Bodley’s traditional end of season bash, the Whippersnappers, took place this Friday just gone. Once more the team decamped to what is fast becoming our home ground, Cumnor, to play out what proved to be one of the more enjoyable, as well as close, games for a while. As per usual as many people as possible were invited/asked/press ganged/or just plain related to someone who plays cricket for the team, and initially sides were going to be determined by whoever got there first, such was the concern about getting a game in before it got too dark. Luckily by 5.30 the clouds rolled away and a gorgeous warm evening ensued and enough players had turned up to enable us to split the teams up on a customarily oddball way, this year a team made up of Fathers and Sons (including Fathers whose sons weren't there) plus Gareth (who was feeling fatherly having recently seen his niece) against those without offspring, or, the fertile against the infertile. So, James and his son Daniel, Chris Marsh and his son Thomas, Mike Webb and his two boys Robbie and Malcolm were joined by Messer’s Ackland, Mckiernan, Abbassi (welcome back Sadiq) and Uncle Jones to take on the rest, a team which included Andrew Colquhoun, who hadn’t played since the Whippersnappers of two years ago and was welcomed back.
The Fathers bat first and start well, with Leigh, Gareth and Chris finding the boundary on regular occasions and retiring, whilst extras, including a number of wides, helped out the total, which finished on 137 after 20 overs. Comedy highlights were provided by the large amount of sledging, ribaldry and good(ish) natured piss-taking and attempts at off-putting. Ackland had a brief 2-ball flurry at the end, managing to be dropped and nearly run-out of the same ball. A good total, but the opposition have a number of good batsmen ...three of whom start well, with David Shackleton, Tim and Matthew (after dropping anchor on 19) all retiring on 20. Tim’s innings was a thing of befuddled beauty. I'm sure he won’t mind me saying that he has one main shot, a golf club swing to cow, which managed to beat despairing fielders on a number of occasions. A combination of a middle order collapse and the Fathers more controlled bowling (and more targeted sledging) meant that the run-rate dropped after the opening onslaught, and even with all three openers coming back on in the last couple of overs the fathers managed to sneak home, victors by two runs. Special mention here to two marvellous catches, one from James and another from Sadiq, who after a long break from the side caught Tim out on the boundary, and some explosive batting from David S with a number of sixes that rattled into the roof of the nearby nets. Hands and heads were shaken by both sides, and we all left wondering how this kind of boundary destroying form has eluded us all season. We always seem to peak just in time for Autumn's early nights and complete absence of cricket!
Another season (forgetting the Authors game for a moment) comes to an end. Drinks were had and then a curry to finish off, roll on 2016. SA, GJ
Saturday saw the final game in Bodley’s season, bringing a measure of sadness, relief and joy at having journeyed through another glorious summer of playing the greatest game with friends. It’s been a long, enjoyable and competitive spring/summer, and the weather has been kind throughout. This final fixture saw Bodley take on the Authors XI, a re-match of sorts after we emerged victorious off the last ball of the match last season. The setting was the beautiful village of Warborough in South Oxfordshire, on the village green with a cracking pub to one side, picturesque houses on three edges and a rolling view of sunlit countryside to the East. Both sides looked to have strong elevens, and the pitch – long boundaries, low bounce, bit green – was in good order for our 40 over affair. So, after skipper Milner lost the toss (again) we found ourselves in the field.
The Authors openers Anthony McGowen and Andy Zaltzman started watchfully on what immediately proved to be a pretty flat pitch, offering little carry save the odd one rearing up (which is in fact the norm in our experience). Swing was evident from the off though, and Bodley’s opening bowlers Nigel Walker and Matthew Neely kept things tight. Keeping a tight line and length, Walker struck in the sixth over, bowling Zaltzman for 7 to bring Sebastian Faulks to the crease. By this point Nigel was in a groove and in the eleventh Faulks too was castled and the Authors were 31-2. This brought Richard Beard to the crease to join the well set McGowen. These two promptly set about building a good partnership as Bodley’s first change coming on, James Shaw and Leigh McKiernen. The boundaries, particularly those square of the wicket, were distant, and with a slowish outfield did not make for easy scoring. Despite this topographical assistance the runs ticked along nicely enough for the Authors, without ever really getting away from Bodley. Around this time as the rate was kept down and Bodley kept their discipline, a familiar (though unusually straw hat-less) figure appeared at the pavilion. It was Tim Saunders, our hitherto missing player, up from London for the match via an unreliable train and then a cycle ride from Oxford to Warborough in double quick time! After we’d all had a chuckle about this unconventional pre-match work out, our attention promptly returned to the cricket, and the burgeoning McGowen/Beard partnership which was approaching 50. Could the score be getting the better of us, as usual, well, fear not Bodley disciples! Mckiernen’s knee was, incredibly, still functioning, and was therefore able to power its owner on to a much needed wicket, having the dangerous Beard brilliantly caught at square leg, Shaw taking the catch well above his head at the second attempt. The score now 75-3 in the twenty third over, this brought the in form Peter Frankopan to the crease. The runs soon flowed and the score built, so it was with some relief that Frankopan was bowled by Stuart Ackland’s skiddy shuffle seamers for a very useful 18 from 16 balls. A few overs later McGowen was caught and bowled by Milner for an excellent 42, having batted for 105 minutes – well played! The score was 115-5 from 30 overs and Bodley could feel a measure of optimism over the likely score. Hopefully, for once. Perhaps… Authors skipper Charlie Campbell was at the crease by now with Nicholas Hogg, and the two of them did what any good middle order does, and started hitting fours. But Bodley continued to field well, running down singles and throwing themselves around with varying degrees of success. Continuing the excellent work in the field Bodley were rewarded as Campbell was bowled by Stu, but Hogg had taken a liking to Bharat’s spin. So it was with relief, but some surprise, that an absolute skier – the kind normally dropped by an unwilling recipient cowering under the swirling ball – was pouched with consummate ease by Stu positioned sort of near but not quite on the boundary (is there a name for that?). With the score having rattled along to a higher than we’d hoped 162-7 attention turned to Tom Holland, at the crease and keen to rack up the runs that would boost his splendid BatAid fundraising effort. Stu, being a charitable man, bowled what can only be described as his even slower ball, in amongst some well directed seamers and his eternal battle with that shuffle. Notably, £900 pounds of runs were posted, before Stu repeated last year’s effort and had Holland bowled. Most uncharitable! The Authors ended on 175 all out from the very last ball of the innings, which given our position midway through was a tad high, we thought, but we’d probably have taken that at the start. And so, to tea.
An excellent tea, with mincemeat wrap things, sandwiches and cakes aplenty, all within sight of the pub, which was by now exerting a strong pull on all present. It is worth noting at this point that the team spotted the Authors kit bags, all matching and with the club crest and player initials on them – rather nice, and something we should consider! Funding though? Anyway, back to the action.
Bodley began their innings with some confidence and in good spirits following the efforts in the field. Neely and Bharat walked confidently out to get things underway and build that all important ‘platform’ (must work on our cricket speak next season - Ed.). So, could we chase it down? Well, things didn't start too well as Neely was run out in the fourth over to end a brief but promising opening stand, bringing Saunders to the crease. Tim attacked from the outset, hitting a lovely four off his second ball and running superbly, with Bharat provided good support at the other end and hitting a few of his own. The partnership was only ended, just as we all thought we were going unusually well, in the sixteenth over as Bharat was run out for 27 with the score on 62-2. Shaw joined Tim at the crease and the pair ran hard, finding plenty of singles in the deep outfield. The score soon reached 100 and those in the pavilion felt confident enough to talk about the prospect of the Six Bells pub and a good win. But after last year’s high scoring, Bodley’s batting has this season been the weaker discipline, just as our fielding and bowling has reached new heights. And so it proved to be here, though it must be said there were some good balls in amongst it all. Shaw departed in the twenty sixth over after a lively partnership with Saunders, who was then caught behind a few overs later off a thin edge from the pacey and accurate Hogg for a great 47 from 70 balls. 28 overs in by now and Bodley were 112-4, so the game was at a crossroads – we needed solid partnerships to get the runs, but had plenty of overs left to do so. Neglecting the action for a moment, it is worth reminding oneself that Warborough village green was the setting the Jeeves and Wooster cricket match (www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q2kLYYF4xTM) and with that in mind Bodley did their best to recreate the tone. Having attacked the ball with some gusto but no effect, Leigh appeared to have been stumped, being out of his ground. However, the square leg umpire (answers on a postcard) intervened to give the batsman not out against a backdrop of some justifiably enthusiastic appealing as his foot was, most definitely, ‘on the line’. Well, Law 29 of the MCC Laws of Cricket is the one to look at if you’re not sure as to why this would have made excellent comedy. After some confusion and speculation from the bemused pavilion as the laws of cricket were explained to our umpire, Leigh had to leave the field and our official was left to look back on a pre-match gift to Tom Holland of ‘The Original Laws of Cricket’ with some amusement, and no little irony. But back to the match, by now threatening to effect an about face and give the Authors victory. With Mike Webb following Leigh to the pavilion and then Gareth Jones chopping on, Milner found himself the sole specialist batter left, and set about rediscovering his normally boundary-threatening form. With first Tim Philipson and then Walker the skipper built handy partnerships and carried the team to 149 before being bowled by Jonathon Wilson, who had managed to utterly befuddle Bodley as he worked his way to four wickets and had the team nine down in the thirty seventh over. This left Walker and Ackland at the crease, and 27 needed to win from 26 balls. Walk in the park, someone said. Poetically, and straight out of Wodehouse, Stu played a textbook pique turn and landed on his arse. An undignified end to a heroic performance. This gave Wilson his five-for and the Authors the win, by 26 runs.
So an entertaining and light-hearted end to a thoroughly enjoyable but hard-fought match, and a lovely afternoon to end the season on. Disappointing not to get the win, but much to take into next season and probably a few winter nets to organise too. Well done to all who played not just today but all season, it looks like the Bodleian Cricket Club is in good health and has a fine pool of regular players to draw from as we build our third decade of playing.
Bodley concluded the rump of their season with the third game in a week this evening as we took on friends the Hendricks XI at Mansfield Road under darkening skies. A twenty over affair was the order of the day, with Bodley player Tim Saunders' other team arriving for the first match of their annual tour. Bodley were coming off a streak of monumental losses and star batter Shackleton was on a pair. So without further ado...
Bodley skipper Milner won the toss (a sure sign the Gods were finally warming to us) and opted to bat. In the absence of regular number 1 Neely, Stu stepped into the breach and donned the plethora of padding Matthew wears into battle, and proudly marched out with Shacks to get us going. Some might say that Stu's technique is not suited to opening the batting, but this is utter rubbish, as Stu proved by dismissively seeing off the pacey opening bowlers with a series of daring leaves and half shots. Once settled on 0 from several overs Stu moved aside to bring returning knee patient Leigh to the crease. They say that the best partnerships are ones of contrast, and you could say that Leigh and Shacks are certainly that. And as the cliché goes, so the facts follow, and a beautiful thing blossomed between these two - the lover and fighter, caressing and careering the ball to all parts over the next nine overs. By the time Shackleton retired on a brilliant fifty (so off that pair in fine style) Bodley were well on their way, despite some very tidy fielding from the gin boys. Milner and then Shaw joined Leigh and although Leigh was soon out for a destructive 40, the score was now past the hundred mark with overs left to play with. Shaw and much-missed returning regular Josh then set about building another fine partnership to take us to the final overs, only for James to be bowled trying to push things along. Boundaries then proved trickier, but the curse of the Manny Rd artificial saw the wides threaten to put our backs out and the score inch up. Thanks to the big hitting of several Bodley batters the final score was a surely defendable 155-5.
With concerns about the light after the 6pm start the teams were keen to get cracking with the second innings, and things were soon underway. Saunders and Quest opened up for Hendricks, and Bodley knew all too well that Tim was more than capable of matching our earlier hitting if allowed to get going. Shaw and Leigh opening up the bowling and after five overs the score was 34-0 and the batters were rocking along, picking up the length well and running smartly. Bodley held their nerve, and were rewarded with a caught behind for Leigh in the sixth over to dismiss Saunders for 22. Then in the eighth over Leigh struck again, clean bowling the Hendricks number 3 to leave them 48-2. Shortly after this, and after some more dastardly boundaries, Milner had another one caught with his wicked darting spin. Around this point there were murmerings that they were scoring too fast and the ball was difficult to see in the fading light, and everyone agreed that we'd give the white ball a go. We'd played with a white ball on Tuesday against Wolvercote and it had done absolutely nothing in the air or off the pitch, and was basically just a slightly undersized bright white boundary waiting to be hit. But things were rather different this evening. Shackleton took the first over with the tip-ex ball, and it not only swung away an alarming amount, it then continued to go after pitching, to the extent that your reporter (whilst having reasonable cause to make excuses after taking balls to the ribs, face and arms amidst the gloom, ahem), almost put his back out clambering after the bugger as it flew past. It must be noted that at this point in the game it was getting quite dark. But back to the action. The Hendricks keeper, May, was by now absolutely rollocking along, with able support from the other end, and by the eighteenth over - did I say it was very dark by now? - the score was 124-4 and the match was in the balance, given the big hitting we were seeing, and the ball we were not seeing. Quite how the batters could pick up the line of the boomerang spearing in at them was beyond anyone, and the comical darkness the match was now being played in was best exemplified by the reaction to a surefire four being swept up on the boundary, leading to the bemused batter remarking that he had sworn the area was vacant when he hit it, only for Darren to appear spectre-like out of the blackness. Anyway, enough whining about the light, the final over was soon upon us and with Hendricks needing 18 to win and having lost their fifth wicket things seemed to have turned back in our favour - or had they? Could it be another reverse was on the cards? Again?! No, it couldn't, for once. A few scampered singles were all that could be mustered against very tidy bowling from the skipper and Hendricks finished on 138-5. Credit must go to the Hendricks keeper though, stranded on 49 not out having played some punishing shots in very challenging conditions - very well played.
So, there you have it, a slightly chaotic end as we all got our spectacles out, but a long overdue Bodley win that levels things up with Hendricks to put at one all - looking forward to the decider next year. All that was left was for the traditional, and very generous presentation of a bottle of Hendricks Gin to the man of the match, nominated by Hendricks, which was this year given to Leigh for his knee-crippling 40 and two wickets. It was a great game, played in the right spirit against a really good bunch of guys, and a good way to end the main part of the season before Whippersnappers and the Authors game. Well played all! Good luck to Tim and the team on their tour, and we hope you enjoyed the Cowley Road. GJ.
Game of two halves - 1 A game played over two halves 2 An ironic use to describe a game in which a team performs well at first then cocks it up after the innings break (i.e. most games involving the Bodleian CC)
Following on from an impressive performance in defeat against OUP a few days ago Bodley took on Wolvercote CC at Cutteslowe Park, a ground last visited some fourteen years previous, when Messrs Milner and Ackland were young ragamuffins on the Oxford playboy circuit. Played under a cloudy sky Wolvercote bat first and show their intent from the start, giving James scant respect for balls on a good line and length, taking advantage of short boundaries and a field pushed back far earlier than usual. With the opposition scoring in either boundaries or twos James unfortunately has to bowl tothe more aggressive batsman more often than not. Bowling at the other end Matthew has better luck, getting the ball to move around enough to cause problems for both bat and wicket-keeper. Soon a breakthrough, the ever impressive Malcolm Webb manages to force the batsman into a false shot and the ball is caught on the boundary by David, the very person the team would have wanted to be there to take the catch (I’m not saying that no-one else would have held on, but…). The wicket, quickly followed by the retirement after reaching 35 of the other opener, slowed down Wolvercote, who at one point were 50 odd for 0 off 5 overs and they are soon pegged down by good accurate bowling against more circumspect batting. Wickets fall at a regular pace, a couple of sharply taken run-outs, catches (including Ackland holding on to one for once) and a beautiful spell at the end for David (including a two-wicket maiden) and miserly work from skipper Andrew and James managed to keep the score down to an impressive but nowherenearasbadasitcouldhavebeen 137.
Bodley stroll out to bat, opening pair of Matthew and David doing their Langer and Hayden thing. Both have been batting well together this season and things start well, Matthew glancing one off his legs first ball to start the reply. Then the game of two halves thing kicks in. David’s first ball lifts a bit, throwing timing out slightly and would you believe it, the skies have darkened, all faith is lost and we abandon all hope of rescue as the ship lists violently - a dolly of a catch is snaffled at mid-off and David is out first ball. Out for a buggering duck. The collective sound of 10 jaws dropping followed by a collective chorus of ‘bollocks’. But onwards we must go, and Matthew is joined by James, and runs start to flow. But then Matthew is given out Leg Before Watson, a rare mistake from the usually (sorry Matthew) reliable Umpire (sorry again Matthew) who gave out plumb LBW while forgetting the pitched-outside leg rule (sorry again). James scores a quick-fire 16 before falling to a perfect slower ball yorker and after this Mike, Alec, Rhys and my-sorry-self fail to trouble the scorer. Apart from James only Gareth, and to a lesser, but still entertaining degree, Tim give those on the side-lines something to cheer about, playing their shots against good quick bowling under ever-darker skies and a glorious sunset. Malcolm was left not out again.
The team welcomed Rhys for his first game, hopefully it won’t prove to be his last. Comedy highlights were few due to the quality of the oppo and the task undertaken but the loud guffaws from a less than sympathetic partner (no idea who you mean - Ed) as Tim took one in the knackers raised a few laughs and I’ve got a feeling that the LBW decision won’t be forgotten in a while. On cricketing terms though the team bowled and fielded well against some attacking batting but again couldn't back up a decent performance in the field when it was our turn in with the bat. As said, a game of two halves. SA, GJ.
Bodley began a hectic week of three games in six days today, with a 35 over match at Jordan Hill against old friends OUP. After a near two week lay off the team looked sharp, eager and maybe a little rounder, but even being only ten men couldn't dim the enthusiasm evident in the side. Skipper Stu got things underway by losing the toss - surely defying all laws of averages - and we were asked to field. Ah well, said everyone, we can enjoy the tea now - enjoy meaning completely devour. So, off we trotted.
Recently installed opening bowler Neely started things off with Stu, and very quickly found some swing, a most unusual occurrence, and one that caught Jones and Webb - keeping and slipping respectively - off guard at first. Things settled down and Neely's second over was a deserved wicket maiden, the batter edging one behind. 8-1, great start. Things were kept tight and in the eighth over Stu chipped in with a wicket of his own, caught by Shaw at a closeish mid-off. 28-2, even better. It wasn't long before young Malcolm Webb was on and despite the number three batter striking some lusyt blows at the other end Malcolm held his nerve, bowled straight and ...took a return catch that had by all the laws of physics and sworn statements of God fearing witnesses gone well past and beyond him at waist height. But out went the clearly inherent Webb right arm and snaffled the thunderbolt. Even the oppo clapped it. Bloody great catch. 46-3, tidy work. These three bowlers continued to keep things tight but the OUP three and five were thumping and swinging respectively, and the score was creeping up. The skipper did a great job with the field and Jones wittered on unimaginatively from behind the stumps, until finally in the eighteenth over with the score on 89 the big hitting number three was snaffled by Jones after edging a lovely delivery from Stu. Malcolm was back on now and Bodley had their tails up, and were then positively clucking when the batter spooned the first ball of the over into the vacant mid-on area, only for Jones to run in and take the catch on the move - a most unlikely outcome as previous attempts at catching as an outfielder have resulted in visits to the A&E. But wait! There's more. Next ball is smashed miles in the air, and begins it's descent broadly above the one man you'd want under it - Mr D. Shackleton of Oxford, OX4. Shacks casually pouches it and Malcolm is on a hat trick. In he runs and whist the ball went for a couple the over is finished with dots and the dangerous batters have been seen off in a couple of very tidy overs from our excellent attack. Score is now 97-6 from 19, a good recovery for us and one helped by the now very consistent Bodley fielding - busby's kneecaps putting in a sterling shift and saving countless fours. The remaining batters hit a few lusty blows but after a great reflex take from Neely behind the stumps and then a mopping up of the tail by Shackleton it was all over. 136 all out from 30 overs, so five overs left unused, a great result for Bodley.
Tea was very good - well-filled sandwiches and a plethora of porky pies, sausage rolls and eggs, followed by a heaving selection of cakes that included a quite delicious banana loaf with chocolate chips. Suitably stuffed, we waddled out to watch our opening batters work off their cake.
As is only proper, Neely and shackleton opened the batting and we were soon thinking that the modest OUP total might in fact be about par when the pace and accuracy of their bowling was taken into account. Neely was out for a well constructed 11 which brought Webb snr to the crease, at which point a handy partnership was forged. Despite probing bowling and the field remaining up, mike and shacks saw off the next ten overs or so before mike was undone by a good ball that left Bodley on 39-2 after 15. Shaw strode out to support shackleton, who was by now hitting some lovely shots and looking good for a big score. That was until a peach of a yorker broke through and knocked a stump out, shacks departing for a well made 30. 51-3 from 18, hmm. This brought Jones to the wicket, promoted in the absence of anyone willing to face the lethal OUP spinner. But Shaw was then out to a really quite dubious lbw decision - big stride forward to the spinner, hit on the full, very unlucky. 51-4. This brought Philipson out to join Jones, as the scheduled number 6 batter, skipper Stu, had inexplicably injured himself whilst umpiring at square leg. You couldn't make that up, could you? Our two batters decided that anything wide had to go, and the rest was getting the full Boycott. With the run rate cimbing Jones promptly went against his instincts and smashed consecutive deliveries from one of the OUP quicks back down the ground for fours. Philipson joined the fun and hit out too, and the running was energetic, even if it was filled with curses about too much cake. Despite the bright start to the partnership OUP had some very good bowling, with a quick operating at one end and their genuine spinner (as opposed to the usual slow floaty wafty pies one normally sees from 'spinners') befuddling us at the other. Philipson was eventually bowled by said spinner, as was the skipper. Jones was then bowled by a ball that had died, rolled gently down his leg, onto the dirt, and then ever so softly into the treacherous stumps, dislodging a bail. What rotten luck! 89-7, so not too far way if we could only get another partnership going, and if they would only put some pie chuckers on. Alas it was not to be, and despite mackinnon, Busby and Webb jnr providing some resistance at the end we were all out for 90 after 31 overs.
So not as close as we felt we should have got in the end, but with the calibre of bowler possessed by OUP I think we gave a good account of ourselves. Malcolm Webb's stunning caught and bowled was the champagne moment, with Shackleton again looking good for his 30 runs. It is, quite frankly, a rare treat to play against a good spinner, and accurate pace, and though one is often made to look like a complete fool with the bat, any runs scored are more valuable and feel harder earned. It feels a hell of a lot better if you then go on to win, of course, but it was a good game all the same. GJ.
This afternoon Bodley made their annual trip down to Berkshire and the lovely village of Peasemore, to play the village club in a 35 over affair under warm clear skies and a gentle breeze. A perfect afternoon for a game of cricket, you might say. We had won last year's game with our batting firing on all cylinders but with memories of our recent reverses at the back of our minds, our confidence was somewhat tempered. Regardless, Skipper Stu duly won the toss (Mr. Milner, take note) and batted...
Out walked a re-jigged opening pair of Neely and Robinson (actually their second such partnership in as many matches - Ed.) and the rest of us settled down for a natter and maybe even a nap. The Peasemore bowling was tight, and the pitch looked to be keeping a little low on occasion, but we got off to a pretty sound start - plenty of overs, it was blooming warm, so best not rush. Just as we were settling into our seats both openers were undone by the pitch and some tidy bowling - bowled in consecutive overs to leave us on 10-2. Ooh eck, as Gav said (well, something similar, anyway). This brought Shackleton and James Shaw to the crease and the pair steadily built a partnership as the bowling remained on a good line and length and some very sharp close fielding around the bat turned the screw. These two gradually upped the tempo though and while Shacks rode his luck a little James was soon planting a big six in the bushes. Bizarrely, as the 66 run partnership steamed into the 18th over Shacks whacked the ball straight up in the air, from where it somehow fell safe, but was then picked up by an eagle eyed fielder who ran him out as he looked on from the middle of the pitch. A well played 30 though. Returning player Darren Wright then marched out to the crease to join James, and was promptly caught behind for 2 from some tidy bowling. Bodley were now 83-4 with 20 overs down, and out walked Jones to try to keep James on strike. Unfortunately at this point a very young lad came on to bowl and proceeded to befuddle Jones entirely, eventually resulting in a ball that completely cut him in half and struck a sensitive area ...play stopped briefly as giggles were exchanged. After this unfortunate incident a few fours were struck but Jones too was undone by tidy bowling, bringing Busby to the crease at 98-5. The bowling continued to be tight and the fielding excellent, and after an unfortunate run-out for Shaw - very well batted for innings top score of 45 - and some lusty hitting from the skipper, Bodley were all out for 118 from 32 overs. Probably a bit below par, we mused.
I should point out at this point that when a tea is as good as that provided by Peasemore CC all thoughts of having to field next up are banished and the team tuck in like they're never fed at home. It was a marvellous tea, with a lovely coffee cake being a highlight amongst several delicious cakes. Cricket teas are a wonderful throwback to a gentler time, and something everyone should experience and cherish, not to mention indulge themselves in. And we certainly did that. But back to the test match...
Stu had stated his intention to 'mix things up a bit' with the ball, which we assumed meant bowl straight more often, but in fact meant juggling the bowlers and swapping ends a bit - why not, we needed something clever to defend such a modest total. Shaw and Shackleton opened the bowling with a by now rather tender Jones behind the stumps, and the field up. The bowling was superb, with a tight line being kept and Bodley fielding like the prize whippets they are. Shaw and Shacks, followed by Neely and Robinson all picked up wickets and Peasemore were soon 4 down for 6 runs, including a lovely catch over his shoulders from Darren and a textbook pouch in the slips from Gav. Amongst some imaginative bowling changes - chief of which was not bowling himself - the skipper brought on Busby and young Dan Shaw to keep the pressure on and take some pace off the ball. What followed from Shaw jnr was rather special - and worthy of a lengthy write-up. First over, tidy, good line and tapped back to the bowler by a watchful batter well aware of the scoreline and overs remaining. Second over, same again, very tidy and played with caution by the batter. Dave was mixing things up at the other end and keeping us all on our toes, and so Dan's third over came to be. First ball - wicket! Can't remember exactly but I believe it was caught by Dave in the covers, a great catch. A dot ball followed, and then wicket! Bowled this time, full and straight, lovely ball. So, new batter, Dan runs in and wicket! Even fuller, under the bat, and that's out. He's on a hat-trick! Field is up, four slips in place, grins all round, in runs Dan and dot! Bloody good ball though. Another dot followed and that's the end of his spell. Figures of 3-3-0-3 giving Dan what must be Bodley's best ever bowling return. Well played young man. But what of the score you shout? Ah, well, at this point we were feeling fairly good, and the score read 14-7 from 13 overs. Splendid, said the skipper. The bowling continued to be rotated well and the fielding was sharp but the Peasemore number 5 and number 9 built a very impressive partnership, broken briefly by yet another batter being struck in a sensitive area - much empathy was exchanged. Drinks came and went, Stu mixed up the mixing up and yet we couldn't break the partnership. With only a handful of overs left and the score at 100-7 the skipper decided enough was enough and brought himself on to bowl, shuffle and all. 19 needed to win... Couple of singles and it's 102, so 17 needed from two overs, and then sod's law - he doesn't bowl all afternoon and batted like a millionaire and he takes two in two! Excellent bowling and just in time, as squeaky bum time was getting louder and louder. With the score on 102-9 and one over left Shaw snr steams in to bowl and with his second ball finds the edge, snaffled by Jones - and that's the win!
So a really enjoyable match and very close in the end after Bodley's early inroads - all concerned played superbly to keep the scoring rate down during a big partnership that had threatened to give us another reverse. Dan's figures were stunning, but mention must also go to the other bowlers, all of whom kept things tight and who were backed up for the full 35 overs in the field. Great, great effort lads. It was a mark of the discipline shown on a long hot afternoon that we only conceded two extras the whole innings. A thoroughly splendid afternoon then, and not just because we won, but because Peasemore are really rather wonderful hosts who play the game in the right way and always provide a warm welcome and a cracking tea - thank you guys. A well-earned post match visit to the local pub topped off a bucolic afternoon, and we look forward to next year's fixture.
One of the fixtures most avidly looked forward to each season is the one against Lotus F1 (yes, the F1 team - we've no idea how we got this fixture either). Played in the rural setting of Barton Abbey it is a friendly match against like-minded opposition in beautiful surroundings with, rare for an evening twenty20, a tea as well. Games in the past have been fairly even, Bodley securing a good victory last year.
With this in mind, and with a strongish team to boot, Bodley could afford a degree of confidence, rashly ignoring the warning signs offered by a green tinge to the wicket and a young enthusiastic opposition practising before the game. Bodley win the toss and bat first. Soon the wicket comes into play. Pre start the cavalier skipper (Milner, fresh from polishing off the last of his French duty free) had decreed we would change the batting order, and with the confidence expected of any proud Yorkshire man Gavin puts his hand up to open with Matthew. Both are soon out, victims of bloody fast and accurate bowling combined with a schizophrenic pitch that can't decide if it wants to play true, stay low or rear up at the batsman - Matthew was bowled, Gav leg before (ahem). Gav's wicket brings David Shackleton out to bat, and any demons that the rest of the team find in the pitch (Ackland bowled first ball going back to one that pitched in middle and took off the leg stump bail, the usual lack of forward (any?) defence proving costly again. Jones, after a glorious pulled 4, and having been out once by a vicious ball that reared off a length to take the glove right in front of the face and be caught keeper, only to be called back was then out a second and final time by one that moved off the pitch. Thereafter followed Leigh, Andy Downey and eventually David Shackleton. Others were caught, or bowled by straight ones, and only David covered himself in any glory, a cultured 40 runs making up nearly 2/3rds of a very poor 68 all out off 15 overs. Of course, we said, it'll be the same for them on this wicket. What bollocks.
Bodley start well, Stu Ackland bowling two overs of tight line and length while first Andrew Milner and then Gavin bowl their perfectly flighted deliveries from the other end. Then things start to go horribly wrong - Ackland starts his third, loses his newly worked on, non-stuttering run up, re-introduces the stutter to great applause and gets the yips (to more applause), a few loose deliveries putting paid to the good work of the first overs and, already faced with a near impossible task, Bodley are on the back foot. A few dropped catches, including an unexpectedly hilarious contribution from Leigh, and the usual fielding-with-feet mishaps don't help but accurate bowling from David and wickets for Leigh and Milner at least means that the target isn't reached, then overtaken, till the fifteenth over. So close.
A bad loss then, and hard to find any crumbs of comfort in a match in which the pitch came into play when we were batting but not for the opposition, who bowled well with pace and accuracy and deserved the win with their performance with the ball. The evening ended in the best way possible, the sun setting directly behind the stumps at the pavilion end meant that sitting with your back to the pavilion you could watch directly in front of you the most gorgeous full moon rising in a clear blue sky while eating food usually on offer on a Sunday; cakes, sandwiches and cups of tea. The team play again this Sunday, at Peasmore, a swift chance of redemption, report of that match to follow, unless we lose again, in which case a detailed account of the post-match pub trip will replace the report.
Stuart has added this bizarre piece of prose, which he may or may not have written himself...
How do I hate thee? let me count the ways.
I hate thee to the line and length my balls fail to reach.
I hate thee for the golden duck,
I hate thee for the 1 loose ball after 5 good ones,
I hate thee for the optimism that turns to despair,
I hate thee for the dropped catch
and for giving me nowhere to hide after,
I hate thee for the false praise when things go wrong,
and the inability to do anything about it when they go wrong.
I hate thee with a hate when we again lose,
I hate thee with the wides, misses, dropped catches of all my matches... and if my knees maintain,
I shall but hate thee better after stumps.
It is the lot of the amateur cricketer to be sat staring at a cup of tea (or stronger) having just returned from another epic contest, the details of which keep him up all night, and provide all conversation the following day. And so it is that we report from our annual 20 over heave-ho against Wilkinson Eyre, aka the Weston Library architects. We've played the architects every year since 2009 and it's always been a fairly close game against a great bunch of guys. After we came out well on top last year we were optimistic of a repeat performance and having won the toss skipper Jones took one look at the fresh, flat wicket and duly elected to bat...
Out walked openers Neely and Shaw to get things underway, and a steady start against some tight bowling had us all settling in for a nice evening of steady accumulation. Unfortunately Neely fell to a tidy bowler we've seen and cursed before, bringing Milner to the crease fresh from his French leave though still showing signs of too much vin rouge. A sprightly 14 was rapidly scored before he was unceremoniously bowled, bringing Gav into the fray. Things were picking up with the score on 30 odd from half a dozen overs with change bowlers to come, when Gav, going for a second run, fell victim to a very keen (ahem) Bodley umpire and had to return to the pavilion. This brought Philipson to the crease, promoted up the order to five on the promise of that golf swing we all love so much. With Shaw still going well at the other end the partnership soon flourished, Tim looking like Bubba Watson on the drive at Augusta and soon going beyond his previous best score. Shaw sadly fell to a catch in the covers and Jones joined Tim in the middle to watch Bubba first-hand. However, at this point your author realised something terrible was happening. Mckiernen, returning to cricket after about a year out with a knackered knee, and playing for the opposition, was bowling, and seemed absolutely determined to get a Bodley wicket. But out came the forward defensive and all seemed well ...until Leigh found the stumps and bowled Jones. Only he didn't, as the bails had jumped in the air and landed back on the stumps. You couldn't make it up. Jones continued to poke and swing but Philipson was by now rapidly approaching retirement at 30 runs, which he duly hit to top score for the innings. Busby came in and hit another boundary to push us up to 121 and we walked off the field feeling pretty happy with our efforts.
After a quick committee meeting and the eventual setting of fields, Shaw and Milner opened up the bowling with a pace/spin combination to befuddle the opposition. The plan worked and the number 2 and 3 batters were promptly back in the hutch to some very tidy bowling and sharp catching from Shaw snr and Shaw jnr - a great double. The runs were below the rate and we felt pretty good, though an ominous smattering of fours from their number four was causing some concern. After a catch off Gav's bowling Mckiernen came out and promptly hit two fours, before being plumb lbw to Triggs, to his great dissatisfaction. Over the next few overs things were kept fairly tight, with Tim and Dan Shaw bowling well, and Gav in particular finding a lovely length - a thin edge carrying to Jones behind the stumps, followed two balls later by a clean bowled to give him three for match (4-0-27-3). Sadly things took a turn for the worse at this point, just as Bodley were dreaming of victory and the glory to come. A very good eye and a good swing saw some tidy bowling hit for hard fours in the final five overs and despite some desperate fielding we just couldn't stem the flow, the winning runs being hit in the 19th over. Bugger.
So a tight game, and one that we probably couldn't have done much about without more runs on the board. A restless night of what-ifs and if onlys await but it was a great match played in a brilliant spirit by all involved. Next years match - our seventh (let's get to ten years chaps) is already being discussed, with a possible trip to London on the cards. We next play this Friday against Isis CC at Queen's College Ground on the Abingdon Road - a gorgeous ground with the boathouses behind and a bar, so do come along. GJ
And so to Great Hasely for a new match arranged via Bodley's Chris Marsh this was an unknown quantity to us, so we hoped for the best and decided we were bound to come away victorious. Great Haseley turned out to be a beautiful village and familiar to some of the team due to its proximity to Rycote House. But onto the cricket - which was, as they say in lesser sports, a tale of two halves. Bodley won the toss and due to the morning rain and possibly concussion, decided to field first in a 35 over match. We approached this with great enthusiasm, knowing that it meant we could attack the tea without restraint as our hard work would be over (batting being all about hitting fours, of course). Surprisingly, we began well, skipper Stuart bellowing orders in his best Captain Mainwaring impression, and Dad's Army responding accordingly. A couple of almost athletic stops on the boundary from Jones and Philipson saw the rate kept down, and then something quite incredible happened. The established batsman, ominously rumbling along like a volvo in the middle lane, creamed a wide ball in front of square. This shiny leather-wrapped thunderbolt was just approaching the speed of sound when the square leg fielder - Mike W.G. Webb - sprang to his right like a prize ferret and stuck out his hand to snaffle the ball mid-air before rolling across the turf to shrieks of delight from the assembled villagers, and incredulity from his team-mates. A single beam of sunlight then shone from the dark sky overhead and illuminated Mike as he floated around the boundary for a lap of honour, after which he was offered the freedom of the village. But back to the cricket. After this things went pretty well - James Shaw took a rare Bodley five-fer, Robin took up juggling, and Stuart let his now customary gift boundary glide under his skipping legs, whilst Gareth even managed to accidentally catch a thick edge behind the stumps to give James that fifth wicket. But despite all these heroics Great Haseley thumped some late runs and ended up on 190odd for 9, ish (Sorry Ed, didn't catch the score!). Hmm, above par that is, said someone wiser than us. But the tea was out and we tucked in with all the energy we could muster. Team talk followed from the skipper, which was frankly just a treatise on cheese sandwiches and how runs would be key to us winning.
The second innings began and out walked Matthew and Shackleton for their 500th opening partnership and all seemed well in our world, the rest of the team finishing off the cake and tea. That was until Matthew walked back very soon after, and continued walking all the way to the changing room to berate his treacherous bat. Mike soon followed and when Shackleton paid us a visit we knew the Gods had abandoned us. Gavin played with typical Yorkshire grit and stubbornly refused to yield to what was a slightly (though not especially if we're being honest, which we're not) tricky pitch and some very probing bowling. James swung for all he was worth and was promptly bowled, followed by Jones, Ackland, Philipson (couple of swings of his 9 iron notwithstanding), Busby and, inexplicably, even regular nightwatchman Alec succumbed - only Robin remaining defiant on 1* at the close. With only Shacks and Gav getting into the 20s we ended up posting a somewhat disappointing 70something. Michael Clarke, we share your pain.
And now here's something you won't normally read in a Bodley match report - we very nearly had one of the greatest batsman ever to play the game walk out to bat for us today - Sachin Tendulkar was in fact stranded just a few hundred yards away having missed his bus. When we say 'very nearly had', we actually mean he was nearby and in theory (in our fevered imagination) could have played for us. But I imagine he'd have fancied a game, being fond of cricket, so the only question would have been who dropped out to make way. Anyway, this thought will keep us entertained for the rest of the season. But back to reality...
Great Haseley was a lovely ground and a nice day out to South OXON against a good bunch of guys - next year's rematch is already confirmed. So our neverending search for a team we can leave trailing in our dust continues, and the team plan to spend this week training non-stop by reading cricinfo and shopping online for better bats. GJ
This evening bodley, fresh (ahem) from their tour, played good friends Far From the MCC for a t20 in lovely weather. Our first game against them earlier this season was a loss for bodley, so hopes were high for a win here. One should never seek excuses in life, and even less so in sport where participation is voluntary and done with a will to enjoy, improve and occasionally, to come out on top. However, bodley were rather light in the bowling and batting departments tonight, which added a touch of caution but also perhaps focus to proceedings. Anyway...
Skipper stu duly won the toss and inserted the opposition. Let's bowl well and field like madmen, and then play the batting lottery we thought. With six bowlers needed, short spells were the order of the day, and Stu, Shaw snr, Bharat, Tim, Matthew and Robin all sent down overs - some tight, some not so tight, and others rather entertaining. An early wicket for Stu was a good start but the mads soon settled and the runs ticked along despite some decent fielding from Jones and Bharat. In the autumn of the innnings Tim Philipson took two quick wickets with good straight full balls to stem the flow a little, but the mads ended up posting 180odd. Hmm, we mused, that might be above par.
Out we marched to bat, Matthew and Bharat forming a new opening pair, with Bharat in his last bodley game this year. Some nice fours from Matthew's usual sweeping like a good lefty, and Bharat going through the gears to get to 30 and retire saw bodley make a decent start. James Shaw carried on where he'd left off, smiting a massive six over cow corner amongst a flurry of boundaries. Neely was then caught behind square by a stunning one handed catch, marvellous work to be honest. Mike Webb was then rather unlucky to get a pad edge onto the stumps down leg, and Tim was promptly back in the hutch as the mads kept the pressure on. Jones and Stu found themselves at the crease after another quick wicket. A few shots and some hard running kept the score ticking over but we remained behind the rate. Jones perished to a dodgy swipe caught at point, bringing David Busby in. Buzzer's frankly brilliant 'Ponting doing Lara' impression was soon in full flow, the backlift high, the ball pinging around, and the running as busy as ever. After Stu fell to a pearler that broke through his boycottian defence and alec had perished to the bowling, out marched Dan Shaw and soon the ship was steadied. Dan showed his father's eye and a solid technique that always looked to score - a lovely pulled four being a highlight. Despite our efforts Bodley ended up falling short on 130odd, which was a bloody good effort all told - over 300 runs scored in the two innings. Well played all, great fun and a few drinks after with a great oppo to boot - not a bad way to spend an evening. But the last word should go to saying a big thank you to Bharat for those runs, whirling overs of spin, and being a thoroughly nice chap, cheers! GJ,