MSCC v Iffley Village 2023

Match Date & Time

Date Time Season
July 16, 2023 2:00 pm 2023

Match Report

Cricket a game which the English, not being a spiritual people, have invented in order to give themselves some conception of eternity.Benjamin Mancroft

Discussions on the boundary during a Middleton Stoney Cricket match are many and various. Theology was a topic tossed around between batters waiting their turn as Michael Simpson and Sathya Vadivale compiled their opening stand. It had also come to pass that the aforementioned Vadivale had previously been introduced to our two debutants , Anirudh and Arvin Sharma, at Temple. Wedding anniversaries were also on the agenda, some of the team wondering how the captain had been given permission to play given that it was his own. 

Visitors Iffley Village were, as were the home team, one player short for the day. It was agreed that a 10 a side match should be played with the proviso that the fielding captain could pick one player from the batting side to have a second innings. Middleton would not need the proviso. So confident of success was lower order batsmen Seril Shah, that by tea time he had still not put on his whites. 

Paul Wordsworth had made a considerable contribution to the day. He had kept much of Friday’s rain from the strip as he prepared the ground, de-shelled the eggs for the sandwiches for tea and was to be seen giving the wicket a final roll just before the start of play. Was that fact that, also a low order batter for the day, he was fully changed on the dot of 2.00pm an indication that he thought there was something in it for the bowlers? Ollie Ross, formerly of this passage and Captain of the Villagers thought so too and asked the home team to bat first.

Richard Lumb, umpire and follower of most professional sport had his eyes on the match, his ears on the tennis and his mind on the the Women’s Ashes.  Middleton expected the openers to see off the new ball. They did rather better. Simmo was more watchful, Sathya more expansive. A reverse sweep second ball demonstrated Sathya’s confidence, a short ball drilled through the covers by Simmo a more conventional response. The first half hour gone, 30 runs on the board a good start had been made. Between overs the wily Simmo explained some of the wisdom of Brian Clough to the bemused Iffley wicket keeper.

With limited bowling choices, the field was soon spread. Boundaries were limited but runs were accumulated in a steady fashion, mostly in singles. Both batsmen dispensed with jumpers as they warmed up. A short but intense shower drove the players from the pitch; a timely break for a drink and woodbine for some. Revived, the partnership passed fifty. Mrs Simpson, keen to support was informed that Simmo, had passed 30. “Let me know when he’s near fifty and I will come out and cheer” she said. 

In the twenty first over of the innings, Sathya was beaten. His 39 runs included five boundaries. Jamie Lumb, next man in, was keen to turn some of the ones into twos. Simmo was striving for boundaries, but only finding fielders. The Yorkshireman was now lightly perspiring, his face glowing bright as a poppy but with his mind set on a first MSCC half century this season. Denise popped out from the pavilion, “is he there yet”.  “42” was the reply. She popped back in. Simmo picked up singles and fed Jamie the strike. Jamie started to find the boundary. As the overs passed the speed between the wickets of the more experienced batter slowed. The fielders sensing a chance threw to his end. One marginal decision was turned down by the umpire with the unconventional response, “two sets all!” .

In the thirtieth over Simmo was applauded for reaching fifty, Denise leading the cheers. Sensing the time was right for fresh legs, he retired out exhausted.  With only two boundaries hit he had run 42 of his own score and as many again for his partners, he will be stiff in the leg in the morning.  Anirudh joined Jamie with half an hour of the innings to go. Both attacked freely, Anirudh showing a naturally aggressive approach at the crease.  A little too aggressive to one slow delivery.  Attemping to launch the ball beyond the boundary, he succeeded in launching himself, up and out of his crease, landing on his posterior as the keeper took off the bails. The law specialists on the benches argued that the ball had been taken in front of the stumps, the law specialist at square leg just said “out”.

Jacob Ford-Langstaff joined Jamie Lumb. Young legs ran the fielders ragged as they picked up singles and twos at will. They added 40 more runs together before Jacob gave up his wicket to allow his father a quick bat. Mark had a quick bat. Tim Riley faced one ball, hit it for six and promptly declared.

The Wordsworth/Simpson combo for tea excelled. There was only one problem for most, the plates were just too small to accommodate all the goodies on offer. A measure of the delights was that the two debutante players both said that tea was their highlight of the day.

Taking to the field somewhat weighed down with cake, Middleton hoped for a quiet start to aid digestion. Rob Berry for the visitors had a different view. A wayward first over from Jacob and a couple of loose deliveries from Paul saw Iffley off to a flier. Berry in particular taking as much a liking to the bowling as he had to the tea. The second opener, an Australian, was proving obdurate. 

Not to be beaten without a fight Paul struck back in his fourth over. Two good deliveries were followed by an even better third, taking the off bail from Berry’s castle. Two ball later he struck again, Jacob, fastest fielder on the ground sprinting in from mid wicket to make the catch. The second opener, an Australian, was proving obdurate. The Iffley keeper batted at number 4. He gave himself room to hit into the offside. Three times he drilled it at extra cover, three times Sathya was up the task. Three times he was wringing his stung fingers.

It was Jacob’s turn to create the next chance, a full wide ball was smeared into the gully. Father Mark was alert, he took off to his left, got himself fully airborn and reached out with both hands. Had he held it he would still be talking about it now. Jacob trudged back to the end of his run-up mumbling under his breath. Relief for both came a few ball later as a much easier catch looped up into waiting hands of Mark. 

Ollie Ross always seems to score big at Middleton. Paul Wordsworth bowled him the best five ball sequence he could conceive, it was like Flintoff to Ponting until the sixth ball  was smashed unceremoniously for six. Having made a start, a second rain delay interrupted the chase. The runs required rate was now looking too great despite the fast start. Restarting,  Seril Shah removed the obdurate Australian with his first delivery. Not his finest delivery, not the finest shot but out all the same. Ross needed some support, Middleton pressed for wickets. 

Arvin Sharma had not had a chance to bat on this debut and hoped to shine on his first bowl in his first match since 2003. He looked as if the interval between spells had been 20 minutes, not 20 years. He picked up two of the remaining wickets. The first curiously just kissing leg stump but removing only the off bail. His second a very plumb leg before wicket. Seril also struck again thanks to Sathya who made a straight forward catch at cover look extremely difficult. 

Anirudh also had a wicket to his name when a regulation edge was neatly pouched by Simmo at slip, but Ross took a liking to his bowling and reached fifty with  a series of crashing blows over mid off and mid wicket.  Well into the final twenty overs Iffley had given themselves an outside chance of victory, but the game was clearly in favour of Middleton. There were two wickets to fall with Iffley needing forty five from six overs. Ross nearly fell to his opposing captain, but the chance to midwicket was only parried. The resulting single left the number 10 on strike. Three dot balls were followed by a flighted ball outside the off spin. The outside edge made its way sedately into the hands of Simmo at slip. One wicket for victory needed.

Simmo bowled the next over,  a single to deep square leg by Ross exposed the last man, the proviso batsman. He had lasted two balls earlier. He was desperate to give his Captain the strike and avoid a pair for the day. He pushed the ball to cover, screamed “yes” and set off. Bemused at the other end all Ollie Ross could do was say no. The youngest fastest fielder had the ball in his hands, threw to the keeper and the game was done. Certain discussions followed between to the two batters as to the thinking that had preceded the action.

The sun shone as the players retreated to the bar and barbeque. What the Hickman’s had started  Seril on the bar and Peter v K on the barbeque finished. Iffley bring with them old friends, who chatted happily into the evening. 

The request for availability for August’s matches has gone out. Please respond promptly so that teams can be selected. Could we also ask that all the players check all the selections for the remaining matches in July, our busiest spell of the season. The selections are found on the club website when you click on each fixture. 

Tim Riley


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