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Home » Match Reports: 11 May 2024

Match Reports: 11 May 2024

First XI

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Second XI

It’s one of the truths of this game we love, back for the new season amid beaming May sunshine – a good team builds its foundation upon its scorer. The one who writes in the crosses and dots, I mean, not the one who does anything as unusual as ‘score runs’. The 2s had a scorer for the ages – so would that then mean, as per the aforementioned logic, they would put the Bletchley lads to the sword? No!

The start of the game provided one of those wonderfully-deceptive feelings cricket allows, where having won the toss and put Bletchley in, the 2s then had them at 20-3, with Shelley and Sadler blending their shared grasp of swing and length to encourage the Bletchley top-order to play some ridiculous hoiks, many of which had a distinct ‘first game of the season’ vibe. Wickets duly tumbled. At that point, one starts to wonder…Will they be all out for 60? Back in the Hart by 5pm? What happened instead is that the next two batsman added, between them, some 170 runs to the total, which rather changed things.

The fielding was tidy throughout, with Darren Jones taking a lovely diving catch, and captain Amit Borlikar doing his bit to keep taking wickets, including 2 in 2; but aside from a moment of sheer genius, where Wasim Quereshi opted to injure his shoulder midway through his first over, allowing Tohsif to step in and dislodge one half of the mammoth partnership with his first ball, using the lesser-seen ‘double-bounce LBW’ – it was tough-going out out there for the bowlers, although, with regular-enough wickets chipped in from all contributors to keep a wolfish sense of encouragement. Credit to the big-hitting 104 the Bletchley number 4 made.

But still – 220-odd as a target in 50 overs, for a team bristling with batting calibre? Yes please. The dynamic was simple, and easy to grasp: if the Wolves batters didn’t give their wickets away, as many of the Bletchley batters – then this game was effectively unloseable. Is that, you ask, what happened? No again!

Shyju did what all good openers should do in the first over of a new season, and hit the opening bowler for a six, a four, and then, just for fun, a single. Then got out to the next ball he faced. Will Symington and Darren Jones took their time to prepare to do what Shyju could not, and lay down a marker to set up the still-inevitable victory – then both swiftly got out too. Tohsif in next, the mighty sword of that famed ‘nearly a double-century’ knock . . umm, golden duck. Walshy? Walshy will do it.

And to be fair, as the only batter to get past 20, he did indeed do what others did not, and batted an innings featuring some of his trademark, hard-hitting rapid-reaction trigger-pulls. (Although he also did the thing which is never great to do, where one luckily survives a skied ball, only to then run out one’s batting-partner, and the team’s captain.)

So yes, dear reader, ‘it was not inevitable’, to the tune of an eventual loss of about 100. (Credit to Saddles gamely, if wearily occupying his regular Wolves role, where the number-10 bat is told, before going in, ‘get a century please mate.’ He did not do that, to his eternal discredit, but did pull out some excellent strokes to second-top score.)

But the sun was shining – the scorer’s body can attest to this – and a good collection of guys had a jolly old time in the sunshine together, and that’s never the worst thing in the world.

Match report by Toby Sprigings

Third XI

The sun was shining, the birds were singing, the A34 was running smoothly, and all was right in the world for Wolvercote 3s 2024 opener under freshly minted skipper Samuel Payne. This feeling of the coming of a new season pretty much summed up the whole day as the Wolvercote threes youth contingent overturned Abingdon Vale 3s pretty much on their own. The “adults” watched on admiringly.

The skipper’s main contribution to events was winning the toss and inserting the hosts on a bowling green of a wicket (with teeny tiny boundaries to match). The thinking was that the experienced fire power of George, Glenny, Pinhol, and Payne would blow away Vale for a low score, thereby avoiding the need for our young guns to chase too huge a total. This worked not at all. Abingdon’s grizzled opening pair of Williams (45) and Baker (33) bedded in as first Payne and George, and then Glenny, toiled away without success. The only positive being that the aforementioned teeny tiny boundaries suddenly seemed as broad as the Russian Steppe as the ball slowed to a dribble off the square.

Enter the spin twins of Du Plessis and Harkness. Turning one way and then the other, they both bowled with guile and patience, with Du Plessis (36 for 3 from 9) bowling both openers, and dismissing Fleming caught behind for a duck, while Harkness (2 for 33 from 7) combined with Gabe to stump the Vale number 3, prior to dismissing their number 6 for another bit of poultry. As soon as the youth left the attack, however, wickets were hard to come by again, and, excepting a burgled catch by Pinhol of a bit of filth from Bird, and an excellent run out, also by Pinhol, the hosts nurdled their way to an “about par”-looking 169.

The Wolvercote reply began less than ideally: Farrell (1) lasted less time at the crease than the swarm of bees that had passed by earlier in the game, and Crouch rode WAY more than his fair share of luck to a modest 7, including two embarrassing drops. A controlled and composed Xander Quinney could do no more than watch on from the other end awaiting a more responsibly-behaved partner. This arrived in the form of undisputed Wolf-of-the-Week Hugo Du Plessis, and the pair stabilised the innings nicely before Xander was caught off the bowling of Holmes for 27. Brief… VERY brief… cameos by Scott, Harkness and Pinhol added a mere 5 runs to the total, before Brian joined young Hugo at the crease. Their 92 run undefeated partnership was well-paced, stylish, and composed, with the coach playing second fiddle to his student throughout, including graciously handing the opportunity to score the winning runs to the youngster. Du Plessis’ 71* run vigil was a masterpiece in how to build an innings, and, on a faster outfield, would undoubtedly have bagged him a ton. Bar a pair of maximums (take the bloody grass out the equation!) almost all of his runs had to be, well, run! This alone would have earned him an MVP award, but combined with his 9 overs and 3 wickets, it is not much of an exaggeration to say that Wolvercote 3s took on Abingdon Vale on Saturday, and Hugo Du Plessis won. One down: 17 to go!

One final word: one of the great pleasures of the game for your correspondent (and please forgive a touch of sentimentality), was that of watching Nic Pinhol, Sam Payne, and Brian George – the authors, architects and agents of the Wolvercote Youth set-up – play together as friends and witness (mainly from the sidelines it has to be said…) three of their most talented charges completely boss a game of cricket playing with elan, composure and good grace. Well done boys. Proud to be a 🐺.

Match report by Daniel Crouch

Fourth XI

On a glorious sunny and warm May afternoon, the 4s arrived to find fortress Kennington being invaded by tiny Kennington footballers who, we were told, were not due to finish their match until 1.15pm! Thanks to some expert negotiations by our amiable groundsmen, they were persuaded to leave 20 minutes before the first ball was bowled which just about gave us time to paint a boundary and put down markers.

The toss, attended by 3 captains and two umpires, was – in keeping with 4s tradition – lost and we were put into the field. Stanton could only muster 10 players but they started well and, although there were some good spells from the youth of Rishi (0-17 off 7 ) and Krish (1-22 off 7.3), they were 60 without loss after 20 overs. Fortune then smiled down on us as the Stanton opener injured his knee and had to retire hurt. His return to the pavilion ushered in the first spell of summer 2024 for Norm Robins. In his 8 overs he took 5 wickets, although he (and I) could only recall 4 but the scorebook never lies and it was a great spell of bowling ably supported by some fine bowling from Leo Dolan (1-34 off 8). The most memorable wicket taken by Norm was a catch from Stuart Robinson in what will be known as the “sitting on the loo” catch. A skied ball appeared to be going over Stuart who had to turn at *checks field position image from the Wolves whatsapp* forward square leg and took the catch over his shoulder in a pose which can only be described as sitting on the loo. From 91 for 1 (effectively 3 with the retirement and missing player), Stanton were all out for 133 with Krish, Leo and Dom Sheehan (1-10 off 4) being rewarded for their tight bowling with a wicket each. Although Rishi didn’t take a wicket, his maiden over after Stanton were starting to impose themselves really made a statement and was as important for us as taking the deserved wicket his bowling deserved.

After the tea break, which included a delivery of snacks from the Chinese takeaway down the road as a way to welcome in the new season and watching parents courtesy of the captains, both of them opened the batting in what must be a first for the club. After a bright start Marc (5) was bowled and it was Ali Dent (5) who, with Alex (38) starting to play some exquisite shots, took the Wolves to 44 before he was caught. The co-chairman/groundsman (17) was next in and looked like he was going to repeat his batting feat of last year until he was lbw to a ball which, from his description, was closer to hitting his car than the stumps. This brought new Wolf, Paul Hewitt (24*), to the crease who played an anchoring innings remarkably reminiscent of the 4s former captain, Phil Lohan. With an exciting cameo from Dom Sheehan (18) and a not out from Krish (2), Paul bought the Wolves home with 10 overs to spare and with 5 wickets in hand.

Alex and I would like to say thank you to Norm and Hanif for preparing a wonderful pitch and giving up their time to do so, as well as Simon Palmer for scoring and also helping with the pitch set up whilst he nurses his injured shoulder.

I’d also like to take this opportunity to acknowledge Chris Babbs, Nic Pinhol, Daniel Crouch, Mo Shafqat, Norm Robins, Sam Payne and the other working members of the club, who have helped Alex and I with various issues as we learn the ropes of what is needed to get a cricket match organised. Although some of you will be aware of what they and other committee members do, the majority of you will not and, just from the little that I have experienced so far in this role, I can tell you that it is like doing a demanding second job for free and that they do it with amazing selflessness which often goes without much thanks or even awareness from many at the club. One reason I mention this is that when they ask you, the members, to do something (mainly opting in or out on Spond for match availability or paying fees), please please please be aware that you not taking 2 mins to respond on the app means that they have to spend much longer out of their free time trying to sort out the inevitable issue that arises from your lack of action. This not only impacts on them but on their families and other plans that they may have. We have a glorious summer (hopefully) ahead of us and so let’s do all we can to make it a memorable one and be considerate of those who do so much to provide us the chance to do something we love and enjoy!

Up The Wolves

Match report by Marc Lewis

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