Far From The MCC at Brasenose College ground. Twenty overs.
There are few nicer ways to end the working week (or indeed any kind of week) than to saunter over to one of Oxford's plethora of cricket grounds and enjoy a twenty over game with good friends under blue skies. So it was a joy to be able to leave the woes of the workaday life behind and play such a game under a warm sun with a decent team and a determination to end a mini losing streak.
Bodley fielded first and skipper Stu unleashed the family Shaw, with father being outshone by son as young Dan found a swing and carry. It was James that got the first wicket though, clean bowling the first opener. The Mads did as the Mads often do though, and dug in, rebuilt, and hit out. The innings saw some good fielding, some dodgy fielding, some very dodgy lbw's, and a wonderfully comic attempt at taking the glory by the skipper. Having bowled a reasonable ball, which was hit reasonably well and climbed to a reasonably distant height, the skipper saw the chance for a caught and bowled, yelling 'Mine! Stuart's ball! MINE!' at the top of his voice, despite the giant that is James Shaw standing almost directly underneath the path of the now earthbound ball. Stu shuffled in to take the catch, still yelling, and missed it by a mile. A quite unreasonable call, one might say. But very amusing nonetheless. The other highlight was a marvellous over of chaos from Leigh, taking two wickets in a single over with a combination of wides, full tosses, an angry effort ball and a stuishly keen appeal from keeper and bowler. Whilst it was satisfying to get all ten wickets - a stumping by Gareth off the final ball of the match - the Mads still complied a decent total of 119.
Yet another opening partnership for Bodley (come back Shackers, all is forgiven and we still love you) saw Matthew and Gareth stride out to face the music. After three overs and with fourteen on the board, things were looking pretty good, until Gareth was clean bowled and the Mads upped the intensity a little (it doesn't take much). But this only brought the in-form James to the crease, and with Matthew finding his range these two top-order stalwarts put on 54 for the second wicket before Matthew was out for a sparkling 28, with James retiring shortly after for another 30 not out. After that heartening partnership the Mads managed to get on top, and we just couldn't get any partnerships going, A stunning run-out to see off Leigh - hitting a single stump from a fairly deep square leg - was especially special. David Busby coming in to face the final ball - a wide, as it happened - caused some excitement, but the hoped-for six to end the innings on a high did't materialise as Dave instead pirouetted on the spot. Bodley ended up 100-6 from twenty, not a bad effort at all given the bowling stocks the Mads possess, but a shame we couldn't build on the big partnership.
Despite the loss it was a cracking game, and both teams retired to a nearby pub for beers and a thorough dissection of the game.