End of Season Pig Presentation Night

The Cricket is over for another year and luckily our minds are not crowded with memories of great victories, well hardly any victories at all…..Nevertheless, we reached the midweek Buckingham Advertiser Cup Final and we  graced the Top Division in the OCA for a second year.  Indeed Great victories for a small village team!

We know that there is much more to our Club than just the performance on the pitch (luckily!) and we shall celebrate all that makes us The Mighty Gibbon together on Friday 27th September, at The Pavilion, when the Pig shall oink its’ last before providing all with food and drink.

A warm invitation is cast to all players, partners, our wonderful Tea Ladies, supporters, umpires, ground staff and all other miscellaneous club alcoholics alike, past and present.  The evening is sure to be as joyous as it shall be entertaining!

The evening shall be casual attire and commence with the bar opening before 7pm for an ‘early-doors’ one to kick start those that need it.

The Pig will be ceremoniously opened to reveal its plunder for the night ahead and hopefully its entrails will take the drinking deep into the night. 

Then we shall have an MGCC Through The Ages Quiz  starting at around 7.45pm.  This will be a quiz based on our 30 years in the OCA and virtually every player shall feature one way or another, from those who played the first league game in 1988 to the game last week (same result anyway!)  There shall be teasing yet amusing rounds including “Family Fortunes” where family member performances are pit against each other, and “It couldn’t Happen To a Nicer Fellow” where a few of the less inspiring performances will be aired for you to guess the culprit!  Yet all shall be in good spirits and easy for all to guess – even if you weren’t there at the time.  Come along and make a Team that spans the ages to earn your team points. Of course, there shall be Prizes aplenty!

We will (most probably) have Chinese food of all tastes and varieties delivered for feasting at 8.30ish.  During which the Captains will revise the Season for us and present our Annual Awards.       

More than anything we would sincerely like to welcome past players and partners and toast the support we have had this year from so many of you including: Bobby Summers, Taf Gibbons, Martin Deeley, Hubby, Gavin, Les, Mullis, Dave Clarke, Barry, Bazza, Fred and many more….home and away!                

Please let us know if you will be attending via the Club Whatsapp, or contact Kyle at ca_needham@yahoo.co.uk  

Cheers!

 

Summer White-Out amongst the shadows at Middleton Cheney

The 2019 Originals season drew to a close with another inauspicious defeat at Middleton Cheney as Barry White (not The actual Barry White) took 5 Marsh wickets and restricted Marsh to just 117.

Earlier, at 30 without loss after 12 overs the Marsh openers of Chambers and Needham had taken some knocks from the unpredictable track yet seemed to have calmed the strike pairing of Nadin and Denison.   But this was not a track you would ever ‘be-in’ on and both had gone caught to mistimed shots by the time Marsh had posted 50. 

52-2 off 18 became 52-3 with White’s first ball as it landed and rolled into Skippers off stump.  Never mind, the ebullient Lofty was determined to finish his excellent year with a flourish and picked off boundaries whenever the bowlers strayed, before also falling to White on 39 from just 40 balls.  Timdog who had been gritting it out was also a White victim and decided he prefers pace to spin after all. 

For a brief moment the Fox Cranes were in bat together and the wicket was cast in partial darkness from their shadows. The half light that returned when Luke fell, became a blaze next over as Seb snicked behind for nought and returned to the pavilion for family consolation (Unlucky!) 

And so began the procession In and Out as Marsh slumped from 86-3 to 117 all out, despite a couple of glorious boundaries from John….Who’s John, Grant?

A very pleasant tea followed and Marsh took to the field revived in order to defend their puny total – minus wicketkeeper (who was down in Brighton with some chums…say no more) and opening bowler.  Never mind, hope springs eternal and when stand-in strike bowler Lofty lured Merry into a false pull and a thin edge on to his stumps, and then the Oxfordshire Veterans trialist trapped Cox in front, Cheney were 7-2 off 5 overs.

Needham struck again bowling the King of the swingers and Cheney were 31-3.   The pace(ish) of Needham and Fox was replaced by the The Twirling Tweaking Triplets of Vadivale, Leonard and Cross.  With the exception of 3 tight overs from Crossy (there was only ‘the one’ in all 3 overs), the plan seemed to be to wear the batsmen out from them hitting the ball into the trees!  It didn’t work though and despite a wicket a piece for Vadivale (Seb catching on boundary to avoid TFC award) and Skipper (Needham demonstrating how you actually catch the ball for the Skippers benefit) the runs came at a canter.  Cheney reached the target of 117 for 6 in 34 overs.       

Thanks to Seb, Sykes and Sammy…and their mate John(?) for banter and performance…See you next year lads!   And our ever present travelling fans.

At least the early finish meant we got back to The Dog before it closed!  And a good few beers were sunk under the Chambers Grolsch Command, before the Fox boys went to stalk the clubs of Oxford with their combined assault weaponry of Seb’s looks and Luke’s chat…..oh dear….

End of Term Report:    Room For Improvement next Season…..                

Wagon-Wheel Of The Century

It was a glorious day at The Gibbon as they hosted their final home game of the season against Chipping Norton.

With his team threatening to go home if he put them in the field by losing another toss, the spin of the coin was important….Skipper stuck to tradition though, and lost! However somewhat surprisingly Chippy decided to have a bowl, much to the delight of the Marsh boys!

Will ‘Spudy’ Honour and and ‘Jofra’Archer Mansfield took to their opening berths hoping to get Marsh off to a solid start…it wasn’t to be as Archie (2) knicked a good ball from Gujjar to Keeper Widdows. Skipper arrived at number three and flashed a couple to the cover boundary but was then caught at gully for 13.

Stu’y looked steady in his regular spot at number four, despite an early scare when Big Dave playing and MISSING a snorter of a delivery from Gujjar. He started ticking along…..(mainly through 3rd man) with the help of Lofty Foxy (12) who is starting to get a trademark for his powerful driving.

With wickets falling at regular intervals, Rodders trying to whip a straight one through square leg and getting bowled for a duck…clever!! And T Leno, also bowled for 8, the reliable Jay-Z joined Stu’y who was now into his stride and regularly aggravating the hedges at The Edgcott Road and Lagoon End!

On 95 not out, Stu decided that the only way to go to his 3rd ton for The Originals was with a maximum, and that he did with a little shimmy up the pitch to Tompkins to whack him over deep mid-wicket. The cap came off, arms aloft to appreciate the applause from the ever present Marsh faithful.

Jules made a very important 18 before trying one too many T20 specialist shots and scooped his attempted sweep straight up in the air. Timmo joined and whacked a glorious cover drive before getting bowled for 4. Cobby did a cracking job to keep Chippy in the field for as long as possible whilst Stu was still scoring at the other end before falling. Nathan ‘Crouch’ Callow immediately pushed a single to get Stu’y back on strike, however S Leno got a little carried away and run past one from Tompkins and the bails were whipped off by Widdows who was never going to miss..!

Marsh posted a total of 185 all out with Stuy Leonard finishing on 112 from a mere 104 balls including 17 boundaries, 16 x 4s and 1 x 6, a fantastic knock with an essence of Ben Stokes about it. Powerful boundary hitting, farming the strike cleverly when needed (no need – or chance – of any fast twos…) whilst keeping out the good ones at bay from the Chippy bowlers.

With a delightful tea provided by Mrs Kimberley Leonard, who had believed that the applause for her beloved husband was for a 50 and not a 100… The Gibbon piled into tea taking full advantage of the lovely sweets, wonderful savouries and of course…fantastic baps!! Meanwhile Stuy had decided that a rest was required after his ton and was found in the middle of the changing room laid out relaxing in his fishing chair!

Marsh took to the field knowing that a solid bowling and fielding performance would give them a good chance to defend the score of 185. Openers Crouch and T Leno bowled tight with few loose deliveries, but with the Gibbon road providing them little assistance Chippy batters Slamat and Wallington rarely looked trouble and at 54 for 0 from 16 overs something needed to change. Skipper Joe made what turned out to be an important bowling change bringing Archie into the attack and in his second over the game changed completely, a triple wicket maiden!! T Leno then struck immediately in the next over knocking over Wallington for 32.

54 for 0 became 54 for 4….different game now. With Marsh on the front foot, Jay-Z joined the attack keeping things tight and chipping in with a couple of wickets. At 117 for 7, Marsh could have thought that they had this in the bag, however in came Chippy’s number 9, Max Green who played very freely and before you know it had raced into the 30s.

With now just over 35 to win, another change was in order. Skipper J Leno decided to bring himself on and flight some offies up into the descending sun, this had the Chippy batsmen bamboozled.  J Leno took the important wickets of Karawita LBW (34) and the impressive Green caught in the deep by Lofty Foxy for a very nearly match winning 46.

With the score at 180 for 9 and only 6 required for Chippy to win, Skip entrusted senior bowler of the day Crouch to do the business and polish off the tail………..WIDE!!! Great start Crouch, 5 to win…No matter, cool under pressure and with order to target the stumps Crouchy did just that and cleaned up Jarvis for 0. 181 all out, Marsh win by 4 runs.

A good day all round, cracking weather, lovely pitch, the Marsh faithful out in their numbers supporting. A big congratulation to Stu’y Leonard for a 3rd century for the club and joining Jules as the players with a prestigious 7,000 career runs for the club.

 

You need to hit it higher than that to get it over Lofty!

Marsh entertained Middleton Cheney for the first time ever at The Recreation Ground and entertainment it was as the advantage flipped one way and then the other before siding with the home side courtesy of some impetuous batting and an exhibition of cool catching.   

Cheney won the toss and decided that the preceding 24 hours of rain and humid conditions would favour the ball, despite the deck still being hard and flat.  The first indication was it was the right call as Nadin got through Willo with the 2nd ball of the match and Marsh were a man down without any runs on the board.   Thankfully Hanson from the other end was errant in line and length and Skipper creamed away with 5 quick boundaries.  Vadivale (4) looked to do likewise from the other end but could not keep his Square Cut down and was caught at Point off Nadin in the 7th over.  25 for 2.

Nadin was bowling tight and Smith replaced replaced Hanson with a better away swinging line, making runs hard to come by.   Skipper (35) seemed comfortable at the crease when he got a thin edge behind to give Nadin his 3rd wicket and reduce Marsh to 44-3.  That soon became 59-4 in the 22nd over when Kyle mistimed a Cover Drive and departed for 15.

Guns Leonard was determined to stick it out and crept to 8 before missing a straight one from the returning Hanson in the 27th over and Cheney were firmly settled in the Box Seat with Marsh reduced to 74-5.   Only 18 overs remaining (to survive and) to post some sort of defendable total.  Well whilst Cool Hand Luke was at the crease there was hope for quick runs.  Some cracking drives sped past the agile fielders and he rolled the scoreboard forwards at a run a ball as Sammy got settled in.   In keeping with the rest of the batters, just as Lofty started to get on top, he got out.  92-6 at the 33rd over mark and Chambers Senior strode out to join Richardson. 

There had been great debate amongst the watching Marsh players when Guns had announced that Jules was nearing 6,000 runs for The Originals, after consulting the 2018 Wisden.  Jules looked on quizzically as he thought he had scored more.  It turned out Guns had read the number of runs conceded from his Bowling!   In fact, he only needed 26 to reach 7,000.  No pressure – No Problem.

Chambers and Richardson found their straps and worked the ball to all parts constructing a 59 run partnership in 9 overs to deflate the confident Cheney, during which a loud cheer and applause went up when Chambers passed the landmark. Possibly the loudest cheer for a batsman on 25 pushing a single to midwicket (in trademark Chambers fashion.)

Sammy was caught after scoring 34 from just 45 deliveries and Timdog (7*)was reunited with Jules to continue their unfinished (winning) business from last week and add 16 from the last 3 overs, taking the total to 166-7 from the 45.   Jules unbeaten on 34 from 33 balls.

Certainly Cheney had held the advantage when Marsh were slumped on 74-5, but the last 108 balls had brought Marsh 92 runs and shortened the odds.  Despite this rear-guard defiance, 166 was still less than par and the question was, “Could it be defended?”

Another excellent Tea provided by Amy and Selena with sarnies and savouries rounded off with a vast scope of cakes (which Tom stashed for later!)

Marsh knew they could not afford for Cheney to get off to a lucrative start and it was Callow who decimated the top order sending back Merry (Stump out the ground), Markham (LBW) and then Twynham (with a great leave onto his off peg!) 6 overs gone and Cheney 19-3.  Advantage now with Marsh.

Des Smith was somehow surviving at the other end from the carnage and joined by Dan Smith the two sought to survive rebuild.  Indeed, they did just that  and when they reached their 50 partnership in the 22nd over the pendulum was swinging back to Cheney.  Only 100 needed in 23 overs and 7 still in the hutch.

Partnership breaker Vadivale had been putting more zing into his deliveries and got reward trapping young Smith (36) in the 25th over with the score on 91.  Would this chink of light become brighter? Marsh needed to keep taking wickets, especially Des Smith who continued to score and ride his fortune.

Vadivale kept the light shining in his next over as he Bowled Hanson and Cheney were 101-5 off 28 overs. At the same point Marsh had been 78-5, but the momentum was now with the Marsh bowlers and despite a short sharp expensive interlude from Sammy, the bowlers had restricted the run scoring opportunities with no one going for more than 3 per over.  Despite this economy, Cheney only needed 4 per over in the remaining overs and so wickets were the only solution for Marsh. 

Tension was mounting and Cheney were closing. Nine overs remaining and only 40 now required.  Tommy was bowling big in-duckers and Satty was darting turners from the other end. Boynton had looked secure when he went large, hitting straight off Guns and over Lofty’s head at deep mid-on.  You could feel the frustration from Marsh as the ball was dipping beyond Foxy over his shoulder – then an amazing Stokes-style running, turning, diving one handed catch only he could make within his extendable reach!

An invigorated Marsh had spirits lifted and next ball Cheney looked for 2 to the backward square boundary without accounting for Willo’s arm and his bullet to the stumps left Nadin stranded.  126 for 5 was now 126-7.  But Smith still there….Advantage Marsh – with the runs on the board, or Cheney – with a batter settled and on 50? 

In came Wright and quickly got off the mark with a boundary.  That spurred his confidence to try again and where should he choose to hit Tommy? Straight to Lofty Foxy standing (almost) on the boundary line.  The buckets swallowed it up and Marsh were jubilant as Cheney now slumped to 130-8 off 37 overs.

But Smith was still there and lining up Satty now…..Marsh had boundary riders ready. Swish and the ball is orbiting toward Cow Corner where none other than Lofty is poised and primed.  OUT!

134-9 and it is all over bar the small matter of the 10th wicket, which came next over courtesy of another catch bagged by Sammy off Tom.   

Just 8 runs for the last 5 wickets as Marsh completed a superb romp in the field, maintaining belief and delivering bowling and catching skills.  Callow, Vadivale and Leonard with 3 wickets a piece

Lofty Foxy stood tall on the boundary and caught all that dared clear him.         

 

              

 

   

          

    

            

Ask not what your Club can do for you, but what you can do for your Club

The Marsh Gibbon Cricket Club legend that is Julian Chambers reeled in another milestone against Middleton Cheney on 20th July 2019, as he passed 7,000 runs for the Originals.

His MGCC career, which shows no signs of concluding anytime soon, started in his teens before Marsh even joined the OCA in 1987, when he would turn out for the Midweek and Sunday teams playing in the Aylesbury leagues.   

Back then he would open the bowling alongside ‘Bolshman’ Rawlings and under the tutelage of the likes of O.T. Stringer, Smithy, Eagles, Baz Leonard, Watko, Bobby S. and the rest (of that drunken motley crew) he became a mainstay – that is when he could escape his farm duties to play!

Now, with over 450 MGCC appearances in the OCA, not to mention the hundreds of midweek, Sunday and friendly games, he is bringing through chip off the old block ‘Cobby’ to follow in the old mans footsteps.    

Jules captained the side for 3 years (91-93) when we played in the Senior Section of the OCA and also helped form the basis of the Square of today  helping/doing the match deck preparation. 

Surely, his most memorable games came with the ball when in 1989 at a time without bowling restrictions, he bowled 22 overs straight off against Buckland and took 6 wickets for 70 runs!  (By the way, his run up back then was about 20 metres long and so in that one spell he sprinted over 2.5 kilometres!) These were just some of the 344 wickets taken at only 17 runs each so far. 

Another great performance came in 2001 when Jules notched up an unbeaten 108 (including 7×4 and 3 maximums) as he lead us to 200 to win at home to Minster Lovell.  In that same year he averaged 54 runs and won the Batting Cup, as he also did 3 years later when he totalled 434 runs off the willow.   Add that to his two Bowling Cup awards of 1997 and the Millennial year and you have the archetypal Cricketer  (Oh yes, he can field too!) 

In a nutshell, there isn’t anything he hasn’t done, or achieved, for the Club and we hope he continues to grace The Recreation Ground for many years to come – 8,000 runs and 400 wickets are in range! 

 

           

Procter’s Record Stands For Another Year!

2005 might have been a memorable year for English Cricket as we wrestled back The Ashes from the convicts, but in sleepy old Marsh Gibbon it is known as the year when our swashbuckling Skipper – Ben Procter – lead us to a Summer devoid of a single victory from 16 attempts!

So, it was fitting that after 9 straight defeats, new Skipper Leonard steered us to our first victory this year over the Club where Procter sought solace after that fateful year – Wolvercote.  And in so doing maintained Mr Procter’s record as the only Skipper to fail to win a game in a season.

The day started same as usual with Skipper losing the toss on a warm and muggy day.  Wolvercote unsurprisingly chose to bat on a dream surface, with a fast dry outfield in order to take advantage of the good run scoring conditions.  Opening bowlers Kyle and Callow needed to bowl tight with the ever positive and usually free scoring  Stewart-Liberty looking to pounce at any opportunity.  

And bowl tight they did, thus with the batters’ frustration mounting at the lack of scoring options, Callow got the breakthrough with a delightful slower ball to Manzoor who edged and was snaffood by Vadivale at gully.  It looked like Needham had bagged Stewart-Liberty too as he edged to the skipper wearing the gloves for the day.  But alas, the melted butter from his earlier bacon roll caused the ball to slip free!   Kyle bowled through going for only 2.5 per over and did get reward with the wcket of Babbs.

At just 90-3 (another wicket for Callow bagged by Foxy) off the first 24 overs Wolvercote were below par and seeking risky singles to keep the board clicking in the absence of boundaries. .

T-Leno replaced Crouch continued recent good form to with the wicket of Pinhol (16) nicked behind to the Skipper (Butter dried out now). However with Stewart-Liberty still at the crease and passing his half century, Marsh knew that his wicket would be pivotal in the game…then came the moment. Stewart-Liberty made the mistake of looking for 2 to Timdog on the fence. The call came and much like the World Cup final to come next day, Timmo raced around the boundary (Jason Roy esque) and fired it straight over the stumps, easy pickings for Bacon roll gloves to do the rest and that was the dangerous Stewart-Liberty gone for 66. 

The bowling partnership of Vadivale (10-4-23-3) and T Leno (12-1-60-3) tightened the screw on the visitors, as both troubled the batters constantly.  They reduced Wolvercote from 135-5 to 168 all out, including a fantastic in-swinging yorker from Guns to dismiss the resisting Gupta (12). With superb fielding and safe catching from Foxy, Kyle,  Skipper and nicest man Mansfield, Marsh completed the job bowling Wolvercote out in the 43rd over for a below par 168.

Debutant tea lady Mrs Abbott (happy with her bearings after having taking an elongated tour around the village the week before when trying to find the ground) thrived under pressure and produced a glorious spread which was enjoyed by all. Especially the selection of gluten free cakes (obviously!) which even got a mention in the opposition Ground Report, will live long in the memory.

The Gibbon openers took guard with the message from the skipper that only one good partnership would see us to victory……turns out that Two were needed!

Spuddy Honour and The Nicestman opened up, but Spud was not to be part of any partnership as he waddled back (quack) 6th ball. Skipper joined Archie in the middle and the pair proceeded to grind through the impressive Wolvercote opening attack, especially the ever dangerous Gupta (12-2-23-2). The scoreboard ticked slowly, very slowly, Archie kept a cool head at one end and Joe kept it clicking from the other.

Archie eventually went edging to 2nd slip for a very hard fought 8 from a mammoth 48 balls and an hour at the crease, an innings of Boycott proportions, yet not to be underrated in importance as the partnership had taken the score to 40 by the 16th over.  Skipper was getting comfortable with the bowling  and actually hitting cut shots as opposed to just swishing at them! 

Kyle joined Skipper briefly and a further 20 runs was scratched off the deficit by the time he drove uppish to extra cover.  Just over a ton required and 24 overs left.  Next was Guns, who didn’t hang around long being beaten all ends up by Gupta for a couple (good bat that).  Then came the irrepressible Lofty Foxy determined to impress the Pater.   He did actually look at 4 balls before straight driving his first boundary and continued to regain the Marsh impetus with more lusty blows to the fence (and more straight bat too!). 

Skipper needed a partner and Lofty was the man.   Joe reached his 50 off 67 balls and was congratulated by a bumper crowd of people and dogs!  Skipper and Foxy nonchalantly took the total past the ton and perhaps the required partnership to win the game was at hand?  Or perhaps not….as the partnership added 48 before they were parted….

With the scoreboard looking satisfactory from the skippers point of view, he got a pull shot wrong and was caught for an excellent 66.  In typical Gibbon style it was going to be a struggle.  Emphasised acutely when JAbbott entered and with his very first ball pushed a safe on drive which was mis-fielded at mid on.  What don’t you do to a mis-field?  JAbbott is now familiar with that golden rule….Pinhol’s direct hit from 30 yards ended the Wild Boy’s day abruptly.

Foxy was still there and continued to put away the bad ball until a peach from James nipped the off bail, sending him back for a very important 31.

At 109-6 off 31, Timmo joined Jules in the middle for what turned out to be all important winning partnership the skipper had requested.  Timmo manufactured boundaries from the returning opener. It doesn’t matter where they come from so long as they come….through your legs to fine leg is fine!! With experience and class of Jules, nearing 8,000 runs for the club at the other end, the pair knocked the ball into gaps and drove the occasional important boundary to slowly and surely reel the game in.

In the 43rd over with the partnership at 50 (Jules on 20 and Timdog on 25) Timdog hit the winning run, much to the delight of the cheering Gibbon crowd and finally Skipper could stop comparing himself to Procter!  (There’s a thought?!)  A much deserved win for The Gibbon whose efforts did return the result this time. 

Spuddy Honour was elected Pig for the day for his early ducking, diving over the ball and being beaten in a foot race by an old cripple! The beer tasted that little bit sweeter, especially as the skipper was paying for the first round…..well, when we actually see the colour of his cash he will have paid for it!

The Gibbon welcome Div 1 newcomers Middleton Cheney next at The Recreation Ground and look forward to playing Cricket minus the stress of having a zero in the wins column. 

Procter’s legacy lives on…… 

 

 

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.