On a peerlessly beautiful day for batting, Babbs lost the toss at Cutteslowe and the stand-in Stanton skipper unsurprisingly asked us to bowl first. With everyone present and correct, there was time for the bowlers to warm up and catching practise before we took the field. Opening from the North End it wasn’t long before Barkat was in the wickets, courtesy of a very sharp diving catch from Mark at square-leg as opener Harry Sutton viciously pulled a short ball just about within reach and Mark executed perfectly. Next, Yatish removed the other opener as Richie caught a sharp low catch prowling in the covers that he did well to get his fingers under. Barket then clean bowled the number 3 with an absolutely perfectly judged inswinger. The Number 4 also fell to Barkat thanks to a catch at deep mid-off from Usman. An obvious trap that he’d just warned his partner not to fall into! Number five fell to a routine slip catch grasped by your correspondent. Samir and Sahil polished off the tail with a mixture of LBW and hitting the stumps to finish off Stanton for 88. A huge part of this was Gus keeping the Stanton batsmen honest by standing up to the stumps to Barkat and Yatish, not something we see everyday! All in all a superb effort by the bowlers and fielders and some sharp catching paid dividends as 4 of the top 5 were caught.
Ben (39) and Mark (17) put on 63 for the first wicket and we felt victory was inevitable. However, we lost another 4 wickets for just 3 runs and at 67 for 5, Stanton felt they were in with a chance and started to attack the stumps and appeal en masse at volume. We were blessed with a very strong pair of umps, who stood firm. Babbs parked a tank on the Stanton lawn and then Muaz broke the spell by smashing an Andrew Walker over for 12 (2 fours and 2 twos) and reduced the total needed to 6, which he finished with a trademark cut to take the game with a boundary. The 1’s now go top of the table and look forward to visiting Stonesfield next week. Huge thanks also to Alex for coming to score.
Report by CB
Victoire! O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay! Wolvercote 3s found winning ways (10 games earlier than last season) as they beat Uffington by 104 runs on a glorious afternoon at Kennington.
Cricket is an individual sport, made up of partnerships, and won by teams. There were some terrific individual wolves: Man of the match was undoubtedly Will Symington for his watchful half ton, but a close second must go to the perfectly-paced 26no by Jamie Scott, with superb acceleration at the death, that he followed up with a non-too-shabby five overs for 9 runs with the ball. Honourable mentions go also to Neil “The Sultan” Sadler (3-11 off 7), and 3s debutant Will Turner with a fiery 2-16 off 6. But it was the partnerships that enabled the wolves to bat all 45, and dismiss poor Uffington for less than a hundred.
With a lovely looking Robins/Rahim deck, Shyju intelligently elected to win the toss and bat. This was especially smart as, with Will Turner not due until after 2pm, we had rather gambled on this. A changed batting order saw Gabe and Crouch open. Neither known for running sharp singles, the scorecard looks very odd, with only two boundaries in the first 12 overs. This was mainly down to a surprisingly slow outfield (although a certain level of blame must be placed on some particularly sluggish running – the Chairman was nearly run out on at least two occasions). 44 runs later, they had seen off the new ball bowlers, but then succumbed to the Uffington spinner in quick succession, with Crouch found stagnant to a text book combination “slow offie followed by quicker straight one”, and Gabe falling LBW to similar 8 balls later. It took Akerman just 6 balls to outscore Crouch’s 12 over vigil, before his eyes lit up like saucers and he missed a straight one. Things were, therefore, delicately poised at 65 for 3 off 17. Cue Partnership Number Two as Symington and Lakshman took up arms. 45 runs later, and the cream of Uffington’s bowling had turned sour before Shyju was bowled by his opposite number. Will was unlucky not to see red ink, but was caught off the impressive swing from the returning opener. 3 overs to go and Scotty and Jeejo let loose, including an utterly sublime straight 6 from Das that may well still be in orbit. 34 runs off the last 18 left a WCC total of 194 that we thought was a little short, but not bad given the sluggish outfield. We were, sadly, denied the delights of a return of the Quaddle and the Querdle (for those unfamiliar with these terms, ask an old Wolf!).
With hindsight, what followed next was a bit one-sided. Bowling in pairs (Sadler/Das; Turner/Quinn) only the obdurate Parman (28, bowled Lakshman) offered any real resistance. Sadler began festivities with a cunning “bring in second slip for the outswinger, bowl a cutter” trick, before bagging a second in a 5 over opening blast. Jeejo showed an extra yard of pace in his return to the side and picked up two wickets for 20 in his 9. The apex of the bowling, however, came with the introduction of Will Turner, who delivered a rapid 6 overs that channelled the ghost of J.P. Gupta with its guile and bafflingly quick over rate. Turner took two wickets for 16 off 6, but nearly all of those runs came from one brutal-hitting over by the aforementioned skipper, Turner coming out on top just two overs later. The young man’s pace was admirably paired with the less-young Quinn’s, well… less of it, but the wily old Emperor was denied wickets in his typically curmudgeonly 5 for 40. Lakshman (2/7 off 2), and Sadler, mopped up the tail. This was a true team performance. Everyone chipped in. All shall have prizes.
What, no mention of Phil Walsh’s lovely on-drive? Sorry, those wishing to hear tale of this magnificent piece of cricketing legend, should form orderly queues at The White Hart, Wolvercote, where the man himself will be re-telling every dramatic moment of his three ball, five run masterclass, on the hour, and at every half hour, at the first three tables on the left in the garden.
Report by DC
The 4s finally got their season underway in brilliant sunshine against Bampton 2s at Brize Norton, where great big Hercules planes were taking off at regular intervals just behind the boundary edge. Put in to field after losing the toss, Jim Lovell made an immediate impact on the game holding on to a sharp chance in the covers off Stuart Robinson’s bowling (2-1). Olly Beard shared the new ball and was unlucky not to be in the wickets after an opening spell of 5-2-6-0. With Jim (27-0) befuddling batsmen, Simon Palmer tucked in from the other end, snaring 4 wickets for 28 (including an early contender for catch of the season from the skipper, a sharp grab at short mid-off, which modesty prevented from inclusion in this report, Ed). We were in the driving seat after 24 overs with Bampton wobbling on 71-5, before a 70-run stand for the 6th wicket and some lower order contributions took them to 179-7 in their allocated overs. Samarth Agnihotri’s fast leg breaks (25-0) and the lesser spotted bowling of Hanif Rahim (14-0) went unrewarded, before Evan Cowley (9-2) and a returning Olly (20-1) got amongst the wickets at the death. Energetic fielding from the youngsters led by Ed Bewes saved 20-30 runs, keeping us in the game at the half way point.
Our chase got off to a flyer courtesy of Evan (22) and Marc Lewis (24), with Evan cutting anything loose with elegant venom, and Marc finding the gaps seemingly at will. Ahead of the asking rate on 54-1 after 10 overs, we wobbled to 60-5 after 14. Skipper Phil Lohan (55*) dug in with Jim (24) to stabilise the innings (112-6) before Olly (30*) saw us over the line in the 35th over, scoring the winning runs with fielders crowding the bat.
A wonderful first game of the season and a really solid performance with everyone contributing to a fabulous win sees us sitting pretty in 4th position in the league. Big thank you to Nigel Lovell for umpiring the game for us so very impartially throughout! Table toppers Oxford Downs 4 are next up in what promises to be a cracker of a match!
Report by PL