In a curious Back to the Future-style time-twisting turn of events, we go back to Day 1 of the season… the weather had been wet, and prospects for cricket were not good. The tractor had already been stuck in the squelchy grass in one corner of the ground, and that corner had to be cordoned off for safety. But, the weather was fine, and thanks to the efforts of the ground staff we were out in the sunshine and keen to play. First blood went to Eynsham as they won the toss and unsurprisingly elected to bowl, but there was some wayward bowling to start and Colin, alongside Saturday débutante Chappers put on a brisk 47 for the first wicket at 5 an over. Colin then departed, bringing Barry to the crease.
He looked rusty to begin with, mishitting a few of his bigger shots, but after a while things began to click as he cleared the ropes a couple of times on the way to a first fifty of the season. There was able support from Chappers (17), Spence (14, including a wafted six over long on) and Mikey (13) but the middle order played a supporting role as Barry dominated the scoring. Timmy’s stay was brief to say the least, with just two balls faced, but further support from IC with 13 and 18 from Stewie meant a good platform was provided for Barry to continue launching the ball to all parts to bring up an excellent hundred.
He departed for 109 off 93 balls, and it was left to Stewie, Will and Chief to push us upwards of 230. Stewie certainly tried his best, hitting his first ever six – an occasion which, in his own words, left him unsure of how to react; there were no IPL-style scantily clad ladies to celebrate the milestone, so he instead satisfied himself with calling War Horse Will Harvey through for a very much too tight single, and ran him out first ball. Next ball Stewie hit straight to mid-off and our innings closed on 237 all out, largely thanks to Barry’s 100 and 29 extras.
In Ryan, Mabbs and Grant’s absence, the new ball was handed to Harvatron and Mikey as we defended our sizable total. Will bowled some excellent full deliveries, snaring one wicket in an opening spell of 1-13, whilst Mike was slightly less fruitful, being taken for 26 off his 5 overs. Barry had similar struggles with the ball, bowling slightly less tightly than usual, although grabbing two wickets. Duncan bowled his trundlers at the other end, hitting decent areas despite not generating any great pace, although he was good value for his 1-25 off seven overs.
Slightly less good value was the Wantage fielding, as catches were being shelled with alarming regularity. Two caught and bowled chances went down off Duncan and Will, and tougher chances for Timmy and Stewie were also missed. A bemusing moment also saw Chappers confidently step back a few paces at gully, set himself confidently for a dolly and miss the ball entirely. The fines pot licked its lips greedily as it sensed a weighty meal was heading its way.
Ian turned to Chief and Stewie in the search for wickets, and the ploy worked, as Duncan finally took a catch on the mid wicket boundary, although he contrived to injure his hand in the process. Chief and Stewie matched each other as they took two wickets each, as Eynsham slipped to 133-8 and we looked virtually home and dry. Alas, no – though Stewie got into the match report with a third wicket (a stumping) – our poor catching came to haunt as again, as Spence and Mikey dropped a chance each, and the runs began to flow as a ragged fielding performance reached it’s nadir.
Mikey and Barry were brought back to try and force the final wicket, but things didn’t quite go according to plan, and Eynsham’s number nine bashed his way to fifty. There was then some controversy as it became apparent that an unexpected Eynsham victory might be on; and the score was disputed between the scorers and the umpires. A compromise was reached and it left Eynsham needing 26 from two overs to snatch it. Fortunately Mikey and Barry both found some extra reserves as we held our nerve; and indeed might have snatched the final bowling point had Duncan not rounded off an abject Wantage fielding display with another drop in the last over; making ten in total. You don’t often come off after a victory feeling so low, but there have been few occasions in the past when our fielding has been so bad. Fortunately spirits were raised by a visit to Chaz’s family festival “Boshfest” where we enjoyed singing, glowsticks, a hog roast and a version of “Worms” which had to be heard to be believed!
Pig’s Ear went to Duncan for his drop, saving Chappers for his drop, Duncan for getting stumped, and Stewie for the run out fiasco in the first innings.
Champagne Moment went to Stewie’s first 6, though nominations were also given to Spence’s 6, Barry’s 6, and a catch each for Princess Spencer and Duncan.
Man of the match went, rightly to Barry. Stewie was on the nomination page for his 18 runs and three wickets.
TFC was contested between last year’s shared winners; Ian and Timmy. Timmy took the award for his two-ball duck.