In an eerie echo of the first match vs Challow there was rain around. Again, we won the toss and elected to bowl and again our bowlers excelled as Samir bowled 5 maidens and went for 14 in 10 overs setting the tone and making the Challow openers battle such that they were 38 without loss after 20 overs, likely protecting a holiday depleted batting line up. When the first wicket came, courtesy of Muaz the second opener followed shortly after (also Muaz, who finished with 3 for 12) then Yatish (2 for 13), Sahil (2 for 12) and Usman (2 for 12) got in on the act to reduce Challow to 55 for 6 for before Barkat (1 for 10) adminsted the last rites to finish the Challow on 72 in the 50th over as Gus harried the batsmen by standing up and threatening their bails. Credit to Challow for dogged defense, taking time out of the game as the rainclouds build, raising the question asked here:
Cricket matches are won in a variety of ways, some obvious (commitment, team ethic, practise etc) others less so (foregoing holidays and other Saturday pursuits) and yesterday it was our willingness to push the covers on and off as many times as it took to ensure we could get back on and have a crack at the total before the deluge. Thanks to Mark, Yatish, Usman, Sahil and Gus we got over the line in just 10 overs to be home and hosed before the rain finally arrived. Very satisfying to second, with all to play for and a likely showdown for the season finale.
This week’s game saw the seconds play Brackley. As the team arrived in a convoy of cars, Deepak and Tohsif regaled us with stories of Neil Sadler destroying the Brackley line up in years past. Despite the rain during the week, the pitch looked firm and sloping, and a large outfield had Wolvercote excited to start the game. Brian lost the toss, again, and unsurprisingly Wolvercote were asked to bat first. Darren and Sam got Wolvercote off to a promising start, going at 5 an over before Sam was caught for 8. Dan in next, and the rate dropped marginally before Dan was bowled by a delivery that kept low for 11. Deepak in next and with Darren they pushed the ones and twos, whilst dispatching the loose deliveries. Darren hit a 6 over deep square, trying the same trick but was then caught on the next delivery for 31. Leaving wolves on 80-3. Tohsif then joined Deepak at the crease, and looked to push the singles one time too many, and miscommunication lead to Tohsif being run out on 9 and wolves 94-4. Amit joined Deepak at the crease. This lead to a rain break, as umpires deliverates DLS, Brian putting the pressure on the umpires to get back out before too much time is lost.
Resuming with 41 overs left Amit and Deepak began to build a stead partnership before again another rain break now a 39 overs per side game, and with only 15 overs left Amit and Deepak were given their orders of seeing the next few overs before going into T20 mode. Amit, deciding this was not his style, hit the shot of the day straight back past the bowler along the ground for 4, repeating the same shot past mid on for 2, before being caught for 14. Deepak smashed a few boundaries, with a huge 6 mixed in, before being bowled on 43 off what should have been a free hit. Kalpa and Majid, now at the crease, Kalpa rotated the strike well to Majid, who bludgeoned a number of 4s before both men were caught, Kapla for 9 and Majid 21.
Tariq and Brian now at the crease together when the rain again started. Brian convinced the umpire to stay out before being bowled the same over for 3. This left Will Sheehan at number 11 to repeat his heroics with Tariq from the previous game. The rain however came down much heavier forcing the players off and the umpires taking an early lunch, Wolvercote still having 5 overs to bat. The rain however prolonged, leaving Wolvercote with only 18 balls to bat upon resumption. Tariq and Sheehan bludgeoned 4s and ran well to take our score from 170-9 to 190-9 (193 via dls). Tariq not out on 15 and Will on 16.
With a quick turnaround, Brian opened the bowling down the hill with the slope (after a little protest from Tariq). Brian’s first ball missing the outside edge of the left handed openers bat, whilst his second ball struck the batter full on the front foot Infront of middle stump but umpire declared not out. It was Tariq however who struck first blood in his second over, beating the right handed opener for pace and taking the outside edge of the bat and Darren pulling off a stunning catch grabbing the ball behind him one handed. Brian joined Tariq in his third over finally trapping the left hander lbw on a ball swing back in from middle and off.
Brian followed this up taking a wicket in both his 4 and 5 overs taking bowling batter 3 who swiped him the ball previously behind square leg for 4. This was followed by a slower ball the swing back in taking an inside edge before hitting the stumps. Brackley was now 3 down for less than 20. Tariq picked up his second wicket in his 5th over, bowling Brackley captain Sam, after being square cut for 4. Brian picked up his 4th and 5th wicket in his 6th over, taking Kalpa’s advice and bowling a slower ball enticing the batter to loft the ball to Kalpa at mid off. Brian’s 6th wicket came in his 7th over trapping batter 9 In front LBW. Brian finishing on 7overs 3maidens 6wickets for only 9 runs. Tariq could have finished on 3 wickets, had Amit held on to a ball struck almost straight at him which he fumbled after jumping to take the catch. In all fairness this would have been a wonder catch. Tariq finishing his spell on 7overs 2maidens 2 wickets for 20.
Kalpa and Will then replaced the openers with Kalpa offering good variation and turn with no success. Sheehan bowling with great control picked up his first wicket in his first over with the batter playing a lofted drive to Kalpa. Will wrapped up the game an over later after Brackleys’ only resistance trying one scope shot too many lofting the ball straight up to Darren behind the stumps. Kalpa finishing on 2 overs 14 runs no wickets and Will finishing on 1.2 overs 1 maiden, 2 runs 2 wickets. Wolvercote winning by 143 runs via dls and remaining top of the league, with Bicester hot on our tails but beaten by our next opponents Banbury 4.
MOM Brian George
Report by BG
After four weeks of variable weather with only 2 games in that time, the 3s were veritably raring to go against a lower-table Dorchester side.
After winning a toss and elected to bowl, Shyju felt optimistic about our chances on a tacky looking wicket, thanks to a light sprinkling of rain. Against the odds, the game commenced at 13:00 on the dot. Neil duly got into his grove, mixing in a refreshing variation of swinging deliveries. It was Payno from the other end however, that made the early breakthrough, getting his reward for bowling a consistently hard length. It was to everyone’s confusion that the batsman didn’t walk, after being trapped dead in front of middle. Chaos then ensued. After picking up the return ball of his own bowling, Payno misjudged a throw to the keeper to such an extent that the batters tried to steal a quick single. Unfortunately for Dorchester’s #2, Sam’s throw reached Neil at the 45°, and sharp work from the above and Gabe saw the end of their other opener. Neil, buoyed by the elation of his success in the field, duly took the third wicket, caught comfortably at midwicket by Jeejo.
The Irf and Jeejo then subsequently set about dismantling the middle order. Irf ended with four maidens in his nine overs, conceding only six runs – and picking up their key batter in the process, who eventually fell for 40 in Irfan’s last over. Jeejo grafted hard, but only brought the real fireworks in his second spell. Waseem, Otis, and myself rotated in and out of our bowling stock, with Otis picking up two wickets in the midst of his wonderfully controlled spell. The second of these wickets was spooned to square leg, where Waseem chasing back, had to channel his inner Roloef van de Merwe, and collect a tough grab on the second attempt.
Sam and Neil returned as the death specialists, with Payno disrupting the furniture of the Dorchester captain with a delightful slower ball. Jeejo returned for the final over, looking to end the Dorchester innings with a bang. Jeejo did not disappoint, inventing a new game: (Jeejo) Das Ball. The game comprises seeing how far you can send the stumps cartwheeling off your bowling. Jeejo is clearly a seasoned pro at this game, as he sends middle, and then off stump, flying out of the ground with two venomous deliveries. Dorchester finished for 114 for 9.
After more spatterings of rain, Gabe and Otis proceeded to make batting look easy against the new ball with multiple boundaries in the first few overs. Gabe was adjudged LB (despite the ball hitting the thigh pad), and Shyju also went four, then wicket by chopping on. In the midst of this, Potter hit the shot of the day, creaming a drive over cover, before getting stumped off a quick bowler. Not quite a la Alex Carey, but similar.
This all brought Will “The Wall” Symington to the crease after comments of “this chase is made for you”, and Will set about trying to win his war of attrition against the bowlers, and the pitch. As drizzles of rain came and went, batting got harder and the wicket got tackier.
Otis was given a life by being dropped after skying a ball to mid off, but the cricketing gods evened things out when Otis played back to a good length ball on off stump, which didn’t bounce. A genuine grubber. Wolvercote: 41/4 after 13.
Will and I set about the rebuild, which included blocks, nurdles for quick singles, and a free hit smoked down the ground from myself. We almost made it to drinks without further damage, but Will, in “keeping the spirit of cricket alive” walked after feathering behind. A noble act.
Waseem and I battled through more overs, and we looked to target their fifth bowler. Expansive shots, and a pair of boundaries ensued, as did a wicket, as I walked after bottom-edging a sweep behind. At 85 for 6, needing 30 off 15, we certainly looked in the game, with Waseem being joined by Neil. Waseem fell, given LB by an in-jagger after a very well made 22. Neil fell after some strong resistance, with the target below 20. Jeejo and Payno were removed shortly after, leaving The Irf stranded, and the chase over. Dorchester came out worthy victors in a low-scoring thriller, to the raptures of “we are staying up!”. Congratulations to them, as for us, every game is a must-win in our promotion bid, as we have dropped to third.
Report by JS
Rain is truly wrecking havoc with the 4s season – between 3 abandoned games, 1 opposition forfeit, and 2 byes, we’ve already lost one third of our league season! The forecast for Saturday looked iffy to say the least, and as we set off for Eynsham 2s in driving rain, the prospect of getting a game in looked bleak.
The clouds were toying with us as they kept coming, forcing the lucklessly tossing 4s to bat in between rain showers, coming off, then on, and off again multiple times in our innings. Our openers Ibi Z (40) and Nigel L (14) got us off to a sprightly start, putting on 28 runs in 5 overs. Nigel got given LBW to the wrong ball, with the umpire clearly keen to atone for his mistake the prior ball. From there, a mini collapse, which looked to be arrested as Dom Sh and Ibi motored on confidently until a late “no” saw Dom stranded halfway down the track (49-4 after 15 overs). Ibi continued to score freely until the skipper got freaked out by the first ball of Eynsham’s youthful spinner (5-15) that turned sharply down the legside and promptly got himself out next ball, bowled swiping across the line (75-5 after 19 overs). A rearguard action saw us claw our way to 116 all out in the last over – a total which felt light, but kept us in the game.
A number of complicated Duckworth Lewis calculations later, Eynsham were set a target of 112 in 34 overs. With the sun finally settling in, we needed early breakthroughs to put pressure on the opposition. Opening the bowling from the spinning end, Isaac G (1-15) had two confident LBWs turned down by 4s-strike-bowler-turned-umpire Simon P, but when Tom B (1-17) struck to reduce Eynsham to 51-2 in the 18th over, were were still very much in the game. As two difficult chances in the deep didn’t quite carry/ stick, Eynsham accelerated to wrap up a confident 8-wicket win with a glorious rainbow adorning the sky behind the pavilion.
Next week we face bottom of the table Shipton, and are still very much in the hunt for “best of the rest” behind the top 3 in the table. Onwards and upwards!
Report by PL