Match Date & Time

Date Time Season
May 12, 2024 2:00 pm 2024

Match Report

On the warmest, driest afternoon of the early season, we welcomed the Rainmen to Middleton Park. This fixture has in the past been been one of the gentler games with runs and wickets aplenty for the Middleton Stalwarts.  Rainmen are now a more accomplished team  with a good blend of youth and experience. The Middleton team once again featured some new faces; welcome to Hamidullah, Ahmed’s father and to Phil Trinder. Mike Simpson and Asif Kamal made their first appearances this season, Mike a late fill in for an incapacitated Jamie Lumb.

The toss won, Middleton chose to bat first. A new wicket, the sun shining and Jay Mumtaz striding out to bat eager to put bat to ball, James Lyon his opening partner, just eager. Three balls later Jay was unstrapping his pads, a long afternoon of contemplation ahead, having lost his off stump to Ramsay J, the pick of the Rainmen attack. Ahmed was promoted to bat an No 3, as the listed third batsman, Stevyn Jackson was not yet to be seen. 

It took a few overs for the two teenage batsman to realise that the ball was keeping low. Playing back was a dangerours option. Gradually they mastered the conditions. James tried hard to run himself out but was relieved to see the bowler fumble the return throw when still several yards short of safety. A second and third life were granted by the keeper who missed one hard and one straight forward catch from the unlucky Ramsay.  

Young legs make for keen running. Both playes took advantage of some less than nimble movement in the Rainman outfield. Running a four to a short boundary was a triumph. Short balls began to be dispatched to square leg, full tosses back past bowler. In the warmth both batsmen needed refreshment, and the wicket keeper feeling the heat swapped with a colleague as drinks were taken early. Stevyn was still awaited, as adjustment took place to the batting order and scorer Chris warmed  up his rubber.

It looked very likely that Middleton would have a hundred partnership for the second wicket. Before it could happen, Ahmed was beaten by a ball keeping low, that also moved in off the seam.  Tim House came in next. Having supplied sweet things for tea, ensured the scorebox was ready and greeted the opposition skipper he was looking forward to batting. Off the mark first ball, he then set off to run a single for James. A clear ping in his right calf muscle and Tim’s race was done. A long, painful hobble to the benches was all he could manage. Best wishes for a prompt recovery.

Simmo joined James in the middle. James began to prosper and was soon well past his half century. Simmo nicked to the keeper, as did Anirudh Sharma a few balls later, just as Stevyn arrived, “have I missed anything? ” he said strapping on his pads. “Yes “said the skipper, “your turn to umpire”.   Hamidullah did not adjust to the slow pitch as easily as his son, popping a catch to midwicket leaving Middleton at 121 for 5, effectively 6 down with Tim House iced on the boundary edge.

With James getting ever closer to his first ever three figure score, Tim R tried to give him the strike. Successive boundaries took him into the nineties. A new over saw a single for each batsman. When the century seemed inevitable, James held back on a drive and chipped a half volley back to the bowler. Out for 93, the highest MSCC individual score since 2022.  

Stevyn played a cameo innings of 13 not out to take Middleton to 168 as the tea time declaration was made. Much wistful gazing was done over the honours board as the tea, laid on by Tim and Tim was guzzled. Nathalie and Rona were washing up before the players could get their hands in the water or on the drying up cloths, many thanks.

Phil Trinder had filled in for Jonathon Springer, nursing a dislocated kneecap, (not his own). He took the new ball with Asif. Asif’s first over had the wicket keeper cursing as he fired the ball down the legside. Phil bowled a little too short. Ramsay J and Lamb were the Rainmen’ s first wicket pair. Ramsay had scored a half century in this fixture last time out and was in the mood to continue. Successive boundaries from Phil’s short pitched deliveries and the Raimnen were away. 

The first ball of Phils’ third over was the stuff of dreams. Starting on leg stump, swinging and seaming away to clip the top of the off, a real Jaffa. Ramsay was unable to get near it, bowled for 12. Knights joined Lamb as Asif settled into to a better line. Hamidullah and Anirudh were the first change bowlers. Hamidulluh has a turn of pace, reliant on a whippy shoulder while Anirudh’s action is all bustle. Anirudh thought he had struck when Knights hit a back foot drive to Ahmed at cover. Ahmed apologised for the drop. Catch the next one is always the best advice. Two balls later the chance came again and this time there was no mistake.

Rainmen were keeping up with run rate required. Half the runs had been made and the final 20 overs not yet started when the off spinning section began to bowl. There is a contrast in every way between the bowling of Ahmed and the bowling of Simmo. The main similarity is that both love taking wickets. Slower through the air Simmo struck three times in quick succession, one bowled, one well taken at deep mid on by Asif and one gleefully caught and bowled.  As the last hour started five wickets were needed,  with 75 runs the target for the rainmen. 

The elder Ramsay, was the key to the result. Without him Rainman would play for the draw, but with him going for the runs both teams still had hopes of victory. He was patient, but always on the lookout for the ball to play away on the leg side. Middleton did their best to keep him off strike, but with little success. He had the measure of the offspinners and was single handedly bringing down the run rate.  And then a break through; a drive, in the air but low, breached Simmo’s hands at short cover. A call came for “two”. Jay on the boundary pounced and threw firm and accurate to the bowler’s end and a sixth wicket fell.

Having made such a significant impact with the bat, it came down to James Lyon to finally swing the game.  It took him three balls to hit the stumps and claim the seventh. Ahmed followed suit next over for the eighth. Ramsay remained but knew his options were running out. Stranded at the bowler’s end he could only watch on as James struck twice in his third over with first and sixth deliveries bringing LBW decisions from the Rainmen’s umpire. With just 12 possible deliveries to come, a very pleasing game came to its conclusion. 

As players and spectators gathered in front of the pavilion there was rather more conversation in Pashto than usual as the game was dissected. It should be noted that between just 2 of our players 13 languages are spoken, and even more patially understood.  Rona, Andrew and Seril once again ensured that services required were delivered in first class fashion. A becapped Chris said his goodbyes , a less patient scorer would have been cursing the adjusments made to the batting order.


Batting   R
James Lyon 93
Jay Mumtaz 0
Ahmed Jnr 22
Tim House 1 retired hurt
Anirudh Sharma 5
Mike Simpson 6
Hamidullah 0
Tim Riley 18
Stevyn Jackson 13*
Phil Trinder 1*
Asif Kamal DNB
Bowling O M R W
Asif Kamal53140
Phil Trinder41171
Anirudh Sharma41201
Mike Simpson92253
Ahmed Jnr90351
James Lyon3163

Rain Men


Reserves: 1. Harry Way


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