Blewbury and Upton CC vs OUCCC - Sunday, May 14, 2006

Summary: OUCCC (209/7, 39 overs) defeated by B & U CC (210/3, 36.4 overs) by seven wickets. The full scorecard is here.

The report:

Our innings: Backing up from a reasonably successful opening partnership last week, Rob and myself opening the batting. After a watchful first few overs, Rob was caught at second slip after going fishing for a ball way outside off stump. Not long after, I was out after mis-timing a slower ball and spooning it straight to short cover. This saw Phil Dines and Tom start batting together. Both made starts, but were unable to push on; Phil was caught at second slip for eight after a very watchful innings, soaking up many balls from the opening bowlers. Tom, after deciding to leave anything alone outside the stumps, adopted his theory rather too enthusiastically and was bowled by a ball just clipping his off stump.

At 40/4, we were looking rather shaky, but, as has been the trend in recent weeks for the OUCCC, cometh the hour, cometh the men. In this case it was the new partnership of Steve and Diganta which began to righten the ship. Steve got off the mark with a blistering cut shot that may have been a chance to be caught if the point fielder had been able to react at all before the ball was shooting past the boundary line. After this start, he continued to pile on the runs at a fair clip. Diganta played an excellent supportive rôle to Steve's aggressive batting, but was eventually caught at slip for 19.

Diganta's wicket brought Frank to the crease, and, in his usual agricultural style, immediately went after the bowling. No doubt the karma Gods were looking down, ensuring that after Frank's comment to me just before going out to bat, chiding me for being caught at cover, he himself was also out caught at cover; out for ten. Some excellent supporting batting by Phil Kerry (five), and Saad (15 not out) saw the total reach 209/7 after 39 overs. Steve finished with 96 not out.

The declaration controversy: When tea was taken at 5pm, after only 39 overs, it became clear that we were in fact playing a timed game, rather than the more usual limited overs format. Unfortunately the confusion led to a rather inopportune “declaration” at tea, leaving Steve stranded on 96, and Mansfield Road without an opportunity for ale's minute smash and grab for a few extra runs. The controversy was surely a baptism of fire for Tom, making his debut as OUCCC captain.

The tea: Despite tea-time consternation about the format of the match, and our declaration, the tea itself was of excellent village-ground quality. A good selection of home made sandwiches was complimented by sausage rolls and three varieties of excellent home made cakes, of which the chocolate Swiss roll was deserving of particular mention. In terms of an out-of-ten score, it was at least an 8½.

Their innings: Ruairidh decided to open the bowling of the farther side of the ground, to gain maximum use of the slope on offer. The opposition opening batsman showed a typical youthful lack of respect, carting the very first delivery through the off side for four. This set the early tone, with ehtier batsmen taking to our bowling. Frank, who opened the bowling from the other end, also came in for some stick. Ruairidh was eventually rewarded for his cracking bowling, having the other opener out caught behind for ten. It took the “change of pace” of Al's bowling to claim the wicket of the confident opener, who he bowled off his very first ball.

Their number three and four batsmen were able to keep scoring at above the required rate for the middle stretch of the innings. There were four or five mostly difficult missed catches, including Frank's impressive, but ultimately unfruitful, effort of taking a great catch on the boundary only to collapse over the rope. Diganta in particular was unlucky not to pick up a wicket with his bowling. These missed opportunities ended up being quite costly as our opposition continued scoring freely. Seeking to mix things up, Tom brought Al back into the attack, who again picked up a wicket with his fist first ball. (No doubt Al will be hoping to be bowled in spells of one ball in the future). As the overs ticked down, Tom and Steve were able to tighten the screws with some impressive spin bowling, however it wasn't quite enough in the end with Blewbury & Upton passing our total to win by seven wickets.