To Affinity and Beyond!

Marsh Gibbon Cricket Club is very proud to announce local support from new sponsors, Affinity Hair Design, of Waddesdon

Debbie Fenton, Affinity Hair Design partner said “We’re very excited to partner with the Marsh Gibbon team and wish them the best of luck this season. Hopefully we’ll be there to cheer them on once the post-lockdown rush has calmed down!”

Marsh Gibbon Cricket Club Chairman, Carl Needham said, “2020 was a difficult year for everyone; from families, to businesses and sports clubs. The signs are that we are all now on a positive trajectory forward and the support from Affinity Hair Design is phenomenal and invaluable for a small village club like ourselves. We are incredibly thankful to the Affinity Team and look forward to welcoming our friends at Affinity and opposition teams to The Recreation Ground at Marsh as soon as we are allowed to safely do so.”

Subject to all Coronavirus restrictions, Marsh Gibbon begins the 2021 campaign at home to Buckingham Town III, on Saturday 8th May, in Division 5A of the newly expanded Cherwell League.  Marsh had competed in the Oxfordshire Cricket Association for the past 30 years, winning league and cup honours. During the winter this league joined with the Cherwell Cricket League to form an even larger association of 84 clubs with 178 competing teams across the six surrounding counties. 

Leading MGCC at this historic time will be Captain Stuart Leonard and Vice-captain Joseph Leonard, who have collectively scored almost twelve thousand runs for the club and will be looking to add to their impressive tally of centuries and fifties!



What’s that coming over the hill? Is it a Marshian?

It has been a long lockdown winter, but something uplifting and inspiring is coming over the horizon – The Cricket Season – and if BJ is good to his word and we all get a jab and keep to ourselves a little while longer, The Mighty Gibbon will be back in the Middle at the start of May!

Many things will be starting afresh;  New league as we join the Cherwell, new format as we play 50 over win/lose and 100 over win/lose/draw cricket for the first time, new opponents and grounds to visit, new Skipper with Stu’y tossing, and hopefully bolstered by some new players that we look forward to welcoming.   

Some things will remain the same though: Crouchy running into the wind, Joe taking a single off the last ball, Borsky playing a forward defensive, Jules telling Cubby to ‘get-it-in!” Crabby farting in the slips, Stu glaring after a leg side delivery (from JJ!), Foxy having a look at the bowling – for 2 balls, Rodders not bothering to have a look, Scotty, Beardie, Shippo(s) starring in one game and then retiring till the next season, Guns making friends with the umpire, Vik claiming to be a batter but taking more wickets than scoring runs,  Al waiting for his family to arrive before hitting anything, Webby frightening the Oppo turning up in his pikey van, Costa on the boundary with a bottle of red, Willo carrying the most expensive Willow, Samb….(careful!) Richardson being on call……and Kyle winning the Bowling Cup!   


Of course everyone is now well into their pre-season conditioning and getting toned for the onslaught.  I’ve certainly made a good start on my ‘Beers of the World’ subscription anyway.

Outdoor Netting starts down the ground on Sunday 4th April at 10.30am and will continue each Sunday until start of the season. Additionally there shall be a Thursday evening Net starting at 6pm.  Get there if you can as every minute spent here will pay you back in May!

Finally, we continue to need financing for equipment and this season we will be replacing the Sightscreen slats for shiny bright new ones, amongst other things, so when Mikey contacts you about the Bonus Ball please reply promptly so it can start promptly from the beginning of April.

Cheers to another Great Summer at The Gibbon!



It’s Been a Long Year!

MGCC Tour Party to Brighton  

2020 will not go down as a stellar year for Cricket and as the year comes to a close, we are still guessing as to what will happen come next May?  We do know that we shall be playing in the Cherwell League, Division 5A, along with some old faces and new, but whether we will get started on time or not is still subject to Coronavirus. 

Despite the March Lockdown taking us through to July,  the Mighty Gibbon managed to get half a Season of matches in (winning half), rekindle the Tour bug (sorry Brighton!), and host an inaugural President’s Day Celebration in honour of the late, great, Horace Leonard.     

At the recent Annual General Meeting a number of changes were carried but the general ethos remains unaltered.  A special Thank you to Skipper Joe Leonard who stood down after 2 years at the helm.  Cousin Stuart will take up the reins (and try to control us!)

The Committee remains pretty much the same with Chairman Needham, Secretary Joe Leonard, Treasurer Timms, supported by Midweek Captain Tom Leonard,  Welfare Grant Cross, Originals Captain Leonard, with supporting Committee members. 

We look forward to the dawning of a new era following the OCA’s absorption into the Cherwell League and new game formats, match rules and competition structure, not to mention the dreaded Duckworth Lewis Stern method for rain affected games!

Stay tuned for more details on the fixtures schedule in the New Year, along with the exciting opportunity to participate in the next round of the MGCC Bonus Ball fund raiser.   Despite the loss of funds due to Covid last Summer, we do just about have enough money in the bank, but enhancements to the facilities will require more reddies before the Spring.

And mark the August Bank Holiday Weekend in your calendar now – as the President’s Day Match shall return. More than 50 current and ex-players and families were down The Recreation Ground to (socially-distance) play, or cheer on Chairman Kyle’s Elect to victory over Captain Joe’s Conscripts in a tense game which went right down to the 13th wicket!        

Also, you have GOT to save a few days holiday for the next thrilling instalment of “Gibbons On Tour” The question is, which peaceful seaside resort will suffer this time around?

Skipper Struggles From Death Bed and Vikar Delivers The Last Rites to Save Gibbon

After a very soggy and miserable week with the weather The Originals penultimate game of the Covid Campaign was at Stanton Harcourt, a ground never visited and club never confronted by the Mighty Gibbon. Despite skipper J Leno giving solid directions a number of the match day squad did end up in the building site close by instead of the ground, whilst the rest were late due to making their lunch, or having to stop en-route to buy it lunch…..Standard!

With copious amount of precipitation falling during the week the wicket was on the soft to jelly side, outfield very green and a chill in the air. If a day for cricket at all, it was one for the bowlers. An important toss to win: coin goes up, J Leno calls tails, lost, T*@t! The Gibbons are sent to get their pads on.

It was at this point that Skipper announces he slept funny and had seriously damaged his shoulder. Funny how he always sleeps funny the night before our game, which is the day before his appearance with his ‘friends’ in the OCA League Representative Game? Also, categorically nothing to do with his batting average standing in triple figures and the wicket looking like a paddy field! The team was far from amused.  Nevertheless, the energy was emitting from Borsky and Spud joined him to face up to the tricky conditions first.

Stanton bowled well to exploit the conditions. The experienced Walker and midweek transfer, Ayris, from Hanborough (who scratched their game?) putting the ball in exactly the right places and letting the pitch do the rest.

The Gibbon top and middle order, initially dispirited by damp then stunned by the skipper’s abdication, did not hang around. Walker ripping through both openers first (though Honour ground away for 26 balls). Vice Captain Stuart at three and Guns Leno at four were quickly followed by Noddy Rodnight who under instructions from the Skipper (on the boundary) to steady the ship, promptly capsized it, skying his 7th ball to be caught in the deep.  Vikram in at six was back in the hutch with his team mates 5 balls later. Marsh became perilously close to beating the lowest Club score ever when Crouchy went for a first baller and the score stood at 21-7 in just 12 overs. That record had stood for 28 years stretching back to Freeland when only 32 was scored. 

With the Skipper having now run out of places to hide himself in the batting, he dragged his sorry injured carcass to the middle and was joined by debutant Grant Cross. The opposition adjudged his style to be that of someone who has never batted before as opposed to someone with over two thousand OCA runs to his name.  

With the impressive Stanton opening bowlers allotted overs coming to an end, Ayris (8-1-17-1) and Walker finishing with an excellent 8-2-9-6, it was down to J Leno and Grant to get Marsh beyond the worst ever scores in the Clubs history and perhaps to a less laughable total. Simply put, they did it. The recovery from Skipper and Grant beat the best ever 8th wicket partnership for the club with 87. That beat the previous record of 61 set by Richard Cross and Nick Tyler, also from back in the 90’s. J Leno picked the gaps with boundaries and Grant ‘The Crab’ Cross went for a more direct approach, including one maximum which smashed straight through the sight screen!

The Crab played one big shot too many and was caught for a gallant 21, unfortunately Jacob and Chairman Kyle were unable to trouble the scorers too much both being caught for 1 and 0 respectively. Leaving Skipper high, dry and remarkably improved on 46. A final target set of 115. Quite a remarkable recovery considering it was achieved by a cripple and debutant!

Perhaps Skipper’s injury had come from whisking air into his wonderful Teatime cake? The boys were prepared for the challenge of keeping Stanton’s score to below 115, a tough ask on a drying pitch.

Chairman Kyle and Crouch opened up, with Crouch coming uphill into the breeze: good job his fitness levels are so robust. The pair bowled tight conceding only 12 in the first 7 overs, and critically bagging openers Epps (Caught at Slip by Cross off Cello) and Graham (LBW to Needham, or Leggy-B according to DJ Dave!).

The two bowlers went through their 8 overs each with Crouch snapping up Wastie leg before and Needham clean bowling Pascoe, who was looking to smash anything sent down. As the pair finished the Stanton score was on 45-4 from 16 overs. Skipper turned to brother Tom and leggy Pandit to mix it up as wickets could not dry up if this game was to be fully resurrected.  

However, Stanton moved slowly to 63-4 off 22 overs and the halfway mark was passed. Only 52 required at less than 3 an over. Stanton’s Ayris had settled and having seen off Kyle and Cello and it was looking ominous for MGCC until he belted T Leno to cover where Skipper Leno took a sharp catch diving to his left…cue ‘ouch my shoulder’!

At the other end Vik-ar was causing the batters a world of problems with some sharp turn. With wickets being key, Skipper had a very attacking field and men crowded around the bat. Unfortunately for Joe, he had put himself right in the firing line and was being peppered by Appleyard who found the ample barrier unmissable at such close range….much to the delight of the uninjured MGCC players!

Stanton sought to attack the slow turn of Pandit and found it much harder than it appeared from the fence. The result was Appleyard and R. Wastie both caught (by J-Leon and Vik himself), before Pandit clean bowled Jeffreys and Lighting Leonard whipped away Walker’s bails to leave him airborne and de-bailed.

The Vik-ar had turned the game to The Gibbons’ with 4 for 16 in his 8 overs, including the decimating 4 over spell in the middle where he took 4 wickets for just 2 runs.

With only one wicket left to get and still 30 required by Stanton, Joe turned to the experienced Craby Cross and Will ‘Noddy’ Rodnight to polish up the Stanton tail. Not all went according to plan, Noddy’s first over looked slightly suspect with whispers that he was suffering with ‘the yips’. Not to worry, he finally got one right and Pascoe ended up sky-ing one into the breeze that was gratefully grabbed by Skipper to settle the victory for The Gibbon by 21 runs.

There cannot be many victories when the opposition’s opening bowler returned figures of 6 wickets for just 9 runs, but a stalwart response from Skipper and The G-Man opened the door, which the Marsh bowlers merrily kicked down. Just shows what a bit of battle and fighting spirit can bring.

The boys look forward to following their Skipper as he leads from the front next week in the last game of the season against Trophy chasing Oxenford, at The Recreation Ground, Gibbon.

Scorecard link below –

Chairman’s Elect prevail in MGCC’s Inaugural President’s Day Match to Honour Horace Leonard

The Chairmans XI came out on top in a titanic encounter with the Captains XI as Marsh Gibbon Cricket Club hosted their inaugural Presidents Day on the August Bank Holiday Sunday competing for the ‘Horace Leonard Memorial Trophy’. Such was the desire to play in this prestigious game, that the match became a 14-a-side contest with player being turned away!

In front of a large crowd of supporters the Captains XI skipper Joe Leonard won the toss and inserted Carl Needham’s Chairman’s XI into bat in overcast swinging conditions. Saturday Original’s opening bats, Will Honour and Paul Thornton, strode out to face their fellow strike bowler Nathan Callow and the returning David Stringer, now playing in the Kent league. Stringer striking early trapping Honour LBW, brought Rupert Shipperley to the wicket, who entertained the crowd with some majestic hitting as he ably transferred from his usual Wales lnternational Hockey stick to cricket bat in scoring 47 (30 balls) to top score, before being caught off his younger brother Charlie, taking the first family bragging rights of the day….not to be the last!

Paul Thornton glued the early innings opposite Shippo before being caught by Leonard off Cello for 33. Then Stuart Leonard (30) kept it rolling and accelerated towards a respectable score at 135-5 with 10 overs remaining. (Rodnight came and went in Standard fashion!)

Handy cameos from Tom Leonard (13), James Mitchell (11) and Pete Stringer (9) who rolled back the years with his all action batting style and pre-war cap.  Martin Deeley (you can’t keep a good man down) was back to grace the Recreation Ground once more and showed that timing is ever-lasting.

David Stringer and Chris Coxhill the pick of the bowlers with Stringer 6-1-17-3 and Coxhill 3-0-15-3, with all other bowlers returning creditable figures.

Indeed tight death bowling from Julian Chambers and Chris Coxhill kept the lid on the final charge from The Chairman’s side as they closed on 177 (for 11) from their 40 overs. A challenging total, but well within reach of the Captain’s XI with some talented free scoring batsmen on display.

A tight start required from the fielding side as Captain Needham and Mitchell took the new cherry against James Coxhill, one of three brothers featuring in the game and first teamer Alex Coultate. Early strikes from both bowlers had the Captain’s XI at 7-2, as Mitchell bowled Coxhill and Lee Hodges clutched gleefully onto a slip catch from the evergreen Needham. Nick Turner was looking comfortable at one end despite the wildly hopeful stumping shouts. Not that they weren’t out more that Luke Connell, standing umpire at Square Leg, was dreaming of the row of cakes set up for Tea!

Captain Leonard now brought his master plan into effect. Having studied past golfing Ryder Cups, he knew this game would also be a match-up of individual players in the confrontation of Bat versus Ball. Consequently, he packed the middle order with his dangermen and the competition between bat of Black, Charlie Shipperley & himself versus the ball of opposing brothers Charlie Shipperley and Tom Leonard, backed up by the wily Crab, would be the Recreation Ground Battle of The Bulge!

All these swashbuckling batters possessed the power and skills to take the game away in an instant. Black started strongly, reminiscent of his time with the club back in 2011, dispatching anything loose, with Shipperley (R ) getting the brunt of it with three maximums in an over, before avenging this by bowling the former with a quick delivery, as Black departed for a typically aggressive 43 in just 25 deliveries.

Charlie Shipperley and Joe Leonard, despite some questionable running between the wickets, were looking set before a small change in the field worked perfectly for Will Honour to snaffle his Saturday Skipper Leonard at gully off Mitchell, for a poultry 28 by this season’s standards.

The removal of Charlie Shipperley was of paramount importance to the Chairman as he had also raced into the 40’s at quicker than a run a ball. Then he was also castled by his brother on 48 and the bragging rights swapped allegiance.  Would the runs be stemmed? Was it too late as the Captain’s team was surely on the brink of victory only needing 41 runs in 14 overs with 6 batters to come.  

Shipperley was now bowled out with 4-42, and Needham brought back the opening pair; himself and Mitchell. Leonard had played his hand and got close, but who would light the cigar?  Mitchell (3-29) bagged Chris Coxhill and Needham (2-23) got the crucial wicket of Chambers Senior (to the unbounding delight of Chambers Junior!), but the opening bowlers were now bowled out too and the introduction of Lee Hodges was pounced on by the swinging bat of Callow. 

The Captain’s crew needed only 20 runs in 5 overs with 4 wickets in hand. Nathan Callow (21) now anchored the lower order, but lost Tyler castled by Guns Leonard before the most astute bowling change brought on young Jacob Chambers. He promptly bamboozled and bowled Greg Bonne, then took the return catch from Coultate (in for a 2nd go to even the sides up). Callow needed to score a further 16 from 18 balls in the last wicket stand to take the game. But the Captain’s side completed their capitulation when Callow was caught by Thornton off Tom Leonard; the last 4 wickets falling in just 10 balls, for 4 runs, handing victory to the Chairmans Elect as the innings closed on 161.

Rupert Shipperley scooped the man of the match award (kindly sponsored by Chris Mullis) for his valuable contributions in both innings,

Nick Tyler the ‘Champagne moment’ (sponsored by Lee Hodges) for his first over in many years after returning to the club to a standing ovation and most important of all, the Horace Leonard Memorial Trophywas raised by jubilant skipper Needham, presented by Vi Leonard.

A fantastic day for the club and the memory of Horace Leonard. Many thanks to our sponsors, helpers and supporters of the event. Especially Debra for her wonderful cake organisation and the superb volunteer bakers for the array of cakes. Plus, Mark Leonard for keeping order out in the middle and Mikey Timms for keeping the numbers throughout. And watch out for the photos – thanks to Neil Honour for being our roving cameraman.

Finally, to the family bragging rights……

The Shipperley’s were probably even with 47 vs 48 runs, though Rupert managed to get the ball to bounce when bowling!

Guns Leonard and opposing Skipper scored blows on each other, with Guns taking the final 2 wickets to win the game whilst brother was wicketless, though scored more runs.

Whilst, Chris Coxhill bagged 3 wickets, brothers Jimmy and Matt, outscored him with the bat.

David Stringer showed his potency with the ball, but Pete’s 9 including a boundary shadowed his brothers Quacker….

And finally, did young Chambers eclipse the old man? Scoring more with the bat and taking more wickets with ball….We will leave Sally to referee that tussle!  



President’s XI

W Honour        LBW                       D Stringer        4

P Thornton     ct J Leonard        N Callow         33

R Shipperley  ct S Black             C Shipperley  47

S Leonard       ct & Bowled        C Coxhill           30

W Rodnight    ct J Leonard       C Coxhill              4

T Leonard        ct J Leonard      D Stringer          13

L Hodges         Bowled                 C Coxhill                1

G Cross                 Run Out                                             0

J Mitchell         ct S Black         J Chambers(Snr)  11

P Stringer         Bowled              D Stringer               9

J Chambers(Jnr)  Bowled        G Bonne                   5

M Coxhill           Not Out                                                  4

M Deeley           Not Out                                                  2

C Needham(capt)            DNB

Extras – 14

Total – 177 All out, from 40 overs


N Callow                              6              0              19           1

D Stringer                            6              1              17           3

G Bonne                              6              0              40           1

C Shipperley                       4              0              20           1

S Black                                    5              1              10           0

J Chambers(snr)               6              0              31           1

C Coxhill                               3              0              15           3

J Leonard                             3              0              17           0

N Tyler                                    1              0              4              0

Captain’s XI

J Coxhill                    Bowled                      J Mitchell              7

A Coultate            ct L Hodges              C Needham          0

N Turner                    Bowled                 R Shipperley            7

S Black                  Bowled                      R Shipperley          43

C Shipperley            Bowled                 R Shipperley          48

J Leonard(capt) ct W Honour           J Mitchell                  28

C Coxhill                               Bowled                 J Mitchell           0

J Chambers(Snr)               Bowled                 C Needham     0

D Stringer                            Bowled                 R Shipperley    0

N Tyler                                   Bowled                 T Leonard         2

N Callow                              ct P Thornton     T Leonard        21

G Bonne                              Bowled           J Chambers(jnr)        1

A Coultate (2nd go)        C&B               J. Chambers (Jnr)        0

L Connell                              Absent.

Extras – 3

Total – 161 All out, from 37.1 overs


C Needham                        8              1              23           2

J Mitchell                             6              1              29           3

R Shipperley                       7              2              42           4

G Cross                                  7              1              21           0

T Leonard                            4.1          0              19           2

L Hodges                              3              0              28           0

J Chambers(Jnr)                1                0                2           2


Originals Sweet Tasting Victory

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.                  



Rain and Runs Reign

Fresh, or not so fresh, from MGCC’s West Sussex and Kent Tour (Penshurst and Brighton!) the boys took to the field at Combe on Saturday 15th August.  The last visit to this ground was in 2007 when it was overcast and rained – Noah must have moved there as it was still raining!   The weather was not the only similarity, as on that day back in 2007 Marsh batted first scoring 210-5…..this time going one better and scoring 211-5.

The result was reversed however, as this time Combe were not bowled out for 106, instead they reached the required total in only 33 of the available 40 overs.

To begin with, Marsh were inserted in the mizzling rain, just good enough to play, and Will Honour was back in the pavilion to keep himself dry by the 3rd over.  Borsky and Beardy (making his first appearance in Covid Year) settled in and then set about a score.  With a short car park side boundary and damp conditions seemingly skidding the ball on, the two batters scored predominantly in boundaries, rattling to 98-2 in 24 overs before Beardie was caught on the boundary by an excellent catch with only inches to spare.  An excellent 55 in 63 balls with 1×6 and 6×4’s.

Skipper Stuart Leonard, standing in for absent cousin Joe,  joined Borsky and Marsh were becalmed as left armer, Chaundry, proved hard for Borsky to get away and Leonard was having similar difficulty with Nicholson.  Skipper (9) got an unlucky under edge to the keeper when looking to cut opener Eley and Marsh were 109-3 from 29.   

Dr Fox (TBD Jnr) joined Borsky and wasted no time diagnosing the problem…. His unbeaten innings of 58 came from just 33 balls, with only 12 dots in that, plus 1×6 and 8×4’s.  Partnering first with Borsky (34 from 80 deliveries) who was run out in that most cruel of ways as the ball hit back at the bowler cannoned off him into the stumps and ran out the hapless backing up batter.  Then supported by Tom-Hair Leonard, who rattled a run a ball 13 before missing the slowest highest delivery on record.  Finally, Archie Spittles on debut, simply thumped it about the place scoring 18* in the last 10 balls.

Merlot, Just Jimmy, Cello and Wing Commander did not bat.          

Marsh closed, as mentioned previously, on 211.   It was difficult to judge if this was a par, or strong, score as the mizzle had continued throughout and everywhere was now thoroughly wet, though firm (I’m resisting the obvious here).  

Things started badly as Kyle quickly succumbed to his tour injury and could bowl only 2 overs. Crouch was coming up the hill and struggling after using all his strength to put up the family tent the previous night in a Force 9 Gale.  Enter The Spittles-Fire, fresh from his 150 mile trip for the game…and thank goodness he made it through the Flak.  After 5 leg side wides from his first ball, he got the Radar working and was easily the pick of the Marsh bowlers eventually returning 8 overs for just 31 runs and 2 wickets.     

The Combe batters all played with intent attacking anything loose – and as there was a generous supply of that they quickly raced ahead of the rate, until the 14th over when Hugo Campbell-Bomber-Harris followed Spittles into the dogfight getting Dingwall in his sights before trapping him in-front.  Two balls later and Eley found himself in bomb alley as he slapped a high full toss at Borsky in Point. His reactions saved his facial features and ended Eley’s innings as he clutched the exocet.  Next over and Archie struck again to bowl Moore, top of off. At 81-4 from 15 the game was now balanced: Combe requiring 130 from 25 overs….and still it rained….

The game was then swung by Thompson and Nicholson who batted sensibly and almost chancelessly, continuing to punish anything offered up by the Marsh bowlers that was offline.  As the ball became soaked beneath its lacquer the bowlers found it increasingly problematic to grip and the batters found boundaries too easily to come by.  Skipper rotated the bowlers in short spurts with Costa, Guns and Mitchell probing for the breakthrough which did not come. 

Combe reached 213 in 33 overs with Thompson and Nicholson sharing an unbeaten stand of 132 to win the game.

We should be back at Combe next year in traditional league format, let’s hope Noah has moved by then….

Next Game:  Home to Cairns Fudge on 22nd August, 1pm start.  The Covers are on already!                    


“Good To See Father And Son Batting Together”

On a steaming hot day down at The Gibbon, the pressure was on Skipper to win – the toss – against Chipping Norton.  The match was of secondary concern.  Most important was to avoid chasing the ball around in the heat for 40 overs.    Fortune favours the brave and thankfully the visiting Captain called wrong and Marsh would bat first. 

But who exactly would bat first?  New signing Vikram Pandit was down to open with Spud, but was nowhere to be seen as 1pm approached.  Skipper tried everyone to see if someone other than he would stride out first. One thing was for sure, it would not be Sam Costello.   Skipper had gone rogue in the week and not used the ‘Whatsapp’ group set up specifically for Availability and the Team arrangements were, to be blunt, all to cock.  Some players hadn’t been asked if they could play at all, but not to worry 12 players had replied in the affirmative and ALL had been selected to play. The problem is we have two Sam’s : Richardson and Costello and Skipper sent out the team with just the Christian name: Sam…..Costello did the honourable Elvis thing…and left the building.  

Consequently, Vice made it clear to Skipper, “You scored a Ton last week, so get your pads on, arse in gear and score another one!”  

At that moment, Pandit did actually arrive and explained how his ‘Tour De Claydons’ bike ride took longer than expected (clearly not Yellow Jersey material) and mum wouldn’t let him out to play again until his sweating brow had cooled.  We love mums at Marsh (They make great Tea Ladies!)   

So, 12 had become 10,  and finally a fully deployed 11 as the Openers strode out. (Vik’s indiscretion had bounced him from 1 to 9, but he’d get his redemption opportunity later….)

The pre-match turmoil appeared to have no impact on actual performance as both batters confidently settled in, with Skipper picking up exactly where he had left off the week before, scoring 50 in only 28 deliveries, made up almost entirely of boundaries.  Spuddy, too was striking it hard until his Cinderella’s Godmother waft unhinged his leg peg.  43-1 in 8 overs.

Tom joined his brother in the middle and upon learning that Tom Leonard had joined Joe Leonard in the middle, the Chipping Norton Scorer remarked on how nice it is to see father and son batting together!  

Unfortunately, the family reunion did not last as long as hoped when Guns was also castled with the score on 81, and still in the 13th over. (We’d see more of Guns later too….)

Well, if Joe is Father Leonard, what were we to call Stuart Leonard as he strode out to Join his Skipper?  Clearly, no one wanted to stitch him up….as that was not needed….

With the ball coming on sweetly Chippy searched to find a bowler to stem the runs flowing. The batters merely kept the scoreboard rattling along irrespective.  That is until Stuart was bamboozled by Chippy’s 6th bowling change and Molyneux’s first delivery – As he bowled off the wrong foot. It’s a tricky thing to perfect, delivering the ball from your left hand whilst landing on your left foot instead of right, and Stuart was waiting for the bowler to take another stride. Surprise! Bowled. A useful knock of 24 and the third wicket fell in the 25th over with a healthy 136 on the board. 

Pip Webb was Joe’s next partner and settled in quickly, eager not to disappoint his travelling fan base.  A quick fire half century littered with boundaries came in just 34 balls and it was great to see the talent and the power of his hitting. Indeed, it looked like he was actually hitting it through the fielders on the way to the fence.    

Skipper was still ticking along and even taking singles without waiting until the 6th ball of the over either!   On his 77th ball faced he brought up his 2nd Century in as many weeks to loud congratulations from the sun-worshipping crowd.  

Another solid partnership had moved the dial over 200 when Pip was bowled for 50 and Luke Fox became Joe’s next partner.   Lukey was never going to hang around ineffectual and the two batters scored 44 in the last 36 balls. Lukey remained unbeaten on 25 and Skipper closed on a merciless and chanceless 136, beating his previous own and Club high score of 135 in the final over. Must have been Father’s Day after all!

Rodnight, Callow, Needham, Boardman and Sam (either one) were not needed to pick up the willow as Marsh closed on 259-4.  For the record, that made it the 5th highest ever score from a Marsh team – and in 5 overs less than normal.  

Tea was consumed and Skipper reminded the Marsh team that Chippy had a strong batting line up as the crowd was building, expectant. Satty and Lena in arms, and even The Timms’ family were on parade: Good Luck with the pregnancy Emma!      

Kyle and Callow opened up and looked to keep it tight. All would have been fine if, when Kyle bowled Hussain and then Stuart stumped Qureshi off him, the deliveries were not directly after a No Ball and consequently a free hit whereby the batter could not be out!   

Chippy were progressing well and at 10th over were almost neck and neck with Marsh on 59.  Callow had stood aside for Sam (that’s, Richardson) and Pandit replaced Needham, to peddle in from the Edgcott End. Yet still Qureshi and Hussain clubbed it about, reaching their 100 partnership in just 18 overs.  Exactly the same point as Marsh hit the ton mark.

Richardson had started very well and gone for only 18 from 4 overs, but his attempted slow leg side theory, without telling his team mates about the plan and being able to move every fielder onto the boundary backward of Square leg, meant a hefty 20 from his seventh (and last over). 

However, Pandit got the essential breakthrough in the 21st over when he got one to grip and turn to bowl Qureshi.  And he completed his 8-over spell with the critical wicket of Hussain, returning 2-32 from 8 overs, critically only conceding 2 boundaries in total.  He’d made up for his 2 wheeled excursion.

Both sides had taken advantage of the removal of the fielding restrictions as one of the changes under Coronavirus adaptations for play.  Strangely, it has been deemed that 6 players cannot socially distance in a circle with a 60 yard diameter.  This means that every fielder can be placed on the boundary and at times in this game, both sides deployed this tactic as the only way to hold back the run Tsunami. 

Enter Rodders.  Tricky little seam up Swinger – (that’s what he bowls, not a character reference) And they were working well, until he appeared to have trapped superglue between ball and hand and could not let go!  The ball, when eventually released, bouncing several times and as many yards wide led to debate as to whether the deliveries were Wides, or No Balls, as they qualified on both counts!?   The diversion worked though as Widdows reverse swept one of the legitimate deliveries smack into Spud’s midrift!

With Chippy now on 169-3 off 30 overs they needed 91 from 10 overs, that’s 9 runs per over.  Needham returned to bowl his last couple of overs to try and increase the rate and build pressure on the batters approaching the death period.   The old-timer did just this and drew a mistimed swipe from Molyneux resulting in Skipper pouching the catch at Extra Cover, followed 3 balls later by sharp work from the Veteran to run out Ward:  190-5 off 33.  70 needed from 7 – The rate required was now 10.

Marsh’s final throw of the dice: Bring back Callow and partner with Tom ‘sonny-boy’ Leonard.  Karawita was still there and scoring freely, taking to Crouchies first over back as he crashed 16 to keep Chippy on the rate.  The trick was to stop the boundaries and the rate would rise quickly.  Taking wickets is even better – Tom struck in his first over, bowling Gujjar with a full ball and then inducing the catch off McGeown for Foxy to grasp.   231-7 from 36.   Just 24 balls remaining, but only 29 runs required for a Chippy victory. 

Callow picked himself up and went for only 2 in his next over, followed by Tom conceding only 4 and the pendulum swung toward Marsh.  23 from 12 balls and then Vice’s lightning stumping of Karawita for 47 was the last rite. 

Crouch went for only 5 runs in his last 3 overs and Tom finished with 3 wickets for just 16 runs from 4 overs at the death.  His dad was never prouder! (…Except he was in Devon!)   

It is worthy of note that at the 37th Over in both innings the runs total was identical for both teams at 233.  If you want the spoils then hold your nerve ’til the end.

A truly entertaining afternoon’s cricket keenly fought out by both sides: Credit to both, as it goes to the scorers too.  Thanks to Mullis and Chippy scorer, not least, for keeping count of the number of balls in each over!  

And so, to TOUR……. Brighton, here we come….    





‘Leno and Stitch’ Animate Marsh Defeat

Marsh travelled to Middleton Cheney for the 2nd game of the league phase in this year’s Airey Cup, on 1st August.  Covid restrictions were in place and properly organised by the home team. 

Grant Cross had resolved his back problems and Alfie was in attendance to tell all of Mrs Cross and her recent Jacuzzi antics, which had left her on crutches!     Jimbob Mitchell was also making his first appearance for over a year and it was hoped his height might add a different dimension to the bowling attack.

On a pleasant day, the MGCC players changed al fresco again in order to maintain social distancing, before taking to the pitch to prepare to bowl.  The track was not looking at its’ best, covered in red thread disease, with a mixture of bare areas and brown strands.  Confusion reined as Kyle marked his run up and prepared to bowl the first ball, when the umpires called a halt to consider the irregularity of the opposing creases and their stumps….The whole pitch was at a slant, as if the stumps at one end had slipped a couple of feet to the left. The popping creases were square to each other, but the whole thing was asymmetrical, or skew-whiff!  The solution: move the stumps over at one end so that they were aligned. Only problem was this meant the stumps were now only 2 feet from the left Return Crease and 5 feet from the right one!    Perhaps the pitch had been specially prepared for ‘Crossy The Crab’ to bowl, allowing him to saunter in sideways on?  

Eventually the game commenced with Crouch and Kyle opening up. It was clear quite early that the track would be unpredictable as a number of early deliveries ran through on the ground and Stu decided to step up to the stumps to take the ball before it rolled to him.  No sooner had he done so, than a full delivery from Crouch reared straight up into his zygomatic bone.  No chance to avoid the irregular bounce and Student Doctor Fox was called into action to stem the claret flowing, but the slice above the cheek bone was deep and Honour Senior became Ambulance driver.  Clearly, just a few years out of The Ring and Stu has gone soft already!

Vikram took the gloves and gave himself a few extra yards in order to judge the balls’ trajectory!  

As chance would have it, former Marsh player, Martin Deeley, local of the Parish, had come to watch and volunteered to retrieve his Whites from the attic and field as 12th Man in Stu’s absence.  I’ve blown the dust off the archive records and found Martin’s last Originals performance was at Letcombe on 2nd September…. 1989…So just shy of 31 years between games.  Good to see he’s kept himself in shape waiting for the call up!    That meant there were 3 of ‘The Originals’ players from the inaugural 1987 OCA season, on the pitch together: Julian Chambers (Cap Number 1), Martin Deeley (Number 3) and Grant Cross (Number 12).

Thankfully the game dropped into a calm rhythm with Crouch and Kyle keeping it tight until the 8th over and with the score on 32, Twnyham pulled Crouch for 6, then two balls later skied the ball to Foxy’s red hands for the first wicket.  Crouchy was visibly overjoyed. 

The Chairman rolled through his 8 overs wicketless for just 22, whilst getting on with the umpire like a couple of long lost chums….And at 53-1 from 16 overs the competition was all-square.

And then Foxy came into the fray, and I am afraid it got quite frayed. He flailed a frenzied foray of far from Full deliveries the batsman frequently hit, or found he couldn’t fetch with a five foot flippin’ pole! 

Skipper took the pace off from the other end though the occasional short ball found the short off-side boundary to keep the accelerator down for Cheney, until a drive to Mid-off was returned sharply by Kyle to run out Merry with the score at 97 from 23 overs Marsh got the 2nd Cheney wicket.   

Pearson, making his debut for Cheney, had a dream innings despite the track. The frequent short wide deliveries from the Marsh bowlers alleviated the risk from the pitch and he completed an unbeaten Century, despite only scoring 6 from his first 23 balls from the Marsh opening bowlers, he went on to crash 96 from the next 70 balls.   

Markham also found boundaries easy to come by before being bowled by Mitchell, getting the ball to do that amazing thing and go directly in the direction of the wooden things at the opposite end (though not exactly opposite!)

Jules started his spell in precision fashion only conceding 18 runs from 5 overs whilst bowling at Pearson and Markham, but 5 overs was enough to allow them to size up the deliveries and then crash 41 from the last 18 balls.  Always good to make changes before the event, rather than afterwards….

Cheney closed on 245-4 from 40 overs, Callow taking 2 for 40 and Mitchell 1-41.  Home made Teas were consumed and Neil returned leaving Stuart in a 4 hour long queue at A&E.   

In the week, Joe had announced that each player would be required to bake a ‘Team Cake’ this year (how joyous!) and he proudly presented his Tray Bake of Chocolate Brownies – cooked by Francesca.  

With just one run required from each delivery, openers Honour and Pandit strode confidently out.  Despite a boundary each, they were both victims of the bounce and back behind the Covid Hazard Tape by the 7th over, with only 16 on the score board.      

Stuart returned to the ground, via his Honourific Ambulance, and was now sporting fresh facial embroidery of five stitches holding his cheek flesh together. 

Skipper Leno went out to bat and looked to attack anything loose in order to keep in touch with the stiff target. He was briefly accompanied by Foxy, who did get the worst end of the pitch as a shooter trapped him in-front.  Even Razza couldn’t avoid raising his finger (the index one), which was last seen in Martin Deeley’s previous game.      

Julian was determined to amend for his bowling figures and did so as the perfect foil to Skipper’s aggression and hitting. The 2 put on 82 in just 12 overs and at 103-4 after 22 overs, defeat was still most likely, but a shadow of hope had returned when Jules went bowled and Crossy entered the fray. 

With his crablike side-on running style there was no one better suited to run between the rhomboid slanting wickets!  Bit of a slow start with just 2 runs from 30 deliveries – but he did run up to Skipper a few times to enquire “How are you skip?  Would you be interested in vacating your comfy crease and perhaps strolling to the other end?  No?  OK, I’ll go back then.”       

Skipper Leno was not interested in singular runs and looking for boundaries, especially to the shorter Social Club side – as the other one was but a blot on the horizon.  Boundaries were coming, but the board couldn’t keep up with the rate (probably as they had not used Duracell batteries and an electronic board is not much cop without electricity!)  Indeed the runs, like the scoreboard, had become intermittent.  However, the highlight of Joe’s innings came with a blow to Long Off which could only be pushed back by the Cheney fielder whilst standing behind the rope and Joe deservedly brought up his 4th Originals Ton with a Maximum.    (Only one behind his cousin now….) 

Skipper eventually fell on 116 and Crossy (40* – his highest score since 2016) and Mitchell continued to hit some fulsome blows to and over the fence to take the total to 203 by the close – a respectable score on any other day.

Despite the dangerous track, Cheney were perfect hosts; well organised Covid safety measures and First Aid support, plus excellent Scorers! 

Let’s hope ALL the scars from this day heal quickly.

Get Well Soon Stitch – We need you!

Next game:  Home to Chipping Norton on Saturday 8th August, 1pm start.  






At Last….Competitive Cricket is Back! But so is the Rain!

The OCA has (very sensibly) created tournaments under the existing Cup system whereby Division 1 and 2 sides playing in the Airey Cup.   Div 3 & 4 in the Telegraph and so on…     Each Cup will begin with a League Round Robin of 7 matches and the top teams playing in a Final for the Trophy. 

Marsh have been drawn in a section with : Westcott, Chipping Norton, Middleton Cheney, Oxenford, Combe, Stanton Harcourt, Cairns Fudge, Wootton and Hook Norton,  though the latter 2 will not be played. 

The opening game, at the Gibbon, was against locals Westcott and the forecast was not promising, but neither was it consistent and it was not clear if there would be rain or sun. Nevertheless, Skipper drained himself and elected to field, with the weather uncertainty in his mind.

MGCC welcomed new player Vikram Pandit (number 159) and despite admitting to coming from Steeple Claydon, he was allowed to remain.  

MGCC Team sheet:  Honour, Pandit, Joe Leonard (Capt), Stu Leonard (Wkt), Coultate, Chambers Snr, Costello, Fox, Chambers Jnr, Callow, Needham.

Chairman Kyle and Crouchy opened with the new league Triflex balls, to Symes and Ur Rehman and they kept it tight, with only 22 runs coming in the first 10 overs and the important wicket of Ur Rehman trapped by the Chairman’s swinging cherry!

One became Two as Gloves Leonard sharply removed the bails to dismiss Sweetman (14) as he leant out his crease to a leg side delivery from Crouch. 

Hussein followed next over as Kyle’s disguised slower delivery (now that must be slow) drew the early swing and the skied ball was gleefully clutched by Jules at mid-off. 

Symes (27*) had a couple of lives off Crouch, but as Jules replaced Kyle (8-3-13-2) the black clouds arrived and the rain descended.  A ponderous start became a torrent and the game was abandoned with Westcott on 43-3 off 17 overs.

After the wait this was a drab disappointment for all.  Never mind, next week  MGCC travel to Middleton Cheney, when we hope the Sun will conquer the clouds.