Harry Baldwin’s Occasionals were unable to field a team this year so the gentlemen of Enstone Cricket Club stepped in to ensure we could all enjoy a day’s sport.
Enstone won the toss and, as they were a bit light in the batting department, elected to bowl first. Good decision.
As Howard was slightly detained, on a matter of National Importance, I was promoted by eight places to open the batting with Mark Ford-Langstaff. Amusingly when the skipper stated that Mark and Mike would open the batting Mike Robinson excitedly padded up in readiness!
The outfield was slow with a good covering of damp grass cuttings preventing sublimely timed drives from reaching the boundary rope and far too much scampering between the wickets had to take place. That said we put on 85 runs for the first wicket in a display so breathtakingly spectacular that Asif went for a nap in his car.
I was run out for 41, and not before time. Jay Mumtaz and Jamie Lumb helpfully contributed one more run between them and then unpunctual Howard treated us to a swashbuckling display as he scored an unbeaten 36. Mark F-L put his foot down and had scored 77 off 100 deliveries when he was unlucky to be caught in the deep by former MSCC player Wayne Dibsdell. (Wayne was not famous for his catching when he played for us!)
Stevyn “All Action” Jackson showed good intent but was caught out having amassed just 2. The skipper had little chance to shine with an unbeaten 7 before our tea time declaration with MSCC on a healthy 182 for 5.
The tea interval was a bit of a disappointment to be honest. The designated tea lady, Tim House, was a bit poorly and a memo had gone out on WhatsUp or something inviting us to bring our own refreshments. So those that were in this group and had read the memo enjoyed their tea and the others (me and Howard) wept and scrounged tit bits off our more generous team mates. Unkind tongues have, from the safety of their keyboards, suggested that of the MSCC players Howard and I were best suited to missing a meal. Shocking!
So with the tea debacle over, Enstone strode manfully out to bat. Enstone provided us with an unusual plastic coated cricket ball with very little seam to try and bowl them out with. We planned to stuff it down a rabbit hole, shout “Lost Ball” and get a proper replacement one the first time they whacked it into the woods. They foiled this plan by not whacking it into the woods at all.
Adam Smith faced 35 deliveries, most of which he left and he had to be encouraged by the ever increasing slips cordon to get on with it. Eventually Matt Dipple, who provided a very fine tea last week incidentally, tempted him to waft at one which cannoned into his stumps. We were in business!
The rest of Enstone’s innings is a bit vague. In the absence of Chris Greer, our splendid and meticulous scorer, our stalwart umpire Richard Lumb both umpired and kept score on his iPad contraption. He says that a couple of the batsmen were transposed (Southern speak for “I made a bit of a meal of it”) But hopefully you will get the gist.
Chaminda, a legendary Sri Lankan big hitter who regularly whacked my bowling into various Witney housing estates when he played for Witney Mills against Bicester, played very positively. He whacked our skipper for a four and a six. He was then undone by flight and guile, tidily stumped by Jamie Lumb.
The rest of Enstone’s innings was a defensive affair. According to Lumbers’ iPad only two Enstone batsmen reached double figures during their innings. Kieran Rawlings survived with a smile and good humour for 35 deliveries for just 1 run, despite withering banter from the surrounding close catchers before succumbing to a very sharp catch at forward short leg by Tim Riley off the bowling of Mike Robinson.
The match ended in a draw with Enstone reaching 78 for 8.
Seril did a good job on the bar and Tim Riley the BBQ which was very popular, particularly with those who were not on the “Cricket Tea is Cancelled” WhatsUp group.
Many thanks to Enstone C.C for coming to play the match in good spirit. We hope to see you again.