Sunshine and Runs as Northwick Park from Harrow visit The Mighty Gibbon for the first time.

18th July and the late approval of Cricket has not worked entirely through to league games yet as the OCA scrambles to set up Tournaments for the remaining 7 weeks of the Cricketing Summer.  As always, the Gibbon was ready and Skipper (back from the Costa Del Sun) organised a friendly with Northwick Park of the Middlesex League. Respect to any team prepared to travel for 90 minutes to get a game.

It seems that a week in the Sunshine was enough to get Skippers Tossing wrist up to form and he sensibly elected to bat on a glorious day.

Spud was joined in the middle by Paul Thornton (- from hereon known as Borsky.) And the pair batted positively, but no sooner had they had seen off the opening bowlers, Spud went for 15 with the score on 40.  A solid start.

Skipper joined Borsky until Borsky momentarily entered a place that exists at any moment of time, of space or of mind….when he found himself in a realm of unlimited possibility. The right decision may help to further his batting average….The wrong decision could lead to madness and death, or an eternity trapped in the pavilion with Joe. He needed to tread warily past the sign post that says you’ve entered, The Quick Single Zone…Unfortunately, Borsky hit the ball directly to the Bowler and called for the run – to Joe.  That was never going to happen on 2 counts.   And so he found himself back in the Batting Twilight Zone (with 26 runs against his name).

69-2 off 15 was a fair lick and Skipper was cracking the ball about the place.  Unfortunately, Vice swung across the line and, like Borsky, lived to regret the moment.  101-3 off 19.

Philip Webb, sporting a shock of ginger neglected by the barbers’ sharps, struck out Mantis-like as any ball of liking crossed his range. And both batters wreaked carnage on the Middlesex tweakers moving the score rapidly to 172 in just 30 overs. 

Skipper fell on 76, made up of 12×4’s and 2×6 sixes, in just 48 balls. 

The Yorkshire Coultate (2) and Rodders (1) strode out purposefully, before returning abruptly, to be followed by Pip after a fine knock of 72, composed of 8×4 and 4×6 in just 46 balls.

Fox Man and Farmer had swipes and Marsh were 239-9 when opening bowlers; Crouch (16*) and The Chairman (15*) fired a quick 30 off the last 18 balls to close the innings on 269-9 off 40 overs.

Northwick needed close to 7 an over from the very start and that target quickly became a Borsky Twilight fantasy as Crouch bowled through 6 overs to remove 3 for just 9 runs and the Chairman took another for just 12 in 8 overs.  At 21-4 off 14 and the rate approaching 10, one could almost taste the Heineken….         

Luke Fox and Skipper Leonard got some much needed practice and kept up the momentum. A middle order resistance from Monson (32), Bibin (16) and Hilton (19) delayed the inevitable until the 29th over as Skipper bought 3 wickets for 45 off 7 overs and Foxy returned 2 for 32 off 8.

A huge Thank you to Northwick Park for coming out to the Oxfordshire wilds and we hope to see them again sometime soon.

With the 2 Friendlies under the belts, attention turns to the Airey Cup next week, under a new League-stylee format….

Great appreciation from the Team to our few, but dedicated fans, and especially to Freddy for standing as umpire in both games and making these odd times run with emollient efficacy.