On a muggy day, Colin finally pulled his weight as Captain and won the toss. He chose to bat, where he undid all the good work of winning the toss by reversing the batting order as usual. Ryan, NiB, Barry, Ian and Steve all departed to leave Wantage struggling at 50-5, although Steve hit a couple of nice shots in his 22, and Barry was out to an excellent catch at backward point. Consequently it was left to OT and Colin to rebuild a faltering innings. They did this well with a good partnership of 59 which put us back in a strong position. They departed in the same over, Ollie with a good 42 and Colin with a solid 16. It was then down to some excellent performances down the order from Dave Summersbee and Grant (18 and 19*), and Ben Rendell who scored 12 which took us to 162 all out. It seemed a slightly inadequate total on what was a good batting wicket, but our bowling and fielding has been strong this year so everyone felt we were in with a good chance.

Stanton Harcourt started their innings well, scoring at a pretty solid rate with a right/left hand combination which made picking a line difficult for the bowlers. Dave took a catch at point to dismiss one of them, but then Ian dropped the left hander off Grant at point. He redeemed himself by taking a catch to get rid of their danger man a few overs later but Stanton Harcourt continued to plod along scoring enough runs to keep them in the hunt but not losing many wickets. Despite an excellent spell from Barry of 12 overs, 2 wickets for 27 and a reasonably tight spell from Ian still they needed only 3.5 an over for the last ten. Suddenly however, with 21 runs needed for victory things started to get interesting… Barry gave a stirring team talk and Colin brought back Ryan and Grant to bowl at the death. Grant hit the key man on his box and then forced him to prod to his brother at point, which along with some tight bowling from Ryan led them to need 12 off 12 balls. It didn’t look good when Grant was hit for two consecutive fours, but another catch from Dave at point left it poised dangerously for Ryan’s last over – 3 to win, 2 wickets to get, 6 balls to bowl. First ball Dave took his fourth catch at point, and then the tension grew with three dot balls to Stanton Harcourt’s youngster. Next ball they scrambled a single despite Ryan’s attempted nutmeg run out, which left 1 to tie, 2 to win off the last ball. The field closed in (and I’m reliably informed that at least two of the team virtually wet their pants with excitement, although I won’t say who) as Ryan bowled the last ball which their batsmen got a good connection on, only for Ollie Taylor to take a good catch at short cover and send everyone wild. Ryan was left with 4-25 off his 10 overs, and Grant 4-39.

Man of the match was Grant for his 19 not out and 4-39, although honourable mentions also went to Ryan for his tight bowling spell, Ollie for his runs, Dave for his catches and Barry for his good spell.
Champagne moment was the winning catch off the last ball. Although Grant’s 6 was a nomination, and Neil deserves a mention for buying the entire team beers in celebration!
Pig’s Ear went to Barry for loudly declaring in the middle of an over that he was running off for a piss. Fortunately he decided to stay on til the drinks break.

All in all, a top match which is why I’ve ended up writing an essay rather than a brief report. The win leaves us in 3rd, only 2 points off the top but with a game in hand.

~Ian Challand