During a week of intermittent showers our fine groundsman Doctor Nick Thompson very kindly came back from Devon to ensure we had a good wicket to play on and then headed back to continue his holiday! Thank you very much Doctor.
The ten gentlemen of St. Clements Strollers arrived in good spirits but announced that they had a few of their more talented players drop out, leaving them a bit depleted for our fixture. With this in mind Middleton Stoney, led by Tim House, batted first to post a good score before tea. Richard Simpson (45 runs from 26 balls, including three 6s) opened the batting with Tim Riley and got us off to a flying start before falling to the lively pace of South African seam bowler Tom McIntyre.
The departure of Richard, (caught on the boundary) and Tim Riley (lbw) with our score on 52 brought the stylish Nick Crossley and Timothy House to the crease to continue our onslaught. These two calmly added 10 runs between them from six overs (Get On With It!) before Nick was clean bowled and Timothy played an enormous pull shot / leg swipe that would have been a hazard to shipping had he middled it! However this was not the case and the ball popped up, off splice, gloves and sweater to the grateful wicket keeper stood two feet behind him. MSCC 72 for 4.
Happily this brought Andy Willcock to the crease in ebullient mood. Andy punished the Strollers first change bowlers with some very powerful strokes including some lovely lofted straight drives that cleared the boundary rope by a good margin. I (Mike Simpson) batted with Andy but was always the bridesmaid as Andy smote the ball to all parts with great efficiency. With an early declaration imminent I thought it would be fun to target my son Richard (he was kindly fielding for Strollers as they had just 10 men) at Cow Corner and perhaps have him rummaging around among the nettles/brambles in Home Wood searching for the ball. Although my pull shot did go 70 yards further than Tim House’s lame effort it did not reach Home Wood sadly and was nicely caught by Richard in front of the large oak tree. MSCC 166 for 5.
Stevyn Jackson added 5 runs and was caught out. MSCC 180 for 6
Middleton’s innings was declared long before tea on 205 for 6 with Andy Willcock undefeated on 77, Martin Randall was also not out having smashed three singles.
Then the unthinkable happened!
As we took our boots off and prepared to devour a quite magnificent English Cricket Tea (one of life’s great pleasures) prepared by Rosie Willcock it became apparent that today’s leader and Master Batsman Timothy House was sending us out to field for a while BEFORE TEA. Many of us thought, as we had declared early, it would be a much better idea to have an extended tea interval but this was over ruled, in quite a cavalier fashion I thought, by our leader. He may have had a point I suppose as we did pick up a couple of quick wickets as per his master plan.
Peter van der Kerkoff bowled ten very steady overs for just 13 runs. James Mitchell charged in manfully and bamboozled the batsmen with a great variety of lengths and lines. James dismissed both openers with two of his shorter deliveries that the batsmen could only edge skywards.
The St. Clements Strollers innings was an attritional affair as they were without their big guns this year. Every MSCC player, with the exception of or wicket keeper Tim Riley, had a bowl and they were eventually bowled out having amassed about half of our score. Wickets taken by James Mitchell, Simpson M, Simpson R and Jim Watson.
With victory achieved all that remained was a few beers with our guests and a good BBQ skilfully cooked by Nick Crossly.
Note: Congratulations to MSCC stalwart Nick (Prodder) Moorman on his stoic match winning innings of 90 not out for Oxfordshire 50+ v Gloucestershire 50+ at Bourton Vale yesterday.