Away to Hook Norton in a top of the table deciding game, we lost the toss and were invited to bat first in overcast conditions on a drying wicket. Tom and Mark opened up and made a decent start before Tom left one that swung back late to clip the off stump bails, falling for 2, before Ben was cleaned up by a very similar ball delivered by the excellent Adam Webb. Now our innings turned into a bit of procession as the next three batsmen added just 8 to reduce us to ~60 for 5 and had the skipper chewing his fingernails and distractedly counting solar panels on the Hooky Pavilion roof (I make it 99). Meanwhile Mark looked like he was batting on a different wicket to everyone else and scored 50 out of our first 65 runs. It wasn’t until Yatish, in at 7, arrived at the crease with us in deep trouble, that Mark found some support. This partnership saw us up to ~145 with Mark finding the gaps with increasing fluency and Yatish picking his moments to hit a couple of huge sixes to the furthest reaches of the ground. When Mark eventually fell, Gus and Samir sacrificed themselves by trying to up the rate and give us a chance at 200. This meant Babbs took to the crease with 5 overs to go and initially struggled to lay bat on ball, such was the movement produced by the returning Hooky opening bowler. In desperation to keep the strike Yatish was run out just 6 short of an extremely well deserved 50, leaving Barkat and Babbs to make sure we used our allotment. Babbs finally managed to get a boundary away in the last over and Barkat was cleaned up on the last ball of the innings trying to hit a six into the brewery. We enjoyed a sumptuous tea provided by Hook Norton (how I miss those days) and wondered whether 166 was enough. It felt a little below par, especially as the solar array on the pavilion was now working overtime and the pitch was drying fast.
Samir bowled with aggression and pace and clean bowled the opener in his second over before combining with Gus to remove the other opener caught behind. Yatish came on to replace Barkat up the slope and gave us more cause for hope by taking 2 wickets, both sharp catches for Gus (Yatish finishing with 2 for 44 in 10 and Gus with three catches) and when Sahil clean bowled the Hooky number 4 with his first ball and Barkat, Gus and Usman combined to run out the number 7 to reduce Hooky to 60 for 6, we fell like the game was turning our way. However, we reckoned without the sheer determination of Kieran Scott, the Hooky Captain, who scrapped his way to 44 and within touching distance of the win before being cleaned up by a Rich Oliver cutter. By then, the game was as good as over and Hook Norton went over the line on the last ball of the 39th over.
We were outplayed in all departments by an excellent home team and could only congratulate them on their successful title chase. To make things worse, we’d only got 7 of the 9 points we needed to secure second spot and we felt sure Stonesfield would prevail over bottom of the table Kingston. However, the disconsolate wolves were prevented from crying into our beer by the unlikely news that Stonesfield had had a bad day at the office and been bowled for just 100. As the realisation dawned that we’d held on to second spot and are in line for promotion, an entirely different mood erupted and the Hooky team came and congratulated us. We’ll look forward to a rematch in Division 3 next year!
Huge thanks to everyone who played and scored in the 1s this year, it’s been quite a rollercoaster of a season, but all’s well that ends well.
Report by Chris Babbs.
Glorious tales of peril, derring do and victory to follow.
Opportunity comes and goes in a flash, like a summer passing all too fast. What Once stood before us as a world of potential is now a happy memory. A winning start to the day and skip didn’t hesitate to raise his blade in battle. But this battle was as much against the pitch as it was against the bowlers. To say that the pitch offered assistance to the bowlers is no underestimation. Gabe, Shyju, Ackerman and Walsh all fell with only skip getting into the into the 20s. Nevertheless at 83 for 4 with the ever diligent pairing Potter and Symmington at the crease and plenty of talented wolves in the hutch we felt well placed to set a good target. What followed was calamitous to the extreme. 83-4 became 89 all out and spirits were low. We rallied, we believed in our bowling attack and we hoped. Unfortunately our bowling left a little to be desired and our hosts got off to a good start. Saddler started tidily, The Irf threatened, Jeejo’s 2nd spell was an absolute stunner (2 for 5 off 6 overs) and as the ball was passed around. The missed catches and runout weighed heavy on all of us. We succumbed with a whimper. Plenty of learning to take forward for next season and plenty of joy shared by the whole pack in the pub.
A great season for the 3s albeit without the finish we wanted. Massive thanks to all of the pack that represented the 3s this term and especially thanks to our amazing skip Shyju. He said he doesn’t want the job next year and we are leaving some awfully big boots to fill, a wonderful talisman and friend. Thanks Shyju.
– Phil Walsh
The 4s, playing at home at Cairns Fudge, had an afternoon to forget in the late summer sunshine. It started worryingly as cars were parked well within hitting distance of the square but got slightly better as we managed to decipher the many many padlocks and chains that kept the “clubhouse” of CF secure. It then got a bit better still as we won the toss and elected to field. We were a little generous again, though better than last week, with our wides (16) and made breakthroughs at regular intervals. The star of the bowling attack was Tom Bratby who took 5-15. We bowled well and some of the catches to take wickets were equally good. Tom was supported well by all our bowlers but especially Stuart Robinson who ended with figures of 3-27. Oxenford were bowled out for 175 and having kept cars from being hit (though we nearly lost players to being hit looking for balls on the main road) we felt that it was a target we could and should get.
13 overs later with 18 runs on the board, we were shaking hands and packing up. Record secured.
This report seems a bit short of detail and joy in comparison to previous reports and if you do a word count of the 1st paragraph it is 175 words. The second paragraph is 18 words. As you can see, you can give a decent amount of detail in 175 words about what happened. In 18 words; not so much.
It has been a good and enjoyable season for the 4s and it is a shame to end it on a low point but, as we desperately tried to find the positives, we decided that an afternoon playing cricket in the sun with your mates is still a good afternoon. This part of the pack now have the winter months to lick their wounds but we will be back and hopefully with more words to play with for our next report.
Report by Marc Lewis