OUP - Bodley, Jordan Hill, 35 overs.
Bodley CC's yearly match against that other University institution, the University Press, is a fixture which has seen epic, and then less than epic, performances by the team recently. Who can forget one of our greatest victories a few years ago when James batted majestically with a century to see the team home? Who, equally, cares to remember the last couple of seasons when excellent bowling hasn't been matched by the teams performances with the bat. Despite the recent run of results it is always a game to look forward to. One of the best pitches in the city, one of the better teas, a good bar and friendly oppo all add up to good cricket.
Bodley field first, 35 overs not 40 on the understanding that rain is due by about 7. Tom and your reporter open the bowling. How Tom didn't pick up more than the one wicket (a sharp catch from Matthew behind the stumps, one of three taken, the new gloves proving their worth from the start) is one of the great mysteries of life, his bowling was often too fast for the batsmen to get anything on the ball, while from the other end Ackland maintained a steady line with the occasional bad ball proving expensive. A couple of wickets for the aging veteran, including a batsman who was starting to look dangerous until he made the unfortunate decision to charge down the wicket to one that was straight but also luckily stayed low, one of the few occasions when the pitch misbehaved.
Gavin and David next up, Gav bowling a dangerous line with a beauty of a flighted delivery but was unlucky not to get more than the one wicket as the OUP skipper edged two past slip, and then sent one to mid-on who waved to the ball as it passed him on its way to the boundary. Gavin and David bowl well, especially David who is very economical at the end of the OUP innings and Phil weighs in with 7 overs of controlled pace, picking up two wickets despite suffering the bowlers curse of figures spoilt by batsman chancing their arm at the death. In the field three of the team prove ball magnets; Alec, Darren and Alan saving runs with good work while Dave and Tim have the difficult task of patrolling the large outfield. Sharp work by Alan and Phil get a run-out off the last ball.
Skies which are blue while OUP bat have changed during tea, with heavy grey clouds sweeping in and rain not far away. Weather doesn't affect Matthew and David, both of whom treat with respect some good accurate bowling while scoring when they can. The rain starts after 9 or so overs but it's OUP that suffer most with the wet ball proving tricky to control. The game is called off half-way through the 13th over with Bodley slightly ahead of the run-rate without losing wickets. Hard to say what would have happened without the rain, Bodley not having the strongest batting line-up but Matthew and David looked well set to put down a good platform for the rest of us to build on. But it wasn't all bad, as the early finish allowed the thirstier members of the team, and a few hangers-on, to sample the generous plates of food being offered up by the bowls club in the bar next door. The chocolate sponge cake was a particular highlight, being enjoyed with a somewhat guilty smile by the skipper.