Sathya Vadivale, captain of the opposition, arrived early, won the toss, put us in, opened the bowling and gave himself 13 overs. He actually bowled annoyingly well, taking 2 for 15. That was a little bit more expensive than our captain, and not such a strike rate in taking wickets (S Lee, 2 overs, 1 for 1, just saying) but it was a pretty good performance considering he was bowling medium-pace rather than the slower off-spin with which he normally graces Middleton Park. Peter Beverley was the pick of the other bowlers for Oxford University Statisticians, taking 3 for 50 off 10 overs. Altogether, OUS bowled 42 overs.
Middleton declared at tea on 191 for 7. In their own distinctive styles, Tim House scored a classic 54, Richard Simpson 45, Simon Pettit 29 not out and Paul Wordsworth 24. The promising innings of Jay Mumtaz and Jim Watson were cut short on 14 and 11, and the much anticipated innings of new opener Guy Ashton and newly promoted number six Olly Selway were cut even shorter on 0 and 0, but the total was just about right. It would have been too few if any of the opposition’s three star batsmen had got going but in the end it proved too many, OUS batted all the way down from 1 to 11 and their numbers 9 & 10 held on to salvage the draw.
In between the two innings, Rosie Cranston provided a first class tea which was much appreciated by both sides and by a record number of spectators who arrived for 5 o’clock. Those three threatening batsmen were Ardun who scored 35, Jon Springer who got 30 and Sathya Vadivale who made 21. The first of those was their opener who batted through to the drinks interval and the last 20 overs but was then fooled by the switch of keepers. Paul Wordsworth had bowled well but took over as keeper from Richard Simpson, who came on to bowl. The immediate result was Ardun stumped Wordsworth bowled Simpson. Jon Springer was bowled by Richard Simpson.
The game’s champagne moment was the dismissal of Sathya Vadivale, clean bowled by Guy Ashton with his second delivery for the club. Other highlights included superb catches by Tim House, Jim Watson and Jay Mumtaz. Richard Simpson 3 for 19, Simon Pettit took 2 for 39, Paul Wordsworth 1 for 8, Guy Ashton 1 for 9 and Simon Lee (have I mentioned this?) 1 for 1.
Peter Van de Kerkhof and Stuart Midson had opened the bowling well but without much luck. Tim House, Jim Watson and Olly Selway had an over each towards the end as we tried to dislodge that ninth wicket pair, Morris Senior & Beverley. Olly’s injured arm prevented him opening the attack or bowling at his normal pace so he instead did his impression of Sathya’s normal style, to great effect. We bowled 37 overs.
Guest stars for OUS included their other opening batsman, Alex Silverman, who was bowled by Simon Pettit for 7, Richard Morris who stumped Paul Wordsworth and batted for ages to save the game on 2 not out, and Jack Morris who did not bat but who bowled 5 tidy overs.
Jon Springer and Richard Morris of the opposition generously ran the barbecue and we let the opposition skipper speak in recognition of Sathya’s great efforts in securing the game, putting us in to bat and bowling for almost all of our innings. There were cameo appearances from George Lamb’s Morgan, Graeme & Anita Delaney, the Watson, Midson, Silverman & Springer families, many spouses, partners, families and friends, and Wil Harris on his motorbike. Thanks to everyone.