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.