On the hottest cricketing day anyone can remember, it was a great toss to win away at Combe and Babbs duly elected to bat first. After the early loss of Potter, to one that kept low, Sarosh (50) and Muaz (107) combined to put on a partnership of 148 for the second wicket. Brilliant batting from both with hardly a risk taken and a partnership that drained Combe in the field. This set the scene nicely for Usman to come and do his thing and make a quickfire 28 before Samir (22), Jeejo (14) and Kunal (21*) kept up the tempo to make sure the 2s used up all the overs to post an excellent 274 for 8. Special mention to Izzy Kirby, who toiled up the hill to take 3 for 54 from 9 overs, including a break for heat exhaustion halfway through the spell. Izzy’s brother Connor also bowled with accuracy to take 4 for 44 from his 9 overs.
Refreshed by iced coffee supplied by Sarosh who parked a fully-loaded branded Wolf-fridge in the Combe pavilion, thereby winning Wolf of the week, the Wolfpack were able to warm-up despite the heat and fielded very tightly from the get go. Callum and Samir both razor-sharp at short cover, cutting down the angle and saving plenty. Kunal (1 for 30 in 9 overs) got the first breakthrough as Dangerous Dingwall dragged one on that rolled back on his stumps in agonising slow motion. The excellent Ashley Horn batted on, but was becalmed by Sadler’s accuracy (3 for 39 in 9) and the turning point came as he tried to up the run-rate by taking a risky 2 to Usman behind square on the leg side and we were reminded why we call him ‘roboarm’: the throw came in like a bullet and Potter whipped off the bails as Horne dived in vain. Two of the Combe gun batsmen down. Uzzie then combined with Potter to induce Nicholson to nick, which Potter joyfully accepted behind the stumps making 3 big scalps to the Wolves. Tight bowling from everyone (8 bowlers were used) meant that Combe never quite got back in the chase and Muaz finished off with 2 wickets at the end to mean that the hosts finished 8 down and 45 runs short. This really does mean it’s all to play for in Div 5C with just 14 points separating the top 4 teams. Game on!
Report by CB
Fourth XI Match Report
The return of W/L cricket got off to the best possible start for the 4s as we won the toss and spent exactly 0.001 seconds deciding to bat first in searing heat at our neighbours up the road in Kidlington. I was delighted to finally receive confirmation that Gabe F (40) and Alex B (30) are in fact two different people – our two centurions in the 4s had never met before heading out to the middle to open the innings. Clearly enjoying each other’s company, they put on 71 runs for the first wicket before departing in quick succession, leaving the skipper (21) and Ibi Z (22) to stabilise the innings with extras (59) outscoring both of them. Bowled out in the 40th over for 185, our noses were marginally ahead at the break – Kidlington had only passed 150 twice this season, including in their only win of the season (unfortunately that was against us!).
Manny R and Yusuf R helped themselves to early wickets early doors (11-2 after 3 overs), lifting Wolves spirits, but runs began to flow off the blade of opposition batsmen and the outstretched arms of the umpire. Extras top scored for Kidlington with a fine half century as they wrapped up victory by 3 wickets with 18 balls to spare. Hijrat M nailed his yorkers superbly at the death to finish with 1-13 off 5 overs, but the highlight was to see Sam P (34-1 off 8) bowl his heart out in his long awaited debut for the 4s, and some truly outstanding glovework by Danny R behind the sticks.
Report by PL