MSCC won by 1 runs
Match Date & Time
|July 23, 2023
“If it will feed nothing else it will feed my revenge. ” Shakespeare, Merchant of Venice Act III
Johnny Bairstow was stung by the criticism of his keeping, his batting and his being run out in the third test. He gained revenge with his imperious 99* in the ill fated fourth test. While the Manchester rain fell in buckets the sun shone on Middleton and Middleton’s Jamie Lumb was also stung by two umpiring decisions. One a catch behind that would have dismissed the top scorer for 30 and one a late stumping. To say that his temper was piqued would be an understatement. Indignation raged behind his eyes. Determination bristled his mood. Here was an wounded beast ready to fight back.
It had rained on Saturday. Not a game was played, not a ball bowled in the Cherwell league. There was not much expectation of play on Sunday in Middleton Park. Somehow the tarpaulin had kept the worst of the rain from the pitch, the breeze and unexpected sun had dried the square and outfield, the forecast shower for 12 noon decided to rain solely on Old Trafford. Expecting the worst the start had been delayed until 2.30.
Everdon were new visitors to Middleton Park, recruited at the eleventh hour to replace the Harry Baldwin Occasionals. We play few teams who are based further north but Everdon are also a Sunday only team who play friendly cricket and proved a very good fit. They won the toss on chose unsurprisingly to bat first.
James Lyon and Anirudh Sharma took the new ball. There was a little help in wicket for both. All was calm until the end of the fourth over. Anirudh pitched the ball up, the batter drove in the air to deep mid off. Paul Wordsworth was waiting, he tracked back. The waiting batters looked on from the benches, the fielding team were expectant, all thought the ball would clear him. Reaching up and behind him, extending his arms to their maximum he cupped the ball while falling back and crunching his head into the grass. There was some concern when he did not get back to his feet. A little groggy he returned to his feet and handed the ball back to the bowler.
Two balls later it was James’ turn to strike, the batter walking in front of a delivery that kept a little low to be LBW. 8 for 2 became 8 for 3 when Anirudh produced the perfect inswinger to bowl Everdon’s number 4 for a second ball duck. Inspired by the fielding so far, Stevyn Jackson pulled off a full length diving stop to his left.
The fourth wicket partnership, Captain Ollie Cousins and Cameron Gallup began the rebuilding process as James and Anirudh completed their spells. Paul Wordsworth and Robin Cummings bowled tidily in the middle of the innings, keeping the run rate in check. Robin picked up a crucial wicket of Cousins, hitting the stumps with his ball of the season so far. Seril Shah took over from Robin, his second ball broke dismissed Gallup for 35 just as he was starting to accelerate. At drinks Everdon were in a tight spot at 72 -5. New batsman, Joe Roberts Nuttall signalled his intention from ball 1. This he drilled back past Seril, whose finger tip lunge could not quite cling on. Roberts Nuttall found support from Alup who defended with exaggerated correctness.
Roberts Nuttall rode his luck, none more so than when lofting Arvin Sharma to deep midwicket, Anirudh was unable to hold on to catch. He departed for first aid to a damaged middle finger. The captain brought himself onto bowl and saw his first ball dispatched into the long grass for a six. With the end of the innings approaching Alup looked to become more ambitious. James Lyon cleaned him up returning for a second spell. Paul made a second good tumbling catch, this time without injury, at extra cover as wickets once again fell. Everdon closed on 184 – 9 after 43 overs with Roberts Nuttall 72 not out.
Jen Lyons prepared the tea time goodies. (no help from James who had been too busy assisting with garage painting to aid in the kitchen.)Jam sandwiches proved popular, old favorites always go done well. Once again the scheduled twenty minute tea interval overran as both sides tucked in. It was the first time in three years that Everdon had played a match with teas provided, a reminder that not every club is a timeless as MSCC. Umpire Richard Lumb was prized away from his third cup of tea as the Middleton innings began.
Howard Lancaster, a little fragile after a long late night of wine tasting and Matt Carpenter were first in. A good start would be needed for a successful chase to be made and the two Deddington team mates provided it. There were helped by the opposition conceding eight extras before a run was scored of the bat. Matt played a series of good shots, but straight to fielders, but fell playing a shot across the line with the score at 16.
Still looking thunderous Jamie joined Howard. Howard had played himself. Three times in a row he played to ball into the outfield and pressed hard to run for two. At the end of the third he was blowing hard and regretting the fifteenth glass of red. Jamie middled the ball from the outset.
Fatigue and nausea seemed to inspire Howard. Rarely has he struck the ball as cleanly, one clip through deep square leg bringing his only boundary. Jamie hit the ball harder and found the boundary through extra cover, square leg and behind the bowler. One six sent the ball so deep into the long grass that a took a ferret to find the ball. Howard’s exertions led to a tired shot seeing him bowled for 28. A score that was more valuable than its total.
Stevyn joined Jamie. He found the middle of his bat, but each strike seemed to find a fielder. At the half way point Middleton required 110 runs at five and a half an over. Stevyn was beaten having added 11 with Jamie bringing Anirudh to the wicket. In his third innings for the club he was soon in full flow as he and Jamie accelerated the scoring. Both mixed judicious hitting with singles to rotate the strike. The Everdon fielding was stretched and the dropped catch of Jamie looked to have cost Everdon any chance of victory. Jamie passed with 50 when he once more found the square leg boundary.
A tiring Jamie was taken with 34 runs still needed. James replaced him, and for an over or two the run rate rose. 20 more had been added when Anirudh was taken very at long on for a very good 44. James was joined by Tim for the final charge to the line. Fittingly James scored the winning hit on what had proved to be a glorious afternoon for cricket. James for Middleton and Joe for Everdon were awarded the Kit Magrath certificates for their perfomances with bat
Everdon proved good company as the bar and barbeque swung into operation. Seril ensured that throats were lubricated, Howard was abstaining, while Matt proved a first class chef on the barbeque. A good crowd had gathered for the last hour of the game, and continued to enjoy the post match camaraderie. It was noted by senior player Paul that the three youngest players still throwing a ball about at the end of the day reminded him of how he and his brother used to do just the same half a century ago.