Wantage v the Mighty Gibbon – Satya Says…

satWantage Vs Marsh Gibbon Originals

Marsh Gibbon   177-6

Wantage             170-9

Marsh Pilgrims! Welcome to the start of the 2015 Cricket season for the originals. After creating more build up and excitement than the Mayweather-Pacquiao match up, and that’s just for the fantasy league point allocations (Unlucky Stu!), the opening day had finally arrived. All the hours in the nets, all the off season training led to this moment… Sat arriving early! (OMG! – Ed.)

New captain, new era, new division and Carlos still had his camera ready to take pictures and videos of the dressing room! First up on the spunky new fixtures roster (check your e-mails peoples!) was fellow promotees, Wantage. So it was nicely set up, the weather was mild if a little bit chilly, the Wantage ground looked picturesque and the pitch looked absolutely stonking considering it was the first game of the season. Kudos to the Wantage grounds man. As the two captains met in the middle to toss under the watchful eye of the two umpires (I’ll leave the innuendos to the readers!), everyone wondered whether we would bat or bowl. Carlos wondered what sort of worms were used by Wantage! We lost the toss and were asked to bat first. Game…On.

The first depositors to open the Marsh Gibbon batting account were Messrs Joe Leonard and Matt Mead. Make no mistake Wantage are a very good side, they bowl well and bat even better so a good solid start by the new opening pair was essential. The plan was simple: bat positively, keep wickets in hand till the last 10-12 overs then allow the 20/20 specialists (Callow and Turner) to get us up to the 200+ mark. Full batting points and a sizeable total to defend. Joe Leonard, famed for his forward defensive being quicker than his running between the wickets, looked in immediate form defending purposefully and hitting the bad balls hard to the boundary. Matt Mead promoted to opener looked completely at ease and kept the scoreboard ticking with a flurry of chanceless fours. Both complemented each other and the score ticked along steadily towards 50. It was lovely to watch and I look forward to seeing this pair bat together for the rest of the season. It allowed Sat to play around with his new array of coloured pens whilst making the score book a true work of art! The pitch offered no usual early season gremlins, if anything the ball tended to come off the pitch a bit slower. This led to Meady curtailing a fluent 29 by playing too early to a short ball and holing out to point. Sat joined Joe and these two progressed the board to past the 100 mark setting up a good base for 200. With about 12 overs to go Joe (39) fell to a good catch at fine leg. Sat (44) soon fell, fat bugger got run out again, and Messrs Honour (16), Callow (9), Turner (5) made rapid contributions. Messrs Carlos (15*) and Cross (6*) remained undefeated at the end of the 45 overs with Carlos eking the total over the 175 mark (getting us 4 out of 5 batting points). So Marsh ended on 177-6 knowing we had to bowl and field well in order to defend this on what was evidently a batting pitch.

It’s an early shout but the intermission was complemented by what was the best away tea of the season so far. Warm Chicken and sweet corn soup with a fine array of sandwiches and savoury delicacies. After the inspiring fire and brimstone team talks from Stu our new skipper stamped his mark with his soothing team talk of “We’ll open with Nath and Stevie and then see what happens.” Different styles but equally effective.

So we took to the field and had a perfect start with Stevie bowling one of the openers in the first over. On such a placid pitch, a tight accurate opening spell was needed from our openers and boy did they deliver. Backed up superbly in the field Stevie struck again removing danger man Barry Martin cheaply. With Wantage two wickets down Mercer (97) and the number 4 looked to consolidate and they settled in to developing a partnership collating the runs steadily. Timmo changed it up by resting the openers and introducing Carlos and Sat to the attack the cricket equivalent of a UKIP/Plaed Cymru coalition! Both applied the pressure by bowling tight lines, squeezing the runs and playing on the batsmen’s’ concentration and patience. Their collective hard work was rewarded when the Wantage No 4 was well caught by Stevie in the slips off Sat. So a new batsman came in to face Carlos in the over before the drinks break.

What followed was an extraordinary over which I can only describe as a homage to the Avengers. Clearly told the equivalent of “Hulk….Smash” the batsmen proceeded to do just that. He smashed Carlos for 4 from his first ball, then a biff, a bang, a whack, a woompf and then a dolly catch to Matt Mead in the covers! After drinks the wickets fell at a steady rate but then so did the runs. Enter Grant Cross, freshly returned to the team after his two year stint as a consultant on Geordie Shore. The art of the spin bowler is to create guile, confusion and mystery in the batsman’s psyche through whatever way he can. Granty accomplishes this through a wonderful, skilful whirling of arms and hands (lucky debs!). Suffice to say his was a welcome return to the bowling attack he successfully engineered a control of Wantage’s scoring rate to set up a last over with 11 runs needed to win. The opener Mercer was still in having been given two lives during his wonderful innings. Would March live to rue this? Mercer smashed the first ball out of site for a maximum leaving Wantage needing 6 off 5 balls. Squeaky bum time. Then…a mix up between the batsmen and a calm throw by Matt Mead caused Mercer to be run out. Granty then bowled two magnificent balls to bowl the next two batsmen with the number 11 needing to hit 8 off the last ball. Bowled with unerring accuracy the no 11 could only block it back.

So a win to start of the Originals 2015 campaign, 28 points and a successful start to the Timmo era. As for the rest of the season…..Well, let’s see what happens!

Till the next time Pilgrims!