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