Match Date & Time

Date Time Season
April 21, 2024 1:30 pm 2024

Match Report

Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Deddington Bone Breaker.

“I am afraid”, I said to my wife, one Friday morning in the April of ’24. “I am afraid to look at my phone because the deadly Deddington Bone Breaker has struck twice and we now only have 8 fit men to play The Min.  The first victim was the vice captain, his radius rendered into two dislocated shafts, the second Pankaj, with a fractured phalange on his index finger. We wish both swift recoveries and advise against batting in the Deddington Nets. There was already one space waiting to be filled, now there were three. 

At once the Middleton telegraph sprang into action. Narendan, like Pankaj is new to the club and was keen to replace his friend.  Max Langdale, himself recovering from a nasty hand injury last time out (v Blenheim last year) stirred from his winter slumbers – or his dissertion writing- and announced that he could play.  .  The final place was filled when Sathya announced he knew of a young man, new to the area, who would be able to play.  Just as the team seemed complete, Sam Norley was struck down with Man Flu, most probably the Deddington variety of the virus. Elliot Barton could make the game, as soon as his twenty over match for Buckingham concluded, and thus the team was finally settled.

It was a cold week, but it had been largely dry. The spring weather may not have been good for cricket grounds, but wildflowers have done well, the groundsman noting the prolifernce of cowslips around Middleton Park, and sprouting from the outfield a single Early Purple Orchid.

The ground was dryer and for the first time this season play was never in doubt. The Min come from afar, from Hackney, from South Essex and in one case Cublington. Most have been coming for years and most came in fear of the MSCC batting which has featured centuries three times in the past five matches. Messrs Simpson, Moorman and Way being the centurions. None of those centurions were playing this time out.

The Min won the toss and put the hosts in to bat. As Tim House and Matt Dipple walked out the accompanying sound track was not the usual birdsong and lowing cattle, but of the neighbouring farmer’s clay pigeon shoot. “Ah the sounds of home” said The Min’s skipper and Hackney resident, Richard, . The Min were well wrapped against the fierce cold of a bitter north wind. The wind pierced every layer and despite the scarves and hats all were cold. Tim survived a very close run call when called for a doubtful second run, not out said Pankaj who had kindly volunteered to umpire.  Matt batted just long enough to show that the middle of his new Gray Nicholls has promise. The promise was cut short by the eager finger of Pankaj, which despite its plastic bandage, was raised at the first appeal. 

Tim picked up the a brace of boundaries in the fourth over to give some home encouragement. Stevyn Jackson did not have home encouragment as he realised in the space of his short innings that he had the wrong keys with him and had therefore locked himeslf out of his own home. He departed the crease, second LBW victim to bowler Wigg and umpire Pankaj, to rush home to break and enter Jackson Towers. Batting at number 4 was Sathya’s guest. Very little was know of this mystery player , other than that he and his younger brother had turned up to net practice at Bicester on Thursday (where no one was injured) and that they both showed promise. Ahmed was the young man’s name. It was clear that Ahmed was no stranger to the art of batsmanship. His technique was elegant and classical, a left hander who on a difficult wicket looked for every chance to drive. 

With Tim H looking increasingly confident, a period of steady accummulention developed. Wigg was giving nothing away, Amir Khan  was almost as hard to get away. 12 overs had passed the score was 34 – 2 and it looked as if a total of around 150 would be made. All changed rapidly when Ahmed was taken behind the wicket, Tim House played around a full toss to be bowled and Tim Riley was bowled by Wigg, the ball feathering the off stump. 43 – 5 and Elliot not yet finished his 20 over game at Bicester which looked, according to the evidence to be going the distance.

Narinden is a keen but inexperienced cricketer. Rob Barton had the job of coaxing Narinden into a period of survial. Runs came a trickle but vitally time was taken as Narinden and Rob defended obstinately. Just in time Elliot’s taxi, piloted by Richard Lumb, pulled into Middleton Park.  Narinden’s resistance was broken by Gadsby. Max Langdale joined Rob and was soon demonstrating his own unconventional foot movement to the bemusement of the bowler. 

Leg spinner Wright had Rob bamboozled, bamboozled but not beaten. When the batsman changed ends, Max was completely bamboozled, beaten and bowled. Elliot decided that positivity was the way forward. He dispatched the first ball he recieved over the head of mid off for the first boundary in ten overs as it to say “What have you been waiting for Dad?” Padded up on the Boundary’s edge. Paul Wordsworth was looking forward to his first knock of the season. Half an hour left of the innings, he was surely to be needed.

Elliot’s belligerence rubbed off on Rob who started to strike the ball more confidently hitting two boundaries in his 26 not out, while Elliot’s 33 not out included two towering sixes. The father and son pair all but doubled the score in the last half hour before the tea, allowing a declaration to be made.  As tea was taken, Rona’s scones proving very popular, a little more was discovered about Ahmed and his brother Muckhtar. They are from Afghanistan, have recently arrived in Bicester from Crawley and both love playing cricket.

Taking to the field to protect a low total accurate bowling would be needed from the start. Rob Barton must have been feeling the effects of his innings, or the three hours practice on Saturday, as he struggled to find his length conceeding 10 in a disappointing first over.  Ahmed was given the new ball at the farm end. His first over was anything but disappointing,  Accurate from ball one, he found significant turn. Experienced Ernie, The Min’s veteran left handed opening bat knew this was going to be a challenge. He lasted three overs before Ahmed beat him with the one that goes straight on. 

Elliot replaced his father. Stiffening up after his long spell in the earlier match he did not bowl with his regular fluency. Ahmed however remained on the money. He struck for a second time with a ball which turned sharply . Anand, the beaten batsman, clearly baffled that a ball that pitched so wide on the off stump had dislodged his leg stump.  Paul Wordsworth took over from Elliot. He was the third of three bowlers from the Church End to start with a long hop dispatched to the boundary. Prepared to toss the ball up he was preparing to celebrate a wicket as the ball was hit toward Elliot at mid off. It was a fraction out of reach. Batsman Khan was brutal in response showing Paul no mercy. At the other end Gadsby was playing patienty. Ahmed bowled, Gadsby defended, slips hovered.

Matt Dipple was the pick of the seam bowlers. How he did not bowl Khan with his second delivery will have to remain an unsolved mystery. The ball was swinging… and so was Khan. Placing Ahmed at deep mid wicket looked to be a master stroke as Khan holed out, Ahmed taking the catch with calm assurance. As the final twenty overs began The Min were in control, but Middleton Stoney were not without a chance. The key moment came when Ahmed had Gadsby out of his ground, the keeper only needing to dislodge a bail for a clear stumping. Alas he missed on the up stroke, and although the fielding team were convinced they had their man on the down stroke, the umpire remained unconvinced. 

Middleton were well beaten in the end. The Min had their first victory for 8 years and clebrated in style as the home team licked their wounds. Once more Rona did sterling service in the bitter cold on the barbecue while Seril and Andrew manned the bar.  

Please note that there are many players who are yet to sign up on the tea rota. If you have not yet done so then please do so. I would hope that this is the last time you need to be reminded.


Bowling O M R W
Rob Barton30170
Ahmed Jnr134192
Elliot Barton20130
Matt Dipple70131
Paul Wordsworth4.20390
Seril Shah3000

The Min


Reserves: 1. Elliot Barton


Middleton Stoney Cricket Club | Middleton Park
Bullmarsh Cl, Middleton Stoney, Bicester OX25 4JF