For our third successive Saturday home match, a quirk of the Cup draw saw us playing in the preliminary round against fellow Division 5 side and current Cup holders, Swinbrook.
Heavy rain during the morning and previous evening had left the wicket damp and when the opposition captain called wrongly at the toss, Colin had no hesitation in inviting them to bat.
Swinbrook’s opening batsmen had contrasting styles, with one looking to launch into anything loose and the other playing more watchfully. Ryan and Will Harvester opened the bowling and after several tight but wicketless overs, Will opened our account when he disturbed the off stump of the more expansive opener.
This brought Le Good to the crease, who had the misfortune of facing Ryan who had by now shaken off the effects of his recent visit to Dubai. Deliveries were pacy and accurate and several beat the bat, but the batsman survived to the end of Ryan’s spell.
Barry then replaced Ryan at the road end and quickly sent the team and supporters into a frenzy by removing the other opener and then the dangerous Wingfield-Digby in consecutive balls. With Grant then taking a well-judged catch off his own bowling, we were well set with wickets falling and the scoring rate contained.
After drinks, batsmen Le Good and Snow decided the time was nigh to increase the scoring rate and Snow in particular did so to devastating effect, with Grant’s bowling and the nearby gardens bearing the brunt of the assault. The tide started to turn when Barry found the thinnest of edges through to Nicky B to remove Le Good for a well made 39.
Colin then decided a change of pace was required and brought on Ben from the field end. This decision immediately paid dividends as the flight of his first ball enticed the batsman down the wicket and Nicky B executed the stumping. The incoming Swinbrook batsmen looked decidedly uncomfortable against Ben, but Snow continued in the same vein as before, with at least one more (non-DLF) maximum into the gardens. Ben was undeterred and eventually got the big wicket by bowling Snow for 49, which had definitely changed the game situation.
The remaining Swinbrook wickets fell very quickly. Barry finished with 4 wickets, there was a calamitous run out and then Ben picked up the final wicket in very bizarre circumstances to leave Swinbrook 146 all out after only 35 overs.
After another excellent tea from Kerry (and Nick?), the Wantage innings got off to an unpromising start as both Nick Burtons departed in successive balls to leave us 11-2, and then Ben got a leading edge with the score on 27.
At this point the optimists on the sidelines were desperately clinging on to the hope that only one partnership was needed to put us within reach of the total, and this is exactly what we got from the brothers Martin. Both played watchfully early on and kept the score ticking over with some good running, before Barry played some glorious straight drives and Ryan peppered the unguarded point and third man boundaries. When Ryan was yorked for 29 the partnership was close to 70 and there were less than 50 runs left to get.
We then edged our way along against some accurate bowling from Swinbrook’s off spinner and wickets fell quite regularly, inducing some biting of nails amongst the crowd. We shouldn’t have worried though, as we had our game-closer Dave Summerset in at number 8 and he followed up his fine fielding performance by continuing his great recent form to see us over the line, with Barry finishing on 75 not out.
Man of the match – Barry for 4-32 and 75 not out
Champagne moment – Ben for taking the big wicket
Pig’s ear – Grant for stopping the ball with his face after an attempted diving catch