The Middleton Batters
‘Twas on a Wednesday eve in Twenty Twenty one
That a match took place ‘tween Middleton
Stoney; near Oxford, where the home is
Of a visiting team who call themselves Isis.
The sun shone all that day on the sward verdant and lush
Watered by Simmo and Simon in whom we entrust.
Then trimmed and marked out by Howard and Paul
So soon we had contest twixt bat and ‘tween ball.
Clouds they did build through the course the game
As a terrible heat sought the players to tame
But much as seemed that the bowlers might melt
The ball to the boundary was given a belt.
On winning the Toss, Captain Riley with Thomas
Did open the innings with signs of great promise.
Two overs gone, Nineteen on the tally
The first change of bowling helped Isis to rally.
Riley from bowling too short took plenteous plunder
Thomas unlucky a long hop got under
And gifted a catch to square leg in the field.
Now Harris and Riley gathered their yield
Of boundaries frequent and sometimes all run
As they galloped about in the westering sun.
Umpiring Dipple, resplendent in Yellow,
Ignored from the bowler a confident bellow.
So Harris responded with blows strong and true
And delicate dabs turning ones into two.
First batsman past fifty as the score neared the ton,
Riley was snaffled by Blatchford, the Isis Long on.
Floyd followed soon after, but crickey, oh golly!
It seemed the catch was taken half-volley.
Vadivale, Hon. Sec, in sweater tight wrapped,
Attempted to ramp and to lead the attack,
Innovation in batting it looked very dashing,
Harris, his partner just carried on smashing
The ball to all quarters and had his half century.
Vadivale caught keeper, next tally book entry.
For the final three overs, joining the fray
Max Nalborczyk planned to make it his day.
Once more catcher Blatchford was out in the deep
And though the trajectory was awesomely steep
He confidently held a difficult chance.
Now came Lancaster ready to dance
With steps quick and dainty he scampered ‘tween wickets
But ne’er had the chance to offer to biff it.
At close of the innings a gross had been mustered.
A good enough total, no need to be flustered.
To open the bowling were Williams and Dipple
Not a zephyr was felt, nor standard give ripple.
Gathered round by the bat were gulley and slips
Hoping to hold on to edges and nicks.
To Lancaster first the ball came at great pace.
His hand he held up to show us the place
That the ball hit his thumb, right there at the base,
The bowler was cross, it showed in his face.
Two balls later another one flashed off the splice,
It passed through the slips in a fraction or trice.
Now in anger did Dipple bowl the ball faster
Another one dropped would be deemed a disaster.
Flying left with both hands Max nearly held on.
The bowler exasperated asked “What’s going on?”
In his subsequent over came cheers of delight
A Slip catch was held, with both hands held tight.
Williams was now able to join in the fun
The Isis third batsmen was out for one run.
Dipple looked dangerous, delightful to see
After five of the overs it was thirty for three.
The game it looked over, the batting half busted,
The result of the match surely done and half dusted.
But Isis showed spirit and their younger batters
Took charge of the game and the field did scatter.
Barton came good with a lethal long hop,
It defeated young Blatchford bowled neck and crop
Now came to the crease a batsmen of class
Who did not allow any bowler to pass
Past his edge without ball having devious spin.
To his work he set out, in his stride he was in
The bowling now seemed a little more thin
Worried faces appeared, perhaps they might win.
A bowler of seeming unflappable calm
Was now given his chance to turnover his arm.
First three balls were near perfect from Mr John Floyd,
Fielding spirits by this were much buoyed.
Ball four and ball five something different he tried,
The first was a six and the second a wide.
Much chastened he showed in his next set of six
He had not shown us all of his delivery tricks
The stumps he distorted with a bit of a snorter,
A wonderfully flighted inswinging yorker.
One batter now had the game in his hands
Fourteen runs from two overs and he’d feel grand.
The captain decided that the time was just right
As billowing clouds blocked the fading sunlight
For Dipple to bowl the over penultimate
The task he was given, the run rate to sate.
For five balls of the over the stevens were even,
The runs they had scored were a comfortable seven.
Let us tell of the merit of Dipple’s final top trump,
First swinging away, cutting back on off stump.
The bastman was bowled, he was Isis’ last hope
Though hard they had tried there was not enough rope
They made one last try to stretch past the line
But Nalborczyk was bowling an over quite fine.
The game was concluded the final ball bowled
And Middleton Stoney pavilion - ward strolled
Elbows were bumped and all did agree
It was the finest of games that they ever did see.