Joe and Nick Moorman opened our batting for the second Sunday running. Joe raced to 53 before falling LBW. Nick was again the last man out, this time with 110, having scored 112 the previous week. After the openers’ 88 run partnership, our only other substantial partnership came between Nick and our number 9, Jack Morris. Together they put on 74 runs, enabling us to reach 200. Jack’s cover drive for 4, together with Joe’s driving and Nick’s 6s, were all impressive. Jack was out for 12, which was more than the combined score of the other seven who batted, Jay Mumtaz, Stevyn Jackson, Richard Morris, Simon Dancer (making his debut), Paul Wordsworth, Stuart Batts and Rob Barton, although Rob’s innings was the pick of these, on 3 not out. Banbury used ten bowlers who between them bowled 46 overs. The only Banbury player not to bowl was their wicket-keeper, Richard Simpson, who stumped Paul Wordsworth.
The Springer Family’s tea was greatly appreciated, especially the cakes, which delayed the re-start. Seven Middleton Stoney players then bowled 39 overs. Rob Barton had an opener caught behind by Richard Morris, of which more anon. Jack Morris dismissed the number 3 for a duck, a classic spinner’s wicket, caught at slip by Paul Wordsworth. Paul, Jay Mumtaz and I also bowled before the last twenty overs began, at which point I judged that our opening batsmen had had time to recover from their exertions. At one end, I brought on Nick Moorman who removed their two big scorers, their number four bowled for 46 and the other opener LBW for 59. Joe Moorman delivered all ten of the remaining overs at the other end, clean bowling their number 5. When I brought back Paul Wordsworth after Nick Moorman’s six over spell, he trapped their number 6 LBW. Banbury still needed 30 off the last five overs when their number 8 came to the middle, a certain Richard Simpson, to join their number 7, Billy Rendell, who is becoming a professional opponent, having played for Blue Lion against us a week ago. It still took them until the final over to win the game.
The champagne moment could have gone to Nick, Joe or Jack for almost any of their boundaries, or to Tony Sheen, one of our newest social members, who galloped round the boundary to collect all the flags at the end of the game, when the players seemed too exhausted to do more than struggle to the bar. Dr Nick Thompson, our Honorary Grounds Manager, did brilliantly to produce yet again a 400 run pitch in desert-like weather, and to start the barbecue, yet again. Mike Simpson, who wasn’t even playing for either side, not only umpired the opening overs but also took on the running of the barbecue, once more. The Morris Family ran the bar, again. Elliot Barton stepped in as 12th Man to field well for the injured Stevyn Jackson, who gamely umpired for the Banbury innings. But I chose as our champagne moment the first catch we took, by our wicket-keeper Richard Morris, who combined a Darcey Bussell pirouette with a Tom Daly, or perhaps Neymar, dive to retake the lead in the fielding contest for the most dismissals. Having moved to take a catch off Rob Barton’s bowling where leg slip might have been, Richard reversed direction as the batsman somehow edged his intended leg-glide towards silly point. The ball spiralled up, as did Richard, and both came gently down to earth at more or less the same time.
Together with Paul Wordsworth’s neat take at slip, these close-catching exploits set the bar high above some of our ground-fielding in the deep, where the ball found its way through to the boundary, either sliding underneath a body, or, if it was the fielder who was sliding, bouncing over the last line of defence. Bowlers took this in good part. Batsmen also accepted the umpires’ decisions with good grace. As the umpire who gave Joe Moorman out LBW, for example, I rather think he was walking back to the pavilion as I pondered the decision.
Many thanks to Mark Austin and his Banbury team for stepping in to salvage a match for us when our scheduled opponents, Old Salopians, had to withdraw. It would be good to play Banbury regularly. They approached the game in the right spirit and deserved to win, despite terrific all-round performances by the Moormans and the Morrises.