Heading out to Stanton Harcourt for the first time since the Raymond Starkings incident the 1’s were hoping to burgle a victory and steal a march on the rest of the table. Babbs won the toss and judged bowling on a soft-looking Stanton pitch to be the preferred option. Barkat and Samir generated early chances that evaded arrest by our close fielders. Eventually Samir got the breakthrough sending both openers back to chokey and after 8 overs had figures of 3 for 6. We introduced a brief period of spin, which was unceremoniously canned by the skipper after just 7 overs, before Yatish (with a point to prove bowling 2nd change) and Muaz (bowling the weird stuff) did a great job of cleaning up the remaining 7 wickets to end the Stanton innings on just 146.
Our reply started positively as Dan and Kalpa put on 33 for the first wicket in just 8 overs, but after both fell before we had 40, we lost our first cluster of wickets. Tom Murray and Richie built a partnership of 51 (our only other double-figure partnership) to give us hope. But after Tom fell for a hard fought 28 we lost our second cluster of wickets and Richie (41*) ran out of partners with 12 overs to spare just 22 runs short of victory, sentencing us to third place, just 8 points shy of the top spot with both teams above us still to play.
Report by CB
Winning the toss, and eyeing a victory against 3rd placed Oxford & Bletchingdon, Wolvercote (sitting in 2nd), led by stand-in skipper Amit, chose to bowl. Openers Tariq and Sheehan set the tone, bowling with discipline and beating the bat on a number of occasions. The first wicket fell to Tariq (1 for 27 from 8), with Majid seemingly utilising X-men powers to keep a dipping ball in the air just long enough to reach him at catching cover. Usman replaced Tariq, and would go on to take a very useful five-for (5 for 48 from 14). These wickets came by execution of well-set plans, such as to push it across left-hander Hash, and to serve-up a low full toss to the swashbuckling number 9 in order that he would put it down the throat of perfectly-placed Deepak at long off. It was earlier in this spell that Tariq produced a piece of fielding worthy of an England substitute fielder to run out (angry) number 3.
Continuing on his 15 over odyssey, and bowling with great rhythm, Will (1 for 28 from 15, with 5 maidens) was eventually rewarded, trapping anchor Pablo LBW. Majid (0 for 28 from 8) took up the mantle, going smartly through his variations as O&B looked to play some shots in the hope of getting to some sort of score. With O&B 9 down, Wolves fancied bowling them out for under 100. However, as we increasingly see in the modern game, the final wicket can prove elusive. Number 6, Nabeel, farmed the strike to end on 64, eventually being knocked over by Amit in the 47th over.
With a target of 143, and feeling that the wicket might have dried out a bit, Wolves felt confident. However, we quickly learned that the pitch wasn’t going to behave quite as we’d have liked. Opening bats Ben and Deepak both fell to good balls from opening quick Arfan. Speight (23) and Darren (28) steadied the ship, grinding out a partnership of 47. After a few nice strokes, both eventually fell, O&B bowling a hard length and producing some good balls as the pitch continued to do a bit. Usman (24) and Tohsif (21) also put together a nice partnership of 38, with some boundaries—and a maximum each—before both eventually departing. Majid (11) looked like he might take us close to the target, but soon after he and Amit were castled by Arfan, the sensible call came from the skipper to acquire the winning draw. And indeed, opening bowling pair Tariq and Sheehan eased us past the winning-draw total and assuredly saw off the last couple of overs.
Whilst grabbing some half-chances at the end of our bowling innings, or one or two batsman going on in our chase might have given us the opportunity for the outright win, Wolves can be proud of a strong collective effort to bag the winning draw and moral victory against a good side who were (are—but now less so) on our heels. Plenty of positive spirit to take into next week’s top of the table clash with Bicester & North Oxford.
Report by SLS
“He’s big, he’s bad, he’s better than his dad…” no, not Stuart Broad: Will Turner! As one big fast bowler retires, another hits his straps as Will Turner takes 4 for 27 and Wolvercote 3s unbutton bottom of the table Uffington to strengthen their hold on second place in the league.
The day started with yet another toss win for Shyju, and the opening pair of Turner and Jeejo were unleashed on the fragile Uffington batting line up. Godwin was caught behind by Gabe off Turner for 1, before the teenager removed the off bail of Mitchell without bothering the scorers any further. The Spin Twins of The Irf and Harkness (2 for 24 off 5) came on, and numbers 2 and 5 were accounted for before a modicum of resistance was put up by Painter (25), and Munday, who batted aggressively for his 41. Jeejo (8 overs for 16) and debutant Waseem (a miserly 3 for 1 – Welcome to the threes!) were unlucky to go wicketless. In fact, it took the introduction of one “normal” and one, ahem, “extraordinary” over from Bird (dot, six, no-ball (dropped) 2, full-toss filth (caught), dot, one, six) to crack open the partnership. The breakthrough made, and Matt to finish on 1 for 22 off 3, Harkness then had the dangerous Munday conned into advancing down the track to pop Gabe’s Wolvercote Keeping stumping cherry (is that even a thing? Ed). Turner and The Irf were brought back to ask some questions of the tail: The “Uff” met The Irf, and the Uff were found wanting, with the big man ending with 3 for 17 off 13, and the young Wolf-of-the-Week with 4 for 27 off 12.
Wolvercote’s innings began with a physics experiment: the unstoppable Farrell collided with the immovable Crouch mid-wicket nicking a single. For a moment it looked as if the earth might be knocked off its axis – and the event was certainly recorded by seismometers on the San Andreas fault – but ultimately both openers escaped with minor bruises and the only real damage done was to pride. Credit to the Uffington fielders though – they didn’t seek to take advantage of Gabe’s sprawled form, and just giggled quietly up their sleeves. After compiling a watchful 40 odd, both subjects of the experiment fell within two overs, Crouch adjudged out of bounds between the sticks with a direct hit from Satyan, and Farrell LBW to the same man next over. These two moments were punctuated only by the briefest of brief appearances at the crease by Harkness, who was cleaned up by that man Satyan (who featured in all three Wolvercote dismissals and ended the game with a creditable 2 for 15 off 13).
This mini-collapse brought the skipper and Symington to the crease at basically the same time. Shyju, ever the cunning operator, realized that, with only 60 runs required to secure the win (bish, bash, bosh), he was (baddabing, baddaboom), going to have to (crash, bang, wallop) get a bit of a shift on if he was going to get his fifty! 8 boundaries later (including a Shot-of-the-Day maximum), the fiddy and the win were duly achieved. Will Sym yawned, stretched, and contemplated double figures… a straightforward victory.
NB: we are delighted to announce that both The Irf and Sadler have been selected to play for The Cherwell League against our neighbouring league on 16 August. Details for spectators to follow!
Report by DC
Yesterday’s match at a breezy Kennington saw the 4s first return fixture of the year against Bampton 2s, the team immediately below us in the table. The first fixture against them was a good tight win thanks to some excellent late innings batting, so we were looking forward to another tight contest.
After winning the toss the Wolves elected to bat, aiming to use our batting depth to build up a big score. The innings started in sprightly fashion, with good scores for Xander (19), Olly (19) and Evan (20) before the loss of Xander in the 10th over precipitated the now familiar 4s middle order wobble. At 63 for 5 things were looking dicey but the ship was steadied by Evan and Norm (23). The loss of the counter attacking Norm bought the introduction of Dom at 9, who played a brilliant and intelligent knock of 66* to accelerate the scoring, ably assisted by Isaac with an even tempered 21*. At 198 off 41 overs the skipper decided to go for one more over to get us over 200, and Dom and Isaac delivered, crashing 16 off the last to take us to a respectable 214-8 off 42 overs.
The Bampton innings started with some tight bowling from Charlie (9-2-10-2) and Norm (10-1-27-3). Charlie got the first opener with a lovely back-of-a-length ball that got big on the batter who top edged one straight up for a nice easy catch behind the stumps. Norm then went bang bang in his fifth over, first to an excellent catch at slip by the diving Charlie, then an LBW to the new batsman. The Wolves surrounded the bat for the hat-trick ball and hearts were in mouths when it caught the edge, was missed by the keeper (sorry Norm!) and then fell tantalisingly just out of reach of the diving Charlie. The deceptive spin of Dom baffled the batsmen but ultimately went unrewarded (5-0-20-0) before the squeeze went in after drinks. Smart bowling by Isaac (7-2-6-2) induced Cutmore to drive aggressively to a running Dom in gully. A second wicket in the over (properly caught behind this time) had Bampton 6 down in the 20th over for just 52 runs. The anchor was then well and truly dropped as the Wolves tried everything to hunt down the wickets. The 7th fell in the 27th over, the watchful Dunbar bowled by a jaffer from Charlie. The 8th an excellent run out by Xander from cover as Bampton’s skipper looked to farm the strike. The 9th was claimed in the 32nd over – clean bowled by the skipper (“we could try the s*** gets wicket theory?”). In the end we couldn’t quite create the chance for the final wicket, (despite the skipper’s best efforts to extract any remnants of shine on the ball) with Bampton finishing 78-9.
A great effort all round that showed the best of the 4s this season, with smart batting to get us up to a total, and some excellent tight bowling to keep the opposition score down whilst forcing 9 wickets against some determined defensive batting. An excellent haul of bonus points and the winning draw still sees us up to 4th in table after Witney Mills were beaten by Oxenford. Next week we’re away to table toppers Oxford Downs.
Report by AB