After the double disappointments of a bad run of form and then losing games to weather/lack of players it was a real pleasure to get our second win of the season last night, against new opposition Oxfam. The game was at Cutteslowe, which played as per usual, wicket ok if a little low on the bounce sometimes while the outfield had enough clover and long grass to slow down any boundary heading shots. At least the rabbits would be happy.
Bodleys win was built on a platform of the parsimony of our bowlers. Oxfam’s openers found Tom in particular tricky to deal with and his pace kept them, and Matthew behind the stumps, on their toes throughout his spell, both he and Leigh were unlucky to finish their overs with no wickets. Oxfam skipper Ben managed to slowly start to score while a couple of quick wickets fell at the other end but on his retirement runs slowed right down as our bowlers; James, David, Gavin and Stu all bowled good tight lines. Undoubted highlight of the innings was a run-out of one of their more dangerous batsmen by Tom. Having admired a skied catch going high over his shoulder Tom gathered the ball and from deepish mid-on hit the stumps with the Oxfam lad well out of his crease. Excellent work on another day when Bodley bowled and fielded well, which is our usual pattern, which just had to ensure that the rest of the game wouldn’t go the way of most others this season, good in the field, poor with the bat.
Starting with the confidence of having a small target to aim for (and presumable forgetting the way the season has mostly gone up till now) openers Matthew and David start well, Matthew getting runs off good bowling before knicking one behind. Leigh strides out, a colossus swinging his bat like the warrior he often is, then comes back again straight away, bowled first ball by a different ball to that he had expected. James then in, earlier than would have hoped but in good form recently. He does well to keep out some good accurate deliveries on a perfect length while keeping the scoreboard (or book in this case, no scoreboard at Cutteslowe so it was the occasional shouted up-dates from the scorers to keep us informed of the position) moving on. David does what David always does, playing each ball on its merit, scoring off the bad balls and defending the good. There is a lesson there for most of us, and we’ll work out what it is eventually. He reaches the retirement figure and goes off, by which point James has been caught and Andrew and Gareth have both come and gone without troubling the scorers. Both to balls that kept low, or was it high? Possibly moved? Fiendish pitch, apparently. But Gavin steadies the ship, with his usual array of late cuts, pat downs and defence. Batting highlight would have to be the scoop off his legs to clear the boundary for 6. Gav scores a useful 14 before being bowled by the useful Bilal. By this time Phil is well set, scoring freely off some dangerous bowling and running well between the wickets with the unusually limpet-like Stu. Bodley manage to steal runs with some tight running off mis-fields and the like which in a usual game wouldn’t have been risked. A lucky 4 after a dramatic, and some might say risky swipe at a fast ball gets a top edge flying over the wickie and then helped over the boundary by a very honest fielder. Bilal claims his second wicket next ball, bowling Ackland when he, to paraphrase Geoffrey Boycott on TMS, played down the Banbury Road when the ball was coming up Woodstock. By this time Tom was in, with Robin joining him and the chance of David coming back after retiring earlier. With the lukcy 4 scored a few balls earlier Bodley had drawn level, and with just over 2 overs left were pretty much there. Plenty of time to get the runs…which aren’t needed, Tom guiding to the boundary a quick delivery to finish off the game giving the Bod a well-earned victory against new and friendly oppo, and Tom personally the perfect end to another impressive performance – bookended by scoring the winning runs and bowling a peach of ball (a wicket on any other day) first ball of the match.
Bodley went into this game confident. With 9 players in the team who would all consider themselves useful bowlers we were always sure we could do well in the field but our batting also worked against some useful bowling. Hopefully we’ll take this forward to the next game, against Hendricks XI, touring side of Bodley occasional and up-and-coming bowler Tim Saunders.