MSCC won by 18 runs
Match Date & Time
|April 30, 2023||1:30 pm||2023|
After two false beginnings Middleton Stoney were able to complete a full game of cricket before the end of April. That they did so was tribute to the stupidity and bloody mindedness of many venerable gentleman who should have really known better. To try and play cricket in the continuous light drizzle that fell form 5.30 onwards is something that only ultra keen eleven year olds should contemplate, but something of the spirit of those eleven year olds lives on in those half a century older.
Two days earlier one of the venerable had heard the chif-chaf chif-chaffing as he mowed the outfield. The still air of Sunday resonated with bird song all afternoon as the players arrived on the ground, optimistic that a full day of play would take place on the manicured turf. The pitch was flat, it was damp and looked to be bowler friendly. The skipper on winning the toss opted for first innings. Captain and vice Captain pads on, walked out jauntly to face the opening volley of the season.
Oxenford had had games cancelled the previous day. A twelfth player was allowed take the field in rotation, and meant an extra choice of bowler was enabled. Mark Phillips from the Church End was instantly into his rhythm and neither opener looked comfortable. Tim House glanced the first boundary of the season, a shot that looked graceful from the pavilion, but took a chunk of wood from the inside of Tim’s bat. The Captain should have been run out for a duck, but survived as the keeper fumbled, only to depart a few balls later. Jay Mumtaz and Tim House accumalated runs, having seen off the rest of the opening spells of Phillips and Dogar. The change bowlers still causing problems but without the consistency of the openers.
Tim House was caught at the wicket for 26 just after team score passed 50. Discussion on the boundary edge suggested that a total between 130 and 140 would be difficult for the side batting second. The outfield was exceedingly slow, and there was no pace in the wicket to work with for the batters.
Elliot Barton looked in good form, timing the ball as well as anyone. Unfortunatley he offered a very tame return catch from a leading edge to a ball that stuck in the surface. Mark Ford-Langstaff’s innings was brief, Jamie Lumb’s only slightly longer. Middleton’s satisfactory 51 for 2 was now a concerning 78 for 5. Howard Lancaster was due in at number 8, but noticing the designated number 7 was yet to be ready seized his opportunity and joined Jay at the crease.
Jay’s calling was often just the opening of negotiations, the wizened brow of Howard was unruffled. A run out was always a possibility. Together a stand of 30 was compiled. It included the first six of the season, and for Howard the first six for a decade.
With three figures on the board, Howard drove to long on. He called confidently and set off to the danger end. Phillips was the fielder, he hurtled in, moving rather quicker than Jay. A fast flat throw picked out the keeper. Jay’s 34 was top score and vital in the context of the day.
Sathya Vadivale was next in. He and Howard took the score to over 130 with a mixture of inventive strokes, few of which came off ,and running which threw caution to the wind. Boundaries were hard won, the gathered singles were keeping the total moving. Howard was eventually a second run out victim, but the target had by then been achieved.
Time for tea. And what a tea we were offered. Mark F-L was cheered up by the selection of cheeses, many slices of cake and succulent strawberries. It came as no surprise that the tea interval expanded an extra 10 mins as players rerturned again and again to the table. Many thanks to Rona and Andrew, it was so good that no one really cared about the raindrops that fell outside.
It was humid, but the drizzle dispersed in good time for Rob Barton to take the new ball. Paul Wordsworth joined him from the farm end and always looked more likely to take a wicket. Had he not broken the wicket at the umpire’s end he would have done so, the batter relieved to be called back on realising what had happened. Twice the ball fell just short of mid off, but no joy yet for Paul.
Tim House was positioned at point, his neat pick up and throw created the first wicket. After some confusion, it is tricky for an umpire with a dodgy fetlock, an ipad and a jumper in his hand to raise a finger, the batter accepted that he was out. Sam Norley gave a second seam option from the Church end. He bowled very tidily and took the wicket of the dangerous Gedara bowled by a ball described by umpire Simmo as ” very straight”.
Tim House was soon in action again, a reckless call from Oxenford’s opening bat and Captain, Ayyaz left Cosgrave well short of his ground at the bowlers end following Tim’s perfect throw. The umpire, unemcumbered by fetlock, ipad or jumper raised his finger. The new batter was Idris. A real live wire in the field he looked determined to battle hard for his team. Elliot Barton was next to bowl. He looked the part, athletic run up and quick of arm he was to cause trouble to any who faced him. In his second over beat Ayyaz for pace, bowled for 19. Next ball, Philips, potentially Oxenford’s most dangerous threat, was retuning whence he had come, his middle stump uprooted.
As he departed the drizzle recommenced, this time to stay. If this was not the first game of the season, nor the game so well poised both teams would have left the field. As it was Elliot was unable to gain firm footing in delivery and the bright hard ball we had begun with became a limp and sodden object of which the bowlers had little control.
As the bowlers began to struggle Idris and Sameer set about the recovery. For the first time it looked as Oxenford were in the stronger position. Rob Barton returned for a second spell as the home team sought a way to make a break through. Meanwhile the hubbub in the pavilion was not at the excitement of the action on the pitch but at the entrapment of one of the members in the ladies loo. Rob’s chance of wicket came as the ball was lashed in the direction of Sam Norley on the midwicket boundary. The thud as it hit Sam’s chest was nearly as loud as keeper Jamie’s anguished shout as he just missed with an attempted leg side stumping.
Paul Wordsworth does not normally take a long time to bowl an over. Taking time to properly dry the ball each delivery did slow down his usual over rate. That time taken proved worth it when he made the vital breakthrough bowing Sameer for 24, and leaving MSCC needing four more wickets to win. And Oxenford 50 runs to get with plenty of overs remaining. To show the visitor’s intent incoming batter, Dogar deposited his first ball deep into the undergrowth, off the mark with a six; game on!
Tim House was called on to bowl. He was thrilled to take a wicket with his slower ball, the batter less so. Middleton sensed the win was imminent, but the weather always threated to favour the draw. Mark Ford Langstaff had stood at slip for thirty damp overs without a suggestion of an edge. Now Paul delivered a delivery just wide enough and full enough to draw the edge. Moving smoothly to his right Mark pouched the ball in both hands and felt a smile return to his face. In celebration Paul took the ninth wicket with his next delivery.
In the final embers of the game, Idris became the key factor. For five overs he managed to maintain most of the strike while still scoring enough runs to keep a win a possibility. Sathya had sent the Captain a message that he was unable to bowl this season. He regretted that message when he realised that he had been taken seriously. Fortunatley he remembered at the eleventh hour to explain that he had been in jest and the captain threw him the ball to win the match. It took him to his eleventh delivery to do so, Simmo delivering the coup de grace. Many thanks to Simmo and Richard for standing through the atrocious conditions and to the players of both sides who made completing the game possible.
Reserves - 1. Seril Shah
|Richard Lumb||Richard Lumb||Rona Hickman|