If Carlsberg did weekends………

As the hangovers begin to fade, it’s time to reflect on a record breaking and history making weekend for the Originals, with a big win over local neighbours Fringford in the league to take the club up to second on Saturday and then securing the Telegraph Cup for the first time in the clubs history against Wantage on Sunday.

With many players away, Stu called for back up in the form of Nick ‘Tacky’ Tyler, who returned to the team for Saturdays game as Gibbons resources were stretched to the max……”still got that young blond Tyler?!”…..

Fringford were also struggling for numbers, having 9 players, as Stu again lost the toss and Gibbon were asked to bat first, with Matty and Joe opening up. The visitors struck first as Matty went for a duck in the second over, bringing Leonard’s Joe and Stu together for what proved to be a record breaking partnership. With more gaps in the field to exploit, the pair pushed the ball into them as the runs started to come freely, both reaching half-centuries as the visitors found it difficult to plug the vacant areas. Some strong hitting and despite their dislike for running, many many singles pushed the score on as the pair went past the 150 partnership. As Joe worked towards his century, overcoming the nervous 90’s and Stu tried to catch up with him the runs continued to flow until Joey reached a much deserved maiden century,followed in turn but Stu, surpassing the previous ‘Originals’ record wicket partnership of 197 between Jamie Leonard and Derek Jeacock. With both their eyes on the highest individual score for the club of 131, the partnership was finally broken at a hefty 240, bringing Cam (13no) to the wicket who batted superbly, along with Pidge who hit a nice little cameo to take the score up to a daunting 285. Youngsters George Williams bowled excellent and Tom Bacon kept really well for the visitors who kept going hard.

A splendid tea was taken, the chicken and stuffing baps a highlight as Gibbon took confidently to the field. Things couldn’t have started better as Stevie got the opener leg before. Gibbon bowled and fielded well, able to attack with the field as Timmo took a lovely little 3 for and Tommy finished the job just before the Tackman was due to turn the old arm over, as Gibbon eased to victory by 184 runs.

With an early night and a nice hot bath for Joey, the big day we’d been waiting for had arrived. Again, with many players away on holiday, Gibbon were missing all rounders Shipperley and Needham along with batsmen Spud and some of the talented young guns. Despite this, a strong and confident Marsh team met early at the Plough looking resplendent in their club kit to make the trip over to Chipping Norton to face Wantage in their first OCA cup final since 2000.

With overnight rain, the plan was to bowl first, but that proved yet again immaterial as Stu yet again lost the toss! Still very confident Marsh were asked to bat first, but as Joe went early and Briefo, who was just starting to hit the ball nicely went, things were looking very nervy. Having assessed the pitch early on the plan was for 150 minimum to give our bowlers a chance, knowing our plans for Wantage dangermen…..but with the knowledge they had chased down a big score the day before, Gibbon were well aware of their batting threats.

Stu (35), Matt (20) and Satty (29), who had been sent to the naughty step by the skipper the day previous, steadied the ship, but with Wantage bowling well in spells it was difficult to get away. Knowing the prowess of the late hitters, a ploy which has worked well for Gibbon this term, the plan was to keep wickets in hand and go hard in the last 5……and then entered Crouchy! An excellent cameo by the back in-form Jules (17) and some power hitting from Croucher saw the score creep on, as Crouchy despatched the returning opener for three consecutive boundaries. With Tommys young legs scampering away at the other end, Marsh reached a very decent total of 184. Chippy had laid on a fantastic tea, but the boys were focused on the job and ready to bring it home.

Crouchy, who was fired up to the max got the boys off to a great start as he had the opener caught nicking off to the evergreen Granty to take an nice catch and then the unbelievable moment of the day happened……as Crouchy again got the number three nicking off to slip, the ball looked all the world to be going through second to the boundary, until Crossy with all his agility and dexterity managed to somehow clutch the ball one handed to his right to spark a sea of joy. The barmy army who packed out the corner of the field with Debs banner on display were in raptures as the travelling band cheered the boys all the way.

Briefo, who was warned for two beamers took another wicket of the opener as Gibbon really started to put the squeeze on, throwing themselves at everything, straining every sinew to get the win. It’s a bit of a blur, so apologies if I’ve left bits out……a couple of bad overs put Wantage right back in the game however, as their middle order batted well through a difficult period, the game looking in the balance, going to and fro. Satty took the crucial wicket bowling their man well set and when Timmo’s rocket arm well oiled, threw one in to Stu to leave another man stranded run out to spark more celebrations as pidge was mobbed once more. Matty brought Gibbon great control from the top end bowling 9 overs for just 7 runs and when Crouchy took a storming catch off Satty, Gibbon could sniff victory! As eventual man of the match Crouch returned to bowl the number 10, the boys needed one more wicket….one more and the trophy was ours! With 30 odd to get off 3 overs it was always going to be tough, so Marsh just had to create one more chance and then it came…..the best feeling ever…..as the two batsmen were stranded in the middle of the pitch as Toms looping throw went to Stu who whipped off the bails to secure the first cup trophy for the ‘Originals’ in their history.

Such a proud moment was shared between us all out that we’ll never forget, as Stu (not quite hoisted) lifted (the heaviest trophy ever made) to applause and cheers from all in attendance. So fantastic to see faces from Marsh who we haven’t seen for a while there supporting us, along with all the Wags, supporters and our team mascot Alfie! As Crouch went to get his much deserved man of the match award, I don’t mind admitting a tear was definitely in the eye (and some others I’m sure) as we celebrated together and posed for the photoshoot! It was then back to the pub as the boys and several interested spectators joined our celebration and fines meeting as the trophy took pride of place on the bar at the Dog.

So proud to be part of MGCC this weekend and I speak on behalf of all the players who helped make it happen, our supporters, the tea ladies, the hardworking ground staff, our umpires and not to mention our better halves who put up with us (or enjoy in some cases I’m sure ;-)) being out all day on a Saturday.

Special mention must go to Carl Needham who I know would have been there if he could, even trying to get flights back from Antigua to play in the game. That’s for you Mr Chairman and all the lads who couldn’t be there too.

As I said to the boys before we went out, when you win something you’ll never ever forget who was in your team that day and those 12 men who took to the field on Sunday to represent our great club at cricket will forever have their names etched in the history of Marsh Gibbon Cricket Club and on the Telegraph Cup.

Apologies if I missed anything, but it’s all still a bit of a blur as I say…….off for one more celebratory pint of hen!

Proud of you boys!