Stats/Medawar at Balliol College ground (Jack Cox group stage), twenty overs
Following our last couple of T20 performances: an absolute, Victorian-school-child of a Jack Cox thrashing against Rhodes House (Cup finalists last year), and a tricky and ultimately unsuccessful chase against the Mads, we felt better about our chances against Stats/Medawar.
We felt things were good for us, when batting first we piled on the runs. Shaw’s run of form continued as if he was playing one, supremely vast innings that was merely being played on different days and in different circumstances. With supporting turns from everyone (no ducks for us, this time) but particularly Robinson and Phillipson, we put on 149 runs (or 151 or 152, the scorer may have suffered a serious head-injury or just been enjoying the experience of sitting in the glorious summer-evening sunshine).
Even accounting for the flat, bouncy, artificial wicket and the fast, dry outfield we were quietly confident of victory at the mid-point.
Our confidence rose higher when the opening batsman spent several minutes having the sightscreen moved and promptly hit the first ball straight up in the air. Mistry then ran in from backward square leg and took one the finest running catches ever seen in the Bodleian. The opening bowling pair of Burnett and McKiernan kept up the pressure, bowling tightly and with ferocity, and as their relief, Shaw and McGranaghan continued in their vein. We took 5 wickets, largely playing on their need to keep up the run rate and thus keep hitting out. After Mistry’s brilliant catch at the start, the choice wicket came when the batsmen tried to slog the ball back over the bowler’s head, out of Balliol College ground, and possibly out of Oxford itself. It sailed up in the air, hanging briefly in-front of the Sun, before plunging back to earth. Beneath it, Paton, whose career in the Bodleian had to this date totally prepared him for shelling this chance, was directly beneath the falling ball. He recalled the hours spent reading blog-posts on the matter and held in hands in the prescribed manner, relaxed, breathed out, and prepared to make an almighty cock-up of everything. Instead the ball stayed in his hands, surprising pretty much everyone in the grounds, not least the hapless fielder who bellowed his triumph to the heavens and the spectators (there were actual spectators, and not just a couple of Shaw’s disinterested children).
In spite of everything, however, Stats’ middle order just about got them over then line at the death. It was a thrilling match to play, even if it did ensure the Bodley’s failure to progress to the Cup semi-finals this year.