Match Date & Time

Date Time Season
May 19, 2024 2:00 pm 2024

Match Report

Was it late spring or was it early summer? It did not matter it was a fabulous warm sunny day for cricket.  Many hands were making light work of getting the ground ready for the day, but had Paul Wordsworth noticed that his mower was driving in circles but not actually cutting the grass? 

Old Leightonians had sent a request to see if any Middleton players fancied a game for them, as they would be two players short. Hamidullah and Ahmad jumped at the chance, the empty slots were filled.  The toss won, Middleton asked the OL’s to bat first. Asif was stuck in traffic, so Anirudh Sharma opened the bowling with James Lyon. 

It was the best start to a bowling session that Middleton Park has seen this year. Both bowlers found a good length and bowled with movement in the air and off the seam.  Runs came slowly and when they did it  was from the edge of the bat and not the middle. Coming around the wicket to the left handed Clark, James had the batsmen bemused and LBW playing no shot. He was replaced by another left hander, OL’s guest Ahmad.  Ahamad looked assured, playing straight and looking to drive.  

James’s second wicket came courtesy of Michael Robinson’s catch at mid off, while Anirudh’s first was that of Ahmad who chopped a wide ball back onto his stumps. First change bowlers George Williams and Asif are more used to opening the bowling. Both maintained the pressure on the visiting team. George picked up a wicket with his final ball of his first over. His inswinger was much too good for Budge, who had his middle stump removed emphatically.  An edge through slip whistled past Anirudh before he could twitch. Several paces back were taken before the next ball. 

Asif relies on movement through the air rather than pace. In his third over he produced two beauties that swung in to the base of the stumps. The second dismissing Hamidullah for a duck. OL’s were at 66 – 6 and in some trouble. Acland-Hood was the most effective of the batters. He played positively from the start, mostly through the leg side. With further bowling changes runs began to flow more freely, Powers providing support to Acland Hood as he accelerated taking a fancy to the bowling of Paul Wordsworth and George Robinson. George threatened to take his wicket when a drive was lofted in the vacant gap at Mid off where his father had been standing just one ball before. 

A significant partnership was developing as Jason Williams was called on for his first bowl of the season. Jason was asked by the captain to flight one outside the off stump to Powers. Jason flighted a ball outside the legstump, it turned to beat the advancing batsman, the stumping easily completed by the captain. Was that what you wanted winked Williams.

James Lyon was recalled, he picked up third wicket as Anirudh held on to a sharp slip catch. Harry Way ran out the visiting skipper with a direct hit thrown from mid on as tea approached. Acland Hood remained unbeaten for 81 runs, by far the most significant contribution of the innings.

Mr and Mrs Morris provided  a slap up tea. Richard has a connection with the OLs through his father, even though none of his father’s contempories were alive enough to be playing today. Everyone tucked in with heaped plates. A great variety of sandwiches were supported by crudités with hummous and assorted carrot and chocolate cakes. 

Harry Way and Michael Robinson had to leave tea early to pad up. From the start Harry looked in fabulous form, timing the ball beautifully even defensive shots pinging from the middle of his bat. Hamidullah had the new ball in his hand and was proving a challenge. Jackson from the Farm end less challenging. Mike guided a late cut sweetly to third man. His pleasure was short lived as the next ball found him playing back to a straight ball and the umpires finger raised. Anirudh always plays an aggressive game, he and Harry soon had the score board moving forward, Harry finding the boundary almost every over. 

An innocuous wide full toss from Jackson somehow caught the inside edge of Anirudh’s bat and deflected onto the stumps. Pankuj, after working hard on his batting at Wednesday training came in at four. He left his first ball, good decision making thought his Wednesday evening trainer. A positive, technically good forward defensive at the end of the over drew praise, the call for a risky single drew a very loud “no” from Harry at the other end.

Before he could get off the mark Pankuj fell victim to Hamidullah, playing back to a full ball. James Lyon came in full of confidence after his 90+ score last week. Spinners Powers and Price came on and bowled steadily but offered no great threat to either bat. Harry playing through midoff and mid on picked up singles and twos with ease. James picking off the occassional full toss to the boundary. Harry passed fifty, When he got to 56 everyone clapped for his half century.

James fell trying to hit over the top, he was not happy to have made the error, but a good partnership with Harry had taken the score well past three figures. George Williams has been known to hit the ball to distant parts. To counteract his hitting Allen was introduced to the attack. There have been many very, very slow bowlers who have lobbed the ball into the ether above the strip at Middleton Park, Allen must be the slowest. Harry just waited on the back foot and smashed the ball to square leg, George tried to go straight but never quite found the middle of his bat. Price, probably second best of the OL bowling attack  turned a good one past his defencive prod and he was bowled for 8. 

Fifty were still needed with plenty of overs left when Tim Riley joined Harry Way. Tim survived being caught off a high full toss called no ball while Harry progressed to what seemed like an inevitable century. At last the off spin of Ahamad was introduced. His tight line and length was keeping the scoring down, and for the first time even Harry was tied down. Runs were coming easily at the other end. Tim was unfortunate to recieve a short ball that barely got of the ground to be bowled via the base of his pad, but with only 20 now needed surely Middleton would get over the line. 

Paul Wordsworth, despite his batting practice on Wednesday was so in front LBW that he was walking off before being given out. It was up to Harry to score the runs and get Middleton home. Ahmad pinned him on the back foot to a huge shout. Umpire Simmo was unmoved. Two balls later another ball turned sharply in and this time the fateful finger pointed skyward. It was a magnificent effort that deserved to win the game and to finish in three figures, sadly it was to be neither. He fell with 20 runs required.

George Robinson, Jason Williams and Asif were the last three. If they could keep Ahmad out then there was a chance to score at the other end. George set off for a single but forgot, on reaching the crease, to ground his bat. Hiding his eyes, the umpire his dispondent father,  had to give him out. Later Michael recalled both times last year when he had been run out and stumped equally carelessly. 

Asif and Jason did just enough to raise the hopes of the watching team. Some skittish running and exotic calling had most players saying “what are they doing out there”. Asif picked up a delivery from Ahmad and smashed it through square leg for a boundary…what a shot. Only ten more runs were needed. One more single left Jason on Strike. His effort to emulate Asif ended in despair as did the game. 

Middleton claimed a moral victroy, after all it was an MSCC player who had swung the game the way of the Old Leightonians. They were magnanimous in victory and good enough to buy an entry into the Fifty club which has been set up by Howard. If you are yet to join, please contact Howard who will be glad to help you. Money is being raised for club funds and for a charity donation. There are always new expenses to be paid, some of which is being spent on a replacement for the barbeque.  I am not sure that anyone person has ever done more barbequing than Rona, once again the players and supporters are very grateful. Chris kept score immaculatley, next week we play in a local derby against Bicester, everyone is asking, ” will Sathya be playing”.

Old Leightonians


Reserves: 1. Jamie Lumb 2. Hamidulla Afghan 3. Ahmad Afghan


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