Despite the rain on Saturday night, we played yesterday. The pitch at Uffington was quite soft and was not the best batting surface, requiring some sensible bowling to ensure that nobody got hurt. For the second time this season I won the toss and elected to bat first. Graham “Gorgeous” North returned from a long holiday and injury break and opened the batting with Ian “Bows” Rollinson. Some careful defensive batting saw us through the first eight overs without loss with the ball digging in and popping up all over the place. Bows was the first victim of the uneven bounce as the ball slowed right up and he chipped it to be caught at mid-off. I wandered out to the crease, feeling confident but wary of the sticky wicket. Three balls later I walked back to the pavillion feeling stupid after tapping the ball in the air, back to the bowler for 0. As I walked off the pitch, I warned Carl “Lard” Wooloff of the obvious dangers of the wicket as Bows had done for me. Carl returned an over later after facing three balls too. He’d been caught as well. At this point we were 11 overs into the match and were 3 wickets down for 19 runs. Gorgeous had scored 7 so far, and was holding his end up well. In the next 9 overs Gorgeous and Olly “Chief Wiggum” Haine took the score up to 48 before Chief was run out after being a little slow off the mark on a quick single. Olly was out for 1. David “Muppet” Henson was next. Not deterred by the awkwardness of the plasticine-like wicket he played beautifully. Defending his wicket and putting away the loose balls with style. There were even two superbly struck sixes, one to long-on and one a bit closer to cow-corner, but both timed nicely and not at all agricultural. David was declared Wantage man of the match for this batting performance, ultimately getting 40 not out. Gorgeous finally lost his wicket after being caught for 39. Stewie “Danger Angel” Bulpitt scored a quick 5 before also getting caught. One of his shots being a lovely shot through the covers for 4. Mark “Mongo” Tugwell looked like he meant business. Determined to show Uffington how to play cricket he went out to the crease with 7.5 overs to go. He started playing with his normal “no nonsense”/”smack it about” style and was eventually bowled in the last over for 23, bringing Peachy to the crease to face the last ball. After our innings we finished 128 for 7. Not a bad score on that wicket thanks to Gorgeous, Muppet and Mongo, but Uffington were to prove to us that we could have done with a few more. Tea wasn’t bad. Nicely crafted sandwiches and plenty of doughnuts were slightly let down by the fact that nobody had put the tea urn on and Mongo was asked, from the outfield, to put the urn on at 3. This was misheard and the urn was put on to setting “3” which warmed the water to something slightly hotter than the showers. Those that were patient eventually got a nice cup of tea when the urn had boiled. Tea rating – 3 out of 5 teapots. With a target of 129, we had to control the game to win. Danger Angel voluteered to don a helmet and field stupidly close to the bat to try to take advantage of the popping ball. His life was in the hands of the bowlers to bowl a tight line and the right length. Tweekey opened the bowling and after the first ball, settled into his stride. James “Moobs” Mabbett did the same at the other end, bowling spin. The first eight overs were going smoothly and efficiently apart from a loose, head height full bunger that Jimmy hit tennis serve style back over Moobs’s head for 6 (plus one for the no-ball). The first wicket went in the ninth over when Tweekey broke through the openers and Gorgeous took a comfortable catch at mid-off. Peachy took over from Tweekey (and under instruction not to bowl too fast on the bumpy ground, decided that he’d shorten his ridiculously long run-up to something more sensible for the pace that he bowls these days. It worked! The first ball of his first over was struck into the air where Danger Angel caught it. Peachy’s first over was a wicket maiden. Muppet took over from Moobs at the other end and also bowled a maiden. Peachy’s second over was less economic, going for 9, but he soon got back into his stride and eventually had figures of 6-1-18-1. Muppet’s last over fooled Jimmy into a skied shot towards cow-corner where Moobs patiently waited for the ball to return out of orbit and return earthwards. The ball swirled around in the wind but Moobs’s safe hands cradled the ball sending Jimmy back to the pavillion for 38. Muppet’s figures, 6-1-21-1. Danger Angel now came in to try to finish off the long tail. One of his first balls was spanked directly at Bows at an unbelievable speed at a shortish mid-wicket. Bows had no chance to get out of the way and the ball caught his hand and dropped to the ground leaving a pale faced Bows happy that he was still alive, with all of his fingers. A couple of balls later a similar shot was played, but much, much slower allowing Bows to redeem himself from the dropped catch by snaffling an easier one. Danger Angel eventually went for 4-0-25-1. Mongo had a couple of expensive overs, 2-0-16-0 and Tweekey and Moobs bowled an over each while Uffington slowly edged towards our score. Tweekey finished with 7-0-19-1 and Moobs, 7-0-22-0. Tweekey should really have had two wickets as I dropped a stupidly easy catch at square-leg. The ball dropped to my feet and I looked briefly skywards in frustration. The batsman obviously thought that I was in leave of my senses and they stupidly started running. Ha! My frustration for dropping the ball fuelled a quick snatch of the ball at my feet and a sharp throw to Tweekey over the top of the stumps at the bowler’s end. Tweekey’s sharp reactions and safe hands then easily assisted the run out. 32 overs gone and Uffington now only needed 2 runs to win with only 5 wickets down. One of Uffingtons youngest players took to the crease and a miracle was required. Unfortunately we only had Olly who volunteered to bowl the last ball which the youngster hit for 3 runs to win. Olly, 0.1-0-3-0. Oh well. The match was good natured. Lard kept wicket well, giving away 1 less bye (7) than the opposing keeper. Nobody tampered with the ball and everyone came out of the changing room after tea without sulking. Moobs got the champagne moment for his catch and Lard got pig’s ear for poor batting.