Blenheim Park won the toss, decided to bat first and raced to 91 off our first ten overs. This was despite good bowling by our openers, Jacob Ford-Langstaff and Paul Wordsworth. Richard Simpson then dismissed their top five batsmen, Danny Clark took three wickets, Jacob Ford-Langstaff in his second spell took one while Richard Morris followed up a good catch and a fine display of wicket-keeping with an impressive run out. Highlights along the way included two catches each for Mark Ford-Langstaff and Danny Clark, including a particularly difficult one in each case, and one for Joe Moorman. For the second time this season, Danny was on a hat-trick. The first time he made it but this time he was thwarted by a young Oxfordshire player. Once more a scorecard read ‘caught M Ford-Langstaff bowled J Ford-Langstaff’. Blenheim were all out in the 19th over for 121.
This was the first time any of our bowlers had taken five wickets in a game this season, partly because I keep taking them off to give others a chance. Danny Clark (3 for 10 off 4 overs) and Joe Moorman (0 for 9 off 3) were our most economical bowlers.
Mark Ford-Langstaff scored a swift 20 with some big hits although the last of these was brilliantly caught on the boundary by the afore-mentioned young player. Olly Selway came in at number three to create a partnership with Richard Simpson which took us to the brink of victory. Richard scored a thumping 77 and Olly scored 6. I was umpiring at the time when Olly was bowled and can vouch for the fact that it was a superb delivery. Joe Moorman was soon out in the gloom but Danny Clark and Howard Lancaster saw us home in the worst light imaginable to win by 6 wickets in the 14th over. So everybody did something except that I did not bat, did not bowl, did not catch and did not win the toss. The champagne moment award went, unusually, to the opposition’s youngest player for his all-round performance. On our side, Richard Simpson, coming towards the end of his season, also made an impressive all-round contribution to the game.
Richard Morris and Richard Simpson ran the bar, Rona Hickman once again ran the barbecue and Richard Morris ran round the pitch in the darkness to bring in the boundary markers which were, unusually, on the far side of the ground. Earlier in the afternoon, Dr Nick Thompson and Simon Pettit had been spotted preparing the ground. Several spectators came and stayed. Howard Lancaster stepped in to play on the day and did well apart from running up and down the pitch in his enthusiasm to get off the mark while Danny Clark refused to move. For a man with hamstring injuries this season, Howard did well in scampering back to make his ground.
Blenheim Park included some astonishingly good players so this was a well-deserved win. Since we had not won since 12th July, it was a great experience to see such committed play from our whole team. The opposition stayed to eat and drink, they took their defeat in good part and it was refreshing to hear a club with their own wonderful home ground comment so favourably on our ground and its setting. Thanks all round.