The Leonards Blow Horwood Away

Marsh Gibbon Win The George Blow Cup for 5th Time

There was an unconventional start to the Marsh-Horwood Cup Final as the Skippers; Guns Leonard and Morrison tossed in Buckingham Nightclub ’13’ at 1am on the morning of the game. Leonard called correctly and with the only moisture threat coming from the pint in his hand he decided to bat – in 10 hours time!  Not exactly in line with the ECB Directive but respected none the less!

The Leonard triumvirate then set about some hard hitting lead by senior cousin Stu.  Indeed the opening stand between Stuart and Joe put on 113 in 10 overs before Joe was caught of Aimes for 38.  Joe had been hampered by scratching his nail polish the day before. This was a major setback as he’d only just had shellac applied at Diamond Nails on Sheep Street, Bicester on Friday.  Somehow he managed to fight back the tears of disappointment and crack 7 lovely boundaries across the lighting tinder outfield.

Stuart found his stride and struck the ball powerfully also dealing in boundaries from the start.  Nine 4’s and an exocet 6 in his unbeaten 72 was only constrained by late fatigue from the heat of the day and as a consequence of the game the day before, notwithstanding the lager consumed between these appearances.

Skipper and youngest Leonard, Tommy joined cousin Stuart for the last couple of overs and got in on the act with a quick 8 as Marsh closed on 131 for 1 off their 12 overs.

Horwood knew a rapid start was required and sent out the powerful Nix and stylish Willett.  They showed intent from ball one and Callow did well to keep the lid on only going for 7 off his opening over.  Chairman Kyle, fresh from his trip to the Welsh Valleys the day before, was picked up by Nix for a square 6 and after 4 overs Horwood were on 47. But Nix had charged Crouch in the 3rd over only to miss a spitting delivery which Keeper Stu got body behind and had ample time to stump the stranded batter.

Skipper brought on Chambers for the 6th over to immediate effect as he bowled Willett and only conceded 3 runs.  Skipper replaced the economical Callow (3-0-1-20) and continued with the effective line.

Marsh fielding was solid, especially from young Jacob and Charlie who were in key positions to keep the batsmen honest and were handling some tricky ground shots hit to them.

Gilder had been batting well but just could not find the boundary as Marsh set the field deep for him knowing ones and twos would not be enough. Horwood reached 103 from 10 and needed 29 from the last 16 balls – very possible with lighting outfield and Gilder and Ellison set at the crease.  Until the first ball of that 11th over and Tommy struck Gilder’s off stump bail.

With only 7 runs conceded in a tight penultimate over from the Skipper (3-0-28-1), Kyle came back for the last over as Chambers had finished with identical economical figures as Callow. Horwood needed 22 off 8 balls for victory and the Chairman was never going to allow that to happen.  Marsh won by 12 runs.

Big thank you to Bazza and Mr Sirrett for all the organising, Freddie and Horwood Umpire and Horwood for hosting.  A very special shout out for the Burgers! (got any left?)

SILVERWARE on the Marsh Mantel – Now let’s get climbing the league ladder!  

(Look out for photos from Club Cameraman who dragged himself off the golf course for the first time this season – Welcome back Honours!)      

Mighty Gibbon Demonstrate Their Strength!

With one third of the league campaign now completed The Gibbon are indeed demonstrating their Might by holding up all above them!  Yes, 6 games in and with only 1 win to show for it Gibbon sit at the foot of Division One.  But all is far from lost…..

Games in hand are only that until you turn them into points, but as MGCC have either one or two games in hand on all the other clubs at this time and with a tight league, just one win would move the team out of the relegation zone….so all is far from lost.

The last two weeks have brought defeats, but defeats to sides that will clearly challenge for the silverware and so defeats to Wolvercote and Swifts don’t bode disaster either.

Free Scoring Wolvercote Took Liberties!

MGCC entertained Wolvercote on 16th June and racked up 247 for 5 in their 45 overs.  Sounds high but on a sunny day, with a perfect batting track and fast outfield it was only par. Needham had jarred his back last week was still troubled and only lasted 2 overs before being replaced by Abbott.  Callow made the early strike and all was even early on, as Selfie caught MacIntyre off Abbott: Wolvercote 37 for 2 off 12.

Tom Stewart-Liberty found the form of his life for Wolvercote and batted chancelessly to pile on an unbeaten 120. Supported by the returning Procter who struck out for 48 before pouched by Chambers on the fence for Crossy’s first wicket.

Skipper turned to 7 bowlers to mix it up but it was a case of sticking to damage limitation and waiting our turn with willow.

An unfathomably large feast was set about at Tea with tales of ‘Midnight Prosecco Baking’ unfurled from Mrs Skipper – best leave it there!

The Wolvercote openers of Shelley and Holden found the pitch to their liking as the Marsh batsmen failed to dig in to see past the opening spell and find their straps.  Jules, Joe, Sat – all went facing less than 8 balls each and at 9 for 3 off 3 overs, a chase of 247 was somewhat distant.

Something of a revival (in the circumstances) between the Skippers (Stu and Tom) was ended at 34, but a further rapid loss of wickets then followed as the skippers, Selfie, Abbott and Callow were all back in the pavilion at 48 for 8.  The old-timers Cross and Needham took it to 59 before Crossy was caught and Jacob joined Kyle to redress the average age!   The two hung around long enough to pass the 70 required for a batting point at least.  Innings closed on 72.

Difficult to find anything outstanding in this result for the Gibbon as there was significant scope for improvement in all departments – other than the Tea!

 

Gibbon Left Snookered At Witney……

Another hot day and a dry though green wicket at The Leys Recreation Ground, home of Witney Swifts. Skipper called wrong and Gibbon were in the field. Well 9 of them were for Kyle had missed the A40, A420 and had headed off beyond Didcot before realising he was going in the wrong direction (due to Foxy’s non-stop rattling on!) and so these 2 arrived just in time for the 2nd over.

Never mind Tommy opened up with Croucher and both were on target. In-duckers and some seam checking the batsmen. Guns trapped Seacole Senior in front with 19 on the board.  Then Hume drove straight back for Chambers to snaffle off Croucher, before striking again when Foxy caught Fisher in the covers, reducing Swifts to 35-3.

Time for Kyle to test the back situation – and all seemed well as he trapped Godwin Jnr in front and bowled the dangerous Seacole Jnr top of off.  Jason couldn’t find a consistent length but benefitted from Foxy dining plates as he bagged another catch in the covers.

Redd Pratley was anchoring Swifts and in attempting to keep the strike walked across a straight one from Kyle to give him his 3rd wicket.  Julesy came on to provide line and length at the tail and mopped them up with 2 wickets for just 4 runs.  Tommy deservedly finishing it off to end with 2 for 26.

Swifts dismissed for 143 on a reasonable track. Time to Bat.  The style of batting didn’t really matter as simply sticking around for 45 would bring 143 from a fast outfield and short boundary to the road side.  But unfortunately last weeks script came out for another reading.

First Joe went caught at slip 3rd ball, then Scotty having just scored two 4’s was bowled and Skipper likewise with two 4’s in the bag was judged adjacent. 29 for 3 off 9 overs.  Tommy and Jules were battling on as Pratley with all the wickets was testing with every ball.  With the score on 47 Tommy fell to Pratley and quickly after Jules went reducing Gibbon to 52 for 5.

Revival time as Jaybone and Foxy (picking up a bat for the first time in 2018), started to build a partnership based on boundaries.  And when Foxy nonchalantly creamed the destructive Pratley for 12 in his last over a victory was suddenly possible.  81 for 5 off 22.  Only 63 required and plenty of time.

You could say 2 things brought Gibbon defeat from this point.  A most awful umpiring decision to give out Foxy (25) who was in form: LBW when all 3 stumps visible.  Then old man Godwin came on with his loopers.  First Abbott (12), then Crouch both thought the longest boundary posted with a man waiting was a good option for a Six.  Wrong. Out!

Timdog who had knuckled down and defended well suddenly lost discipline and took on Godwin aerially only to punch him straight to be lamely caught.  Meanwhile Kyle was eeking out runs from the many overs remaining, whilst ignoring the incessant drone from mid off.

Timdog and Kyle had took Marsh to 105 and still 10 overs left to get 38 meant there was no challenge of run rate but with only one wicket left there was no margin for error.  Crossy was defending the turning ball from Fisher and resisting the swoosh off Godwin.  The score crept along and only 27 needed from 7 overs.  Calamity, Crossy caught in two minds stepped back, in front and missed the ball. LBW.  All out for 116.

And so Top beat Bottom.  Should we be surprised?  No, but this should have been the other way after an excellent bowling and fielding display the victory was tee’d up with ample ability to achieve it.

The next weeks become more important as we return back to base for the next 6 weeks as the fixtures have us at home from now until mid August.  Perhaps Kyle wont get lost and perhaps we’ll find that elusive batting form….

Knuckle Down Boys we don’t need to be so Strong!!

 

 

 

Midweek Last Ball Thriller – Again!

For the second consecutive week the In-Betweeners suffered a last ball defeat, this time to Great Horwood.

Skipper Guns won the toss and fancied a bat on the perfect track for it.  The other Leonard’s (Joe, Stuart) opened up and set off at a rate thanks to Stuart plundering Ellison’s first over for 24. (-4143246).  A big score was looming with Marsh on 38 off 3 overs, but Harper was bowling tight and a mistimed cut from Joe was taken behind and a straight one from Morrison castled Stuart. The shot selection from the Marsh middle order was woeful and sharp square leg fielding from Andy Gilder with 2 run outs resulted in Marsh adding only 13 runs for 5 wickets in 40 balls.

Skipper, when not running out partners, glued the innings with 19 and hit the only four between overs 3 and 12 when Crossy clubbed a brace!  Marsh closed disappointingly on 87 for 8 from the 12, 8 ball overs.  All the Leonards scoring 19.  Morrison the pick of the Horwood bowlers conceding only 7 for 2 off his 3 overs.

Marsh needed an early strike (or more!) and Needham bowled Bridgman 5th ball to get things started, but Jaybone’s over suffered some fine strikes and went for 15. Skipper gave Abbott a blow(?) and struck immediately to bowl Cranshaw.  Needham completed a tight spell (3-14-1) and half way through the overs Horwood were 42-2.

Willett was the danger man and batting well. Marsh needed to attack the other end and keep Willett off strike.  The plan worked well and Marsh restricted Willett to singles and locked down the other batter.  Chambers and Vadivale kept up the pressure but Horwood edged closer to the inadequate total.

Last over and 10 required by Horwood.  Joe Leonard had calmly pouched Willett (56) running along the fence  in Chambers previous over and so new batters were at the crease.   Two singles and a Two, then WICKET! Skipper catches Armitage.  Dot, then Two, and disaster as a leg side wide runs away for Two more.  One required from the last 2 balls with all the Marsh fielders within 10 yards of the bat. DOT!  Last ball and one required – flick fine off the legs by Morrison and game over.

Excellent tight cricket match with Horwood edging home in front of a decent crowd.  Thanks to the ‘other’ Leonard at the ground for a spell of Umpiring and the League Officials for scoring too.

 

Mitchell-in Man Eventually Rolls In To Town

The Gibbon returned to Base Camp and to a well prepared track looking every bit ‘The Road To Batting Paradise’ as Bob Hope might have said (if he’d played Cricket). The Wootton Skipper, Webb, certainly saw it that way when he called correctly and chose to bat first.

The day was sunny and dry with a slight breeze, perhaps welcomed by those MGFC players that had been out to the early hours and DOM without a doubt by the look of them!  Scotty was back from Espana too, having evaded the Border Force with his mate Hugo who turned up still in his bearded disguise!

Big Stu laid out his plans before the start: Tight bowling and sharp fielding required.  The words were still ringing in Joey’s ears as he spilled the first slip chance in only the 3rd over!    Needham and Callow found the required line and length to restrict Morton and Benson from the start. And with only 15 from the first 6 overs Crouch went through Morton to strike the first blow.  Wootton’s dangerous skipper Webb came to the middle and still Marsh bowlers gave little to attack. Benson bogged down on 8 after 11 overs desperately swung at Needham and Mitchell got into the action for the first time that day, but not the last, as he pouched a simple catch on the square.  To Marsh’s delight and especially Cubby’s he clutched a sharp 2nd slip chance next over to dismiss Webb, off Crouch and Wootton were 35 for 3 off 13 overs.

Wootton looked to accelerate with Wiskin at the crease, but scoring only 20 from the next 7 overs brought more premeditated risky shots.  Needham had moved Jules back outside the ring and on cue Wiskin dutifully picked him out! Jules took it on the run with aplomb.

Mitchell took over from Crouch and found a consistency that had eluded him so far this term.  He was now getting it to go round corners – the right way.  And on the hard track was also getting bounce and carry forcing the batsman to play late.  This quickly created two sharp catches behind to Skipper in the gloves and Hugo (still in disguise) at 2nd slip, both taken.

Meanwhile O. Morton was playing the innings the wicket deserved and notched up a fluent 50, but with wickets tumbling around him, he needed to accelerate and Big Stu took the pace away to try and create the error with Vadivale’s tweakers.  The plan worked and a top edge into the skippers gloves brought the 4th catch behind.  Mitchell wrapped up the innings with his 4th and 5th scalps straight bowled.  His inaugural Marsh 5fer (11-1-39-5) and much congratulating from his team mates as he led them from the field.

Tea was richly deserved and was a veritable feast of selections from crudités to classic quarter filled sarnies, and home made caaakkkeeee!  Thanks to Amy and Mum Amy.

Joe and Jules opened up and Wootton immediately set the trap for the mistimed Hook with 2 catchers on the fence behind square, as Cam King banged in the occasional short ball.  But hooking was not a required shot as Joe repeatedly clipped Wiskin to the boundary to keep the board clicking.

King was probing and found some good deliveries to bring the game abruptly level with a double strike removing both openers trapped in front and Marsh were suddenly 30-2 from 10.  Marsh needed to consolidate and there’s no one more consolidated than Vadivale!  In partnership with the Skipper, they kept things moving along.  Webb had replaced Wiskin and was bowling with greater control, but the occasional err from line or length and Leonard pounced for a boundary and scoreboard pressure was kept in check.

A Marsh win was staring to look like a formality as 80 runs clocked by in the 23rd over and evening drinking plans were being hatched in the pavilion, that was until the 25th over when Vadivale (18) chipped lamely to mid on with Marsh on 83 – and a very useful partnership of 53 ended.  Then in Webb’s next over, Skipper Leonard (40 including 6 4’s) missed a straight one and Guns Leonard (10) after 2 glorious pulls to the boundary (hitting the LES Mobile) edged a turning delivery to slip.  The concern of 5 wickets down was looking calamitous when Scotty hit across the line as King returned to take the 6th wicket.  From 85 for 2, Marsh were now 106 for 6.

Hugo and The Silver Fox were now in the middle neither having faced a ball and the opening bowlers back for the remaining overs.  Although Hugo was still wearing his bearded disguise, his class with the bat was in plain view and with the Old-Timer, (familiar with this situation from many times before) the two set about a calm count down.  A single here and a brace there they kept the board moving and didn’t even let a maiden pass.

30 runs were required and 30 runs were scored in 9 overs. Hugo finished unbeaten on 17 and The Silver Fox, who had started the game with ball in hand, finished it with the bat in hand (16*) 6 hours later.

Skipper presented James with the match ball and we look forward to it being the first such presentation of many. Well done you lanky streak of pi**!

 

 

Unpleasant & Unfortunate

Unpleasant…..

The Originals travelled to Yarnton on Saturday 2nd June to face table-topping Yarnton & Cowley in OCA League action, but action of a cricketing nature there was to be none!  Disappointingly upon walking out to the Square the lack of preparation was immediately evident as the wicket was a thick matted uneven grassy surface.  The Umpires were unimpressed and after due consideration of all factors, including with ECB and OCA guidance they sensibly concluded that the wicket was not safe for play.

The decision was the Umpires and as their number one priority is Safety they had no option but to call the game off.  It was obvious that this was the only course of action….obvious to everyone apart from Y&C who felt that a game could be played with adjustments like bowling only spinners, or reducing the overs (!)

With no cricket, the Y&C players turned to the vocal abuse of the Marsh players as they left the ground.  Something they chose to do and thought appropriate….but not something that we consider to have a place at a cricket match, Ever.  The match was abandoned by the Umpires (not MGCC) under Rule 10h of the OCA – home side not preparing a safe pitch for the fixture: 20 points awarded to Marsh, 20 points deducted from Y&C.  Not the victory we were expecting, but hopefully the OCA will take action to ensure the standard of Division One pitches – and Clubs – is much better than we encountered at this ground, in the future.

Unfortunate….

Tommy’s In-Betweeners took on Twyford in the Semi-Final of the Advertiser Cup at The Recreation Ground on Wednesday 5th June.  Quite the reverse of Saturday’s experience with 2 well matched sides looking for a quality game of cricket on an excellent wicket….and they got it.

Twyford batted first and racked up 92 for 5 in their 12 overs (8 balls per over).  The Marsh reply faltered from the start with slow scoring due to good bowling and then wickets falling.  However, Big Stu reunited with his batting kit, found his timing and brought Marsh back on track with the rate with a fluent and fast 50.  Until….

The last over and Marsh needed 8 runs to win – A run a ball.  Stuart was on strike, but in the fading light the added pace of Bone was challenging and Stu was well clutched at deep mid-on by young Wilkinson.  Callow now on strike – Bowled!  Cross, stiff necked, strode to the square and the trademark swoosh accompanied him.  A single, then another single from Needham, a couple of two’s from Crossy and with one ball to go Marsh needed one run to tie the scores, but Marsh had lost one wicket more than Twyford and wickets lost is the deciding factor if the scores are tied at the end.  Crossy made contact but only one run was possible and Twyford won the game by the virtue of losing one wicket less than Marsh.

A tense enjoyable game, full of young local talent (not to mention some old local talent as well!)

 

Ten Bowlers And Still Not Enough!

Third Saturday game for Marsh and the third wet one.  All was looking good by midweek with hot blue skies and a dry hard track, then came the thunderstorms.  With no roll on covers to protect the wicket such heavy rain meant only one thing – Bat Second.

And that is exactly what Stonesfield chose to do. Jamie Burns has been here often enough to know the score as well as any Marsh player.

Humid overcast conditions and a wet surface spitting hand grenades all favoured the bowlers but Joe Leonard and Chambers Senior dug in. Then the disastrous 8th over and Joe got the edge to 2nd slip and Vadivale missed a dying  2nd ball to be bowled, 16 for 2 off 8 overs. Skipper joined Chambers and they started to rebuild, including the innings’ Champagne moment when skip extra cover drove for a 75 metre maximum.

Chambers fell for 19 in the 20 over and Marsh were 51-3.  Both Club Skippers were now at the crease and Tommy fresh from a fifty for his ‘In-Betweeners’ just 4 days earlier continued where he left off, settling in and then pushing on.  Just as an encouraging partnership was building Stuart failed to clear the ring this time (19) and Marsh were 77-4 with only 16 overs remaining.

What would be a par score?  Earlier thoughts had settled on 150 to 160 but with improving batting conditions it was hard to call. Normally the TV Analyst interjects at this point with some thoughtful statistics from previous matches and WASP starts to irritate the viewer – So, over to Marsh’s own irritating Analyst….. “Silver Fox Stato.”

“In the 30 years of OCA cricket at Home – Marsh has batted first a total of 103 times and won 60 of the games. However, Marsh’s lowest winning score is 119, having scored a lower total on 20 occasions and losing them all.  So, 119 was the historical minimum for victory.  Looking at scores achieved slightly higher than 119, the scorebooks show that when scoring between 120-140 results are equal at 8 wins and 8 defeats.  From 140 to 150 Marsh has won 6 and lost 5 and so history shows us that a score of 140 is still a winnable position with WASP at 55%.”

The 150 minimum was still a fair way off when Richardson joined Guns at the crease.  Unfortunately Sammy is not fully conscious of what ‘crease’ means in the context of a batsman. The effective Gubbins was getting good turn and bounce and drew Sambo stretching forward only to miss the ball and survive a stumping appeal.  Next ball same thing, different outcome. This time stumped.  But “NO!” pleads Sam to Umpire Croxford. “My foot is on the line – look!” Oh dear Sam, you need to be ‘Behind’ the line in this game……

Mikey Herriott joined Tommy and struggled to hit the ball with just 1 from 17 deliveries, as did Crouch in his first ‘golden’ game this year. 37 overs used and Marsh were at 114 for 7.  Could a late push get the score nearer to that statistical parity?  Then Tommy fell for a gutsy 42 from 57 balls, a quick rate in the context of the game.  Needham (10) and Mitchell (11*) and a boundary from Timdog used every ball of the 45 to smear Marsh to a total of 142   (It could have been one more if Timmo had not been run out at the bowlers end, by the wicketkeeper, off the last ball!)

Over again to ‘Silver Fox Stato’…. “Historically Marsh has scored less than 142 and still won on 4 occasions and so it’s not unheard of.  In fact the closest to this total came only last year when registering 139 vs Eynsham and then bowling Eynsham out for 92 to win.”

Skipper briefed the side at Tea and it was clear that a top bowling display would be required to repeat the Eynsham exploits.

Three hours had passed since Marsh faced the first delivery and a much drier and improving track faced Burns and Redknapp opening for Stonesfield.  It was still humid and the new cherry should swing.  Needham and Callow got balls in the right area, but no reward until Callow trapped Redknapp playing across the line one time too many. 30-1 in tenth.  Marsh were offering the leg side from Needham with only one in front of bat to try and induce the mis-timed drive and it worked in the 13th over when Holley was superbly clutched by the towering Mitchell.  At this point the game was still alive, but Burns was not being drawn from his bunker.  Skipper continued the offensive, even without any runs to spare and had 6 round the bat off Needham (12-5-21-1) but no luck.

Richardson also threatened with consistent line and length, but no one else could drop onto a straight line and with no margin for error Skipper had no choice but to rotate through every bowler searching for some penetration. Burns accumulated from the far too frequent loose balls and earned a match winning half century as the game slipped away from Marsh. A last ditch spell from Callow brought a couple of consolation wickets with sharp catches from Chambers and Sambo.  Stonesfield reached the required total in the 40th over for the loss of 4 wickets.

So over to the Analyst Stato for the closing comment…

“History was made in this game after all!  For the first time Marsh gave all 10 outfield players a bowl!   Some were economical (Needham at just over one run per over) and some were not…..Nevertheless, I am confident that some Positive records will be smashed next week at Yarnton & Cowley, as we return to League action.”

 

 

Skipper Preston The Gas To Drive In-Betweeners To Victory !

Tommy ‘Guns’ Leonard led his In-Betweeners to consecutive Midweek victories, this time at home against Preston Bissett, with an unbeaten 57 in only 8 overs.

Marsh batted first with Joe Leonard and  Mikey Herriott opening up, but a good opening spell from ‘ESL’ (as written in scorebook?) removed them both; Herriott without score and Joe (playing on) after a very bright 24 including 2 pulled sixes.  When Stuart Leonard holed out for 15, Marsh were 44 for 3 off 5 overs and despite this quick fire start much work remained to be done to set up a challenging total.

Skipper Guns started securely and grew in confidence as the runs flowed and support came from the esteemed Julian Chambers.  The partnership almost went the distance when Jules was stumped on 17 with only 4 balls remaining.  A partnership worth 70 and underpinned by positive singles running and some strong clubbing from Leonard, including 6 fours.  ‘Jaybone’ added 9 from 3 balls to take Marsh to 136 for 4 off the 12 (8 ball) overs.

Preston were on the back foot from the start as Mitchell’s pace restricted Harin and Jackman and only conceded 8 runs in his brace of overs.  Timdog kept the line tight and was rewarded with a Track 8 shooter to bowl Jackman!  Jaybone Abbott followed Mitchell and was even more economical only conceding one from the bat – pity about the 5 leg side wides which had Joe Leonard first springing and then rubbing (Ouch – count them?!)

Young Jacob Chambers started nervously, but settled enough to claim the Number 3, Ryan with a Stu Leonard catch (He can catch with the gloves off!)  ‘The Crab’ peeled off several layers of jumpers enough to rotate his arm and took a brace of wickets as Preston were rapidly giving up the chase.  A couple of Run Outs and a last wicket for Chairman Kyle concluded proceedings and Preston closed on 67 for 8 after 12 overs.

Well done to Preston who started with only 9 players and ended with just 10 and were severely understrength from normal, but battled honourably throughout.

Good match time for Marsh with 6 bowling and 5 getting useful time at the crease.

Next In-Betweeners Game:  Twyford (Away) on Wednesday, 30th May

I’m Swinging in the Rain, Just Swinging in the Rain….

The boffins at The Met Office, or whatever they call themselves now, had advised a dry afternoon with rain after dark.  When the Hendred track was inspected and conditions assessed all seemed in order and as usual Skippers tossing continued to rise to the occasion and he duly inserted.  Having said that, I am not too sure that Skipper could actually see anything following a significant episode of drinking on match day!

Newcomer Jack ‘Selfie’ Self was welcomed to the Club (Cap number 146) and we all crammed into the changing room to Sample Sams’ grand array of team sweets including some sort of mushroom thing which Skipper devoured most of hoping they were ‘magic’.

As both ends were Uphill, Kyle was completely confused as to which end to bowl from and eventually opted for the pavilion end, though it made little difference.  Early encouragement with an edge falling an inch in front of Shippo at 2nd slip and then another edge slipping through Skipper’s gloves.  No breakthrough though and Hendred continued to edge forward, reaching 43 from 12.  Sammy came into the attack and almost immediately got a straight one past the bat to clean bowl young Mulford.  He repeated the act shortly afterwards to bowl McKenna.

The ground was dry, hard and sloping to the ropes meaning anything that beat the infield was going all the way.  Abbott replaced the luckless Needham and could not quite find the consistency of Jesus College, meanwhile Hendred’s Francis and Prosper were settling and becoming more expansive to good effect, putting on a ton together before Selfie bagged Francis for Sammy’s third wicket.  164-3 off 35, with an easy batting track, fast outfield and 7 wickets remaining – a very large total loomed.

Jules had kept the lid on the runs and pinned the Hendred batters back leaking a meagre 10 runs from his opening 6 overs, but the luck was not rolling the Marsh way as several aggressive mis-timed efforts dropped between, in front or just over fielders and resulted in more runs instead of wickets.  Shippo turned his arm in the closing overs and though consistency evaded him he bowled Prosper.   A few other late consolation wickets for Kyle and Abbott helped stem the run flow and Hendred closed on 240-7.

Oddly in the latter overs light drops of rain started and the covers were brought on as a precaution at Tea.  Thus it started with light intermittent drops and it never stopped…..

Abbott and Shippo needed to leave early for social engagements and so the order was accommodating, moving Shippo into the opening berth with Joe.  Shippo had already missed the thrills of a Vegan Market that afternoon and he was eager to not miss the resulting meatless meal that evening!

Joe obviously had sympathies as his inning was similarly meat-less when he gloved a Palmer rising delivery 4th ball.   Jayson started with a characteristic boundary before being bowled in the 2nd over and at 7 for 2 wickets, 240 seemed a long way off.

Spurred on by thoughts of Humus and Black Barley, Shippo started to punch the boundaries we expect and was taking control….until he swung across the line and not even a stick of Mr. Boycotts’ Rhubarb would have saved him.  22 from 24 balls had promised so much more.

It was the Skippers time now and along with debutant Jack a dogged partnership started to take shape.  Jack joined Skip with the score on 42-3 off 9 overs and the rain was still coming down.

Palmer was steaming in and dropping plenty of short pitched deliveries in the gloom which the umpires should have actioned, but instead they asked Skip if he wanted to continue in the rain and gloom and he was happy to front it up, after all his hangover was clearing now!

The pair milked anything short and offline, but the ever dampening ball and outfield meant the ball was not racing to the fence as in the first inning.   Then a double blow as Skip and Selfie went in consecutive overs only 3 short of a 100 partnership.  The score stood at 142-5 after 30 overs.  99 required off 15 overs…..in the rain….

Jules was caught out early and the innings stalled.  17 runs had come in 7 overs when more than a run a ball was required.  It was time to start Swinging In The Rain and Marsh’s own Gene Kelly arrived in the guise of Sam Richardson!   The rain continued and Sam unleashed his umbrella to good effect.  Mikey Herriott joined Sam and splashed the singles to turn the strike over to Sam as best he could.

With 45 required from the last 30 balls it looked unlikely but despite the almost 3 hours of rain the runs kept coming and 18 were required from the last over, with 2’s and a lusty straight 6 Sammy kept the game alive to the penultimate ball.

When games go to the wire and only a handful separates the sides one can see many places where the difference could have swung in our favour; a catch here, a boundary there, but the positives of what was achieved in the game outweighs any searching for scapegoat incidents.  Skipper scored 64 from 89 deliveries, Debuntant Jack showed how valuable he will be with 35 and agile fielding prowess, Sammy with 3 wickets and his 2nd highest score of 68 from 53 balls. And an overall impressive outfit in the field saving runs.  Perhaps, one of these days we will get a game in the dry – throughout!

 

Midweek Manoeuvres at Maids Mower Moreton

“Can someone spare them a flock of sheep?” was the comment as we machete’d our way through the outfield to find the square at Maids Moreton.  This was the In-Betweeners opening game of the Midweek campaign as last week’s game at Brackley had been rained off.

New skipper ‘Tommy Guns” was chomping at the bit and eager to lead his ‘experienced’ team onto the field of play – before the haymaking began. Due to absentees there were only 9 players, but Tommy had drafted in the bowling wheels of yesteryear: Timms Senior and Frederico Leonard (aka ‘Dad’) to add weight to the front row.  With the addition of other notable time-served characters in the shape of Farmer Chambers, The Crab and Chairman Kyle the average age would not have looked out of place for a Crown Green Bowls team!

Was this the first time that MGCC’s Skipper was the youngest player in the team?

Tommy won the toss and elected to mow, sorry – Bat.  So brother Joe took his Dennis and Jules his Hayter, to the middle and began to bale away.  A classy start and a few nice boundaries ended when Joe missed the straight one looking for his 2nd Six.  Luckily the M6 had not been too clogged and our man from Stoke – Sam Richardson arrived in time to replace Joe.  Runs came but with the bounce difficult to assess coming off dandelion, forcing the pace was a challenge.  Sam and Jules fell and Grant swiped and missed.  Skipper pushed a few and a healthy number of leg side wides kept the board ticking.  When Kyle went with 2 balls remaining, the Skipper declared!  (As neither Baz, nor Fred could be ar*ed to put the pads on).  Marsh had set the target of 76 from 12 overs.

Sam steamed in for the opening over with Jimmy from the Blue Pavilion end.  (Yes, Blue.  Unconventional colour for a pavilion, even more so, when you consider it doubles as the sight screen!  The Moreton openers easily kept up with the required rate of less than a run a ball.  Jimmy got the break through when Kyle held on to a catch at midwicket with roly poly finesse.  Entertainment was offered by the Moreton Square Leg umpire who repeatedly gave ‘not out’ to stumping appeals. Which would have been reasonable, if only he had waited for the batsman to get back into his ground first!  Perhaps he couldn’t see over the grass mounds?

Moreton kept up with the rate as Marsh failed to get enough wickets to defend the low total.

Looking ahead to next Monday and home fixture against Gawcott – on a cricket pitch.

 

The Abbott comes to Jesus and is Baptised!

Heaven had been open for most of the week blessing us with its contents and drizzle was still in the air as the Mighty Gibbon arrived at Jesus College sports ground for the season opener. Division One it may be, but some things never change; Satty was 45 mins late.  The covers remained in place till 2pm and then with some brightening in the sky returning, Skipper Leonard tossed successfully and inserted Oxenford. Despite a sodden outfield play commenced at 2.15 for a reduced 35 over match.

Nothing of great excitement in the opening salvos with Kyle and Mitchell keeping it reasonable but no real penetration and Oxenford steadily accumulated to 49 off 12.  Skipper made the double change bringing on Abbott and Knotty to see if some skiddy darts might alter things.  (50p Shippo: Misrepresentation.)  After a few sighters, both found decent line and length with Jayson bringing a mistimed pull from opener Dean which was gleefully clutched at midwicket by Knott.  The first Division 1 wicket for MGCC.   Followed 3 overs later when the perfect straight ball took top of Off and Abbott had his brace.

76 for 2 off 19 – pretty even.  Then the arrival of Oxenford’s Pamu.  The pinch hitter came off and with some fine timing and strength found the boundary regularly off all that bowled to him.  True, he could have found a fielder with a few mistimed efforts that just dropped short, or just flew over a fielder (50p Shippo: Drop.) but fair play he was aggressive and it worked.  Vadivale and Chambers picked up a wicket each in the last 4 overs and did an important job of only conceding 21 off the last 24 balls to keep Oxenford at 184-4 off their 35.

The fishes and loaves were divided (frugally) at tea and dry socks borrowed (50p Shippo: Inadequate sock wear) before Vice Leonard and Vadivale took guard.  Oxenford, who still have the 2nd Best Left Arm Over in the OCA with Hirtenstein bowled tightly and the boys took 7 overs to get into double figures. Joey started to come to terms with the reliable wicket and a pudding wet outfield and put the hammer down, including a saintly 6 flicked a long way over backward square leg.  Unfortunately Sat was all of a tangle and unable to breakout, or even get out!

Overs 14 and 15 swung the pendulum to Oxenford as Joe got a leggy LBW (41), followed immediately to the pavilion by  Satty (5) and Shippo (50p : Duck).  50 for 3 off 16, leaving 134 required off 19 overs – more than a run a ball.

Despite Skipper and Knotty being new to the crease they immediately took to the task and kept up with the rate with a 17 run plundering over from Skipper suggesting this game was still in the balance. Thus his demise an over later was pivotal.  Knott was joined at the Alter by The Abbott and Marsh prayers went with them.  It seemed as though Jesus was siding with the home team for a period as he inflicted a drought (of runs) on the Gibbon batters.  With 10 overs remaining 84 runs were still required.  A waterlogged outfield and soft ball meant poor value from good shots.  Clearly time to go aerial!

Jayson and his disciple Gus swung hard and scampered back and forth trying to keep up with the rate.  Sadly, it was slipping and despite 3 lusty sixes from Abbott the light was fading on victory and in the sky. Knotty was bowled for a reputable 36 and Chambers quickly followed seeking a miracle 2nd run.  Debutant Herriott, (Prodigal son welcomed back from the wilderness) wasted nothing and kept turning the strike to Jayson, who sought Divine Intervention from above – well he kept prodding the heavens with the ball at least. An Abbott 17 run last over with another heaving 6 and couple of fours could have won many games but on this occasion Marsh were still 11 runs from the Promised Land.

Five points and most importantly, a game under our belts when most teams could only grumble cricketless.  Some real positives in attitude and fighting never say die spirit.  Two good performances form Oxenford’s Pamu and Hirtenstein matched by MGCC’s Abbott,  Leonard and Knott.

Skipper baptised Abbott with the match ball for his inaugural wickets in Division One and an unbeaten 51 off 42 balls.

If this performance at Jesus College is testament to what’s to come then we can look forward to many a ‘Holy Watering’ of a Saturday evening!

May you go in peace.

Prophet Kyle.