MSCC v Oxford Downs CC 2022

MSCC v Oxford Downs CC 2022

On a lovely summer’s day, there were 22 people all dressed in white ready to play cricket. The sun was shining brightly amongst the very few wisps of clouds in the sky amidst a gentle breeze and Middleton Park was a picture postcard with the marquee in the background from the previous evening’s entertainment.

Tim House was again standing in for the Club Captain, who was away on holiday, and while the Middleton team were hopeful that the skipper could repeat the winning of the toss as per the previous week, it was in fact Oxford Downs who won the toss and unsurprisingly elected to bat during the heat of the afternoon.

Middleton took to the park with Matt Dipple taking the first over accompanied by Sam Norley taking the second over. After the first 4 overs Downs had amassed 32 without losing a wicket and it was looking ominous, albeit very early in the innings.

Spin was introduced in the 7th over which was an inspired change as Mike Simpson talked his way into getting the first wicket as the Downs opener was caught by Mr. Dipple who was in a conversation with the square leg umpire at the time. One quickly became two as Mike struck again with the skipper taking a catch at Mid-On. Very soon Downs were 3 wickets down as one was flighted, dipped and turned (so I was told?) to bowl their number 4…..Mike was on a roll with three  wickets for 10 runs after 4 overs.

Time for Downs to re-build, which they did, with what can only be described as patient batting as Matt was into his 9th over and regularly hit his line and lengths. He was unfortunate not to end up without a wicket but figures of 10 overs for 23 runs would have made most bowlers happy.

Downs opener T. Costly was still at the crease and building an innings of some note, annoyingly making it look very easy. Paul Wordsworth was introduced into the attack and took a wicket but  then somehow managed to stop a ball coming towards him at some pace to the detriment of his hand, which saw him the leave the field temporarily.

The skipper bought himself on and bowled wicket to wicket and picked up one wicket, which was caught by David Cole, in his 4 overs for 15 runs. Another inspired bowling change saw Howard Lancaster turn his arm, and he took a wicket with a catch held by Mike in his first over.

At this point the Downs opener reached his century and quite rightly retired, which was met with mixed reactions. There was a late array of shots as W. Watts reached 30 not out in no time at all.

With the fall of wickets at regular intervals, tight bowling and some really good fielding, with catches being taken when offered, Downs were restricted to 185 for 6 at tea.

Tea was a delight as it always is at Middleton and my thanks to the Simpsons and the Wordsworths for tea, a great team effort. It was truly lovely with a great array for us all to feast on. Just another call to the players or the members to put yourselves down for tea as there are a few gaps in August.

It was one of those days when you were fielding for 2.5 hours and looking forward to the teas, along with a light nap post tea, the last thing you really want to do is to get padded up…..

Somebody had to do it and Mr. Lancaster was glad to do it while Mr. Springer needed a bit of persuasion, partly as he was on his second helpings of sandwiches. See ball hit ball would be the mentality, which to be fair is not too different to most weeks.

G. Fox, left arm over, and W. Watts opened the bowling for Downs and after beating the outside edge a couple of times early on, Howard caressed a few cut shots away to boundary and Middleton were up and running. Mr Springer managed a boundary or two but one drive too many and he was caught behind for 14.

This bought Matt Carpenter to the crease to continue his form from the previous week; he settled in and carried on from where he left off the previous week, being watchful and putting the bad balls away.

Howard hit another few boundaries but succumbed and was bowled for 19.

This bought Tim House to the crease, who looked very comfortable hitting boundary after boundary (eight in total), while Matt was steadily accumulating runs at the other end. Disaster struck when Tim was unlucky, and was bowled for 35, just as he looked set.

Next into the fray was Max Langdale who provided support to Matt, and there were a number of singles and 2’s but the boundaries started to become scarce.

As we headed into the final 8 overs all results were still possible, and the crowd which had remained consistent over the course of the game were fully engaged in the proceedings. It was a nice throwback to see family’s and a number of the MSCC stalwarts at the club which created a great atmosphere which has been missed.

At this point I would like to provide an in-depth review of the final few overs but it was a bit of a smoky haze as the match reporter got the BBQ going and proceeded to burn the hamburgers and sausages. Both sides looked, and sounded, edgy as the match neared its denouement.

What I did manage to see was a few forays to the boundary from Matt and from David Cole, but one miscue and David was caught close to the boundary. Mike and Sam were in, and then returned to the pavilion, and so it came down to the last over.

Unfortunately, Middleton could not hold on for the draw or secure the remaining runs as Paul Worsdworth was stumped. Matt Carpenter was left 37 not out and unfortunate not be on the winning team due to his keeping and batting.

All in all a great game on a lovely Sunday Summers afternoon with all results still in play for the final 10 overs (and in fact the last over), and a good gathering of friends and family enjoying the game.

What summers should be!

 

Jon Springer


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