So, to the first league match of the season as we began our division 5 campaign at home against West Witney. Colin continued his lucky streak for the season in winning a second toss on the trot and again putting us into bat on a very good wicket. [Captain’s edit – I lost the toss, they put us in]
We started well and found ourselves in the surreal position of being 106-2 at one point with decent stands between Ben and NiB (33) and Ben and Barry (56). When Ben was 5th man out at 124-5 for a respectable 61 the stage was set for a late onslaught from our lower-middle order. In strode Ian Challand to partner Colin and some serious fireworks ensued! In a quick-fire partnership of 88 Colin made an entertaining 31 (26 in boundaries!) and Ian continually played superb lofted shots straight down the ground, over the covers and over midwicket to get to a personal total of 67, which included two sixes, one of which was an enormous hit over long on that was only stopped from going into the road by some foliage in the way!
After the highlights of that partnership we still left ourselves time to provide two horrifically “village” moments in our innings. First, Will Harvey, in after one of the best 9s I’ve seen from Olly Taylor, was plumb LBW to their opening bowler and he cleverly attempted to confuse (his own words) either the bowler or umpire or both and ended up merely befuddling Ian, who was left stranded halfway down the pitch and easily run out with only one ball of the inning left. This left Chaz, who had taken all protective gear off in full confidence that the two incumbent batsmen would see us through, to haphazardly attempt to get correctly attired. He just about got there and then missed the remaining ball to leave us on 242-8, the top scores being Ben’s 61, Barry’s 29, Colin’s 31 and Ian’s run-rate increasing 67.
Another Nick W. and Kerry inspired tea, complete with ‘Rocket’ ice lollies (cheers guys!) left us ready to defend our impressive total. Witney’s opening bats began relatively quickly but Chaz and Grant settled into a decent rhythm with Chaz, in particular, proving very difficult to get away. The required run-rate at an early stage had climbed to well over a run-a-ball but we still couldn’t make the breakthrough in terms of wickets. A second change of bowling provided our elusive first scalp as Will struck with his second ball with an easy catch going to slip. He then proved that when you’re waiting ages for a bus two come along at once by bowling their number three two balls later as we began to take charge. A further wicket in his next over, followed by Barry getting in on the act by having their skipper well caught by a juggling Colin at point. There was then a healthy regularity to the procession that followed as Will and Barry ploughed through Witney’s middle and late orders to leave their last pair together at 115-9.
To say we made a meal of the next twelve overs would be somewhat of an understatement. The two batsmen did well but we didn’t keep our previous intensity going with either our bowling or fielding and allowed the score to progress to 183 when, finally, Barry induced a catch to mid off, ably taken by NiB, to secure the all-important fifth bowling point. The two stand-out performers with the ball, Will and Barry, finished with figures of 5-32 and 5-43 respectively. So we start off with a maximum points win, hopefully a sign of things to come, and sit happily on top of the table after our first game in our new division.
MoM -Ian Challand, for his brilliant 67 and well judged catch at long on
Champagne moment – Ian’s bludgeoned six into the trees
Pig’s Ear – Will Harvey, hotly contested as he got all nominations!! The winner was the run out palaver involving Ian