As Captain Stuart Leonard continued to sun himself under the Greek Sun, Captain of Vice was again in charge under the Gibbon Sun. This week he had the added challenge of how to enter the ground as all roads in were in the process of being re-tarmacked. You would have thought he was arranging the Normandy Landings such was the whatsapp clap trap the day before. Anyway somehow or other everyone got here on time….Er, hold on….not quite everyone. Standard!
More changes in personal as Beardy and the Fox giants were not available, so in stepped Timdog, the Welsh Hockey Wizard, and the Greek ‘God of Guns Out.’ Quite a youthful looking outfit for this latest baker.
Toss accomplished again (This boys got stamina!) and Marsh to bat first. Skipper decided to promote himself from 4 to Opener and was joined by the ever youthful Farmer sporting his purple bricks tattoo which he wore from last week. Both settled in to see off the popular Hume and soon-to-be-disgraced Plant. Track was playing hard, fast and reliably and both batters got involved.
Jules(15) was caught with the total on 60 from 15 and was closely followed next over by Skipper(42) unfortunately gloving to the keeper. The wobble was averted as Scotty and Richardson composed themselves and looked to push on. Then another double blow as a rank long hop (Scotty-19) and then full toss (Sambo-11), which should have both been on the road, were missed and they were both clean bowled in successive overs from Robinshaw. 100-4 from 23 overs. Skipper had wanted 200 as a minimum and the total was on track though less wickets at halfway would have been preferred. Never mind though as the Welsh Wizard of the crooked stick and the returned Greek God of Guns were in the middle now.
The Welsh Wizard even got the chance to practice his baseball as a ‘waist’ high full toss was swung away to the farmyard for 6. I think the umpire was using Charlie Chaplin’s trousers belted under the chin as the measure for waist height!
The two ran well and for once Tommy had a partner that was too quick for him to run out! Unfortunately though they were parted after 56 runs together when Shipperley (43 from 49 balls) practicing his penalty flick missed the ball and was adjudged in front. And so with Marsh 156-5 from 34 overs, the Abbott went out to meet God.
It’s a good idea to be on time for a Holy Appointment but The Abbott almost missed it as the cry went up, “Where’s my bat? Where’s my bat?!” The well prepared Abbott had been sitting, waiting, zoning in and had consequently not noted the work of a little devil (well, a pair of demons really) who had sneaked off with his bat and put it in the getaway car for later! Crouch, who knows the modus operandi of these little spirits, retrieved the good Abbott’s tool and sent it out to the middle for the Abbott to wield.
Skipper barked his orders from the boundary to the Abbott, “Bat on Ball….” Oh yes, pithy alliteration from the skipper and The Abbott acquiesced – and was caught before the order could be completed “Bat on Ball….and Over the Rope” was the complete phrase! 174-6 from 38. A bit of a push was required, but only a further set back came. At least the bat was safely back.
The Greek ‘God of Guns Out’ now got caught out after a valiant 27 and with 181 on the board. The pace needed to step up now and with two of the Gibbon’s most renowned runners at the crease quite literally anything could happen. And it almost did! First there was exhibition running of hit ball straight to fielder only 10 yards away: Run, stop, run again – how can he not be run out? But he wasn’t…And this happened repeatedly as dives for the line rained in. Perhaps it was a plan to demoralise the fielders? Somehow ‘Sat Laurel’ and ‘Nathan Hardy’ got to 200 in the penultimate over as Kyle and his average were left sweating on the side lines.
Then a peach of a last over as Hume bound in to avenge the boundary that Crouch had cracked back through long on in his last over. Well Satty did likewise! Then the temperature rose to boiling point as Satty snicked another 4 past the wicket keeper. Last ball and a quick single on the square….turned in to 5 as Hume sought retribution and aimed his throw more at the batter than the stumps. Which to be fair, is the larger object and was moving at the same speed as the stumps! But he missed all of them (quite a feat from such short range) and the ball raced mercilessly to the boundary.
An unbeaten 7th wicket stand of 41 from 30 balls had surpassed Skippers requirement and left Faringdon needing 221 for victory.
Special mention to young Finn Johnson of Faringdon who fielded confidently and competently throughout.
Extra special mention to the fabulous and copious Tea from Lady Deborah, supported with additional cake from Selina (Sorry Brian!)
“Bowl tight, take our catches and build the pressure” was the direction from Skipper as Marsh took to the field in the sweltering heat. How would two and a half hours out in this heat affect Faringdon? Chairman Kyle bound in and a snorting first ball took shoulder of bat and looped toward gully…..Buckethands Richardson was waiting, but he needed to lope forward to reach the ball and the 4 pieces of cake consumed moments before seemed to root him to the spot! Never mind, first ball next over and Crouch bowls to the bobbing Plant and cleans up leg stump.
The opener left the field discarding and launching pieces of equipment as he went before rounding the corner and one assumes, ‘planting’ his size nine into the pavilion door. The door and frame being jerked from the wall. As the Marsh team were in the field and Tea ladies in clean up mode, no one saw the event though it was heard. When sought for questioning some minutes later the batter had left the ground. Odd. Disgraceful.
On the field, Faringdon were keeping up with the required rate and reached 48 from 10 overs. A breakthrough was required and on cue, Kyle trapped the free scoring Owen in front. The Marsh bowlers and fielders now graced the first division with a display of constriction on what should have been a free flowing track they squeezed the Faringdon pips.
Shippo came on for Crouch and sent down the fastest deliveries of the day, by far. After a couple of sighters’ he pinned both batters on the back foot, whilst Kyle gave no opportunities for Faringdon from the Edgcott End. No wickets taken, but only 40 runs scored in the critical 15 over period from 10 to 25 overs and restricted Faringdon to 90-2 from 25. The bowling was tight and the fielding immaculate as fast feet and sharp hands stopped singles and made sure no ones turned to two.
It was time to take pace off the ball as Needham finished his 12 over spell conceding only 27. Vadivale and Richardson took over where Needham and Shipperley had left off. They were as tight as the skippers trousers and despite Tomes and Johnson having been in the middle since the 11th over, neither of them could get at the wily pair….and the required rate rose…and rose….and rose…..
31st over and with run desperation rising Tomes looked for 2 from a drive into extra cover. Looked safe as Timdog was on the fence and we all know blokes with beards can’t throw. Wrong. In like a sprinter and a tracer throw over the bails. Tomes run out for 56. Faringdon 114 for 3 from 32 overs. Required rate now over 8 per over.
Skipper Oglesby joined Johnson and neither could find the required boundaries as Vadivale and Richardson turned and bowled, turned and bowled.
A few, mostly difficult, chances were spilled and according to the Greek God this was all part of his master plan!
Johnson bowled by Richardson. Oglesby bowled by Vadivale. In came Hume to try and make redress for his bowling figures (12 overs for 55). Time, however, was not on his side as he was only allowed to push singles to a very well drilled and skippered set of fielders.
Marlow bowled by Vadivale (12 over 41 runs for 2 wickets). Robinshaw bowled by Richardson (11 overs 53 runs for 2 wickets). And Gibbon gracefully managed the game to its conclusion: A Marsh Victory. Faringdon 183-7 off 45 overs, closing 38 runs adrift.
Yet again, the Mighty Gibbon graced the top division with their cricketing ability, hospitality and sportsmanship. Well played boys.