A second home game in two days, and some potential for a cup upset if we didn’t play well. A look at the OCA website had confirmed that although Risinghurst were two divisions below us they certainly had some strong players who could cause us trouble if we weren’t at our best. Fortunately this was another “on-day” for us, and from the off when we were within a whisker of a first ball run out and then a third ball run out we gave absolutely nothing away in the field (well, one person did, but we’ll come to that).

Ryan and Dave “Diddy Kong” Henson opened the bowling and kept things very tight. Henson’s four consecutive maidens were particularly impressive, and although he didn’t take any wickets he acquitted himself well and certainly deserved at least a couple. As it was, Ryan took two early wickets, getting the opener caught by Colin at mid-off, and danger man Kalyan LBW after a double appeal. The bowling was tight throughout, and Risinghurst were given no respite when Grant came on to replace Ryan. He had a point to prove after getting only 3 overs on Saturday, so we were lucky to see pumped-up G-Man. Happily this led to him bowling an excellent line and length and he took the wicket of the other opener in his first over, caught by Chuckles Lane at extra cover. At the other end Barry took over from Muppet Henson after his opening spell of 0-13 off 7 and kept things even tighter. He also got a run out from gully, after a superb diving stop and throw. Ben Putt, keeping for the first time this year, also did well to collect the ball and dislodge the bails in a short space of time.

With Barry keeping one end tied up, the wicket-taking focus fell upon Grant, who seized it with aplomb, including probably the best over he’s ever bowled, where he peppered the Risinghurst batsman with a succession of skiddy balls, before bowling him and giving it the proper Flintoff-esque ‘for-the-camera’ celebration with arms wide and plenty of swagger. When Mongo took a good catch at backward point the ball before drinks we were well in the driving seat and the run rate was no more than 2.5 an over. Risinghurst number 7 Colwell was in next and used his extravagant liking of the flick off the pads to fine leg to find his way to 12. Some over-zealous fielding placement led to a no ball for three men behind square on the leg-side but that aside runs were still not forthcoming, and Grant took two more wickets, including Colwell, caught at mid-off, and bowling another batsman for another 5-for. We willed him to get 6 or 7 but it was not to be as the lower order displayed some good application to stick around til the last few overs.

Will War-Horse Harvester Megatron Harvey had replaced Barry, and earned his only wicket with the classic wicket-taking full toss. This was slapped low and hard to Summerset’s right, and he did very well to get down and take the chance. The innings finished on 111 with a run out from Grant/Will Harvey, despite Grant apparently shaking after his exertions with the ball. Iltaf batted well for his 18*. Teas were strong as always from Kerry and Nick, with the welcome return of doughnuts but no squirty cream.

Ben and Ryan opened the batting again, and played similarly to yesterday, Ryan being positive and putting away the ball, while Ben played the anchor role, facing the majority of Iltaf’s excellent busy seam bowling. Both fell before we’d reached 50, and the run rate slowed significantly as the Risinghurst spinners came on. Masih in particular was getting some real rip, and we struggled along at less than a run an over for about 5 overs, Mongo and Colin both getting themselves out cheaply. Ian was next in and played in what he would like to describe as an Eoin Morgan-esque innings, taking the attack to Risinghurst bowlers and earning Wantage the momentum. This proved crucial, as a six over the top and a couple of fours through the covers suddenly brought the total within easy reach.

Freed from scoreboard pressure, Timmy finally timed one off about his 50th ball and hit a boundary, before dispatching 14 off the final over to take us to our total. Ian and Tim put on an unbroken 67 which was a good knock and deservedly won us the match. Perhaps the only sour note was the Risinghurst fielder who collapsed with a groin injury, which looked like it could be a bit of a season-breaker. Perhaps Duncan could console him as a fellow groin-breaker, and they could form a “chirpsing from the sidelines” club.

Champagne Moment went to Dave Summerset (two in two days!) for an excellent diving catch at square leg. EDIT: Apparently this did not win Champagne Moment. Apparently Ben won it for sticking coins inside his foreskin. I won’t describe in detail, you wouldn’t want to hear.
Pig’s Ear went to Colin (two in two days!) for the only fielding mishaps of the whole innings, costing 5 runs.
Man of the Match went to Grant for his 5-for. Mentions were given to Tim and Ian too.
A non-specific Special Award went to Barry for turning up and playing despite being in no state to do so. This deserved extra special praise.
Net Result: A Semi-final spot where we will play West Witney. Good signs that we have beaten them twice this season, so let’s hope we can do it again! Other things to point out included some of Ally’s “views” and Ben’s “puppetry” which left little to the imagination but left everyone wondering why. Also it was worth pointing out that Risinghurst were a great bunch and we wish them well for the rest of the season!