Sunday 9th September. Aldworth CC at Aldworth, timed game.
Sunday saw our second visit to West Berkshire for Aldworth CC, a quaint little village to the East of the A34, not too far from similar fixtures Peasemore and Inkpen. This neck of the woods, and the A34 corridor in general, seems to be an oasis of gentle, friendly village cricket with not a league moonlighter in sight. Having had a close game in our inaugural Aldworth fixture last year, the team were looking forward to this year's match, and to the much talked about village pub, The Bell (https://www.telegraph.co.uk/foodanddrink/pubs/3336316/Berkshire-Pub-Guide-The-Bell-Aldworth.html). It has a serving hatch, great beer, and is right next to the ground. Bloody marvellous. With late Summer leave, playing for other teams, tennis (yes, really - apparently it's not just played by husbands and wives in early retirement), woodland bongo-bashing, and goodness knows what else all taking their toll on the team, spots were up for grabs and a new look side took to the field. Aldworth play a timed game, with the first innings being two and a half hours, then a thirty minute tea, then a second innings of one hour, plus twenty overs. A draw can be achieved should the chasing team avoid being bowled out. Bod skipper Gareth Jones won the toss and chose to bowl first, given that we looked stronger with bat than ball today and the draw was an option. Eight overs per bowler and no retirement - glory beckoned. Got all that? Then we shall begin.
With only eight players at start of play we opened up with Phil Burnett and Stuart Ackland, and a few gaps in the field. Phil bowls a tidy first over as we get a feel for the pitch - hard, bit of grass, a few big cracks, Stu's first over goes for some tap, as they say, with four boundaries being spanked by the hard-hitting Aldworth openers. After this, and the realisation that the very quick outfield is not one you want to be diving on, making chasing even harder, the batters went after the bowling with controlled aggression and well-timed singles. Despite the early onslaught, things looked up when Stu took wickets in the sixth, eighth and twelfth over, and the nagging length of Andy Hudson getting one in the eleventh to peg Aldworth back. A mixture of bowled, an lbw, and a sharp catch from Jones behind the stumps, the wickets were testament to the fact that the pitch was doing all sorts, and seamers bowling a good length on a tight line at the stumps - even short of a length - gave plenty of opportunity for the ball to go anywhere. By this point the batters had already racked up 58-4 from those twelve overs, with less than an hour past. But four down is four down, and we hoped we'd be though the batting pretty soon. Up to a full eleven and enjoying blue skies after early morning clouds things began to go somewhat against us as the number four bat began to calmly dismantle the bowling and cause the fielders to look wistfully over at the pub. A terrific catch by Mike Webb, now behind the stumps, saw off the dangerous looking number six bat, and gave Phil a well deserved wicket but the number seven proved just as productive, flicking off his legs with relative ease. The fifth wicket saw Aldworth on 116-5 from twenty, but by the sixth the change bowlers had been punished to to put them at 192-6 in the thirty third. With the final half hour now well underway that number four batter upped the intensity further and smashed his way to 88 not out, giving Aldworth a whopping 255-7 from thirty nine overs. Crikey. Special mentions must go to the boundary riding Arthur Keegan-Bole for his much-admired long barrier, and to Dom Hewett for the most casually taken catch in the outfield we've seen for many a year, lovely stuff. Time for tea.
After all the excitement a cracking tea was served in the village hall that doubles as cricket pavilion, a splendid facility. On proper china plates with endless tea to be drunk, a fulsome spread of sandwiches, sausage rolls, pork pies, chicken drumsticks, quiche, tomatoes, crisps and nibbles was gobbled down by a hungry Bodley. Just as seconds were being considered the cakes appeared - coffee and walnut, Victoria sponge (with strawberries through the cream, most delicious) and a chocolate tray bake - all taken gleefully with more tea and the thought of no more fielding having to be done. As anyone who has played cricket will know, tea is far more enjoyable when you've already fielded and are therefore able to fully sample the delights on offer. Sadly, for the most part, cricket is that much harder when you've yet to bat, as runs on the board generally go a long way to winning. Nevertheless, we headed out for the second innings with a positive mindset that we could almost definitely, if they bowled badly enough, get the draw by batting out one hour and twenty overs - about 35 overs, we reckoned.
Phil and Mike opened the batting, and as is Phil's way, he scored only in boundaries. Unfortunately those boundaries were limited to just three though, and he out for twelve. Next over and also scoring only in boundaries (we were kind of trying to chase the total, honest), Mike was out for four. 27-2 from eighth overs, with a fair few extras, happily. Arthur was now in with Malcolm Webb, power and poise, if you like. Both looked good, and continued to hit the boundaries through a rarely-sighted full close field - short leg (with helmet), leg slip, three slips, gully, mid-on, mid-0ff, basically everyone inside the ring, incredible stuff and a real intensity out in the middle as the ball thudded in from some very sharp bowling. Arthur was very sportingly called back having been given out lbw by an unnamed Bodley umpire (can you guess? Of course you can), a perfect demonstration of the marvellous spirit the match was played in. Malcolm was caught behind off a thin edge from an unplayable deliver that just moved enough to catch the edge., bringing veteran sightscreen biffer Andrew Milner to the crease. Andrew showed his intent (draw, anyone?) by getting off the mark with five - not run, obviously, it was overthrows and a single, but great stuff all the same. Andrew was out for an entertaining fourteen in the twenty second over after a fruitful 34 run partnership with Arthur. Sadly, Arthur was out a few overs later for a hard fought 24. Bodley were, by this point in the twenty fifth over, 92-5. Clearly, we were unlikely to overhaul 255 to win the match and claim ownership of the rights to the deepest well in England (down the road, opposite the pub). But the draw was a possibility, definitely. Aldworth had other ideas, and the bowling changes that we'd hoped would bring some light relief and perhaps a few pies to tuck into, brought only more pace, more close fielding, and more pressure. Tim Philipson, playing completely against his instincts to hit the ball into the the aforementioned well, was out for not much, likewise the skipper, and whilst Dom decided to play out the draw by hitting the ball back over the bowlers head for four, we lost Mankind's Last Hope Andy Hudson soon after - that forward defence and dramatic leave being undone by the wicked pitch. So, Messrs Busby and Ackland, at ten and eleven, found themselves out in the middle with Aldworth needing one more wicket, Bodley 146 to win, and eight overs left to play. So it was with edge of the seat thrill that we watched these two attacking-minded veterens very deliberately play out an over, then another over, then another. Not a run taken, not a shot played, and not a chance given. Stu's inimitable forward defensive slap was in full flow, whilst Dave's backlift had lowered from it's usual periscope position to resemble more of a lazy umbrella in a light shower. The stubborn resistance had forced a bowling change and to the great horror of the batters the quicks (quicker, should I say) were back on, bowling to that unchanged close field, maintained throughout the match. With some of Bodley's players by now at risk of needing to use the pub's defibrillator, Stu and Dave ploughed on, entering their fifth over together, with four to go at it's completion. After a tremendous dot ball and looking for all the world like they could bat for days, the bell tolled ...and Stu was bowled. All out in thirty two overs for 109. A narrow loss, by 146 runs. Quite a game, the second innings played with an intensity you don't often see in social cricket but friendly all the same, and one enjoyed by all. A demonstration of Bodley's unique approach to playing out the draw can be brilliantly demonstrated by the fact that our runs came as follows - 8 singles, 14 fours, 1 five, and 40 in extras. A fantastic effort and one that shows the speed of the outfield, tight ring field, and devil in the pitch as extras top-scored for Bodley. Well played Aldworth - looking forward already to next year's fixture.
The team repaired to The Bell Inn next door, squeezing into this fifteenth century alehouse with it's lesser-spotted serving hatch and superb collection of beers, and took seats in the garden to leave the quizzical locals to the interior. A round of Happy Birthday was rustled up to serenade birthday boy Phil, and the team enjoyed a well-earned sit down and post-match analysis. Next year we plan to take a full complement of high-speed ball-wangers to Aldworth, and hope that Alistair Cook takes us up on our offer of opening the batting. Next match is the Authors XI at Warborough on September 22nd, see you there.
OUPCC at Stanton St. John, 35 overs.
We have been playing Oxford book-concerned rivals OUP for many years now, with last years match being a turnaround in Bodley fortunes after Mike Webb's magnificent 107no - a top score for Bodley, for Mike, and a first win against OUP for a few years. So it was with much anticipation that we approached this year's fixture, certain that OUP would come at us hard to avenge last year. A new venue for the fixture this year was the quite charming Stanton St. John, an odd little village on the Wheately Road. With day four of the England-India test match drifting from the clubhouse and a set of snazzy flashing bails atop the stumps, the teams convened for battle.
Skipper Gareth Jones won the toss and after some deliberation - it was sticky looking wicket and a baking hot day - chose to bat. OUP are a strong side, and truth be told are generally able to bowl themselves to victory with accurate pace or wicked spin, so a circumspect start was the order of the day, use the overs available and see where we end up. A rejigged batting order of Mike Webb and Phil Burnett opening, followed by James Shaw and finally Matthew Neely at four was agreed to undertake the strategy. With all eyes on our record-breaker, our Alistair Cook (though with greater longevity), he was off the mark first ball to a full toss, easily dispatched for four down the leg side. Classic Webb. Sadly, the third ball of the match pitched on a good length, moved off the pitch and took a stump out to set those flashing bails aflashing. 4-1 from 0.3. Bugger! This brought James in and play resumed. For the neutral the next over was equally exciting, with Phil crunching across the line of the ball to send the ball high - but not quite far enough - towards cow corner, to be spectacularly caught by an unfeasible energetic bit of fielding. 4-2 from 2. Buggering hell. With Matthew joining James at the crease and calls for Andy Hudson to replace Gareth as next man in, the spades were unfurled out in the middle and some serious digging was underway. The OUP bowlers were on a tight enough line, bowling full, and the pitch was an absolute nightmare to play, causing movement off the seam and enough uneven bounce to keep Geoffrey Boycott quiet. Whilst Bodley strategist Andrew Milner provided commentary and advice from the boundary, all whilst scoring (in pen, confident chap), OUP changed their bowlers and Bodley settled in tremendously. With scoring proving difficult even for the normally languid James, these two survived a couple of close calls, and dropped catches to see us out of a hole and into a position to post something to bowl at. James was out for a hard-fought 17 in the eighteenth over, with the score on 45-3, a terrific recovery in the circumstances. Gareth joined Matthew and more of the same was the aim, with a swing to be had at the end against the part-time bowlers hopefully. With our batters having settled into a partnership and running well, OUP brought a spinner on - the sort that darts the ball in quicker than a spinner has any right to, and on this pitch not something you really want to face. Sadly for Gareth an attempt to get forward and smother the ball resulted in the skipper hunched on the floor contemplating a new career as a falsetto. Hilarious, apparently. More in embarrassment that pain he took early retirement and beckoned Bodley's wrecking ball of a lower order batter, Tim Philipson, to the crease in his place. With Matthew providing sterling support and anchoring the innings, Tim did as Tim does and disregarded everything he had witnessed before. Good balls were flayed to the boundary and the score built. Matthew fell in the twenty fifth over for a terrific 29, and whilst Andrew M, Dom Hewett, and Future England Opener Andy H were undone, Tim bounded on, eventually being caught for a quickfire 29 having moved the score over 100. David Busby played an entertaining - and valuable - cameo with a couple of fours of his own to the long boundary, whilst Stuart Ackland and the returning skipper added no more to the score. Bodley ended up on 115 all out, well below par for any normal 35 over game, but on this pitch, who knew? We had played here only once before, in wet and muddy conditions, and OUP had even less experience of this patch of grass, so it really was anyone's game. But 115 was barely competitive in twenty overs, was it? Well, we'll see.
As the home team for this one, Stuart and Gareth had prepared a tea, with no less than five cakes - two sponges, brownies, fruit loaf, and Dorset apple round - and a myriad of dainty sandwiched ranging from cheese and ham, to ham and cheese, and everything in between. All this was gulped down with tea - it's never too hot for a cup of tea - whilst both teams caught up with England's progress against Kohli's India at Southampton. Our match was equally exciting, it was agreed.
Early wickets being the order of the day an attacking field was set with just the one man out on the shorter square boundary. Phil and James opened up after a couple of boundaries Phil claimed the first wicket, a lovely lbw. James kept things incredibly economical at the other end but it was Phil, in the fifth over, that made the next breakthrough, clean bowling the other opener. 20-2 from seven overs, and whilst we'd have preferred a slower run rate, it was all about wickets given our low score. Get wickets and we'd create pressure, even if they were scoring quickly. With Stuart replacing James, Phil carried on the good work and took a third in the ninth over, another clean bowled after a boundary had been taken previous ball, leaving OUP 29-3 from nine. With a seven over limit per bowler, Phil was taken off after his sixth to keep one in the bank. James was therefor back on, at the other end this time, to bowl in tandem with an increasingly tidy Stuart. Fifth ball of his second spell and James took the wicket, arresting a burgeoning OUP partnership that was threatening to take things away from us. This was another bowled, the pitch providing ample assistance, though it must be said the OUP batters were playing with a good deal of risk and a small amount of abandon on what was clearly a graveyard for big hitters (Tim Philipson excepted). But Bodley caught well and fielded like demons, attacking the ball and keeping the singles down with a tight ring. After a few boundaries were taken from Stu, James was back in on the action, finding himself on a hat-trick after nineteenth over after a terrific clean bowled and an lbw - test match bowling if ever we saw it. Having seen OUP build their score with some well struck boundaries the double strike had reduced them to 73-7 in the nineteenth, a wicket for Stuart prior to James's incisions helping remove the OUP middle order just as they were getting themselves in. James finished his seven overs with figures of 19-3, and Phil with 17-3 (from six overs), fantastic bowling from both. Andrew Milner had now joined Stuart to deliver the coup de grace, and it wasn't long before perennial tail-end wicket chaser Stuart got two in an over to leave OUP teetering. Matthew came on at the end and with the final ball of the twenty first over saw the OUP number eleven smash the ball to the boundary-guarding Dom. As the ball died in the air just before the boundary, Dom scurried round, got down low, and took a brilliant catch to seal the win for Bodley. Blimey. Blimey.
As the teams left the field news of England's victory over India was delivered, and all agreed that the village pub must now be visited in double celebration. A Bodley win by forty runs in the twenty-first over - a stunning victory made possible by obdurate batting from Matthew and James, clean hitting from Tim, tight bowling from Phil, James and Stu, and energetic, intent fielding from all eleven, Well played all, a really great win.
Jack Cox Plate final against Materials Science at Balliol College Ground, Monday 20th August. Twenty overs.
We have been playing in the Jack Cox Trophy http://users.ox.ac.uk/~ouccrick/jc.html for 22 years now, never progressing to a final, but this year, playing a dynamic brand of twenty20 cricket under the captaincy of Mathew Neely, we had booked a date at Balliol Masters Field to play Materials Science in the Plate final. Much anticipation, much expectation and much excitement from the Bodley players and a band of enthusiastic supporters on cup final day. As we assembled at the ground some of our number noticed that one or two of the Materials players bore an uncanny likeness to players from the Department of Engineering side encountered, and defeated, in a previous round of the competition in contravention of Jack Cox rules. The rules clearly state that no player may turn out for more than one team. While we politely pointed this out to the opposition, who did not demur, captain Neely decided not press the point, in the spirit of good sportsmanship, and the game went ahead with the team unchanged.
Materials won the toss and unsurprisingly chose to bat given the light, not bright at the start of the game, was likely to be a problem in the second innings. Steve McGranaghan, drawing the short straw, was pressed into action as Bodleian opening bowler - with Leigh taking the other end - and it quickly became apparent that Materials were intent on big hitting from the off. Some sharp Bodley fielding prevented several boundaries but despite our best efforts Materials had racked up 19 runs after two overs and were fairly motoring along. Then, breakthrough in the third over with Leigh taking a looping catch at slip to dismiss the Materials’ opener off Steve’s bowling. Much rejoicing in the Bodleian camp. In came the Materials number three bat who proceeded to hit the ball even harder than the dismissed opener. Both he and the other batsman now showed a particular liking for the tennis court at deep midwicket, depositing the ball over the fence and onto the court twice in the first six overs. Unfortunately the groundsman had not unlocked the gate to the court and some athletic clambering from fielders over the high wire was needed to retrieve the ball.
Asad and Stu, our change bowlers, given the task to contain the free swinging batters, bowled a good line and length but it was no easy task to the staunch the flow of runs. By the end of the 10th over Materials were on 79 for 1, their number 3 bat having retired not out, and they were looking well set. Then in the 11th over Asad bowled the opener with a devastating delivery and then four balls later followed it up by taking a sharp caught and bowled to dismiss his replacement all for the loss of one run. Great over! Unfortunately for us Materials batted deep and their middle order proceeded to swing the bat with great intensity, once again depositing the ball in the tennis court.
David Shackleton, back in Oxford, after his early season sojourn in the West Country was thrown into the fray by skipper Neely to bowl the 12th over. Boom, the first ball takes a wicket! A lively delivery finds the outside edge of the Materials captain’s bat and keeper Neely deftly takes the catch to dismiss him. At the other end Andy Hudson takes over from Stu and in his first over nabs a wicket with a confident lbw appeal. In further good news only 2 runs are scored to leave Materials at 111 for 5 off 14 overs.
A quick onfield change of wicket-keepers brings Gareth Jones behind the timbers in order to allow Mathew to bowl at the end of the innings. The batsmen, with the end of their allotted overs in sight, redouble their efforts and attack everything pitched at them, while Bodleian fielders spiritedly throw themselves around the ground to cut down the run scoring. One further wicket is taken in the penultimate over with change keeper Gareth taking a smart catch off Andy’s bowling and Materials end up on 167 for 6 off twenty overs.
A quick turnaround and the Bodleian openers Mathew and David Shackleton make their way to the crease. The light is already beginning to fade and the Materials opening bowling is brisk. Second ball and a severe setback for us as Matthew plays on. The ball brushes his arm and deviates onto the stumps. Very bad luck for us and for Matthew. Some sharp and tight Materials bowling restricts our scoring chances and after four overs we stand at 12 for 1 and well behind the run rate. But David, though somewhat contained by the bowling, had been playing nicely and now attacked with some expansive shot making. First a four, then immediately afterwards a beautifully struck drive with the ball soaring back over the bowler’s head for six: the shot of the day. With Asad providing good support at the other end the Bodleian recovery is going well. The second wicket falls when Asad is run out by a neat bit of Materials fielding. A clean pick-up and a direct hit of the stumps sends the Bodley number three on his way. 27 for 2 in the sixth over.
Gareth now replaces Asad and proves himself a steady foil to the flamboyant but always stylish Shackleton who peppers the boundary with some classy shots. By the end of the eighth over, with the score at 47 for 2, David reaches the mandatory retirement mark and must depart the field but may return to the fray later in the innings. Leigh takes his place and looks to push the score on but is bowled for 6 before he can really get going. Tim Philipson is the next man in but the Bodley support is bitterly disappointed to be denied the sight of the full majesty of the Philipson swing in all its glory as he is bowled second ball for nought. 59 for 4 at the end of the eleventh over and Bodley are some way behind the run rate.
Dom Hewett is our next player in and shows admirable temperament and technique from the off. Some beautifully struck shots are finding the boundary in a positively Shackletonesque manner. Gareth’s is the next wicket to fall when he is caught while attempting to hoist the ball to the boundary and Bodley are left staring down the barrel at 65 for 4 after twelve overs. Still, Dom is going well, if only we have batsmen to keep him company. Stu, seeking cup final glory after all these years in the wilderness, does his best but unfortunately suffers a slo-mo run out and is gone for 4. Eighty-eight for 6 after seventeen overs. Stu’s departure seems to set in train a series of farcical dismissals that seals Bodley’s fate. Number eight bat Andy Hudson hits his wicket attempting an unconventional stroke without troubling the scorers. Then Steve McGranaghan does exactly the same thing: another hit wicket, with no run scored. David Busby is our final batsmen and he too goes in short order when he is caught by the keeper again for nought. Three wickets in the same over for no runs and even the prospect of a returning Shackleton to partner Dom for the final overs does little to raise Bodley morale. The pair, now batting in almost stygian gloom, put up a good fight but when Dom is caught and bowled in the seventeenth over, for 19, the Bodley innings is all over at 104 all out. David is left undefeated on 40 – well played, another fine innings.
The end of our cup dreams for another year then but we are in no way disheartened. It has been an excellent campaign in the Jack Cox in 2018 with epic wins against two strong teams, first Engineering - the Cup holders no less! - and then IT Services, on our way to the final. Well played all, with special kudos to Stu Ackland and David Busby who played in our first Jack Cox game, against Physical Chemistry back in 1996 http://www.bodleiancc.co.uk/scorecards/8 (yes, we won that one!) and are still playing in the competition.
White Hunter CC at Warborough, 35 overs.
To Warborough, and a new fixture against the intriguingly named White Hunter Cricket Club. The club logo is a wellington boot appearing to kick the stumps, so the Bodley brains trust has concluded that the name refers to the popular middle-class puddle stompers. Either way, the WHCC are a terrific bunch, and once both teams had arrived and agreed terms, Captains Perkins and Jones for WHCC and Bodley respectively, went out to toss. WHCC called correctly and opted to bowl, to Jones's great delight as this meant not having to decide what to do under grey skies and on a notoriously tricky wicket.
Burnett and Webb opened the batting, with orders to see off the youthful-looking WHCC bowlers that had earlier been practising on the outfield. With Ackland on temporary loan to WHCC whilst one of theirs sped along the lanes of Oxfordshire to make the match, Bodley got underway. A watchful Burnett was lbw in the seventh over for 4 with the score on 25, bringing a determined Neely to the crease. The bowling was tight, with even the loose balls proving hard to get away as the pitch played tricks and the outfield slowed things down. Runs steadily, if not threateningly, accumulated, and with batters through the order Bodley were happy with progress made. In the eighteenth over calamity befell us and all-time high-scorer Webb was clean bowled by a slower one for a well made 41, including some smashing straight hits down the ground and over the fielders, no easy feat on this pitch. Newly promoted Hewett was next in and set about building the total with the well-set Neely. What looked like a terrific leg side flick for four ended up with Dom walking off having trodden on his stumps, terrible luck but there's more to come by the looks of it. McKiernan was next in, bat swinging and that putting-green technique all present and correct. Before you could say 'yes! no! yes!' Neely was out next over for 41, mirroring Webb's total and causing the scorebook to read scores of 41, 4, 41, 4 - one for the stats geeks. So, with the total on 119-4 from 25 overs, Bodley had ten overs to get up towards 200 and a hopefully defendable score. Philipson was by now in, giving Bodley a potentially punishing partnership at the crease as our two biggest hitters combined. Would there be a run-out? Nope. The two set about the bowling with gusto, though it still proved difficult to get away, the pitch being damned uneven and a devil to read. McKiernan was out in the 34th over for - you guessed it - 41, whilst Philipson, now joined by the skipper, hit a few more and Bodley ended up posting 196-5, with Philipson making 33 to end the freaky looking total column in the book.
All that cricket was all well and good, but with tea now served both teams ventured into the ageing clubhouse to tuck in to what was hopefully Stuart's only buffet of the day. To the confusion and concern of many, the extensive spread was a vegetarian affair, though having worked their way through the myriad sandwiches on offer there was, alas, nothing to worry about. The cakes were delicious, and after several mugs of tea on what was still a grey day, the teams returned to the field of battle for the second innings. WHCC needed to chase down 197 to claim the spoils...
With regular keeper Neely keen on having a bowl in readiness for Monday's Jack Cox Plate final, Captain Jones took the gloves and threw the ball to Burnett and McKiernan. With the pitch determined to remain a complete sod all day, and the batters having a hit, WHCC rattled along at four an over for the first ten overs before McKiernan finally prised a wicket by way of a sharp catch from Hudson at mid-off. 41-1 from ten, a timely wicket. Another partnership built as Jones changed the bowling to mix up the pace a little - Neely and Ackland coming on after the wicket. Despite committed fielding and bowling the runs steadily built though, with only the shuffling figure of Ackland keeping the rate down with some valuable maidens. In the sixteenth over a wicket eventually fell, clean bowled by Ackland with what may or may not have been a slower ball (how can we tell, Stu?!). Excellent bowling. Having had a torrid (forgettable, messy, take your pick) time behind the stumps Jones happily handed the mitts over the Webb, and took up position in the field. Having decided that slower bowling was the order of the day, Bodley's living, breathing Old Father Time was unwrapped and instructed to bowl that classic Milner-brand spin. Andrew was duly hit for eight, seven, and seven off his first three overs, But the runs were getting harder to get, and the field a little more spread to cut off the fours that were flying off the edge. In the 24th over and with a wicket needed, a wicket fell - a fantastic catch from Busby to a ball that went miles out to the far boundary only to be confidently taken Aussie-style by Dave, 117-3 from 24 overs. After this brief respite the runs continued to build, another WHCC batter getting in and hitting regular boundaries. By the time the next wicket fell one batsmen had retired for an excellent 51 not out, and the score was 167-4 from 32 overs. Thirty needed from three overs - ten an over then, if my often appalling maths is correct. Milner and Neely were to bowl the final three overs, and the field was back with only a couple of men in the circle in the covers. At the end of the penultimate over the score was 185 and WHCC needed twelve to win. Bodley were quietly confident, eyes focused on the batsman, and Milner twirls in for the last over of the match. It's always good when a long match comes down to the final over, and so it was today. The batters were inclined to swing and run hard, and despite a big swing the first ball was only a single - 11 to win. Next ball was a dot, followed by another dot as the batter tried to charge and befuddle the unflappable Milner. Then the crucial ball to take it to boundaries needed, and only a single managed - 10 now needed from 2 balls and Bodley were breathing a little more easily. A dot ball followed as sharp fielding and a full length kept the batter in check. A single off the final ball took WHCC to 188-4 and gave Bodley the win. A terrific match that was close throughout the second innings as the WHCC batters staged a brilliant chase on a difficult pitch. Well played everyone, a well-deserved win.
After handshakes and pleasantries, and the returning of the ground to exactly the same condition it was in before we started, the bulk of both teams repaired to the nearby Six Bells Public House for post-match analysis and talk of future matches between our well-matched sides. We would be delighted to visit our new friends down in West Sussex next year and look forward to an annual fixture for years to come, thanks ever so much for making the trip up to play us. We next play Monday evening at Balliol College Ground, in the final of the Jack Cox Plate - do come and support.
Hendricks XI at Stanton St John. Twenty overs, then a ten overs thrash.
After a seemingly endless run of games under a boiling sun on brown dry pitches Bodley finally played a game under cloudy skies yesterday with the threat of rain ever present. We were playing Hendricks, old friends led by Tim Saunders, but on a ground not used by Bod for a number of years, Stanton St John. Stanton has a slope and an interesting wicket but an picturesque element to the ground was lost under the low clouds. Hendricks have some familiar faces but are missing Ross Quest, much to the relief of Bodley bowlers. Ross has scored big both for and against us in the past. Bod bat first and open with a father and son partnership of major and minor Shaw. James scores a four off the first ball and both do well on a slow outfield before James is run out for 18. Dan, playing some beautiful shots, retires on 30. Leigh biffs briefly before being clean bowled going for a glory shot, Phil is out for a rare duck, Dave's B then S come in while all the time Tim scores at the other end. David Shackleton sent down the order as punishment for poor geography, Phil lives in Lime Walk, not Lime Road, or Lyme Regis. Getting to the ground 45 mins late is taking it a bit to far, even for the much loved Mr Shackleton. He makes amends though with a stylish 29 to get what looked like a low score up to a respectable 139. Hendricks decision to give everyone 2 overs each certainly helped, with extras contributing over 30 to the total, which made scoring tricky with some overs taking 10 or more deliveries to complete.
Due to predicted rain we'd decided to have a twenty20, then tea then see what we could get out of the rest of the day, so following a quick turn round Bod take to the field and decide to do the two over thing as well. Tim takes the gloves and goes behind the stumps. Leigh opens the bowling and soon has the opening bat caught behind, sharp work by Tim and the quickest wickie catch in Bod history, he follows this with a clean bowled. After this everyone contributes, with wickets for Dave B (another caught behind for Tim and a nice link-up with these two popular cricketing brothers), Phil gets two and Tim, after coming out from behind the stumps gets an lbw. Trouble is Hendricks have a couple of big hitters, one in particular coming in at the end and scoring sixes at will see Hendricks over the line with a couple of balls to spare.
Tea follows, sandwiches, cake (not enough though, need an extra one next time) and samosas that would definitely prove too hot for some. A few of the Hendricks have to leave so a quick, 9-a-side 10 over thrash is played out, again Dan does well and this time Bodley creep home with a few balls to spare. Comedy highlight of the afternoon comes when a caught and bowled is offered, 'Catch it' shouts the wickie, the bowler tries and spoons it in the air and has a desperate lunge, 'catch it again!' comes the shout from behind the stumps. The rain finally comes during the last few overs and at the end of the game the covers are scrambled into place. As is traditional with Hendricks matches the best player on the opposition side gets given a bottle of Hendricks gin, there can be only one winner. Dan retires in both innings and bowls very well, James gladly accepts the award on his behalf.
Next game is against the interestingly named White Hunters on Saturday, then it's a small matter of a Jack Cox final a few days after. The season slowly draws to a conclusion but there is still plenty to play for.
Jack Cox Semi-final against IT Services at Balliol College Ground. Twenty overs.
Going one step further than last year Bodley won the semi-final of the Jack Cox Plate competition against IT Services on Tuesday the 7th. IT looked a strong side, and having won the toss put themselves in bat. Josh opens and immediately the opener scores boundaries but all off edges and nicks behind square. Pretty soon his luck runs out, spooning one up to point where Dave Busby runs round to take a good catch from Josh. Dave catching well at moment, this one not as hard a chance as the Renault effort last week but a more important wicket. After that Bod bowl well, James, Phil and Leigh keep things quiet (11 off 3 for both Phil and Leigh, with three wickets for the latter, James going for not much more) which slowed the scoring rate down a lot. Crucially Bodley held on to their catches; Dom, James, Leigh, Josh and Matthew as well as Dave all deserving credit. The catches taken by Josh and Matthew (one of two for the skipper) were excellent, diving efforts to get to the ball, while Leigh, who had already nabbed a caught and bowled took one of the best catches behind the stumps when going down to his left to get a threatening bat out. Matthew came on at the end and bowled a tight line to finish things off, going for hardly any while clean bowling someone who’d scored big against us in the past. IT 113 off their 20.
In reply Bod start with Matthew and David Shackleton. Both get us started but then both are caught, Matthew unluckily from an edge to the wickie while David well caught on the boundary. James then does what James has done pretty much all season, steadies the ship and scores, but Bod have a bit of a wobble during his innings. Leigh looks in good nick and scores what seems a good 6 only to walk off, much to the confusion of his teammates. Shouts of get back on, you’ve not reached retirement yet stop as we realise in going for the shot he’s trodden on his stumps. Tim looks set and then is out, Josh is out first ball to an unplayable yorker but Dom is slowly acquiring runs and with only two overs left we need about twenty. James retires after passing 30, and the author of this report goes in with orders from the skipper to go for it as we have batsmen left and James to come back in, and to get Dom to anchor. Thankfully Dom ignores this, scoring 3 fours in 4 balls he takes us past the IT total and into the final. Amazeballs.
Comedy moment comes from the 12th man. Not expecting to play he lends first his boots to Leigh and then his top to Andy. Following a lack of understanding in the basic numerical system it seems that we only have 10, not the expected 11 so the 12th man, with a borrowed top to replace the borrowed top he’s lent someone else goes out in work shoes and trousers. He then proceeds to drop one, not go for one that could have been caught, use his feet fielding on the boundary with the inevitable results, bowls pie and is out for 0. Still, we’re in the final.
Renault F1 at Sandford St. Martin, twenty overs.
Battling through the massed hordes of zombies attending Countryfile Live at nearby Blenheim Palace, Bodley assembled at the beautiful Sandford St. Martin cricket club for a bucolic twenty overs of friendly cricket under warm evening sun. Normally played at the nearby Barton Abbey - lovely ground but dodgy wicket - the switch to Sandford was well received by all. An equally pretty location, much better clubhouse, and belter of a wicket all made this an evening to cherish. Renault and ourselves are well-matched, and victories over the years have been shared between the teams, and always been an enjoyable affair. Still short of a few players stuck in traffic, tonight's skipper Gareth Jones was offered the toss and being a sensible sort, chose to bat.
Phil Burnett and the uncharacteristically on-time David Shackleton opened the batting, with Matthew Neely waiting patiently at three, As is becoming the norm Phil got us off to a bit of a flyer, hitting expansively whilst David accumulates and puts away the bad balls. Rattling along nicely to some decent bowling Phil finally fell for a well made seventeen, bringing Matthew in to keep up the performance. The bowling was sharp, and though a full length was proving tricky to get away. these two accumulated steadily as Renault exerted some control. There was a short boundary on the far side of the square, and the fours ticked along just enough to move things along. Matthew fell for a hard-fought eleven but we had plenty of batting to come as Asad walked out next. Shackleton soon retired for a classy 25no, bringing the skipper to the middle. With the score having slowed somewhat and a total around the 140 mark being sought, instructions were given to run hard, swing, and not be too precious about one's wicket. Gareth and Asad duly did this, and after a few scrambled runs the skipper was bowled by a full one trying to hit it down the fairway. Ryder Cup contender Tim Philipson was next in, and whilst Asad was soon out in a similar wasy to Gareth, Tim and new player Muzzi - a friend of Asad's and a lovely chap to boot - was next in. Tim and Muzzi scored quickly, and scored heavily, with Tim in particular finding the trees and smashing a valuable 22 before being run out (sweepstake winners announced next match). Muzzi carried on the good work, showing a range of shots that delighted watching team mates before a well-earned retirement, whilst David Busby, Stu Ackland, and Alec Paton went hard as per the plan to see us to twenty overs, Stu falling to the last ball of the innings in a death or glory finale to give us a very competitive 138-9. Everyone played well, contributed, and played for the team, with Tim's middle-order innings proving the crucial difference come the final score.
With the light drawing in a little earlier now that we're in August tea was to be taken after the game, so with a quick turnaround we were back out there, buoyed by a good performance, and having learnt a few lessons watching the oppo field. The multi-talented Muzzi took the gloves as Phil and Matthew opened the bowling with instructions for bowl full and straight with variation of pace. This was duly done, and after a watchful start Matthew took the first wicket in the fourth over, a cracking catch by Busby to a skied shot. Next over and Phil was in on the action, getting a great lbw after some deliberation from the umpire. 20-2 in the fifth, a terrific start. The fielding was sharp, with the short boundary to one side well protected by Stu and Shackleton, and fine leg/somewhere in that region mopping up plenty of would-be-fours. Asad and Shackleton took over from the openers and thought the Renault batters ticked along, the rate was kept down and we were always in front. Asad picked up a wicket in his first and third over to complete a valuable four over spell for 15 runs. Amongst all this excitement was another crucial contribution for eventual Man of the Match Tim Philipson, a brilliant catch as the ball was dying in tha air - good hands! Shackleton meanwhile got two wickets and was involved in a superb run out, rifling the ball back to the stumps to leave a better stranded after some yes, no, yes calls. We know the feeling! A dangerous looking middle order hitter - adopting a baseball style swing and connecting enough o push the field back couldn't get he score moving enough, and with his wicket being one of Shackleton's double, the rate slowed right down again to give Bodley complete control. Field up., boundary protected where needed, and with Andrew Milner twirling away at one end, and Muzzi turning it miles at the other, the remaining wickets were taken with little added to the score. Muzzzi got one in his first, whilst the rarely seen 'fingers on the ball as it's hit back past the bowled into the stumps' dismissal wrapped up the Renault innings for 97 all out.
So a win by 41 runs, with everyone contributing and smiles all round. Renault are a lovely bunch and we look forward to next year's game, hopeful again at this charming ground. A BBQ was fired up after the game, and the bar opened, giving both teams the chance to unwind and discuss the vagaries of cricket as the sun set in the distance and Mars twinkled ominously on the darkening horizon. Well played all.
Oxfam CC at Cumnor Cricket Club, twenty overs
Our third match in five days began under soaring skies and with the team buoyed by Tuesday's stunning victory. The team contained a fair few of the same players, and confidence was high that we could finally get a win over Oxfam, after years of being the bridesmaid. Today's skipper Stu comprehensively lost the toss but to our great surprise (at the time) we were invited to bat first. No complaints from us, as this is our preferred order of play. So, with a stiff breeze whipping up to lessen the sapping heat, another new opening partnership of Arthur Keegan-Bole and Phil Burnett trotted out.
Things got off to a decent start with both openers finding the boundary and running well. The bowling was fairly friendly save a terrific young seamer opening the innings, and before too long Arthur had retired for 32, Phil was unlucky to be caught for 27, whilst Matthew Neely and James Shaw also reached the the 30 mark to retire unbeaten. Gareth Jones lost the ball in a hedge, Dom Hewitt ran like a March Hare, and the beloved double act of Tim Philipson and David Busby were both unlucky to fall for low scores. We ended on 151-3 from our twenty overs, a very good score. Or so we thought.
The Oxfam innings began under darkening skies and the threat of rain, but with a good total to defend the skipper tossed the ball to James and Phil, and off we went. Four overs later the Oxfam number one retired on 34, having taken singles where there were none, and hit boundaries where there were fielders. Blimey, we thought. The number two batter promptly followed him to thirty odd and retired, and only when Tim took a terrific return catch to one that sat up a bit, did we chalk up a wicket for a single run to the batter's name. Right, we're back in this now. Nope. Another exhibition of superb pushing and running, and with the score past 100 by the halfway mark and even with a clatter of wickets towards the end - including a great double from young Dan Shaw that nearly ended in a hatrick - Oxfam uncharitably bundled us out of the match with ease. The winning runs were chalked up with some big hitting and more whippet-like running in the eighteenth over and we could retreat to the bar to drown our sorrows and curse the cruelness of sport.
A deflating defeat if truth be told, and one we debated into the night and at coffee the following day. The verdict? We don't much like cricket, but we like playing it more than we like not playing it, on balance. Onward to our next game! Renault F1 CC at the beautiful Sandford St. Martin, just North of regular venue Barton Abbey. Players needed, so do jump on board. We may even win.
Great Haseley CC at Great Haseley, thirty overs.
Another roasting hot day, another pitch with more brown than green. Bodley travel south to play Great Haseley, a team we’ve met once before, though games in the last couple of seasons have been called off through rain or lack of players. Great Haseley (GH) are fielding a number of youngsters in their side, as are the Bod, with Dan Shaw and the welcome return of Thomas Marsh, in the side. Both are responsible for some of the best bowling figures in Bod history and with Thomas comes his dad Chris. Two Marshes for the price of one.
GH win the toss, which was going to be decided by rock-paper-scissors but after the third go with both skippers picking the same thing the more traditional coin was tossed. GH put themselves into bat. Bod open with Thomas and James, both bowling a tight line which causes GH problems, both openers struggle to get ball away on what is a fast and uneven out-field. In what proved to be a crucial moment in the game the opener smacks the ball straight to the Bod skipper (and author of this report) who instead of catching it decides jumping over it instead (if it helps, o fellow teams-mates, I’m still not sure how/why this happened). The opener couldn’t have been on much more than 5 at this point, he went onto get 50. Bod make bowling changes, conscious of the fact that in a 30 over game GH hadn’t got much on the board and we need to make a game of it. Phil bowls well, as does Dan. Phil gets the first wicket with Dan taking a sharp catch. Bod maintain steady pressure. The GH opener keeps the runs ticking over but crucially keeps losing partners. James takes two excellent catches, one diving to his right and the other a smack out to cow which was well taken, the skipper comes on and picks up a couple, Andy Hudson and Tim bowl well and Matthew gets a couple of stumpings behind the wicket. Dave takes the penultimate over with two wickets left and manages to get both, the first the catch in the deep from James. Batsman cross while ball in air, so last bat coming in (the ten year old son of the GH skipper) is non-facing when Dave gets the last wicket next ball, so the poor lad waits the whole innings for a bat, comes in and is not out having not faced a ball. GH all out off 29 overs for 124, surely a reachable figure off 30?
After a good tea Bod get going, with Matthew and Phil in and then out getting us started. James in next, on a run of such fine form not seen in Bod colours for quite a while. Which is why it was a shock when out for a golden, lbw to the first ball of one of those frustratingly accurate bowlers at our level who drop it down on a length. He went on to get 4 Bod wickets and caused a lot of damage in the middle order before Dan and Andy settle down and start scoring. We’re up with the run-rate while these two are in bat but after Dan is out things slow down, scoring proves tricky and Chris and I are left in at the end needing about twenty off a couple of overs. A 4 helps but then the last wicket is taken and GH win. Andy Hudson top scores with 21, closely followed by Dave with 18 and then Dan with 16 but that was about it. A great game , played in a good spirit with everyone getting a go at something on a picturesque ground. Apart from a win what more could you ask for.
Iffley Village CC at Cutteslowe Park. 20 overs.
Bodley CC, fresh from a successful tour, took on new opponents Iffley Village on the 12th. After dealing with all the hardships of playing at Cutteslowe; traffic, parking too close (dangerously so after some shots), unable to get into the pavilion (again) ‘cause the council hadn’t unlocked their bits so having to get changed round the back etc etc etbloodyc, Bod shake hands with the oppo and eye them up at same time, trying to gauge their level. Iffley look good, new Bod Dave Shorten (another from our feeder club the Mads) reckons Iffley had one of the faster bowlers he’d ever faced last season, luckily he isn’t playing tonight. Iffley win toss and put us into bat. Matthew and Asad open, both facing some pretty accurate bowling but both start to play some shots, Asad in particular finding the boundary fairly regularly. James comes in and continues his excellent form with the bat this season while others briefly flutter around him. Dan, Tim, Dom and Dave all push the total along while Gareth, three not-outs on tour but who seemed distracted throughout the match, was out second ball to a straight one. At one point a good total looked beyond us, batting through the twenty seemed beyond us as well but James and Alec saw us home, the biggest cheer of the innings for Alec, who following his highest score against the Doctors got his first boundary for the club. Biggest boo came when T***p and his fleet of helicopters flew over on their way to Blenheim and dinner with the suck-ups. There was some talk of forming a giant v-sign on the grass but not to be. Bod finish on a reasonable respectful 124.
Dan and Dave open, both bowling a tight line that Iffley found hard to score against. Dan seems to get a bit quicker with each game and got the first wicket with a delivery that the batsmen was late on. Dan then took a good catch off his Dad’s bowling and then followed this up with a sharp work in the field to get a run-out with Matthew working well behind the stumps. Iffley though look a good batting side, and steadily accumulate with a number of their bats reaching 30 and retiring. Your reporter serves up some buffet and that is enough to see Iffley over the line with an over or two to spare.