The season started with a minor cock-up as, after a week of scraping around trying to get a team, I ended up with 12 players. This turned out to be fine as I wasn’t feeling too bright and was more than happy to drop out of the team and score instead. Barry “Coach” Martin took over the captaincy role and the game started with Wantage batting. The Mercers opened and it wasn’t long before Hendred took their first wicket, dismissing Alan “Raffles” Mercer on 2, caught and bowled. Peachy replaced him. “Three”, everyone was saying, “Three. What’s Peachy doing at three?”, but Peachy played an innings that showed how he deserved to be batting up the order and stayed there on the pitch while other wickets fell around him.

Colin “PoD” Mercer was eventually caught on 58 after showing everyone how to bat properly again. Then Grant “Sack” Summersbee was caught on 1 and Chaz Boshell caught first ball for a golden. Then Andy Osborn, not renowned for his cricketing skills, stuck with Peachy at the other end while they tried to stabilise the situation.

Peachy slowed his initial run fest to a crawl after he scored more runs than he’d ever scored before (32) and thought that there maybe a chance of getting a 50. Andy was bowled and Ryan “Pippy” Martin came in to swing the bat a bit and recover the run rate. Very soon after, unfortunately, Peachy was bowled too, scoring a career best of 43, avoiding the honour of buying everyone a drink. Nice one Peachy.

Pippy was stumped in the 32nd over after getting 27 from 14 balls. New boy, Ren Pretorius, was caught on 3. Other new boy, Simon Martin was caught on 0, Nick “Picnic” Wilkins was bowled on 0, but managed to stay in for long enough for Coach to get 14 from 4 balls.

This left Wantage on 177 all out from 34.2 of our allocated 40 overs. Not a bad total which would be very hard to chase (we thought).

C. Mercer Caught 58
A. Mercer Caught & Bowled 2
A. Peach Bowled 43
G. Summersbee Caught 1
C. Boshell Caught 0
A. Osborn Bowled 23
R. Martin Stumped 27
R. Pretorius Caught 3
S. Martin Caught 0
N. Wilkins Bowled 0
B. Martin Not Out 14

After tea, Pippy and Coach started the attack with both getting early wickets with Sack catching the ball behind the stumps in both cases. The bowling was very efficient and Hendred were having trouble scoring runs. A run out helped the situation before Simon and Chaz joined in and Chaz got a wicket, Sack taking another catch behind the stumps. Then Raffles came on and bowled a double wicket maiden in his first over and Sack caught his fourth. Excellent glove work! Raffles bowled one in this initial over and bowled another in his second. The spin was too much for them. Chaz got another in his last over, an LBW, and Ren came on and took his first wicket for the club. Hendred were collapsing well. The game was nearly over. There seemed to be no way that Wantage could lose from this point. Hended were 111 for 9 after 27 overs, needing 67 to win. Their number 11 didn’t look confident with the bat at all, and it was now just a case of getting one more wicket.

However, Hended’s number ten was Ivan Mulford, and he was smacking the ball everywhere off Ren and Raffles, so Coach and Pippy came back on to finish it off. Although Pippy was shown some respect, Coach wasn’t and Ivan hogged the strike beautifully, protecting their number 11. He closed the total down with professional ease and eventually won the game for them with a beautifully played 80 from 58 balls.

Such a good game to start the season with and a great batting display to inspire anyone who is in last wicket situation needing over half a century to win. Well done Ivan.

Overs Maidens Runs Wickets
R. Martin 8 1 22 1
B. Martin 7 0 31 1
S. Martin 5 0 28 0
C. Boshell 8 2 19 2
A. Mercer 6 1 38 3
R. Pretorius 3 0 29 1