The Gibbon ventured away to face unknown opposition as the earlier home game against Buckingham Town had fallen foul of the May deluge. The Winslow ground (where Buck Town III play) was last visited in 2013 when Marsh and Winslow Town were both relegated and Marsh needed a win this time around to distance themselves from the lower reaches after 3 consecutive league defeats.
Skipper Stu excelled with his tossing abilities and chose to have a bowl on a pitch which was well worn and dry, yet looked highly suspicious. The opening attack of County Boy Kyle, fresh from Covid isolation and Nathan Crouch Callow, fresh from social cavorting, were bang on from the start conceding only 27 runs from the first 12 overs and taking the all-important first wicket.
With the exception of kitman Pandit whose limbs seemed to be under alien influence each time he tried to stop or throw the ball, the Marsh fielding was tight on any Winslow attempt to score. Catching, however, was another thing altogether as opportunities went down throughout. Opportunities for; Neck, Joe, Fox and Spud were spilled, with a total of 6 missed catches – might this ultimately haunt the Gibbon? Thankfully, not as each redeemed themselves in turn through the inning. Neck came first when he gripped on to a chance from Spragg from the bowling of Needham. Further redemptions came later….
Crouch was on his longest spell of the season to date, fresh from Saturday holiday, stag night and wedding distractions. He had toiled hard at the Town End to no avail, until in his 9th over a superb off cutter crashed the stumps of the steady Johnson and Buckingham were 42–2.
Peshavaria and Thompson were at the crease with the pitch playing like it looked, slow and inconsistent and not easy to score on. A steady partnership of 29 was broken with the introduction of Jay-Z Chambers after a sharp piece of glove work from Leonard to stump Thompson.
Gibbon continued to keep things very tight in the field and with some excellent bowling. Callow’s longest ever spell came to an end after 13 overs for just 24 runs and brought the introduction of Foxy, who got some swing from the start.
Another partnership built between Peshavaria and Jenden brought a change of bowling, the introduction of the Leonard brothers T and J was an inspired change as younger brother Tom trapped Jenden LBW with his first delivery. At the other end, J Leno was tight in line and clothing and extracting some sharp spin from the dry surface. The Town middle order were no match as Vice ripped out the middle order and Buckingham whose hopes were pinned on Freshwater, James and finally Pengelly. Two bowled and the third a fantastic grab off his own bowling (Never spilling a catch when he is the bowler).
With Buckingham now gasping on 116–7, it was time for Gibbon to wrap up the Town innings early and Needham was brought back in to mop up the tail before it might wag and he duly obliged taking the last 3 wickets in consecutive maidens, with catches from Fox (redemption and at last someone took a slip catch), Connell (starting to show off now) and yet another rapid stumping from Skipper (surely the most stumpings in the Cherwell this year?)
Town finished on 124 all out in 50 overs leaving Marsh the same time to complete the victory.
Time for tea and Tom Leonard tucked into a healthy diet of delicacies that were on offer at the petrol station, next to the air fresheners and screen wipes, including a 10p chocolate swiss roll and various long life pastries. Vice Joe was unable to provide home made team cake this week, much to the disappointment of Jules…maybe Francesca was too busy getting Vice Joe ready for his photoshoot the evening before at a fellow Gibboners’ wedding….a mammoth task in itself….Congratulations to Steve and Kelly!
Vice Joe and Jules took to the crease knowing that batting time would be the key to winning the fixture on what was a challenging deck, but a very gettable score. However, with the score on 16, Chambers was dismissed by a good nip backer from Bleasdale and was immediately followed by Joe Leonard trapped in-front from Dipple, 18-2 and a Marsh reset was required.
Captain Stuart Leonard joined Vik-ar Pandit. Pandit was clearly keen to impress the skipper and stroked a Leonard mimicking maximum straight down the ground from only his 7th delivery, but he missed a straight one shortly after and Marsh were 43-3 from 13 overs.
Skipper worked hard to get himself in and was resisting the temptation of the shorter straight boundaries. Luke Fox, watched by his family entourage, joined Stu and played in the only way that he knows: Hard and Fast. Five ferocious Exocets to the fence before a top edge to Pengelly in the 18th and though Marsh were now well placed at 74 in only 18 overs, the loss of 4 top order batters kept the game in the balance.
Spuddy Honour took to the crease with solid plans to bat time, support the Skipper and tick the scoreboard over.
Will played a fantastic supporting role, never looking in any trouble and along with Skipper kept the scoreboard revolving nicely. As the psychological three figure threshold clicked round in the 32nd over, Town knew that wickets were required fast to be in with any shot and brought the field up to pressurise and assist Shengunshi who had only gone for 9 off 8 overs. This was the lighting of the fuse for focussed Skipper Leonard who subsequently ploughed into Shengussi’s next over and peppered the vacant boundaries. Half century for the Skipper and victory for the Gibbon. Game over.
The Gibbon stayed at Winslow to conclude the day with a couple of victory beers and fines from Finesmaster Fox. Vice was done for his PDA social media post ‘she wanted the picture!’, brother T Leno also didn’t get off lightly with his sharking antics from the night before. Skipper Stu was still outraged by the logic of having to pay more fees for his match-wining half century. Spuddy Honour was far too energic for finesmasters’ liking and was duly punished. Fines also from Chambers Jnr and Snr for a mid over outburst as young Cobby dived over a shot from his dads bowling.
An improvement on the last visit to Winslow in 2013, with a victory and an easing of any shadowy relegation fears. The next 4 weeks bring fixtures against the 4 sides below Marsh in the league and victories in these fixtures will eradicate any thoughts of the unthinkable.
SEE THE MATCH SCORECARD – https://www.cherwellcricketleague.com/scorecard.php?MatchID=9498