Another attempt at going past the quarter final of a cup competition presented itself, and this time, being more clued up on the rules we made sure any ‘ringers’ were known to the league, so we wouldn’t be kicked out. The day started well when Ian and Colin went to move the sight-screen for the batsman’s benefit and succeeded in rolling over Tim’s helmet, crushing it into a shape not recognisable as a helmet. This amusement must have inspired Duncan and Grant, though, who both bowled probably their best spells of the season so far. Duncan worked through another 12 overs for the second time in two days, earning himself three wickets and getting the ball in perfect areas against a number of Witney left handers. His tight bowling also led to our first wicket – a direct hit run out from Barry after Duncan had tied an end down for 2 or 3 overs. At the other end “Shush King” Grant was battling through 8 strong overs, keeping good lines to go for only 18 runs.
The left handers continued to come, though, and it was a shame when Timmy dropped a bit of a sitter behind the stumps, but to all the bowlers’ credit they were all coping with the change of line required very well. Barry trapped one LBW and forced a couple of other catches, but was taken apart somewhat by Witney’s Foggett, who took an extravagant liking and dispatched him over mid wicket a few times. After an unluckily fruitless spell from James, in slightly better fitting pants today, Will took over, and bowled a good spell, his only success coming from his worst ball, a full toss which Duncan took at mid-wicket; a catch which must have almost come at 10mph.
At the other end, Stewie tried to throw the ball in but instead threw it upwards, and Grant dropped a boundary chance off Barry, but these minor quibbles aside it was a return to a strong bowling and fielding performance and we were happy to restrict Witney to 135 all out after Mabbs finished the innings with two in two. Ian did teas and everyone agreed that they were splendid, with an array of marvellous sandwich fillings, fruits and pasta salads.
Colin and NiB opened the batting, but it was not to be Nick’s day as he edged one through to the wicket-keeper for just 2. TPL fared little better, chopping onto his stumps for 2 also, although perhaps he could reasonably have blamed this upon his newly misshapen helmet. Luckily Barry was in bullish mood again, inspired by some significant chirp from the opposition, some of which was deserved. He had one or two hairy moments but was otherwise completely on top, bashing some meaty strokes through the leg side, and some expansive drives over the top. Colin was playing a more reserved role, and together they saw us to within 50 of the Witney total with a marvellous partnership.
Colin then spooned a catch to cover point for a well played 44, and Ian came and went to a drastically poor shot, which led to him being rather less sesquipedalian than usual as he sat alone in the changing rooms staring into space for a significant portion of time. Luckily outside Mabbs and Baz (mainly Baz!) were seeing us through to the total with absolute minimum of fuss, and we won the game in the 31st over by 6 wickets, Mabbs with a resolute 3* and Baz with 80* – bringing him to a worryingly high 280-odd runs in competitive cricket without being out. They enjoyed being treated to some hot air, before also being treated to squirty cream in the showers as we reflected on our progression to the semi-finals where we will play Cairns Fudge; the auld rivals. The exact date of the semi, however, is yet to be decided as they are apparently on tour on the date the semi is scheduled.
Champagne Moment went to Baz for his direct hit run out – something which proved our Thursday practice wasn’t a waste of time for those who turned up!
Pig’s Ear was a tight affair, Ian and Stewie securing three votes each; Ian for the helmet running-over-fiasco, and Stewie for his attempted throw that went up instead of forwards. Ian was ousted 2-0 in the paper/scissors/stone decider.
MotM was Barry, for the second time in a weekend! Well deserved though, for his batting performance which was the big difference between the two teams. Duncan was nominated, but didn’t win, despite whinging about bowlers not getting the credit they deserve.
Other points of note: Ian considering retiring to become Wantage CC’s official tea lady (watch out Kerry!), and Nordic winning the sweepstake for the first goal in the Euros final.
Fingers crossed for the semis!