MSCC 233/5 Jon Springer 133. Tim House 50
Clive Plant XI 234/5 T.Bartlett 76. A Plant 60
Lost by 5 Wickets
Today's spectators were treated to a close finish, a blue sky and a magnificent Jon Springer innings (133) on this, the last match of the season against former MSCC stalwart, Clive Plant who had brought a strong eleven featuring many Hook Norton players plus guests.
The match went down to the wire with the winning run scored off the final ball of the 37th over as Clive's team sneaked over the line.
Before the match started the traditional end of season team photo was captured. In fact, many photos were taken today in last minute bids to win the Michael Martin photography competition which will be awarded at next weeks' end of season dinner.
Cameras were at the ready as Richard Simpson, opening the batting for MSCC with Tim House had the chance to reach 1000 runs for the season. His second ball flew for 6 but unfortunately the next took a leading edge and Richard was out caught and finished with 993 runs for the season. A fantastic achievement and hopefully he will reach four figures next year.
Dan Simpson (1) was next in and the next out and at 11/2 a solid partnership was required. That's exactly what we got as Jon joined Tim and in testing conditions, with the opening bowlers performing well the two of them showed grit and determination as they steadily grew the Middleton total. Tim played the anchor role running plenty of two's and hitting a sweetly timed cover drive for 4 on his way to a dogged 50. Jon's innings accelerated nicely as he took control and eventually dominated the bowling attack on his way to his third hundred of the season. This one included three 6's and thirteen 4's. An excellent innings which showed off Jon's power and great timing. He can enjoy the long winter now after a very successful season.
Tim fell LBW to former MSCC opening bowler John Jackman which brought Mark Ford-Langstaff (18) to the crease with only a few minutes to go. Three fours later his run a ball innings came to an end with an ambitious attempt at a single which led to a run out, excellently judged by Simon Lee in a non-partisan display of fair play setting a fine example to all. Jay Mumtaz faced just two balls for 2 runs before Jon's wicket brought about a declaration and tea,
Tea was excellent as always when the Simpson/Thompson partnership is in operation and the scones were particularly enjoyed by the players and umpires alike.
Clive Plant's XI opened their batting with former MSCC opener Miles Picknett (37) and Banbury batsman T.Bartlett (76). Miles accumulated whilst Bartlett battered. Olly Selway (6 overs, 0 for 38), sporting a fine new pair of trousers suffered the brunt of Bartlett's assault whilst Jacob Ford-Langstaff did well at the other end conceding 21 off his four overs and having Bartlett dropped twice.
The introduction of spin the shape of Mike Simpson (7 overs, 1 for 36) and Sathya Vadivale (9 overs, 1 for 54) gave Middleton hope as between them they removed both openers and for a time slowed the run rate. However, numbers 3 and 4 continued in the same vein as the game fell out of Middleton's reach. The required run rate was creeping up from an initial 6 an over to nearly 9 at the end so the draw looked favourite for a time especially when Richard Simpson (7 overs, 2 for 55) took two quick wickets and Simon Lee (1 over, 1 for 4) another.
Nine runs were required off the last over. A single and a four off the first two balls from Richard brought the equation down to a run a ball. The third ball was struck back hard but was well stopped by Richard who threw down the stumps as the batsmen charged through for a single. Middleton celebrated the run out but the umpire called not out. A dot ball followed then a two and finally a single off the last ball won the game for Clive's XI.
An excellent closely fought game was entertaining throughout and a fitting end to the season. Jay sponsored the BBQ and treated us all to some lovely chicken tikka which was very well received.
The end to another season. Just 29 weeks until we'll all be back for more.