MSCC won by 4 wickets

Match Date & Time

Date Time Season
September 11, 2022 1:00 pm 2022

Match Report

The penultimate game of a MSCC season should feature the visit of the Law Society. The courts being exceptionally busy this Sunday, the battalions of barristers and the platoons of paralegals were unable to find sufficient numbers to field a legal team. Leaping from the bench into the breach came a team newly formed this season who share a name with a local football team, Oxford United, but little else.  Most of the visiting team have a shared Keralan background. The sounds of Malayalam chatter provided an unexpected backdrop to the afternoon’s play.

For once this season it had been a wet week leading up to the game. Sunday dawned misty and damp. The pitch was soft and green, the outfield at last looked green and showed signs of regeneration. The team of groundworkers rushed around trying to clear any remaining water droplets from the grass as members of the club assembled by the Pavilion for the annual photo.

The decision to field first was as obvious to the Captain as it had been to Ben Stokes on the previous Thursday at the Oval. Conditions would favour the bowlers and the MSCC had a team packed full of bowling. The sun would come out later, the pitch would flatten and the total would be chased down with ease.

After 40 days and 40 nights we welcomed opening bowler Asif back to the club. He had been visiting family in Pakistan, a family so extensive that it took all of those days to visit them all. Asif’s first ball was a little rusty, a full toss outside the off stump. The batter drove to point, where Tim House placed his right wrist behind it. Within seconds an angry bruised lump arose on Tim’s wrist who galloped off to find ice, “won’t be long skipper” . These were prophetic words when it came to Tim’s batting later in the day.

Matt Dipple supported Asif, bowling from the Church end. His first ball found the outside edge, Jamie Lumb taking a regulation catch. Matt was making life very uncomfortable for the visitors from his end, while Asif settled into a tight line and length. For a while byes looked like being the highest score. More and more fielders joined the catching cordons. Matt had five slips and a gully, Asif bowled to two slips and two leg slips.  Matt picked up a second wicket with the perfect Yorker and then retired to graze in the outfield with figures of 3 overs 3 maiden 2 wickets for 0 runs.

Robin Cummings replaced Matt. It was the second time Robin had replaced a player as Michael Robinson had to withdraw on the King’s orders for military duties.  Although not as quick as Matt he found movement in the air and from the wicket. Starting with the fourth consecutive maiden from the Church End his bowling was much improved on recent weeks.  A promising stand had taken the score to 44 – 2 when Robin struck, winning an LBW decision from umpire, Richard Lumb who had been unforthcoming when vehemently appealed to on two early applications.

Richard Morris had jumped at the chance to fill in a vacancy in the team although he had had to retrieve his kit from winter storage. Fielding at Mid wicket the incoming batter unwisely called for a single first ball, Richard swooped as the wolf on the fold in the destruction of Sennacherib, the ball arrowed in, and for the second time in as many balls, the umpire extended his deathly digit.

With Robin picking up his second wicket three overs later and Asif inducing Sunjay to hit his own stumps for a duck the visiting team had collapsed to 63 – 6. Seril Shah replaced Asif, whose 8 overs had left him with figures of 1 – 26. It was to be a battle of wits between Shiva, OUCC’s top scorer and Seril. Shiva was attacking, the ball was going in the air, could the fielder be placed in the correct position to take the catch? Sam Norley was that fielder. He had taken a stunning catch on the boundary last week. This time at a deep mid-wicket the ball was dropped but the snaking left hand failed to hold onto the rebound. Sam was able to make amends a few overs later holding onto a harder chance to the clear delight and relief of the bowler. His reward was to be brought on to bowl in place of Robin.

The Keralan batting had shown more signs of optimism than technique until the arrival of Pranay at number 9. Here was a batter applying himself defensively and correctly, a foil for the attack of a Shiva. One of those perfect cricketing moments followed. Bowling the first ball of his third over the captain asked Sam to change his line to bowl outside the off stump rather than at the off stump. Sam obliged, a little away movement, the batter, Pranay had to play, an edge. Simmo dreaming of record carp perhaps or glorious innings gone by waited at first slip. In a flash the ball was gathered in trusty fingers and a broad beam spread over Simmo’s countenance, a catch that brought joy to all, (except the departing batter).

Shiva was approaching 50 when he attempted another shot over mid-on from Seril’s bowling. Matt was stationed in the deep to take a comfortable catch. OUCC were nine down, but a number 11 failed to appear to bat. It was agreed that Shiva should stay as a non-scoring running partner for his teammate. In an echo of the first ball of the innings the next ball was struck to Tim House at point. This time Tim, in turn echoing Richard’s earlier work, swooped, threw in and left Shiva stranded.  110 looked well under par as Middleton strolled off the park toward an excellent tea provided by the Lumb family. The scones were particularly excellent and with time to spare the whole tea could be enjoyed at leisure. Many thanks to Mrs Lumb and her helpers.

Unusually, Simmo’s spin had not been required. Despite hankering after another sandwich he and Richard Morris padded up in time to open the innings. Expectations were of a comfortable chase, Simmo would be eyeing red ink, the middle order wondered if they would be needed at all. The first ball from Rijo proved an awakening, sharp in pace, accurate and beating the outside edge. His opening partner Sujith no less pacy or accurate. Simmo and Richard puffed out their cheeks. The visitors bowling was well ahead of their batting.  In the fourth over, Simmo played a check drive to a wide, full pitched ball that moved away. The ball found the edge and just carried to the visiting captain at third slip who held a catch that Simmo found himself applauding as he departed.

Exactly a  year ago, Tim House had returned from a length injury only to be out first ball. He avoided the anniversary king Pair, (although recent events might have rendered this memorable). Two balls later he was following Simmo to the Pavilion just managing to feather a snorting delivery through to the excellent Pranay behind the stumps.  Two wickets in an over, 12 runs on the board, surely the next man in would set about carefully rebuilding the innings. Mark Ford- Langstaff was that man. As carefree as Stuart Broad he swatted his first ball over the square leg boundary for 6! Mark and Richard began to rebuild. The bowling changed but with no drop in quality. Steffin’s accurate off breaks from the farm end, and the live wire Leo from the Church end. Steffin had Richard caught behind for 10 and then Mark who had moved to an assured 20, including three more boundaries from cut shots, chased a wide short ball and dabbed it into the hands of Leo at point.  As the visitors had been Middleton were now at 44 -4. Jamie Lumb was joined by Sam Norley. Jamie rode his luck a little, his first scoring shot just over the head of deep mid off, a catchable chance at mid-on not taken. Sam picked up runs outside the off stump as the pair added 20 to the total. Sam mistimed a sweep, lobbing a simple catch to the keeper. New batter, Matt Dipple was cleaned up by a ball from Leo that both swung in the air and moved off the wicket. Middleton were 63 – 6 just as the visitors had been early. The Malayalam was growing more and more animated as excitement spread. A little too animated as the bowler delivered a ball to Jamie, breaking his concentration, leading to an edge to the keeper. Calm intervention from the square leg umpire ensured dead ball should be called and the game progressed.

Seril proved an obdurate foil for Jamie. OUCC rang the changes of the bowlers using 7 in all, each providing a worthy challenge. Leg spinner Sujay perhaps the most challenging. His first ball was edged through second slip. His second and third balls beat the defensive shots of Jamie. Opting to attack Jamie swatted the fourth ball over mid wicket for four employing his own version of Bazball. Seril in turn picked up runs on the off side as the target for victory diminished. Although Robin and Asif had their pads on early neither was to be required as Jamie and Seril saw Middleton home with plenty of time to spare.

Many thanks to the visiting team for providing opposition at short notice and to the regular officials, Chris and Richard. Robin, our chef in training, manned the  barbecue while Seril and Andrew ensured refreshments were provided.

We look forward to the last game of the 2022 season against Gloucester Gypsies next week. It would be good to see all members of the club at the ground one more time. The dinner is now sold out on Sept 24 but there a couple of spaces left for the golf day on Thursday 22nd. Please contact Howard if you would like to play.

Tim Riley

Oxford United CC




Past Meetings



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