8th August 2020
We continued our run of matches at home, this the fifth on the bounce including our two pre-season friendlies. In the build up to the game the weather was sunny and in the 30’s with the forecast indicating it would be another scorcher on game day. After winning the toss skip elected to bat with a strong batting lineup and thoughts on putting some serious runs on the board.
Summs and Robbo led the way, with two Marcham youngsters opening the bowling. Having been left covered too long, the wicket was initially a still moist and playing a little tacky with a number of the balls not getting up above shin height. Fortunately for skip and Robbo the Marcham bowlers were unable to take advantage of this and Wantage started the game in positive fashion. The 50 partnership came up in the 10th over, with extras contributing 12 thanks to some wayward bowling from one of the Marcham openers. Skip took an opportunity on a free hit, walking down the wicket and dispatching Armstrong Jnr back over his head for a one bounce four. Robbo joining the show with a lovely six over the clubhouse. In the 13th over Robbo whacked a short ball from Niyarepola into the new estate, the very next ball attempting to hit the spinner over midwicket only failing to follow through with his shot and hauling out to the Marcham skipper at midwicket for a well played 34.
Colin joined Summs at the crease at 71-1; the pair nudging the spinners for ones and twos to keep the scoreboard ticking over. Summs then fell for a steady 21 when attempting to slog sweep Niyarepola, only to top edge with the Marcham keeper adjusting his footing to take the ball at the second attempt. Spenny came to the middle but was heading back the next over when tamely nudging the ball back to bowling Horseman for 2. The Wantage collapse continued the following over when Mercer pulled Niyarepola straight to a fielder for 8, leaving Wantage at 91-4.
Wantage sought to rebuild with Leedog and Mabbs, the former continuing his good form making batting look far too easy nudging a succession of fours through the leg side. Then in a lack of concentration he became the second to push a ball back to Horseman when looking well set on 19. This brought to the crease Bhu, on debut, who got stuck in straight away by getting off the mark on only his second ball with a six towards the clubhouse. Bhu and Mabbs were rotating the strike well, picking up singles and the odd boundary, until Mabbs missed a straight one falling for 17 with eight overs to go at 145-6. Another mini collapse followed with Bhu mistiming a ball trying to go over the top departing for 16, and then Bingo being caught at backward point for four. New Will, on debut, and the returning Pritchard looked to push the Wantage total towards the forth batting point. When New Will was bowled for 3, Chief came to the middle receiving a leg stump yorker and his stumps demolished for a golden, leaving Pritch on 4*. The total of 158 looked like it might be a few runs short, and tough to defend, but with a six strong bowling attack we always fancied our chances.
In the Marcham chase it was Leedog and Mabbs with the new ball, with Leedog picking up LBW with the final ball of his first over. After three maidens on the trot from Liam, Mabbs joined the party forcing the Marcham skipper to play onto his own stumps. New Will was given the ball for the first time and started well from the road end, picking up his first wicket for the club on a returning catch to leave Marcham 28-3. After his performance with the ball young Niyarepola (42) looked very solid at the crease despite the top order falling around him without troubling the scorers. He was joined by Mooring at 28-3, both punishing the bowling of New Will, Colin and Chief. Pritchard was brought on in an attempt to break the partnership, getting some turn and bounce which did for Niyarepola.
With Marcham still needing 70 runs having lost four wickets, Wantage had their tails up searching for more victims with Chief and Pritch ragging it from both ends. Wantage were focusing on the new man in and when he tried to hit the ball over the top Summs ran and jumped to his right taking an impressive catch with the score on 103. Both Chief and Pritch felt the wrath of Mooring whacking several fours and sixes as he farmed the strike well. Mabbs returned for his second spell taking two wickets in two balls in his second over, with 11 runs still to be scored was there to be one final twist?
Liam was racing in from the road end trying to keep Mooring tied down, but the Marcham batsman continued his form smashing a couple of balls through the covers to leave the visitors on the brink of victory. Mabbs (3-25) was unable to keep the new man on strike and Mooring didn’t waste any time hitting the ball through extra cover to the applauding visitors.
Having left the field disappointed by the result, a number of the Wantage boys reflected on what could’ve been had we scored 20 more runs. It was time for awards, with champagne moment going to Bhu for his six to get him off the mark for the club, with Summs catch worth a mention.
For a change pigs ear didn’t have too many nominations and it looked like it was going to Spenny for running over one of the newly purchased flags (thanks Chief). That was until Bingo fessed up about putting his whites on the wrong way around and not noticing until being fully padded up, then creeping off to the toilet to change to make sure nobody noticed. No voting was needed Bingo was duly given pigs.
Man of the match was between Robbo, Summs and Mabbs. Robbo batting well at the top and fielding impeccably as usual, Summs also for his batting and a top catch which could’ve proved to be a turning point. It was Mabbs that was crowned the winner for another tidy spell of bowling and his contribution with the bat.