Royal Hampshire Hospital CC at Queen's College Ground. 25 overs.
Cricket and rain go together like tea and crisps, or beer and chocolate, or fish and gravy. That is to say they don’t go together and nobody really enjoys it when they do. So it was under grey skies and worried glances outside that Bodley followed the weather forecasts through the morning hoping the well-paid gentleman with his head out the window at the beeb was wrong, and sunshine would emerge. With the best forecast still saying rain at four we quickly brought the start to 1.30 and changed the match to a 25 over affair with no retirement and tea to be taken after the match. With players still arriving Bodley were kindly invited to bat first and off we went. Today’s opposition was the Royal Hampshire Hospital Staff CC, a team we played on tour to Winchester a few years back and one we were delighted to see again. Bodley welcomed three news players to the ranks – Paddy coming from the Mads, Martin and Asad via Oxenford.
A one-off opening partnership, chosen by way of who was ready, of Sizzla and skipper Jones went out to get things started. It became apparent within a few balls that, much like at Horsepath earlier this week, an uncovered pitch and damp conditions had left the pitch a little uneven with the ball sitting in a little upon pitching. Sizzla wisely swung and left as the alarmingly tall opening bowled found a good length. A few singles and a boundary later and Jones was out in the third over, having left one only to be bowled as it nipped back in and kept low. 7-1 in the third. A mini-collapse followed, though the devilish pitch was not without some blame, with Paddy, Sizzla and Mark all falling cheaply. 18-4 in the fifth. With a full compliment now present the batting order could be completed and Bodley soon started a recovery as Philipson and Asad batted with rather more respect for the pitch. The bowling changed too, slower bowlers coming on as the Doctors gave everyone a bowl. Lesson for all us there – bat in the middle order whenever possible! These two played wonderfully well, Asad in particular timing the ball and finding the boundary repeatedly. By the halfway mark of twelve and a bit Bodley were 78-4 and all was looking pretty good again, though the skies were still gloomy. Next over Philipson was caught hitting out, a very well made twenty to his name. Next over another fell as Martin was undone by the pitch, bringing Miten out as next man in as Andrew was busy searching for his cap without his glasses on. Miten hung aorund and allowed Asad to continue scoring before losing his wicket caught and bowled. Andrew was now in, only to be run out after a few nice singles, bringing Triggs to join the flying Asad. The innings was wrapped up in the twenty fourth over as a double strike claimed Asad for a fantastic and innings-rescuing 41, and then Busby out last man. Bodley ended up 124 all out, below par but with the pitch doing funny things who knows.
With the skies darkening a quick turnaround was undertaken and before you could say where’s my tea the second innings had begun. Sizzla and Philipson opened and immediately caused a few problems for the batters. A superb opening over from Sizzla picked up the first wicket, whilst Asad chipped in with another in the sixth to leave the Doctors 52-2. Despite the wickets the rate was well up, with Bodley chasing the ball and making a few errors in the field. Sizzla’s tight spell finished with a well-deserved caught and bowled to compliment Asad’s swingers keeping the rate just about in check. Whilst the remaining opener was well set and hitting the ropes regularly, wickets were falling at the other end, a stunning catch from Busby off a mile high skier on the ropes, and a fizzing edge for keeper Jones running to square leg to retrieve another bringing wickets for Philipson and Milner respectively. But at 76-5 from eleven it was a tall order for Bodley, by now doing Duckworth-Lewis calculations. Triggs was up next, having recovered from something we shan’t talk about but that held up play considerably (seriously, good stop – long barrier!). Boundaries were hit and the next over from Miten saw the winning runs taken just as the rain settled in for good, giving everyone a welcome reason to finally leave the field and seek cover. A powerful 73 not out from the skipper ended up being the difference, though we'd have fancied another go given hindsight, as ever. Special mention must go to Dave for that boundary catch - it went miles at quite some lick yet was pouched like an apple falling from a tree, terrific stuff.
A good game, against a friendly team all played in the right spirit. A delicious tea was lapped up by all and with the bar open in the clubhouse a good long sit down was in order as the rain lashed down outside. We just didn’t get the runs needed given the overs and the lack of regular bowlers today, but to take the game as far as we did with only 124 on the board was a decent effort. Well played all for today, and we look forward to that Jack Cox semi-final on Wednesday.
Oxfam CC, Horsepath Sports Ground. Twenty overs.
After what seems like a ridiculously unBod-like spell of winning and drawing matches the team fell to Earth with a soggy bump last night, losing to Oxfam. Originally scheduled for Cutteslowe a water-logged pitch meant a change to Horsepath, whose only redeeming feature is that it’s closer for some of us than North Ox. A windy exposed ground with a very short boundary on one side, a slope down the wicket and a rapidly sinking sun in the eyes of any fielder on the athletics track side of the ground made things interesting, the soggy pudding of a wicket added a cherry on top of the cake. Definitely a toss to win and put the oppo in bat. Something the Oxfam skipper managed to do. Bollocks.
Matthew and Dave S open against some lively and swinging deliveries. The pitch as predicted proved unreliable, balls moving off or staying low. Both openers did well to score in this, running well between the wicket as a slow outfield made boundaries hard to come by. One of the Oxfam openers was bowling really well, getting the ball to move in the air and making it very hard to do anything over than play defensive shots. Matthew picks up the pace and gets the (non-existent) scoreboard moving on before getting out, David plays his natural game and soon retires after reaching 30. With not many overs to play with Gav cuts a few then plays on, James whacks some, Tim gives it some biff, Alec swings at a few, Andrew blocks a few and Gareth and Dave B run a few quick singles before Gareth is run-out on the last ball. Bod finish on a below-par 91, but reckon there’s enough bowling and the pitch is still a mystery so it should be close.
Bod open with a contrast of ages and styles, Dan Shaw up the hill followed by the Yorkshire Terrier Gav coming down. Dan has a good shout for LBW first ball which is turned down but then bowls a tidy over against an aggressive opening bat. Gavin proves as reliable as ever, using the slope and keeping the run-rate down before picking up the customary couple of wickets. Oxfam though, worryingly, are above the run-rate from the start. Your reporter replaces Dan and Dave S replaces Gavin, both bowl well but Oxfam have some biffers in bat now and despite good bowling from these two and then James Oxfam reach, and then score the winning runs with overs and wickets to spare.
So, what lessons to learn? More aggressive batting would have got us above 100 and a defendable total but this seems harsh to say as the pitch played its part and the oppo bowling was good. Maybe it’s enough to say that the team have had a marvellous season so far, the best for many a season, so we were due an off night, better now than next weds in the semi-final. Credit too to Oxfam, who played well and were, as last season, friendly and fun to play against.
Materials, Jack Cox Cup quarter-final. Balliol College ground, 20 overs.
The history of the Bodleian Cricket Club is a storied and colourful one, with great highs and comic lows, and tonight the team wrote another chapter by playing in a most unexpected Jack Cox Cup quarter-final, against Materials. Normally straight into the Plate we have this year already been soundly beaten in that part of the contest, and thanks to a quirk of the group stages (...odd numbers, basically) we also had a shot at the Cup. Only once in Bodley’s history have we been in this position, and that was back when there was not Cup or Plate, but simply a final round of matches after the groups. So, unknown territory for us really. Skipper Neely had the troops fired up, being more pumped than Alan Partridge at an all you can eat with his own plate. We welcomed back Stu Ackland for this game after many years of JC abstinence, and the team was completed by Shackleton, Shaw, Burnett, Philipson, Robsinson, Jones, Triggs, Mistry, and Philips. The skipper won the toss and opted to bat, and off we went. We wondered what to expect, not having been here before, and with team Oracle Stu foreseeing doom and fire as we crept into Cup territory. Bah, we all thought!
Neely and Shackleton opened the batting, being Bodley's answer to Morecombe and Wise, and quickly got into a good groove from some fairly loose bowling, with 28 being taken from the first two. After a buccaneering succession of boundaries Neely soon retired, bringing Shaw to the crease to face some alarmingly loud bowling. After a mixture of lines and lengths Shaw was undone by a peach of a ball, sneaking through the defences to bowl off stump. With Shackleton retiring after a superb knock, Burnett was soon joined by Philipson, with the score at 89-1 from 10 overs and Bodley flying. This being cricket the game soon swung and the run rate couldn’t be maintained as wickets fell and runs dried up. With the openers to come back in this was all part of the masterplan though, and so long as Geoffrey Boycott didn’t make an appearance the skipper seemed happy enough. Highlights of the middle order swinging, and the only boundaries scored outside the opening partnership, were a massive six from Philipson that ended up in the trees next door, a near six from Shaw back over the bowler’s head, and a straight driven four from Jones. Materials achieved a bit of a stranglehold on Bodley in the final five overs, with only twelve coming as a worryingly below-par score of 133 all out was posted. With no tea the team resorted to chest bumps and discussions about the weather to pass the interval. Soon enough we were back out, with the skipper now so charged up that back at the Bodleian manuscripts were flying off the shelves like in Ghostbusters as Matthew focused hard on the game in hand.
Given how well the bulk of our batting innings had gone we held some hope that we might have a defendable score, but we’ve been in this position before and been ground to dust, and so nervously we set our field and took a breath. Burnett and Shaw opened the bowling and first ball up the edge was found, flying through to Gav at slip, who did well to stop the ball as it skidded in front of him. The rest of the over was terrific, chances galore, and we felt well on top as Shaw applied the pressure at the other end, with a run out coming in the second over. Third over and Phil gets an LBW, leaving Materials at 2-10 from 2. Thereafter a partnership built, but Bodley fielded with real intent and with confidence high fours were well cut off and bodies flung around to keep the rate down. In the seventh over Jack Cox convert Ackland shuffled in and before he knew it was on a hat-trick ball, with a decidedly iffy LBW (we’ll take it!) and a caught in the bag. The hat-trick ball flew through, found the top edge and just didn’t quite stick in the hands of an unnamed fielder. Excellent bowling, 50-4 in the eighth. Next over and Gav is in on the action, his cutters, off breaks and seamers bringing a deserved shot at the second hat-trick of the innings after a bowled and a caught. Again it was not to be, but with Materials finding scoring tricky, by the half way point they still needed 77 runs with only three wickets left. Nerves were being tested though as one of the batters was finding his range and hitting the boundary boards – with the overs left the time was there for a comeback, and Bodley knew it. With renewed focus the next few overs were kept tight as Bodley chased hard in the field and cut off fours, until in the fifteenth over after a well-deserved bowled for Neely a single wicket was needed for victory, with only 83 on the board. The sixteenth over thus began with Bodley more nervous than we should have been, not being used to winning positions in Jack Cox cricket. Shackleton was by now on, with Jones taking the gloves and the skipper in close in covers. In a fitting finale to the match Shackleton found his length, the ball sat up and spooned up in to the off-side, to be safely pouched by the skipper to clinch the win. 87 all out and Bodley win by 46 runs to take our place in the Jack Cox semi-final on the 2nd August.
Absolutely brilliant performance by all eleven on the pitch, and a huge achievement given our travails in the JC these past few years. If we play with this level of confidence and focus there’s no reason we can’t go all the way. We look forward to seeing some friendly faces on the 2nd when we take on Engineering for a place in the final. Come on Bodley!!!
OUP at Jordan Hill, thirty five overs
This was one of the most memorable and in many ways one of the most unlikely of Bodleian wins in the team’s long and storied history. OUP at Jordan Hill has been a regular and challenging fixture for years now with but a single Bodleian victory against these opponents in that time.
Overcast and muggy conditions led skipper Ackland to favour bowling first and so a long sticky spell in the field beckoned. Optimism flickered early as one of the OUP openers departed to an excellent catch over his head at square leg by Dan Shaw although the batsman would have considered himself unlucky that a no-ball was not signalled. The remaining opener soon settled however and began swatting the ball viciously through the offside as the ball variously flew past, pinged into and generally menaced the fielders. A couple of wickets for Burnett (including the opener excellently caught down the legside by keeper Neely) restored some balance but OUP continued to score steadily and the total mounted as a number of catches were spilled (continuing this season’s least welcome trend). With the bowlers sensibly deciding to focus their efforts on dismissals not involving any contribution from the fielders there were wickets for Ackland and Milner although the most critical breakthrough was achieved by Dan Shaw who bowled OUP’s star batsman for an aggressive and well-made 48 which had threatened to take the game away from the Bod. Some frantic hitting and running in the final overs saw OUP’s total rise to an impressive 199 for 7 from 35 overs, pegged back slightly by a wicket for Shackleton in the final over – your correspondent took the catch in this case although was ambivalent about doing so when it smashed into a bruised palm resulting from an earlier missed opportunity.
One cake-filled tea later and the Bodleian openers Mike Webb & Phil Burnett strode to the crease with the intent to set a platform for the team to chase the intimidating OUP total. Burnett perished early to some tight opening bowling and was swiftly followed by star batsman David Shackleton, bowled by an excellent delivery for a solitary run. At 6 for 2 and with Shackleton gone things were looking grim from the boundary and the prospect of a thumping defeat loomed large. Webb and the incoming Neely put up stout resistance and began the fightback, eding towards a solid if unspectacular team total of 30 for 2 after 10 overs. With Webb’s trademark cuts and nurdles and a range of increasingly expansive shots from both players the pair put on 76 for the 3rd wicket before Neely was bowled as he looked to up the run-rate. James Shaw joined Mike at the crease and injected his usual urgency into the game with some sharp singles. In the first of several champagne moments Mike (150+ career games, previous top score of 49 not out) went to his 50 with a glorious 6 smashed over square leg, roundly applauded although reminded by the opposition skipper that the job was as yet only half-done.
The rain which had been threatened all afternoon finally arrived although the teams nobly played on with bowlers struggling to grip the damp ball and both fielders and batsmen regularly losing their footing. Despite the steady progress and accelerating run-rate the Bodleian went into the final 10 overs with 88 runs still required for victory with OUP very much favourites at this stage. The departure of Shaw soon after (given LBW by a befuddled umpire) only sharpened this impression but Webb continued to score quickly in partnership with a ring-rusty Andrew Milner before the latter was run out to leave the score at 149 for 5. This brought Tim Philipson to the crease with an imposing victory target of 49 runs required from the last 5 overs of the innings. Mike continued his stately and unprecedented progress, unleashing several entirely uncharacteristic shots in front of square. Philipson played his part to perfection with his trademark golf-inspired blows zipping to the boundary as disbelieving teammates on the boundary wondered how the team would manage to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory this time.
Tension rose on the boundary as Bodleian colleagues endured Mike’s nervous nineties although the man himself was blissfully unaware out in the middle as he’d lost count of his personal total somewhere in the mid-60s and a conspiracy of silence was enacted to ensure no mention was made of proximity to the milestone. Taken aback by the standing ovation from the boundary when the landmark was reached, Mike raised his bat briefly in acknowledgement then swiftly focussed back on the job in hand. A 13 run penultimate over tipped the balance decisively towards the Bod with only 2 required from the final over to seal an epic victory. A dot ball from the first delivery ratcheted up the tension before Mike clipped the next delivery away for 2 runs to see the team home with 4 deliveries to spare, in the process taking himself to a Bodleian individual record total of 107 not out. Tim’s unbeaten 24 was a crucial part of the victory and both batsmen were applauded to the boundary as the jubilant team rubbed its collective eyes and wondered if this was what it felt like to be a different, more successful team.
This was Bodleian cricketing history and will live long in the memory of all who witnessed it – well played lads!
AMack, and thank you to Sheila for the pictures.
University Offices - Jack Cox Plate Quarter-final, Balliol College Ground, twenty overs
And so to the Jack Cox Plate, a sure sign that Summer is well and truly upon us. Having won two of our group games we find ourselves playing both this and the Cup, with this match coming after an already busy few weeks of cricket. Calendar congestion had left us with a short team and we were very grateful to those that could play and potentially carry us to the semi-finals. A debut went to Weston Library Graduate Trainee Miten Mistry, and we welcomed Iain Wilson back into the fold sporting his attractive new Bodley cap. Skipper Neely lost the toss, having narrowly called it wrong. Bodley were asked to field, and so the ten men of the library sauntered out onto the misshapen Balliol outfield, looking over with concern at the building site that was the much-loved club pitch. Fingers crossed it's only temporary. But to the cricket...
University Offices are a team we’ve beaten in the past but the line-up looked pretty strong this time, the skipper opening up with our two quickest seamers, Shaw and Wilson. In the third over a bit of swinging at the ball brought about our first wicket, a sharp caught and bowled to Shaw. 14-1 from 3, not bad. Unfortunately for us the newly laid artificial wicket was true, the outfield (very) short on one side, and the Offices batters keen to hit out. By the midway point the score was 63-1 and by the time the next wicket fell – a wonderful clean bowled from Mistry’s handy left arm seamers – it was 115-2 from fifteen. The next five were a blur of boundaries as the bowling was attacked with gusto and catches were spilled (including a whopping fine for Jones, tsk). By the close of the innings Offices had racked up 172-2, a daunting total. No tea in a Jack Cox match so after a quick glare from skip and some gallows humour all round we set about batting.
One of the upsides – possibly the only upside – of chasing a big total that you’re not terribly convinced is gettable, is the freedom it gives you, a freedom that often leads to a calm focus and refreshing clarity of process out in the middle. This proved very much to be the case tonight, as openers Neely and Shaw set up shop very nicely against some very sharp bowling. Whilst the first over only went for 1 run, the second went for 17 – bang on the run-rate. Third over again went for 1, then the fourth for 15. Terrific, we all thought, this is on, so long as this pattern continues. Sadly it did not continue. Shaw retired for a superb 30, bringing Wilson to the crease for a far too brief stay, then Philipson arrived and proceeded to give the fielders a catching practice session they clearly did not want. Eventually one stuck and Jones joined Neely, who was now approaching retirement as enthusiastically as a Bodleian curator. Webb replaced Neely, and with Jones built a good partnership, taking the score beyond 100 but finally falling behind the rate having been 80-2 in the tenth. Jones fell to a terrible ball, then Busby was bowled by a better ball, followed by Mistry, Phillips, Webb and Griffin, leaving the two openers back out there to smash a few more and leave us on 113-8 from our twenty overs. So not a bad score given the opposition strength, but nowhere near the 173 needed – we live to fight another day and look forward to a Cup run later in the month!
Bitter & Twisted CC at Warborourgh. Two sets of innings each comprising sixteen overs.
Bitter & Twisted were probably the best thing about our tour t’ Yorkshire last year, restoring out wavering faith in social cricket after a chastening experience of Yorkshire league to get the tour going. So it was with great enthusiasm that we welcomed them to Oxfordshire for a return fixture in the timeless setting of Warborough. Both teams were a few short and with Bodley being ten to B&T’s eight, skipper Gareth Jones nervously sacrificed new player Adnan to the oppo in the hope he would do well, but not too well. Bodley also welcomed friends from the Mads to our ranks for this game, with Dips and Chris Michael lining up for the librarians. Given the baking sun and scorched earth beneath, the captains agreed on a novel format – two sets of sixteen over innings, with the team having the higher score after first innings choosing whether to bat or bowl first in the second. Additionally, all outfielders were to bowl two overs each, with the batters retiring on twenty five – an excellent set of conditions that guaranteed a good game with all involved. A few were heard to say this was probably as close to a test match as many of us would get! Bodley promptly lost the toss and were asked to bat, to our great delight.
Bodley lost both openers in the first few overs, bringing James Shaw and son Dan together at three and four. Father and son put on a splendid partnership, with Shaw the younger outscoring his old man with some lovely boundaries and sharp running. James was out for a well made fifteen leaving Dips to pick up the baton and smash a quick 28 to go along with Dan’s equally well made 26, leaving both to retire unbeaten. Two of the wickets to fall went to Adnan, who bowled with skill and fitted in wonderfully to our sedate approach to the game. The skipper and Tim Philipson were at the crease for the closing overs, with both being rather befuddled by the two over spells and need for instant runs. Philipson played the usual Jones role of playing and falling over, whilst Jones played the usual Philipson role of hitting the slow bowlers for runs. By the end of the sixteenth Bodley had chalked up a decent 106-3. Frankly, with three innings to go, we had no idea if this was a good score though.
Bitter & Twisted’s innings got under way with Jones putting his cards on the table and bowling the regular seamers first up, the Shaws again forming a good partnership. AS Bodley toiled through the overs it became apparent that B&T had learnt a great deal from our innings, with the untrustworthy pitch being given due respect and strike rotated well. After a number of retirements a wicket finally fell in the twelfth. A few tight overs at the end, with everyone fielding well and running hard to make up the gaps that only having eight outfielders leaves, ensured Bodley ended with a lead of three – 106 plays 103. Which is all very well, but now it was time for tea.
Warborourgh village green is many ways the archetypal English village pitch, with views of rolling countryside, beautiful houses, a fine pub, and traditional pavilion surrounding the wide green, all surveyed by circling kites. Tea was enjoyed and tactics discussed, as the second innings brought a new focus to the bowling changes and batting order second time round. Having turned down the offer of a potentially red hot Quesadilla, but with at least three brownies down the hatch, the skipper took the option to bat and decided the best thing to do would be to simply flip the order from the first innings. So, test match fans, to the second innings...
David Busby and Chris Michael strode out with firm instructions to have a go, and though Chris was unlucky to be bowled by a zooter that kept low, Busby and number three Philipson soon formed an entertaining partnership, both hitting fours ticking the score along. Jones came and went, being well caught in the covers, whilst Dave was sharply caught by the same fielder, now bowling. Dips was by now again building a total, with Shaws jnr then snr keeping him company. James and Dips played fantastically, with both retiring towards the end – Dips carrying his bat through both innings, very well played that man. Of particular note - for pure comedy value, you understand - was the inexplicable calling of 'over' by the umpire (answers on a postcard) when the ball, hit firmly down the ground by James, had yet to reach the boundary despite said umpire signalling that it had done just that. A hasty explanation that the batters having chosen to admire the shot rather than run, and the chasing fielder having apparently given up on it (apologies to that man!) had fooled our hapless adjudicator was met with quite some chuckling from both teams. Let's hope it wouldn't cost us! Our openers from the first innings were thus left to close proceedings and provide a pleasing symmetry to it all. Canny bowling and a spread field kept the score from getting away but a terrific four from the final ball had Bodley finishing on 125-5, giving a combined total to chase of 231.
After a quick necking of drinks to stave off collapse in the searing heat both teams were back out for the fourth innings. Jones had by now – belatedly, perhaps – worked out that it was not about wickets, with so few overs being bowled, but rather more about dot balls and spread fields. Bitter & Twisted needed 129 to win, and Bodley were quietly confident. With Dips replacing Jones behind the stumps and B&T shuffling their batting, Philipson opened the bowling for the Bod, keeping things quite tight whilst Shaw jnr ran in from the other end. Keeping things simple and bowling everyone through (two overs, so hardly a spell!), the score was kept below the required rate, though those gaps in the field were proving tricky to plug when the batters did hit out. Eventually, and inevitably, the skipper had to bowl, and despite trying to convince the batsman and standing umpire that the ball was turning viciously, wides were given a few boundaries taken. Still, the proper bowlers had done a sterling job, with regular wickets being taken and some fine stops in the field, meaning that with four to go Bodley were just in front. Trump card and occasional Shane Warne impersonator Busby joined James to bowl the final spells and take us home, and with some good runs coming off the thirteenth and fourteenth, a tight penultimate was needed. Busby didn’t disappoint, bowling wonderfully well with a full length akin to an air balloon suddenly descending more rapidly than planned. With (exact figure to be inserted as soon as your author gets the score book in his hands) about twelve needed from the final over, James ran in with intent and ensured a mean final over to bring Bodley and even up the honours from last year’s match.
A great game, with some marvellous individual performances but an even better team effort and spirit on a beautiful Summers day. The teams repaired to the nearby Six Bells for post-match analysis and talk soon turned to a repeat fixture next season – we certainly hope to see you again, and thank you for coming down to see us.
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.