Challow vs Wantage

Wantage vs East and West Hendred

Wantage vs Hanney

An exciting opportunity to play in a truly unique tournament, we turned up keenly at 10am to discover that our first match would be against our truly local rivals Challow. We were also the very first team to play so we had 6 other teams watching with great interest as Timmy and Barry opened our batting innings. After a meagre first over, Barry was bowled for 2 before Ian and Tim gave the ball some long handle. IC hitting the first “DLF maximum” of the day and Timmy smashing a couple more. The only sour note was a run out, Ian backing up a bit too far, even for a 5 over smash, and Timmy and OT finished off the innings, leaving us on 52-2, TPL on 22*.

Our bowling performance started appallingly, Grant being smashed for 20 of the first over including five fours and a dot. Thereafter the run chase was straightforward for Challow, although there were a couple of exciting moments as Timmy took a stumping off Ian’s leg spin and Oatibix tripped over his own feet at deep cover. Barry’s first ball of the last over was guided to third man for four and we trudged off disappointed at the final result.
From there, though, things improved, both on and off the pitch. First up, chastened by some of the more professional teams’ well considered gazebos (pretty essential in the searing heat), we attempted to make our own. This was achieved through a combination of Barry’s van, some copper piping, a soldering iron, a step ladder a tool box and a piece of green tarpaulin. It was truly the pikiest looking den ever constructed at a cricket ground, but it was Wantage through and through and we sat under it proudly, getting more and more amused by Grant showing off his tattoo, Barry attacking the cider and Timmy chirpsing Colin in song.

Our second game came around after some time, and this time we fielded first. We had the field set in a slightly more appropriate fashion after the experiences of the first game, and Grant went for far fewer on this occasion. Our ‘ringer’ George Hook (loaned from Challow after OT was forced to return to Sunday captaincy duties) then took over, going for around 10 runs before Colin and Ian again kept things tight. Barry managed to chirp the umpire a bit in the last over but we were reasonably happy to restrict Hendred to 54. Grant took one wicket and Colin took another.

The rules of the tournament stated that the opening partnership had to be different each match. So it was that the unsual pairing of Colin and Grant took to the crease for our chase. Even more unusually they survived the entire 5 overs without losing a wicket. Colin hit some classy early shots through the leg side to leave him on about 20*, but it was Grant who really took the biscuit. After some good early touches he failed to do much against Hendred’s spinner, leaving him on strike for the 5th over with a rather massive 17 needed for victory. The next 6 balls went like this:

6 half way into next week over the sightscreen.

Scrambled single.

Bye from Colin.

Four through the offside after a misjudgement from the fielder at deep cover.

Four through extra cover.

Single to mid-off.

So it was that unlikely batting hero Grant scored 24* and steered us to a 6 wicket win over the hosts. Barry commented that “it feels like a loss, because Grant won” which though an adequate reflection of his drunken feelings didn’t give much credit to what was, in fairness, a pretty awesome final over. The team spent the next hour chirpsing Barry for having both the least wickets and least runs of any Wantage contributor. For his part, Barry lay around in his Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles pants and did some more soldering with Timmy. In the meantime, Dave Summerset turned up to feature for our last game.

This final game was against Hendred, and we again bowled first. Grant again opened and went for very few, Dave Summerset bowled a wide (staggeringly worth four in this form of cricket!) but took an excellent caught and bowled chance, and we were on top for the remainder of the overs. Colin took a screaming catch off his own bowling, and Barry finished it up with two edges behind for TPL. So we were left to chase 35, unfortunately already in the knowledge that we couldn’t get through the group even if we won. However Dave and Ian opened and comfortably saw us through to the total with minimal alarm, including some excellent shots through the off-side and a couple of wides, to win by 6 wickets.

So we finished joint top on 4 points out of 6, level with Challow and Hendred. However we gave an excellent account of ourselves, and if the table had been decided on runs per wicket rather than run s per over we’d have been in with a real shout, having only lost 2 wickets in the whole day! That said, watching the final between Challow and Didcot we were rather glad we weren’t involved as we watched some astonishing clean hitting as both sides scored over 80 and Didcot won by 4 wickets, scoring three sixes in succession off the last over.

All in all a good day in the sunshine, embellished by our excellent gazebo shack and Timmy’s singing. Also Colin managed to win his first toss of the season (although he made it up by losing the other two). We didn’t vote on awards, but I feel comfortable saying:

Champagne Moment: Grant’s last over against Hendred (although Colin’s caught and bowled was awesome too).

Pig’s Ear: Barry’s chirping or Timmy’s attempt at soldering.

The real winner: Cricket.