as possible on a deck that was exactly as it promised to be; nothing but joy for the batter and toil for the bowler.

Vice Leonard and Crabby Cross entered the attack along with Sam-Boy Richardson to try and stem the flow of runs, but it was a dam well breached. Boundaries coming aplenty and a couple more dropped chances to boot. Gibbon were in for a long afternoon in the field though with the score on 183, Crabby Cross finally got one past Small’s bat to bowl him on 119.

With such a solid footing all risk was abated for Fudge and the bat swung freely safe in the knowledge of a solid total irrespective. The travelling ball went aerial enough times for catching chances to improve Marsh’s lot, but they were being dropped, by too many to name names! In the 44th over, with the score on 236-2, MacLaren was bowled by the returning Needham for 47 and the very next ball Williams (who’d travelled from Bristol for the match) was stumped by a very sharp piece of work from Skipper Stu behind the sticks.

Yet more blunders in the field with Crouch taking a blow on the leg stopping an over throw and also Crabby Cross suffering from an incident involving him slipping and landing on the ball…in golfing terms, I think, ‘reverse-plugging’ would be an appropriate description of the event and there were no volunteers venturing forward to remove the ball from its resting place within Crossy’s anatomy! Fudge’s skipper Shaw joined Hanscombe at the crease with a licence to entertain and scored 42 from 32 balls before being caught by Webb of the bowling of Vice Joe Leonard…third time lucky! Fudge finished on 313-5 from their 53 overs, a total never reached at the Gibbon before (but the first time an inning has lasted more than 45 overs).

Tea was taken in the steamy conditions, Jules had forgotten his tea and was being eaten by Mrs Chambers…at home…. The Gibbon knew that to be in with a shot of tackling the target a flying start was required. Webbo was promoted to open with Vice Leonard under Skippers instructions to go for it and enjoy yourselves. They did just that and after 6 overs Gibbon were well up with the rate at 55-0 as Leonard and Webb punished anything loose, dealing in boundaries to conserve the legs.

Just as target computations began to be made with the score reaching 68, Webb, who was just getting into his stride, fell to Clark leg before. Vice Joe was joined by Chambers to steady the ship but he quickly fell for 10 chipping one to Small at midwicket off the bowling of Clark – you’re not yourself when you’re hangry Jules!

Vice and Skipper were at the crease together and Stu had a look for a couple of deliveries before dispatching MacLaren over his head for four to get going. Unfortunately, only two balls later an amazing  geometric feat was observed as the right handed Skipper was given LBW to aright arm around the wicket delivery – impressive!

Joe, who finally was looking like he could actually hit the ball off the square this season was 2 short of his half century before a rush of blood brought about his demise and was bowled by Robertson. Richardson replaced Joe but struggled to get his legs going and was also LBW for 5. In came Alex ‘Tatey’ Coultate with skippers first ever instruction to “shut up shop.” With the score on 100-5 from 25 overs the required rate was more than 8 and the Yorkshireman summoned metaphorical images of his boyhood idol Boycott wielding his grannies stick of rhubarb, and blocked up as per instructions.

Pandit was a little more expansive with his shot selection than the terraces would have liked, nevertheless he contributed stoically to a 50 partnership and, more importantly, ticked down the overs.

At 153 from 38 overs, Pandit succumbed to yet another LBW on 27 and with 9 over remaining and still 4 wickets in hand The Gibbon was in the hands of Tatey and Jacob ‘Cobby’ Chambers Jnr. The 9 overs flew past for the Gibbon faithful on the boundary edge and despite whatever Fudge threw at them Tatey and Cobby stood firm to ensure Gibbon remained undefeated, finishing on 179-6 from their 47 overs.

A well-deserved beer was in order for The Gibbon after a long day in the field…thanks Skipper…and fines were aplenty, mainly in dropped catches. Vice Joe finally got the delightful homemade Lemon Drizzle Cake out which he had forgotten to get out at tea much to the delight of Jules who was taking all the food that he could find. Marsh march on this weekend to another new location and opposition with a visit to Bledlow Village.

The first Drawn game at The Gibbon and the questions ruminate as to whether that was a better game than it would have been with a simple victory and defeat?  Did the Fudge players enjoy the last hour and a half bowling at batters who were clearly taking no chances?  Did the major error lie with Fudge skipper Shaw for not declaring after 48 overs with 267 on the board and no more bonus points to be earned? After all, Marsh had spent 3 hours in the baking sun and would need to score at more than 5 per over for 52 overs – which would also give Fudge 5 more overs to bowl Marsh out and win the game outright?  As Marsh had nothing to gain, Tatey and Cobby enjoyed a longer knock than they would have survived vainly chasing the huge total and does that mean more players get more of a game under this format? 

These imponderables will remain unanswered but what is fact, is that after conceding the most runs in a single game, Marsh did not lose, nor win – but they moved up the league table from 4th place before the game, to 3rd place after it!   Is that progress? Who knows, but in the words of Paul Daniels “That’s Magic!”     

SEE SCORECARD BELOW –

https://www.cherwellcricketleague.com/match_analysis.php?MatchID=9476

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!!!”

SEE MATCH SCORECARD BELOW –

https://www.cherwellcricketleague.com/match_analysis.php?MatchID=9472

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!   

NETS

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?