As England were racking up the runs against India and we started to wonder whether our Day 5 Test Match tickets were going to prove worthwhile, we all found our way to Uffington, surprised to find that the heavy rain which had hit Wantage in the morning had not found its way there. It didn’t look like a cricket match was about to be played however, as all 11 Wantage players stood around ready and waiting but opposition players, umpires, stumps and a boundary rope were all conspicuous by their absence. Eventually the umpires and a selection of Uffington players turned up in a rush to get ready for our 1:30 start and Colin committed the worst indiscretion of the day by losing the toss. With the weather bringing the promised rain the Uffington representative (if not their captain who was still missing!) chose to bat. In some respects this was the correct decision as the weather promised to be better later on, but it seemed odd when Ben and NiB opened our innings with only 7 fielders to contend with.
They were unable to take advantage though and progress was very slow as we went at less than one an over for the first 6. The rest of the Uffington team slowly joined the fray but the only thing of note to happen was NiB failing to pull a ball off Green which meant he hit it to the “man in the pink hat” who took a nonchalant one handed chance above his head. It was as unexpected for their team as ours as they whooped and cheered, and Colin went in at number three. Progress remained slow as the pitch and very wet conditions made for very difficult conditions in which to score, as Key got a lot of movement down leg off the pitch and Green was both swinging and seaming the ball away from the batsmen.
The Wantage fans and watching players were getting slowly frustrated on the sidelines as the score remained at no more than 2 an over. Colin and Ben did both hit one or two excellent shots through the off side but it was not an easy pitch to score on and they were at least doing the worthwhile job of protecting our egg shell middle order from the leading bowlers. Colin then won pig’s ear by being out yet not out yet not out yet out, or something. It was difficult to tell on the sidelines but it seemed that he was given out caught behind, looked a bit miffed whereupon the bowler withdrew his appeal because he agreed that the ball had not come off the bat. Spirit of the game indeed!
Ben eventually fell to first change bowler Johnson with the score on 80-ish off 30 overs and Barry joined proceedings with the express intention of upping the run rate. He and Colin did this before Colin was bowled for 33, and it fell to our middle order to hit some hefty blows and lift our score to something respectable. Ryan played some strong drives before being caught at square leg, then Ian joined Barry in the middle. Barry ran himself out whilst attempting to put the fielder under pressure which looked a bit village to say the least, although he scored a decent 30. Olly then lasted only a few balls before being bowled. It meant Dave Summerset, having not scored on Friday, had to start scoring, and quickly. He and Ian put a rapid 30 runs onto the total, despite Ian attempting to run himself out 3 times. He departed for 24 after hitting to long-off and it was left to Mabbs and Dave to run hard for the last 4. This they did, lifting us to 175 and our fourth batting point which included a HUGE six from Dave in the last over, dispatched over wide long on – what a man!
The Uffington innings started slowly as Ryan and Duncan turned the screw, and it became apparent that 175 was actually an excellent total on a tough pitch. Breakthroughs were slow, but the run rate was almost as slow as our own. The first wicket eventually came in Grant’s first over, who had replaced Ryan and found some prodigious swing, which at times proved difficult to control. That said, the brilliant catch low down at gully by Barry looked like as professional a wicket as Wantage have ever taken. Barry certainly enjoyed it. Professional-looking wickets continued as Duncan’s tight bowling brought him some rewards, an excellent first slip catch by James Mabbs and a thin edge through to keeper Ben. Duncan had apparently taken exception to Ian’s claim that he had lost a bit of pace recently, and the effect was having him really push the ball through and getting some rip-roaring wheels going on.
Our first change bowlers proved too much for the Uffington middle order and in turns they began to lob some catches to our ring fielders. Mabbs came on and bowled a tight, fiery spell after Duncan’s twelve overs for 18. This was as well as he had bowled all year and he got a well deserved 4 for 10 including two in two balls. NiB, Ryan and Dave all took simple catches as we ran through the Uffington order for 78. The final wicket fell off Barry “simon” Martin as he shouted “DON’T DROP IT” at Colin in an amusing attempt to put him off and we walked off happily with an excellent team performance, a 97 run win and 29 points.
There was also more good news as some of us went out for a delicious curry and we discovered that Chesterton had lost to Great Horwood by three runs. This puts us 52 points ahead with 3 to play, and with Chesterton at home next week, and you know what that means…
Pig’s Ear went to Colin for his hokey cokey moment – in/out/in/out. Nomination also to some horrendous chat throughout the day, from Barry for his “Don’t drop it!” and Duncan for congratulating Mabbs on a great spell as he was about to bowl. Credit also to the umpire for yapping as we were about to bowl a ball!
Champagne Moment was Dave’s HUGE six in the last over of our innings. Barry’s gully catch was also worthy of a mention and Ian’s six over the bowlers head got a sympathy nom.
MotM: Went to Mabbs for his 4-10. Dave was a close contender for his 28* at the death and Duncan for his fine bowling.