Nalborczyk gives the signwriter a new challenge.
Max Nalborczyk began his Sunday afternoon gently lapping the outfield on the ride on mower. After this warm-up clearing up the grass, he started to clear up the opposition. Wayfarers were still a part team when the toss was taken, two players still on the M25 and they were grateful to have won the toss and to have batted first.
Asif Kamal, caterer for the day, took the new ball. The third ball was smashed behind square for 4 and the visitors were away. Nalborczyk was his opening partner and from the start it was clear that he was going to be the danger man. First wicket to fall in Nalborczyk’s third over was stand-in opening bat, Withanage, held at cover by Michael Robinson who made an easy catch look a little harder that it was ( it came slower than expected). Both bowlers had very good shouts for LBW turned down, one for each batsman before the visiting umpire decided that a third shout must be out and Max had his second wicket at 8 -2. The board ticked over to 22 without major incident. Most of those runs had come from the visiting skipper, Buckfield who had scored 70 in the corresponding fixture last year to nearly win the game.
In Nalborczyk’s 6th over, the twelfth of the innings the crucial wicket of Buckfield fell. A hard catch at cover was made to look easy by Ben Breaker, who gave a very modest toss of the ball in celebration. Six balls later it was Michael Simspon tossing the ball in the air at second slip giving a first wicket to Asif who had previously had no luck with several confident LBW shouts. Wayfarers were reeling, runs were drying up as enthusiastic fielders threw themselves into the way of the ball, chased and rescued balls bound for the boundary and showed what a Middleton team really should be like in the field. Ben Breaker stood out for his repeated clean stops in the covers, Paul Wordsworth dived to clutch the ball one handed and Michael Robinson was everywhere, diving, sliding and chasing for all he was worth. Once again, Squiff Wordsworth was all action in what must have been one of the best ever MSCC fielding displays. Nalborczyk claimed a fourth wicket and Kamal a second, well taken by keeper Lumb, low to his right, as the Wayfarers floundered.
While change bowlers, Paul Wordsworth and Seril Shah, did not take wickets they were both miserly. A dogged stand began to develop for the seventh wicket as Wayfarers inched towards respectability. It took another change for further wickets to fall as Robinson and Simpson, the two Michaels, took over the bowling. Apart from one expensive Simpson over, wickets once again began to fall, firstly a catch to Simpson at short fine leg, who made good ground before pocketing the ball over his left shoulder from a full toss that was not the finest Robinson delivery of the day. Then Simpson, recalling his “7 - for” against this opposition last year clean bowled top scorer Madden (41) and the experienced Rudge for 3. There was just time for Nalborczyk to squeeze in two overs in the attempt to get five wickets and his name on the honours board.
It was the third ball of the 47th over of the innings, (you can bowl a lot of overs when you don’t have drinks breaks) that he did so. The last man obligingly patting the ball into Riley’s waiting hands at silly point. The summary of Nalborczyk’s efforts 9.3 overs 4 maidens 5 wickets 7 runs. A really good piece of bowling on a benign wicket and clear Man of the Match performance.
Both teams retired to a feast prepared by all members of the Kamal family. A healthy helping of plum tomatoes was the Captain’s taste while others set to demolishing a fine array of cakes and sandwiches.
A new opening partnership of Robinson and Breaker set out to race past the 117 tally needed to win. Thanks to Tim House who began the umpiring, and to Howard Lancaster who umpired throughout the innings.
Wayfarers opted to take pace out of the attack, but were a little handicapped by a wicketkeeper whose crook knee made keeping difficult. 10 runs had been gathered without alarm, Breaker good on the front foot and calling confidently, Robinson circumspect when Breaker was deceived by off spinner Rudge. Riley joined Robinson and began confidently, leaping down the wicket to exploit some creative field placing by the Wayfarers; three silly mid- offs left plenty of space in the covers. Robinson continued in his circumspection, and then would smite the ball mightily to the boundary clearly enjoying a rare chance for an extended bat. Victory was appearing over the horizon when Robinson lost his wicket, playing a fierce pull to a ball that stayed low, bowled for 32.
Mark Ford-Langstaff, who had had a very quiet time in the field came in and looked comfortable from the off. Runs flowed as Riley attacked and did not stop when Riley departed for 39 as the dependable Squiff Wordsworth joined Ford-Langstaff. They had equalled the scores, thanks to a pair of all run threes from Ford-Langstaff. Sat on the boundary, next man in Jamie Lumb had taken off his pads in the belief that the game was over. Ford Langstaff was having none of that nonsense and in trying to heave the ball for six into Bicester and beyond was bowled. Lumb leapt into action, re-fastening his pads, adjusting box and gloves and marching out to the wicket to score the winning run. Moments later he was walking back and next man Simpson was digging in his bag for his pads, hunting for his discarded gloves and being told to do his shoelaces. Had another wicket fallen chaos would have descended. Squiff avoided this possibility by smacking a third boundary to conclude the match.
The visitors made merry after the game and enjoyed a barbeque thanks to Michael and Ben and liquid refreshments from barman Peter V K. Chris Greer kept score all day and won the prize for the best dressed attendant of the day in matching jacket and cap, Wayfarers pink and grey were subdued this year, we look forward to welcoming them back in blazing glory next season.