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’…!