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.