MSCC won by 2 wickets
Match Date & Time
|July 2, 2023||2:00 pm||2023|
It is not by the gray of the hair that one knows the age of the heart. Edward George BulwerLytton (look him up – it seems appropriate to do so when playing Bodleian)
The team list for this week’s outing was of mostly mature years. At the age when most sports people are thinking of hanging up their boots, Asif at 41 was the third youngest member of the team. The remaining 8 older players could all give Asif a 10 year start, and half of those a 20 year start.
Arriving at Great Tew, where the Bodleian play their home games, the wide expanses of grass suggested that fielding might be a test of the gray hairs and aged hearts. All of the senior players enumerated the list of their ailments. Feet, ankles, knees, hips, backs and shoulders were all included. Bodleian, possibly the politest of all the teams we play, duly invited Middleton to bat first. The trials of the field could be deferred for an hour or two. It was to be a match of 35 overs a side with bowlers limited to seven overs.
The pitch had seen a number of previous matches. The bowlers were able to exploit some variable bounce and pace. Jay Mumtaz was beaten by one that rose higher than expected giving the home keeper the first of four catches that would come his way. Opening partner, Tim Riley, managed to miss the rising ball on several occasions.
Jamie Lumb has been in good form. He began confidently striking two boundaries through the covers. The attempt at a third saw him bowled for 9. James Lyon, youngest in the team by a margin looked assured until tickling a ball, which rose unexpectedly from a length, carrying to the keeper.
First change bowler, Robinson was venerable enough to be a candidate for MSCC. His gentle medium pace allowed the steady cross wind to create late outswing. The ball was not so helpful. Rarely can a cricket ball have deteriorated so quickly. Within six overs what had started as red was now ashen gray.
Tim R was looking to exploit anything short. The fast outfield, and its Lord’s like slope ensuring that any shot beating the field would be a boundary. Mark Ford-Langstaff was a victim of the breezy swing, LBW to Robinson. Vice Captain joined Captain, the two Tims batting together through to drinks, Tim R passing fifty for the first time this season.
Bodleian possessed two leg spinners who bowled together. Not frightened to bowl a bad ball at the expense of giving extra revs to the ball, both posed a serious challenge. Tim R fell quickly trying one reverse sweep too many, and Howard Lancaster was mystified by a ball which the umpire saw hit something on the way through to the keeper.
With the score not yet into three figures and MSCC six wickets down the game was well balanced. Less than 15 overs remained to reach a challenging total. Mike Simpson, was at first a watchful partner to Tim H. Tim H began to grow in confidence, advancing down the wicket to drive and sitting back to pull. One slog sweep saw the ball soar to the longest part of the boundary where the fielder waited. He took the catch, but in doing so fell backward and grazed the ground beyond the boundary with his arm. As a student of Theology he immediately signaled six.
Simmo ran hard, hard enough to cause him to hand his sweater to umpire Mark F-L . Tim House reached his own first half century of the season. He then feathered an edge, turned and walked off the pitch as the keeper caught the ball.
Asif joined Simmo for the final four overs. Simmo now in full flight and eager for the strike. In the penultimate over a single was taken first ball leaving Asif to face. As each of the five remaining deliveries was bowled Asif swung harder. As each was missed Simmo’s exasperation grew.
Just short of apoplexy, Simmo delivered words of wisdom to Asif. Ben Stokes used the emotional impact of an unlikely dismissal to ignite his innings. Simmo used emotional energy to lash a full delivery over the head of mid on, the boundary and the hedge for a mighty six. Defying the expectation of one who is supposed to be partial to a “not out” average booster Simmo was cleaned up by the final ball trying once more to clear the hedge.
190 was a good score on a challenging wicket as teams retired to a well labelled tea. Sandwiches were listed as vegan, vegetarian, pescatarian and carnivore. The hungry hordes descended.
The Dad’s Army fielding team were very relieved that James Lyon could patrol the long down hill boundary. Asif took the new ball, the strong breeze helping his inswing. Bodleian had little answer to his miserly spell. He conceded only 16 runs including the first wicket. Paul Wordsworth, just back form injury shared the new ball. The bounce helping him to cause further problems for the batting team.
Needing to score at five runs or more per over the run rate climbed. Bodleian concentrated on defence unable to find the same flow of boundaries as Middleton had done. Sure footed fielding on the boundary, led by James kept the scoring down. Simmo enjoyed the bounce the wicket offered. More so after the drinks break where the essential woodbine loosed his stiffening back. Seril Shah was also aided by the bounce. As soon as he found the correct length he proved difficult to score from. With any chance to win diminishing the home team finally began to show more aggression.
Seril made the breakthrough bowling left handed Neely for 46 in his fourth over. Each new batter now showed more intent. Asif also showed his intent in the field, chasing a drive to the boundary, pulling the ball in and then landing head first in the spiky hedge. He unpeeled himself picking out the thorns as he did so.
The bowlers picked up wickets as the Bodleian innings fell apart. Despite being hit for the only six of the innings Tim R picked up three. Seril taking a straightforward chance at mid off, Jamie Lumb extending a periscope to catch his and Simmo making the most of a loopy catch at slip to demonstrate his gymnastic skills.
James Lyons produced a fine throw from the boundary edge for a run out to go with his wicket clean bowled. Jay Mumtaz had the last laugh thanks to a stumping by Jamie L. A chaotic final ball saw runs, over throws and a run out to leave Bodleian 45 runs short and a smile on the face of the players and spectators.
Thanks are owed to Bodleian for a warm welcome, to Seril who stood in at the last minute and to Chris Greer who kept score.
|Bodleian CC total||140||9|