DPAG, Jack Cox group stage. Balliol College Ground, twenty overs.
Not content with a weekend of top-class cricket, Bodley limbered up again for a Jack Cox match at Balliol College Ground this evening against DPAG, a team with a slightly better record than us. Bodley have of course had a terrific season so far and were, at start of match, in with a shout of a Cup spot. Skipper Neely lost the toss and was happy enough to be asked to field first. Eight of the touring party were playing tonight, and we jogged out raring to go after our unbeaten lap of Devon. Burnett and Shaw opened the bowling, picking up where they left off in Devon finding a tight line and good length. In the third over, with the score fairly ticking along, the gentleman assassin Burnett clean bowled one to rapturous applause from teammates. Next ball, in glides Phil, finds the edge and Neely takes a clean catch to make it two in two. Hat-trick ball was a peach but was kept out by the batter, squeezing it to gully – superb bowling from Burnett. By the end of the over it was 22-2 from 3. The next over was to prove just as eventful. Second ball was a pearler as James, still smarting from being harshly wided earlier, steamed in and delivered the ball on a perfect length to leave the batsman looking back at shattered stumps as he picked up his first wicket of the match. Three dot balls followed and then James drops the length back a touch, the batter leans back to wallop the ball but doesn’t quite connect. The ball flies in the air between Shackleton and Jones, and in an entirely unexpected turn of events Jones steams forward at full pelt to cut off the advancing Shackleton and take the catch at full stretch just as it dies in the air. 23-4 from 4, and Bodley are flying. A recover of sorts followed, with the remaining DPAG opener starting to find his touch, but in the seventh over Philipson was brought on in a classic piece of mixing up the bowling, and immediately finds the edge to secure another great take from the skipper behind the stumps. Next over and Robinson is in on the action, clean bowling another batter to make the score 51-6 from 8. By this point Bodley were ecstatic with the way things were going – we have rarely fielded this confidently and the high standard was rubbing off on everyone on the field. So, ninth over, what could happen here? Well, you guessed it, another wicket as Philipson this time forces the batsman into a heave and bucket hands Robinson pouches the catch as safely as a bean bag in a digger. 52-7 from 9. Next over was very disappointing given the previous few, as runs were scored and no wickets taken. But then in the eleventh our substitute fielder Hamish aimed a deadeye throw at one stump from the covers and ran out another batter. Superb stuff, well done that man. 66-8 from 11. As is so often the case a partnership then began to form and by the sixteenth over the score had risen to a very respectable 106-8, and Bodley were again chasing the ball from the boundary. In the seventeenth over Shackleton was summoned on to bowl, and duly had the batsman fooled with some terrific pacey swing bowling. A skier that probably registered on airport radar duly went up, and as Shaw steadied himself for the ball’s return to earth, ten team-mates held their breath ...as James pouched the ball as nonchalantly as is possible. Great catch. With Neely running in hard at the other end the runs were being kept down and in the nineteenth over Shackleton again found a peach of a ball to clean bowl the last batter. DPAG ended 123 all out, which given the way Bodley had them by halfway was a fantastic recovery, and a tricky total for us to chase.
Bodley’s by now settled opening partnership of Neely and Shackleton quickly settled into a groove against some decent, and at times short, bowling. Both played wonderfully well and by the tenth over the score was 66 without loss with both approaching the employer justified retirement at thirty. Shackleton soon reached this whilst Neely settled in with new batter Shaw before being bowled for a well made and valuable 29. Philipson joined Shaw but was out before he could properly entertain the troops, bringing Jones to the crease, still nursing a pulled thigh from the weekend. Shaw was out not long after and Robinson joined Jones as the spinners started fizzing through the overs. Jones and Robinson ran well, taking the score up to 90 in the fifteenth over, Robinson in particular hitting a textbook pulled six as the bowler dropped short. Gav was eventually caught, and later the same over Jones was undone by the shagpile rug that constituted the newly laid artificial wicket at Balliol. 104-5 by the seventeenth. Burnett and Triggs were the new men in, and neither really had time to get their eye in. At the end of the eighteenth it was 111-5, with both batsmen running well and backing up like champions, so that by the end of the nineteenth it was 119-5. Five to win from six balls. DPAG opted to bring their opening bowler back on and set an in-out field, with gaps there for singles if the batters could place it. First ball, in runs the bowler, good length, and Burnett pushes the ball back into the covers and takes a single. Triggs is now on strike, and leans forward intently as the bowler runs in and fielders circle. It’s widish, down leg, and Robin does a terrific job of getting some bat on it to send it on its merry way for four behind square. Bodley win!
A fantastic effort, with the whole team fielding superbly and taking their catches. Bowling changes were good and that opening partnership set up the pinch hitting that took us over the line. Bodley are now in with a very good shout of a Cup spot – a first for them possibly (records are being checked...) – though it will depend upon other results. Regardless of Cup or Plate it’s been a great effort from the Jack Cox team this season and one all should be very proud of, playing as we do against some very good opposition. Next match is on Saturday against touring side Bitter & Twisted – players still needed so do get in touch if you fancy a game.