Match Date & Time
|July 5, 2023
Those who peruse the fixture card with an eagle eye would expect West Oxford Barbarians to have been the visitors for Wednesday’s game. When West Oxford Barbarians decided all to take holidays in the same week, Eynsham leapt at the chance to fulfill the fixture. And what a good job they made of it, a game of twists and turns on a cool summer’s evening followed by genial company around the post match barbeque.
A cool and windy Monday had been followed by a very wet Tuesday. Wednesday was dry but overcast. The band preparing the ground, Matt Dipple on the mower, Robin Cummings rolling, Tim House marking the lines and the skipper directing all assumed that the wicket had dried. When Rob Barton came to put in the stumps and was greeted with a subterranean squelch, it was clear that the band were deceived.
Eynsham were nearly all ready for a prompt start at six. Middleton were nearly all there too, Paul Wordsworth was negotiating a Headington tailback and the eleventh player had been given details by Sathya. Eynsham were loaned a fielder for an over as the final car full arrived, Middleton were loaned a fielder for the rest of the game. It was decided in view of the heavy cloud that a game of fifteen eight ball overs would be best.
A brace of Matthews took the field to bat. Matthew Carpenter fresh from carrying his bat for Deddington at the weekend and Matthew Dipple. The first five overs went the way of the home team. Fifty runs were scored, mostly by Matt C who was finding the square leg boundary with ease. Timing was awkward, the ball was swinging and there was slow bounce for the shorter ball.
Around the boundary the home team were in a relaxed mood. It was assumed that Matt C would soon reach the retirement score of 30. Tim House, next man in readied his gloves, Max Nalborcyzk began to strap on his pads.
The Eynsham opening bowlers completed their spells as the score passed 50. From the Church end the first change bowler was left arm wrist spinner Robin. His first over slowed the scoring down, he was getting the ball to grip and turn. Simmo the current umpire, began to sense a change in the game. The change came in Robin’s next over.
Matt Dipple was bowled by the second ball. Tim House strode out, only to stride straight back also bowled. On the boundary players began to fidget. The lower order wondered what number they were to bat, and hurried off to get changed.
Mark Ford-Langstaff was to face the hat trick ball. Rob Barton had replaced Simmo as adjudicator. He thought hard but raised his finger to give Mark LBW and Robin his hat trick. More haste was added to the changing, the strapping on of pads and the search for batting gloves. Robin Cummings survived one ball longer than Tim and Mark as 57 without loss became 57 for 4. On the seventh ball Max Nalborcyzk picked up a single leaving Matt Carpenter to face the final ball of the over.
Opting to leap down the wicket to nullify the spin, Matt forget to hit the ball and was bowled for the team’s top score of 29. If he had not been bowled the stumping would have been by a major margin.
Bowler Blank at the other end did not pose the same threat thought Max. When the bowler dropped short, Max pulled hard, but pulled straight in the hands of the mid wicket fielder. Six wickets had fallen in the space of nine ball and only one run had been added. It was poor light and the wicket was tricky. Robins was a good bowler ;we really should have done better.
The experienced partnership of Tim Riley and Simmo have been in most situations on a cricket field. I suspect coming in after the fall of so many rapid wickets was a first for both. Robin had been held back for a final over later in the innings allowing the two nearly-veteran batters to rebuild the innings. They were able to take the score into three figures. They profited from a generous additions of wides and no balls as well as picking up six boundaries between them.
Robin came back to bowl the penultimate over. Tim played a reverse sweep for four and looked to have seen off the danger before playing the ball onto his own stumps from Robin’s final delivery.
Rob Barton and Simmo saw the final over to its conclusion with Middleton setting a target of 114 for a Eynsham victory.
Father and son opening batters M and N Hunt were in contrasting styles. The elder the aggressor, the younger the more watchful. With less than one run per ball needed , they had no need to rush. Rob Barton and Paul Wordsworth bowled the first five overs keeping the scoreboard in check. Rob took the first wicket courtesy of a Mark Ford-Langstaff catch at extra cover. The younger Hunt returned to the Pavilion. Ranchan at three looked dangerous from the off, hitting his first ball back past the bowler for four.
Rob was stung by this, taking his revenge trapping Ranchan LBW in his third and final over. Max Nalborcyzk experimented with off spin to the benefit of Hunt the elder. The scoreboard began to tick the game was now on. Simmo bowled two accurate overs, Robin Cummings one less so as Eynsham’s best bats were at the crease. Simmo’s figures were protected by the solid thigh of Mark F-L getting behind the ball at mid off. Hunt became the first player of the day to pass thirty and retired.
Matt Dipple came on. The captain adjusted the field with precision. “Just a touch closer at Gulley please Simmo”. Matt’s opening delivery was a little short and a little wide. The batter lashed out a cut. The ball flew above Simmo who threw both hands above his head to hold on to a fine catch.
Paul Wordsworth bowled his third and final over, trapping visiting captain Stanbury in the process. Tim House should have taken a wicket first ball, Matt D making amends for a spilt catch with a fine stop from a fierce drive next ball. Tim H did pick up a wicket, caught by the captain at deep mid off.
The Middleton bowlers had not conceded the wides and no balls that had plagued Eynsham, so with two overs remaining they still needed 29 runs to win.
A Tim R over conceded 8 of them, and gave Simmo his second close to the wicket catch. This one rather less difficult than the one before. Robin Cummings was given the responsibility of the final over. The only real danger being the threat of conceding a no ball and the free hit that would come with it. Enynsham could still have won with three balls remaining as the evening sun finally showed itself.
At Lords Ben Stokes was on the losing side in the second test and did not get awarded the Man of the Match. In this game Man of the Match was most certainly not on the winning side. Robin finished with 6 wickets for 11 runs, quite an achievement, well bowled!
Eliot Barton kindly umpired the entire game and the Hickman family once again did sterling work on the bar and barbeque. Paul Wordsworth will be stand in captain for Sunday’s match v Banbury, why not drop by if you are not playing and lend some support.