Match Date & Time

Date Time Season
June 9, 2024 2:00 pm 2024

Match Report

The Pen is Mightier than the Sword.

In the corresponding fixture last season the temperature was sweltering, rain threatened all day and Islip dominated the play only to be thwarted by major hailstorm.  All was to be very different this year.

On the Saturday afternoon, Tim, Matt and Paul had completed the pitch preparations in pleasant sunshine. Sunday dawned cold, but dry, as the pavilion was unlocked and the scorebox readied. Jen Lyons was unloading not just a cricket tea, but a  birthday tea for James who was looking forward to celebrating with some runs and wickets. Matt Bezeley and Seril Shah had volunteered to complete the visiting XI who were now gathering under the oak tree.

Islip lost the toss and were fielding first, Howard Lancaster and James strode out to open the innings. The first over from Crawford passed without event as Howard played watchfully. James had been out for a duck on Wednesday, he was determined to do better this time. When he edged his second ball through to the keeper his disappointment was manifest. He was left with three choices; help Jen set out the tea things, do some extra revision for his Maths GCSE in the morning or to spend some times in the nets. Jen was on her own, the maths book unopened, but Ahmad had some batting and bowling practice with James that was to pay off later in the game.

Tim Riley joined Howard and for a quiet half hour runs accumulated without alarm. Howard found the fielders with his best shots. A crisp square cut was well fielded at point and a clip to the leg side that was even crisper somehow lodged between the heels of square leg.  Howard was encumbered by a sore calf, which was only worsened when Tim called him for a third run. Unable to run , (some heartless wag suggested, “how could we tell the difference?”)  Mark Ford Langstaff was called on as a like for like runner.

After the usual uncertainties about who was to call the runs, Howard was able to enjoy batting without the effort of running. It was a throwback to when Howard had done the running for a debilitated Simmo last year. Mark was having a good warm up as he was next man in. With 47 on the board Howard was well beaten by an inswinging yorker from first change bowler Hambridge. The next man in was at the crease so quickly that Islip were taken unawares. 

The reliable opening bowler Crawford was replaced by the gentle spin of Brock.  Mark licked his lips and launched the ball into the long grass behind the bowler for a maximum. Meanwhile Tim was looking in good form, driving well through the off side and scoring from nearly every delivery. Mark tried once more to loft Brock into the distant churchyard. This time he only succeded in finding deep mid off.

Olly Ross has been in very good form. The partnership with his captain promised to be a bright one. Olly picked up two boundaries in an over from Brock in the same over that Tim passed his half century.  Hambridge proved Olly’s undoing when a peach of a delivery swung late away from the left hander to hit his off stump. 

The score was increasing sharply as Tim began to play with ever more freedom. Soon he had passed his hundred supported by Ahmad. Played into good touch after his net with James, Ahmad drew admiring gasps from the assembled mass, (well perhaps 12 spectators) when he smashed his second ball way over the boundary at the farm end. Running between the wicket was enlivened when both players decided to meet in the middle, dozy do and then head for the same end. Fortunately the fielders failed to deliver the ball to the waiting keeper.

Tim was out  for 115 with the score passing 175. Mike Robinson was clearly feeling sorry for James. He somehow managed to squeeze his first ball onto his stumps via the edge of his bat and his pads.   Anirudh came in to finish the innings in a rapid partnership with Ahmad. Seril was introduced to the attack rather too late to make a difference, but he did bowl an immaculate first over. The declaration came after 41 overs with the score at 217 – 6.

The players sat down to enjoy the cheese and pickles, the jams and scones and strawberries dipped in chocolate. More than a few were taken by surprise by the kick of the Perinaise sauce that came with the chicken . Thanks Jen and happy birthday James.

Hamid had bowled for Bicester on Saturday and had three catches dropped. He hoped for better fielding from Middleton Stoney CC. Second ball of the innings he found the edge of the bat. Mark F-L watched the gentle loop of the ball on its path towards his waiting hands. I have seen a gentler slip chance but not often, and last week Mark had pouched a beauty. This week the easiest of slip catches slipped out of his hands. Hamid was an afghan aghast.

Anirudh shared the new ball and was bustling into the crease causing opening bat Brock difficulties with every ball. In his second over Hamid found himself bowling to Brock. His first ball lifted from a length and passed the outside edge. The next ball was chipped very gently back toward to bowler. If Mark’s catch had been a dolly then this was even easier. After four fielders had let him down Hamid was sure to take this sitter. Only somehow he didn’t. 

Hambridge was showing clear intent of hitting the ball through the leg side. The field was set close and runs were there for the taking for a confident player. Anirudh cleaned up the first two wickets with a straight delivery that was too sharp for Brock, and then an outswinger to the next man which was going to hit middle and leg had the pads not got in the way.  Matt Bezeley came in next. He was prepared to see off the opening bowlers as he set himself to play a long innings. 

Aniruhd’s spell was coming to a close, Hambridge bashed him for two boundaries in his final over. With his last ball Aniruhd bowled with all the energy he had left. A slightly wide ball swung further, Hambridge flashed and the ball took the edge. At slip Mark watched, reacted and clutched the ball on the rebound from his right nipple.  Hambridge’s 39 had given Islip hope and it was now up to Captain Black and fellow officer Matt to press on.

James Lyon came on to repalce Anirudh. He bowled an immaculate line and length but without any fortune whatsoever. The only runs he conceeded were from inside edges past the leg stump. Medical academic Paul Wordsworth took over from Hamid to bowl to Matt, recently retired from a senior army post. Initially army tactics seemed to prevail, stone wall defence was blunting Paul’s attack. One ill judged shot brought Matt two runs, a shot he described as totally horrid. 

Paul was to win the battle, squeezing a slightly quicker ball past Matt. Matt beaten when the ball kept just a little lower than expected.  Paul picked up a second with the last ball of his next over. It will be a wicket that Paul will remember with great pleasure. When a plan comes off so well, it is very difficult to contain your joy. Paul was particlarly joyful when he attempted a leg cutter. It pitched perfectly, it moved just enough and took the edge of the bat. This time Mark watched the ball, caught it with ease and jogged off to congratulate the elated bowler.  When Tim took a smart catch behind the wicket Paul had ripped the heart out of the middle order. 

Robin Cummings was playing his first game of the season. Islip had attacked his bowling brutally last year. This time it was Robin’s turn to be on top. Olly Ross all but took a brilliant catch at backward point from his first ball, diving headlong and extending his right arm. He was short of the ball by just enough to think that he could have touched it. Robin’s best delivery was too good for Crawford, a real jaffa that hit middle and off.

Ahmad came on to replace a tiring Paul. He was too good for the Islip tail. Three time in seven balls he hit the stumps as the visitors had no answer to his accuracy. Middleton had avenged their thumping of last season and retired happily to the bar and barbeque where once again Rona and Andrew were hard at work. Next week they are on Holiday, if you are an aspiring barbeque chef, then Wednesday and Sunday next week will be your chance to shine. On a cool summer day it had been good to see some players coming to watch and assist with officiating, thank you Matt and Rob.  Once again the ever dependable Chris kept score, many thanks.


Bowling O M R W
Anirudh Sharma62193
Paul Wordsworth51173
James Lyon3150
Robin Cummings40191
Ahmed Jnr1.1103

Islip CC


Reserve pool: Matt Bazeley, Pankaj Singh, Stevyn Jackson


Chris Greer


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