Match Date & Time

Date Time Season
July 3, 2024 6:00 pm 2024

Match Report

I don’t know if you have had the same experience, but the snag I always come up against when I’m telling a story is this dashed difficult problem of where to begin it.

— P. G. Wodehouse

So in this case lets begin the story at the end. Degloved and depadded the home skipper was to bowl the eighth and final ball. Bicester’s retired batsman, Potter, had returned to the crease. A boundary would win the game and three runs would be a tie. Already in the over three wickets had fallen and five runs had been scored. The game had been one of fifteen 8 ball overs and Bicester were chasing Middleton’s 118.

It had been a dark, drear day of drizzle. At four O’Clock it became more dry than damp and the message went out that a game could be played. Both teams had representives on each side, Rob Barton Captained BNOCC and Gus Floyd plays Saturday’s for Bicester. MSCC welcomed Max Nalborczyk and Arvind Sharma for first games of the year.

With some of his side ready to play, Rob on winning the toss chose to field. As the game begin that “some” numbered 8. Two subs were summoned as guest fielders. Harry Way and Jay Mumtaz took first bat. Harry played out a maiden first ball. There was some barracking from a fellow Yorkie, who was at pains to remind those around that he had scored a century for the Over 60s yesterday. 

Jay fell first, hitting a pull shot high on the bat, looping the ball to square leg. The aforementioned centurion, padded up early as he had arrived in good time, made a white rose partnership for the second wicket. Harry played two back foot drives through extra cover for four, Simmo nudged and nurdled. The chance arrived for Simmo to swivel on a full toss and pick up his first boundary. It struck him painfully on the inner thigh. Perhaps thats why Simmo turned down the chance to run some second and third runs… but then again perhaps not. 

At the half way point of the innings, the total was looking a little light. Harry reached the retirement score of 30 and was replaced by Matt Bazeley. The sticky pitch saw Matt struggle to time the ball. Simmo tried to play a ramp shot.  The keeper caught the ball and Simmo was gone. Anirudh Sharma was instantly up and away, as Middleton looked to take the score into three figures. 

Anirudh was out to a delivery that was similar to the full toss that was bowled earlier. A full toss that he mis hit to mid wicket. With time running out Matt found more impetus and with Howard playing a gorgeous cut shot first ball for four 18 runs were scored from the final two overs, Matt being bowled trying to hit the final delivery for 6.

Matt Dipple did not take kindly to being hit for a four from his third ball, remembering his leg break success from last time out, he bowled his slower ball. The decieved batsman was sent on his way by the visiting umpire. Anirudh did not take a wicket in his first two overs, but barely conceded a run off the bat. With two left handed batters in, Simmo was itching to bowl.  A stumping appeal was turned down by the umpire, the keeper not happy with the decision. 

Gus Floyd bowled his off-breaks from the Church End. Potter picking one full ball up cleanly for a maximum into the oak tree. Gus in response bowled a little short. Simmo had Simon Smith, (he played for MSCC as a guest once last year) caught by Harry at deep extra cover, but runs began to flow for Bicester as Potter grew in confidence. 

A second six was smashed into the bench where Mrs Potter and young son were sitting snoozing. The crash of ball on wood jolting them wide awake. “Sorry Dear” said the batsman bashfully. Two balls later the retiring Potter was able to explain how he hadn’t meant to scare them.

Max has not bowled for 18 months or so. A touch nervous at first, his line was not quite as desired, but he was unlucky not to pick up a wicket in his three overs as both line and length improved.  With four over remaining Bicester looked to have the advantage, much as South Africa had had in the T20 world final. Matt returned from the Church end for his final two overs with Rob Barton looking to win the game. Rob drew first blood, smacking Matt back over his head. Matt struck back dismissing Sai, clean bowled. 

Jasprit Bumrah was bowler of the tournament for India, Anirudh must have been inspired. Bowling the 13th over he gave up only 2 singles and had the batsman playing and missing as the ball swung and seamed both way. It was an over that swung the match back toward Middleton. Matt bowled the 14th. He struck again bowling Fuller, with a fuller delivery that yorked the batsman. Bizarrely a wider ball beat both batsman and keeper and scooted toward the boundary. The umpire was kindly and decided not to call the wide.  It held up just short of the rope, Arvind chased it down and threw it in. No run was scored as the batting team had neglected to run.

Rob played the shot of life to the final ball of the over,  a terrific cover drive that drew a round of applause from the players of both teams. The skipper had to make a decision about who was to bowl the final over. Gus had one left but had been expensive, Arvind had not bowled for a year. The only option was to bowl himself. Simmo took over behind the stumps.

10 runs were needed from those 8 balls. The first ball a single. Second ball a ball hit up in air over the bowler to land in no man’s land for a single . Third a stumping for the gleeful Simmo.  Fourth ball a stroke to Mid on for what should have been a single, but a carless misfield, some fast running from the batters and what should have been one was turned into a three.  Five now needed another shot through mid off, this time the batters go to run a second, but do not make it. Four needed from two ball, Rob Barton on Strike.

Calm heads are needed in tight situations. Gus Floyd might have been the youngest player on the field, but his mind was calm and his concentration true. Rob heaved, the ball span up off the outside edge to point. Gus was always certain to take the catch. So now we can return to the start of the story.  Potter facing, the fielders spread wide, light fading fast.  The ball is a little short, Potter swivels and makes good contact down toward the vacant fine leg boundary. Gus is at deeps square leg. He gallops around the boundary, as the two batters cross for the first time, Gus swoops and hurls the ball in as the batsman cross again and turn for the third. The throw is a test for Simmo.

Joss Butler lunged for the Stumps to win the World Cup for England, and in much the same way Simmo lunged for the stumps, ball in his right hand as the batsman hurled himself headlong for the crease. Simmo won the race by a fraction to give Middleton the game by one run. It had been a closely fought match, played in good humour by both sides on a day when it would have been all too easy to let the damp and drear have the final say.

The beer and barbecue always taste better after a victory, many thanks once again to the Hickman’s and to Howard for ensuring all were fed and watered. 

Bowling O M R W
Matt Dipple30173
Mike Simpson30182
Anirudh Sharma3080
Gus Floyd20260
Tim Riley1052
Max Nalborczyk30270



Reserve pool: Hamidullah Meena Pal Afghan


Chris Greer


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