Greatly anticipating a match, after some weather last week cost us yet more points in our quest for promotion, we met up at the club ready for a match against Eynsham, who we’d smashed earlier in the season, with Colin notching up a hundred. This match was to be a different sort of affair. The weather was, as recorded in the scorebook, “A Watercolour Haze (but sweaty)” so it was in some respects a blessing that we did not have to field during the hottest part of the day as Colin lost the toss and we were put in. Will celebrated this by breaking a plastic chair whilst trying to put his boots on, making him an early pig’s ear nominee.
Unfortunately, it was less of a blessing the outfield had seemingly not been cut since 1995, and was reminiscent mostly of a farmers meadow. This became very apparent when some well timed shots from openers NiB and Putter could only achieve two runs when in a kinder world they would have been rewarded with some boundaries. So our total was looking somewhat tawdry when Nick was first out, caught at gully by a diving fielder. Colin had been contributing heavily toward some chat with resident scorers Ian and Dave (who were shacked up in a wheel-away hut) where he declared that runs ought to be more realistically and generously described in match reports. So here goes:
Needless to say, Colin was out for a duck and thus averaged 102 against Eynsham for the season, Barry was next in. He was the first in our innings to smash a four off a generous full toss from Weller’s left arm spinner. It was about the last bad ball Weller would bowl though, as he kept things very tight and Ben’s only answer was to spoon a catch to extra cover after scoring 28 from 88 balls. There was an alarming regularity to the way the wickets then fell, with our total way below par and a much needed injection of pace could not be supplied by anyone as Ryan, Mongo and Ian all had little to offer against Weller. Barry was caught off a leading edge for a well played 38 but our total was far too meagre as Dave, Stewie and Will also fell short and we finished on 115 all out, Taylor ending his sweaty and vomit-ous innings on 14 not out after playing nicely.
Teas were pleasingly accompanied by some very nice cake which raised the teapot level above 3. This was a result at the run-down Eynsham ground which was still somewhat destitute after the arson attack earlier in the year which left their old clubhouse in ashes.
Back to the cricket and we began our fielding performance with general confidence that although our total was below par the long outfield at least made scoring runs quickly very difficult. Opener Smitten’s approach was rather more agricultural than any of our batsmen, and some lofted drives and smacks through mid-wicket found a couple of boundaries as they saw themselves to 50-odd without loss. We did feel, though, that some snippets of luck were going their way as a couple of catches fell just out of reach of fielders and one or two inside edges missed the stumps by not very much.
Barry was having very much an on-day with the ball though and he bowled tightly throughout his long twelve over spell. Will captured the first wicket during his spell of 1-28 and at the other end Barry managed to capture two of his own, despite some of the worst luck this season. One or two very tough chances went down but we at least were staying in the hunt with a host of maiden overs in a row. At one end Mongo bowled a tight spell with an unusual leg-side field and broke the third wicket partnership.
The pressure began to tell a little more at that point; the run rate was hardly an issue but the runs were not coming easily and a few false shots crept in as we ran through the Eynsham middle order. NiB took a solid catch at point, Colin took a screaming one at slip and Will took one at cover, and despite a fruitless one over spell from Ian, Colin took the ball and looked the part with a breezy 3-7 off 3 overs. When Stewie took a catch off the last ball of the 43rd over to leave them 9 down with 8 runs to get we finally felt that we were probably the favourites for the match.
Alas for a change it was not to be, as we learnt what it was like to be on the other side of the coin. Ryan’s second ball was despatched by Bowles for six over wide long-on and all of a sudden the momentum was on their side. They scraped a single to mid-on to leave our only chance of salvaging anything from the game to tie the match at 115 runs each. Ryan made sure that didn’t happen, however, by launching the ball into orbit for a no-ball as Eynsham won by one wicket.
Champagne Moment was Colin’s slip catch. Stewie’s catch which brought us to the brink was also nominated.
Pig’s Ear was Ryan’s last ball no-ball which settled the result when the Eynsham number 11 looked to be bricking it. Also nommed were Will breaking a chair, and a hilarious moment where Barry challenged a batsmen to drive into the off-side, which he did the very next ball.
Man of the Match was Barry for his runs and tight spell of bowling.