The afternoon broke the promises the morning had just made.
After a glorious morning during which optimistic Wolves gathered at Challow and Childrey and Babbs had won the toss and elected to field first, the afternoon turned sultry and a storm ventured down off the ridgeway to spoil our fun. In the first half the bowlers sweated it out and Barkat even removed his jumper to bowl 12 overs on the bounce and confound the Challow batsmen by taking 4 for 41 with great control and smart fielding changes. Yatish toiled up the hill for 10 overs and applied pressure by only going for 27 and was unlucky finished wicketless. There were 2 each for Ahmed Muaz and Kalpa, one for Usman and a runout by Usman finished the innings. There were 3 catches for Gus behind the sticks, including a worldie off Kalpa. Catching was key again as there were 2 for Mark in the covers and one for Richie at gully. All in all a really cohesive effort in the field and one of which we can be rightly proud having restricted the second placed team in the league to 133 on a beautiful wicket with a lightning fast outfield.
The Wolves response started strongly with 14 being plundered from the first 2 overs, but then it happened: a rainstorm that had been tracking menacingly along the ridgeway turned towards us, doused the pitch and blew all four sighscreens over. It was short, only 10 mins or so, but fierce and felt like a monsoon. We helped right the screens and tried to get back on but the Challow players were reluctant to resume as they were concerned that the square was too slippery. The umpires agreed, and that was that. We remain top of the league and undefeated 6 weeks in. Next week, we’re hosting Kingston Bagpuize.
Report by CB.
With the sun shining and an unusual absence of a Cutteslowe breeze, the skipper elected to bowl. This week the returning Tariq and Brian took the new ball.
Tariq quickly got his name back on a Wolvercote scoresheet sending the opener packing, beating him with pace and early swing. This was followed by another quick wicket from the leader of our pack at the other end. With the heat searing the changes came quickly, on came the Green Goblin and myself. Number 4 fell next, surprised by the one that actually bounced, he sent the ball straight to Mo. The next partnership managed to dig in and kill the dream of an early visit to the pub. Amit continued to bowl well, only really conceding runs by giving away his weekly quota of wides. However, once again I was rewarded for his hard work. For a second week, Brian gave me 1 more over than I wanted and once again I managed to remove the set batsman, pinning him on the crease for a lbw decision.
The next change came with the introduction of Majid to the attack. Majid began a fantastic spell bamboozling the batsmen with all his tricks. The fifth and sixth fell quickly to him. This making it impossible to resist humming the 70s classic by Pilot. Deepak entered the fold, bringing spin from both ends. Deepak picked up 3 wickets in his spell before the long innings was brought to an end by Grandad finally getting rewarded for his efforts.
As the weather turned tropical across the county we prepare to chase down 173. After a couple of early wickets including a very unlucky Dan, in went Mr. Shafqat with the formula to steady the Wolvercote innings. Sam and Mo put on stuck-in to see off the openers and bring the changes. Sam scored a very important 35 before being caught as we looked to accelerate. At 5 was destructive Deepak. This started the counterattack as the ball began to sail around the park. His quick-fire 44 put us in a position to need 50 from the last ten. Tohsif scored a quick 12 before bizarrely running himself out. Then Mo was joined by Majid. Mo began working the angles to beat the field. Majid fired 2 big sixes into the bushes at the city end before Mo ended the game with a shot through the leg side.
Another long dramatic game for the 2s resulted in a great win. We remained at the top of the table as we prepare to visit Banbury next week.
This week we had many great performances but MOTM for me was Mo. Very well-calculated innings ensured that we got all 25 points. Bring on next week.
Up the 2s!
Report by SP
Phew! What a scorcher!
Temperatures in the high twenties greeted Wolvercote 3s away at Dorchester, and Will Symington, Jamie Scott, and The Irf were on fire as the threes dispatched a depleted and injured opposition with 6 overs to spare.
Week 6 brings “Win, Lose, Bore”, and skipper Shyju eschewed the silliness of submitting to the tactics of damage limitation, and elected to bat: if we are going to play, we are playing to win!
Gabe opened fluently, bashing two boundaries off the first over, before the veteran Dorchester opening pair of skipper Will “The Greek” Anastaisiatis and Neil “Kit-Kat” Kitson pegged both him and Crouch back with some tight bowling. Our openers put on 51 in the first 15 before a change of bowler did for The Chairman (caught behind for a second week running, 27), and Farrell (22), in consecutive overs without a change in score. There then followed a bizarre sequence of events that resulted in two of Dorchester’s attack retiring hurt: first Platt with a back injury, and then their skipper with a side strain. Already playing with 10, the home side were in a spot of bother. The Wolves seized the opportunity, and Shyju, hobbling a bit himself, biffed a sprightly 35 in our second 50 partnership, and was caught off a leading edge. Walsh came and went LBW to a long-hop (how?), before Symington and Scott buddied up. That was the end of the wickets for the blunted home attack, and the Wolvercote pair went through the gears to rack up an hundred partnership (Symington 64no, and Scott 58no), including Shot-of-the-day from the youngster as he whipped Belcher for 4 through mid-on. Will “The Wall” Symington now averages over 50 in the 2023 season and is Wolf of the Week. 237/4 @45 felt enough, and we put the remaining Dorchester players out of their misery, and, spitting on the change of format, left our newly-minted extra two overs on the table.
Taking 10 wickets was always going to be tough on Dorchester’s famous “road”. Fortunately, with one short, and (at least) one damaged, it looked like 8 might do the trick! Odds on an away win shortened considerably with Sadler “full and straight” bowling numbers 2 and 3 with conservative balls, and Jeejo and Gabe combining to dismiss the dangerous-looking Ferris for 14. Douglas and Matthews dug in, and, in over 6, with the scent of petrichor heavy on the air, and rain visible on the horizon, Dorchester realised a draw was their best hope. Despite the admirable resistance of Douglas (33) and Kitson (31 off 20 overs, having already put in a full 15 with the ball!), the only lightening that reached the cricket pitch were The Irf’s quicker ball, as he bowled Matthews with a beauty, and his reflexes as he caught and bowled Douglas. He took two more to end with 4 for 26 off 12, before Sadler came back into the attack to dismiss Belcher and end the game 3 for 33 off his 9, as the Dorchester skipper wisely decided to let discretion trump valour, and conceded the game.
Another great “whole team” performance, and it’s 3 on the bounce for the threes! Next week: Challow and Childrey at home…
Report by DC
With our Captain on the wrong side of the Atlantic and VC, Alex Beaumont, sensibly not wanting to risk the wrath of his partner by playing with an injured finger, it was left to Marc Lewis to lead the 4s against Eynsham at Kennington. With a side that had five U13 players and two U19 it is thought to be the youngest average aged adult side the club has fielded which is a great testament to the youth set up at the club – a point noted by our former chairman earlier in the week. Prior to the start of the match, Nick Pinhol presented three Wolves caps to Jim Lovell, Olly Beard and Evan Cowley in a tradition which will hopefully continue long into the future.
Having won the toss and abandoned plans to field, the 4s went into bat in the glorious sunshine with Lewis and Evan Cowley opening. The wicket had been kept as green as possible, the boundary was made shorter this week and it played its part in an enthralling game with the wicket giving noticeably more bounce than in previous weeks. Two early wickets meant Nigel Lovell (27) came to the crease and, with Marc (54), put on 75 runs which had us in a healthy position of 104/3 after 24 overs. Some tight bowling and the afternoon heat saw wickets start to fall and the run rate slow but an excellent cameo from Tom Bratby (21) saw the Wolves to 177/9 at the end of their innings.
The gods were kind to us in that the thunder and hail which arrived did so just as the first innings had closed and then passed in time to start the Eynsham reply on schedule back in sunshine. We got off to a good start with Eynsham 45/4 after 15 overs with good controlled bowling from Isaac Gavaghan (who kindly stepped in as a last minute replacement), Jim Lovell, Olly Beard and Miles Bratby. With Nigel providing Marc with good fielding advice as well as the bowling unit playing their role beautifully we were in a good position. Alas, the fall of the fourth wicket saw the Eynsham skipper come to the crease and with a steady start he and his batting partner started to turn the screw and a 100+ partnership saw Eynsham eat quickly into the target of 178. With the game looking like it was slipping away a couple of quick run outs thanks to good fielding from Evan and quick thinking by Tom meant that the we went into the final over with Eynsham needing 4 to win. Unfortunately we weren’t able to stop them getting the runs required and were 3 balls away from claiming the draw.
All in all it was an exciting game of cricket played in the right spirit with a few twists and turns along the way. Although the result was in the end disappointing, it was encouraging to see the team play so well to the end and we can take away many positives from the match. Many thanks to Alex for coming along to umpire (and help me with the admin), Simon, Miles, Evan and Olly for scoring and a huge thank you to Norm and Hanif for prepping the pitch, setting up and closing up the ground. Thankfully for all the Captain is back next week as we look to get back to winning ways!
Report by ML