Napton CC won by 3 wickets

Match Date & Time

Date Time Season
June 26, 2022 2:00 pm 2022

Match Report

2 x 5 = 176

A breezy, sunny day met Napton CC on a first visit to Middleton Park for Sunday’s fixture. Middleton had spent most of the previous three days finding players to fill in gaps caused by an ever  increasing injury list. It was therefore inevitable that 12 players were ready to turn out as two o’clock approached. One of those was Stevyn Jackson who had offered his services at the last hour, despite a very dodgy knee that really should be rested. Stevyn gallantly agreed to step down and allowed Robin Cummings to make a debut along with mystery spinner and friend of Asif, Zaqir, a player who Asif assures us had played at a very high standard, although he hadn’t played a game for a decade.

The toss won, the wicket rolled and re-marked, the young bucks, Simpson and Riley strode out to the middle. Napton’s opening bowlers were steady allowing the occasional back foot shot to be unleashed for a boundary. The game progressed with a gentle accumulation of nudged singles, the scoreboard ticked steadily and all was well with this corner of Oxfordshire. The score had passed 30 when the first bowling change was made. The change bowlers were a little quicker and found a little more movement. Simpson was bowled a full straight ball, which he inexplicably played back to. Umpire Lancaster was in no doubt and raised his finger.

Jai Mumtaz at three looked to play positively, but lost his partner when Riley was well taken at point for a workmanlike 24. Tim House and Mumtaz were rebuilding steadily only for House to be run out for 9 by a direct hit as he responded to a “quick single” call. George Williams had been positioned at No 5 with the intention of speeding the run rate. This he did in grand style. In the longer Sunday format he had time to play himself in. He allowed himself three balls before opening his shoulders and smashing his first boundary of the day. Mumtaz departed caught and midwicket, soon to be followed by David Cole, second LBW victim of the day. Napton were well on top when Howard Lancaster joined Williams. The score was 70 – 5 and drinks had been taken.

It was to be a perfect partnership, Howard “riding the bounce” and picking up the single to feed George who began to accelerate and show his full range of attacking shots. With the better bowlers completing their spells the initiative had been snatched back and runs came apace. With tea approaching Howard was bowled as he tried to find the boundary. Three more wickets fell, including Williams for his highest MSCC score of 67. Zakir and Robin both scored their first Middleton runs as the tea time declaration came at 168.

Mr and Mrs House provided tea. The cake connoisseurs noting the importance of properly sifting the flour for the lemon drizzle cake, while those who take tea at the Ritz will have approved of the presentation of the sandwiches. A late addition of home grown strawberries, thanks to Paul Wordsworth was appreciated by all.  Almost before he could unstrap his apron and unpeel his marigolds,  Tim was needed to strap on pads and gauntlets to keep wicket.

Asif took the new ball with debutant Robin. The captain set attacking fields and the second half began. Middleton made a very good start, Asif striking in his second over, and Robin in his third and fourth. Zaqir took a sharp catch at second slip with indecent ease, while David Cole at cover almost misjudged a straight forward catch before recovering in time to hold on safely. Napton had placed their best batter, Brown at 5. From the start he dispatched the bad ball so that although wickets were falling, Napton were always ahead of the run rate. Seril Shah convinced  Napton’s no 6 to lob the ball to Cole at cover. Brown could also be convinced to lob it… he just lobbed it to the boundary.   Just as MSCC had been 71 – 5 at the half way stage, so were Napton.

The skipper called on his mystery spinner, Zaqir. In Pakistan he had been a seam bowler but was now carrying an achilles injury and could only bowl off a short run up. His first ball proved testing for batter and wicket keeper. The ball beat the bat and was stopped by thudding into the keeper’s chest. It was to prove an exacting challenge for the keeper. Zakir rapidly picked up wickets 6 and 7. Napton’s skipper came out to join Brown. Napton were halfway to their total.

When Brown faced the field was spread, when Eaden was on strike the fielders crouched around the bat. Brown manipulated the strike skilfully and was soon past fifty. Middleton rotated the bowlers but none could control Brown who was in full flow, or tempt Eaden who played his role to perfection.

Soon the game was in Napton’s hands, Brown passed his hundred and one run was needed. Late into the attack George Williams had the ball and bowled to Brown in a battle of the No 5s. The ball was struck fiercely, but in the air at the waiting hands as Asif at Mid off.  Sadly the ball didn’t stick and Napton were level. Brown finished the game with his sixth 6 of the day.

It had been a good game, in each innings the fifth batsman had been crucial. Both teams had made every effort to win the game which was played in excellent spirit.

As well as ensuring that there was a full team, preparing and clearing up the tea and playing a full part in the game, vice captain, Tim House manned the barbeque, which had been started by Rona.

Tim Riley



Napton CC


Past Meetings



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