There was a fair amount of discussion as to how long it had been since MSCC played our opposition, but it was generally agreed that it had been a while. Congratulations should go to the respective Fixture Secretaries who had managed to resurrect the fixture.
Oxford Downs arrived early by minibus, with a small collection of supporters. MSCC were less prompt, but almost matched the number of visiting spectators thanks to David Lewis, who, having taken his debut catch for club (and career) and bowled like Shane Warne earlier in the week, decided that the time was right to invite his family to Middleton Stoney to witness what all the glory was about.
A few of the usual suspects pitched up with minutes to spare. Note to players who read these reports; half an hour’s help setting up, before the game, should be a good way to limber up, as well as potentially rising up the batting or bowling order…it is also appreciated.
Simon Lee continued his hit and miss season (he gets the chance to hit very little batting at 11, and misses nothing at very close mid-wicket) with the toss, winning this one and choosing to bat. Charles Olver had kindly stepped in to fill the gap and was to be one of the top four batsmen. “Are you sure you want me to bat at 4” he asked rather too loudly as the home side padded up. I’m sure MSCC were still confident then.
In went Nick Moorman (38) and Tim Riley (45) [not ages], two of the most consistent batsmen in the club, and sure enough put together a skilled and watchful partnership. They were up against a seriously good opening attack. They were there at drinks with 80 plus on the board. Very soon after drinks, they were not there, and a MSCC wobble occurred. Tim House looked (over) confident and after a brace of boundaries skipped down the wicket to an old adversary, Tony Lurcock, and was stumped. He could have skipped elegantly back into the crease, so slow is Tony’s delivery now, but he was on his stomach by that stage of the elegant stroke.
Charles Olver started to steady the ship, although being joined by Simon Pettit, that is often tricky, such is the latter’s propensity to launch most bowlers into the parkland that he has yet to tame, horticulturally. The former perished soon after, and MSCC were 134-4 with time running out. He was replaced at the crease by Jason Williams, another of the last-minute saviours who had stepped in to play at very late notice (11.00am).
The two looked untroubled as they rebuilt the innings and posted a 40 partnership in quick time. Tea beckoned, (earlier prepared by that man Jason and his family) and as Simon P had sent numerous balls into the rough, time ran out with MSCC on 174-4.
The Williams annual tea is always a highlight of the season, and once again Catie and Jason, with the help of a son (Henry) and an honorary gran (Wendy), served up a treat. We were hoping it might lop 50 runs or so off Oxford Down’s appetite for runs.
Here’s a spoiler, (so skip a line or two if you are more interested in the bathos that follows) but it is an interesting challenge to write an upbeat and inspiring account of a game in which you have played in, but then been emphatically smashed. We are obviously looking for new author/players for the match reports, so please step forward and try it, although hopefully the odds will be on a winning account.
James Garrard and David Lewis opened and looked threatening, but Oxford Downs had sent two talented young batsmen in to open, and they began to, seemingly, drain the power (watch what comes next) of an enthusiastic MSCC team. One of three Watts (see) playing for ODCC enjoyed striking a pose after repeated boundaries. He certainly struck a longer pose of disbelief as Simon Lee snaffled his next leg-side clip off the bowling of Rob Barton, and MSCC had the breakthrough.
Asif Kamal was brought into the attack, but ODCC had raced to 75 in quick time. The opener showed his intent and smacked the third ball for four. Asif showed his intent and smacked his stumps with the sixth. During the onslaught, Simon P had bowled meanly, and was unlucky not to claim the wicket of their top scorer.
So, into the fray stepped Jason Williams and with that cunning flight and guile we have come to admire, lured another batsman into his leg-side trap. Three down. Game on?
Not really, as the settled number four batsman was just warming up, and decided to launch one of the opening bowlers for two of the longest sixes seen at Middleton Stoney. David Lewis was having none of it, and smartly deceived him with the quicker, and much wider ball and had him smartly stumped.
A couple of balls later, it was all over, and that 50 run tea-buffer that we had hoped would make the difference had not. In truth, we were out played by a better team on the day.
James G made his debut on the BBQ, and Oxford Downs provide good cheer and a lesson in cricket over the evening and through the afternoon respectively.