OUCCC, Mansfield Rd Club
On Sunday afternoon Bodley played a rare 40 over fixture on the proper wicket at Mansfield Rd. We regularly play on the artificial wicket in Jack Cox games, but had never used the proper strip. So a treat was in store, we thought. Our opposition today was a new match, against the Oxford University Club XI, a team who, commendably, net twice a week. Skipper Neely scanned the skies as the oppo netted. Well, a first inspection of the wicket shattered any excitement - it being as green and fuzzy as the lawns of the Radcliffe Camera (slight exaggeration - Ed). With the outfield still resembling a football pitch we shrugged and simply hoped for the best, as ever. The skipper was unlucky to lose the toss, and we found ourselves fielding. It's fair to say that bowling was today our stronger suit, missing a fair bit of experience with the bat as we were, so this was a good result. So off we go...
Dale and Shaw open the bowling and the pitch we had so much hope for provides little in the way of assistance. But Dale is showing good pace and Shaw keeps it tight at the other end. The club openers were ticking along but showing no real intent and the total was kept well within reach. After an excellent maiden from Dale we finally got a deserved wicket in the ninth over, Shaw getting a plumb lbw to leave the score at 32-1. I'm afraid an incomplete scorebook prevents me giving the exact fall of wickets, but my best maths has another wicket at about the 12th over, the number three batter being clean bowled by Brown to have them 36-2. This brought a technically correct but very becalmed batsmen to the crease, and the score bumbled along to stand at 76-2 from 20. Excellent, we thought! Well, ahem, to cut a long story short the second twenty overs went at a steady 9.8 runs p/over, ending up on 272-3. Bodley's bowlers were excellent though, running in with intent and generally keeping a good line and length. Keeping was tough with the two paced nature of the strip but we all fielded below par, flagging after a flogging from the accelerating batters. Another wicket was picked up late by the skipper, but the damage was done. Chasing 273 was looking tough, but we fancied the short boundary and marched on out.
Bharat opened with the skipper, and immediately recoiled in suprise at the extra bounce now evident in the pitch. Nevertheless, the runs were flowing, but in the eighth over Neely was bowled to stem the flow. This brought newly promoted Jones to the crease, charged with 'doing a Boycott'. Well dear reader, this was fine by me. The first inning top scorer was duly smashed for four as Jones got off the mark. Very satisfying. Bharat was by now serene in his batting, tight in defence and classy in attack. All that was needed was rotation of strike and the score ticked along as Bharat scored the rump of the runs. The days only comedy moment arrived when Jones swung at a shorter one, took it on the hand and promptly fell over mid-twirl. Other than this brief respite it was fairly relentless stuff from the bowlers, who had their best game faces on for good measure. Bharat was unfortunate to be bowled by one that nipped back when on 47 - a superb innings ended before a deserved 50. The score was now 75-2 from 17. Jones followed next over, and then Brown a couple later. Sadly we couldn't quite chase the total down in the end but with the slow bowlers now on a few thumping shots from Shaw jnr, Griffin and Abdul provided some entertainment. In the end Bodley were all out for 123 from thirty overs as Alex was undone by a deadeye straight one.
All things considered not a bad effort and we now look forward to our next fixture, a regular friendly against a our chums the Mads on Friday at Jesus college ground. All welcome, as ever!