A beautiful sunny day greeted us at the club and prepared us for what turned out to be a well balanced, very enjoyable game against Eynsham. For the first time this season, I lost the toss, which turned out for the best as, in retrospect, I don’t think we’d have won if we’d batted first. So we went out into the hot sun to field and bowl at the strong Eynsham batting lineup. The first thing that surprised us was the aggressive batting style of the Eynsham number one who tried to smack the nice new shiny leather jacket offof the ball every delivery. After swinging and missing most of the first ones from Stewie “DA” Bulpitt and Barry “Circus” Martin, it was no surprise to see him walking back to the pavilion after only 10 balls when Circus bowled him. The next two batsmen however, batted with more respect of our openers and did very well. Duncan “Lurch” Wooloff and Sam “Bruce” Moore took over the attack and the next breakthough came in the 14th over when Bruce put in a short one to the left hander who pulled it sharply into my left hand at square leg. A painful event, but well worth it just to get out the lefty that kept confusing me by making me keep change the field around. Bruces next wicket came a couple of overs later when he trapped the newcomer to the wicket by possibly the most plum LBW I’ve ever seen (even from square leg). Then came a drought of wickets and a slow trickle of runs. David “Muppet” Henson bowled an economical spell with the exception of six in his last over that smashed the opposition wicket keeper’s windscreen. This delighted the crowd and most of the fielders, but unsurprisingly, seemed to upset their wicket keeper. PoD dropped a catch. I’ll say that again because it doesn’t happen very often… PoD dropped a catch. A dolly too! The ball was skied and was falling gently towards some of the safest hands in the club apparently some pollen got in PoD’s eyes or something and the next thing we knew the ball was rolling around on the floor. Weird! Then a misfield for 4! What was going on? Hopefully, just a temporary infliction. The 28th over brought a flurry of runs for the remaining 8 overs. A. Hinsley and S. Jones had settled in and were comfortable smacking the ball over the boundary whenever possible. They particularly liked Tweekey’s bowling, S. Jones dispatching balls over the fence and over the A417 whenever possible. Eynsham finished with 172 runs for the loss of 3 wickets. Our bowling: DA 6-0-30-0 Circus 6-2-22-1 Lurch 7-0-39-0 Bruce 6-0-14-2 Muppet 6-0-19-0 Tweekey 4-0-40-0 Rich made a lovely tea, and a few quid. Well done Rich. Thanks for volunteering. So, a challenging target but with an outfield that was well cut and allowing balls to reach the boundary with ease if it was possible to play the ball through the gaps in the field. Our usual slow start set up the innings nicely, with wickets falling regularly every four or five overs. Self confessed “Silly shots” were the downfall of Andy “Ferret” Gray, PoD, Gorgeous, DA and Tweekey who between them scored 19 while Lurch, who opened, stood at the wicket tutting and rolling his eyeballs back into his eye sockets. The slow start continued into the 23rd over as everyone played themselves in only to be skittled out again. We were now 62 for 5 off 23 overs, requiring a seemingly improbable 9¼ per over to win. Then Bruce took control at exactly the same time as a nice loopy spinner came on, and changed the face of the game. With 46 runs coming from Hughes’ three overs, we were now looking at a marginally better target of 52 from the remaining seven overs, that’s just over seven per over for those that can’t do maths. Hughes, however did get Bruce out with his last ball, caught. Bruce had scored a fast 47 runs which changed the face of the game. Lurch was just short of his fifty and more importantly staying at the crease holding the team together, offering advise (whether wanted or not) to the incoming batsmen. Bruce’s sixes earned him Champagne moment. Critical shots and beautifully executed. Circus and Rich lost their wickets cheaply while trying to stay on top of the run rate. The faster bowlers were back on and bowling very well. Muppet came out in the 32nd over and between him and Lurch brought the score on to 162 for 8 with one over to go. The tension was unbearable. Six balls and eleven runs needed with a very difficult bowler to score them from. Muppet was facing and scored two runs from the first ball. The fielders were all around the boundary and Muppet and Lurch were running as fast as they could scamper between the wickets. One run from the next ball. One from the next. Three balls to go, seven required. Then a breakthrough. Muppet drove the ball back past the bowler with an effortless shot for four that even Muppet said that the bat had done all of the work. He’s so modest. Another two from the fifth ball of the over left us tied, needing just one from the last ball. All that was required was contact with the ball and some smart running. Muppet executed it perfectly. Our batting: Ferret 2 Lurch 58, not out (excellent! Carrying his bat. Man of the match!) PoD 5 Gorgeous 3 DA 7 Tweekey 2 Bruce 47 (Jug avoidance but batting that changed the game) Circus 8 Rich 4 (Why hasn’t he got a nickname yet?) Muppet 14, not out (a very cool headed performance) Nordic Did not bat (Thank god!) What a game! Some outstanding cricket from both sides. Thanks, Eynsham, for a special game. I look forward to a rematch next year and hope it’s as close. Well done team. A good performance all-round! Nordic