Finally Wantage were able to get a cricket match in after the recent monsoons, and we were privileged to have a guest Sunday star in NiB, playing in order to get some needed time in the middle after our second Saturday match in a row was cancelled. That said, we had still struggled to ten players even with Nick so it was a nice surprise when we got a huge stroke of luck early in the game. Barry managed to tip the ball on the stumps after the other opener had smashed the ball back towards him and run out Ivan Mulford who’d been backing up and had no chance of getting back. The second wicket partnership however, were able to hang around and reached Hendred to around 80-1. The wet pitch made pacy deliveries tough, and both Barry and Oatibix were struggling to get the ball above 30mph.
Our first change bowlers were Chief, and NiB. The early pressure of a first Wantage CC bowling performance seemed to get to NiB as he sent down a couple of wides, but he got some deliveries in the right areas later and found a good way to prevent the Hendred number 3 from scoring. Chief in the meantime bowled an excellent spell, pitching the ball in the correct areas and using his variation to snare one wicket (though he deserved better), professionally caught behind by Nicky B, in his first appearance for a long time. With Colin replacing NiB and somehow bowling faster than anyone else in the game, Hendred were begun to put under a bit of scoring pressure, and it was Ian who was able to capitalise. He was generously allowed to get away with 5 full tosses in his first over, including one of the first ball which was slapped straight to Bramley at deep square leg. He eventually decided that using the pitch *might* allow him to actually get some turn on the ball, and picked up 4-21 in his 8 overs.
In the meantime Barry had taken an excellent catch off Colin at mid-off, and Nordic had a rare turn of the arm. He forced one catch that was called a no-ball, but then had another batsmen hole out to the same place. Barry finished off the innings but was hilariously unable to match the bunch of batsmen who managed to get at least one wicket. He at least consoled himself by describing “Tyrannosaur” Colin’s attempt to catch the ball as a tree impression for the rest of the day. Hendred finished on 150-8 off their 40 overs.
After a solid tea, NiB and Nordic opened the batting and watched the ball cautiously. Steve hit a couple of lusty blows in his usual fashion before missing a straight one and getting bowled for 15. NiB took a few overs to work out the pace of the pitch but when he had he began to smite some excellent shots through both the off and leg side, and it was a surprise to everyone when he was trapped LBW for 37. Barry and Ben Rendell then both fell cheaply and Ian and Colin forged a fifth wicket partnership that was not without alarm but included some excellent shots, including a pull for 6 over square leg for Colin and a blistering sweep for 4 from Ian.
Ian’s mistake was to attempt the sweep again next over and he got a top edge and was caught behind for 19. It looked like Colin would see us home professionally with around 20-30 needed but when he was caught at deep mid-wicket for 34 we’d left ourselves under some pressure; first Nicky B was unlucky to be given LBW on one which might have been slipping down leg and then OT and PicNic were up with 20 still needed for victory.
Despite some doubts on the sidelines we needn’t have worried as they went about the job with the minimum of fuss. Until we needed 3 to win, that is, when PicNic flicked the ball of his toes down to square leg to win the game in classy fashion. It was particularly excellent shot placement as there was a whole ring of fielders in Pickers’ usual scoring area, and he saluted the crowd with pleasure as we cheered the penultimate wicket pair back to the pavilion.
Champagne moment went to PicNic for his game-finishing flick. Credit also went to Barry for his catch at mid-off, Nordic for his catch at deep square leg, and PicNic for a diving stop at gully.
Pig’s Ear went to Barry. This could have been for kicking the ball over the boundary, but actually it was for the Hendred number 10 “Dilshan-ing” him over the ‘keepers’ head.
Man of the match went unanimously to Ian for his 4-21. Colin and Nick both got nominations for their runs.