A disappointing defeat at Combe effectively ruled out MGCC’s hopes of winning Airey Cup, Group B and progressing to the Final. A lamentable week of rain had kept the Covers on for 72 hours straight, plus strong winds had blown over a Sightscreen causing damage. Overall the mood in the camp was drab. The Originals needed a lift and it duly came in an opening spell of bowling that tore through the Cairns Fudge batting.
The Chairman had only managed 4 overs on tour and 2 overs at Combe due to a thigh injury caused by wearing excessively white boots. Opening partner Cello had been inspecting the OCA stats and announced “I have conceded the most runs in the entire OCA.” Just the inspiration their team mates needed before the pair took the shiny new cherry.
There was a strong wind from The Lagoon End and the senior partner chose to have this at his back whilst young Cello ran directly into it on his treacle legs. However, both quickly adapted to their different conditions and the fun started in the 4th over when Crouch held it back and Hobbins popped it back to him for the first wicket, with the scoreboard on 12.
Next over and Handscombe chipped to Costello off Kyle. 12 runs still on the board.
Next over from Crouch and Stuart’s gloves were perfectly placed to take the nick. 13 runs on the board – 3 wickets.
Next over from Kyle, Broughton cuts hard and uppish straight into Vikram’s smoking hands. 13 runs on the board – 4 wickets, just 7 overs bowled.
A small rally from Fudge until the 10th over and then lightning quick keeping from Vice to remove Lyle’s bails. 24 for 5 wickets. Despite the wicket, 2 balls later Robson crashed Crouch for a maximum and stole the strike from the last ball. Error. Kyle trapped him in-front and Fudge were reduced to 31-6 from 11 as Kyle completed his 3rd Wicket Maiden from 6 overs.
Perversely from this position, Fudge’s Shaw went onto the attack! With the wind behind him he set about anything loose from Cello and ploughed 4 maximums into the hedge. Nevertheless, those early 3 wickets from Crouch were critical as Skipper now looked to spin and brought on Vik-The Vicar-Vikram. He faired no better and was planted beyond the hedge into the field. Meanwhile Kyle completed his 8 overs deceiving Baxter with his very last ball, taking off what little pace he has, causing Baxter to sky to Costello to bag another and the old-timer finished his 8 overs with 4 wickets for just 5 runs. Injury? What injury!
Costa replaced Kyle and found a consistent 4th stump line whilst the ‘G-Man’ made his 2020 bowling debut replacing Pandit. Fudge’s O’Gorman had proved a valuable partner for Shaw, giving him time to seek a respectable total, but fell as so many before have done: By the rapid ‘Snatch and Stump’ from Stuart-the-line’s-mine-Leonard.
108 for 8 and Fudge’s last man, Breary, joined Shaw (as they only had 10 players). He ably resisted searching for the ball as Costello kept up the line and the total rose to 147 before the Crab struck. Again, the Vice’s gloves were a blur as Shaw (77) lost balance and was bereft of hope and bails as Stuart claimed his 3rd stumping of the innings and Crabby got off the mark in 2020.
Fudge could thank Shaw for his swash-buckling 77, taking them from 31 for 6 to a respectable 147 in just 30 of the 40 overs available.
How would the Marsh Wood Wielders respond? Firstly, they needed sustenance and the packed Teas came out again. However, the piece de la resistance came from Crouch and his collection of Fairy Cakes presented in a 3-Tiered Cake Stand, pink of course! Top work Amy!
Skipper Leonard opened up with Pandit. Would the OCA Rep superstar be able to concentrate on today’s game, or would his thoughts drift off to tomorrow’s game against the Cherwell League, when he would meet up with all his, Ooh, friends?
No fear, off the mark with a 3rd ball boundary and normal service resumed. Vikram was looking to settle in and get the pace of the game when he fell LBW for 13 in the 9th over, with Marsh on 39. Pip Webb joined Skipper and the two set about shrinking the target, with sensible one’s and two’s, before unleashing. The hundred came up in the 23rd over and with the victory in sight, Skipper started playing for a draw! On 45 from just 52 balls he played out 14 dot balls before being C&B to the economical Breary.
Vice went to the middle knowing that only 46 were required for victory, but as with all Cricket games, there was a subplot. Stuart needed 7 runs to catch up with all time MGCC Legend Julian Chambers and his Club leading career total of 7,077 runs for The Originals (as it stands). Characteristically, Vice reached the total with a boundary and was warmly applauded by said Farmer watching from the boundary.
Pip & Vice now moved things along rapidly and reached the winning total in the 28th over. Webby unbeaten, for consecutive half centuries, on 67 from 64 balls (3×6’s and 6×4’s) and Stuart 16 from 14 deliveries.
The return to victory was sweetened by the remaining fairy cakes, though none seemed to contain Fudge…that had all been devoured earlier.
Despite the pun, Cairns Fudge played with great spirit and sportsmanship for a side struggling to put out 11 each week. Hopefully that improves for them.
Meanwhile, The Originals travel to brand new opponents next week at Stanton Harcourt. Followed on Sunday by the Horace Leonard President Memorial Day, where 28 players, past and present, shall challenge in 2 teams led by the exemplary Chairman Kyle and the random Skipper Joe. Teams to be announced by Stuart on Friday.