The first home league game of the season, a time of great excitement, the weather looked fair, the ground looked excellent and we had 11 players fit and ready. Time for the hard work to start.

Before I talk about the game, I want to mention the ground and the hard work that has been put in to get it looking so good this early in the season. The square is looking as good as ever and the same can be said about the outfield. Thanks to Nordic for cutting and rolling the outfield the day before the game, we’ll forgive you for not knowing what “amazeballs” means. For the ground to continue to look and play as well as it does at the moment we need help, we need more players to volunteer to get involved with the massive work load that there is. At this time of the season the outfield needs to be cut twice a week and rolled once (at least), there is approximately 5 hours of wicket rolling required a week, and lots of wicket cutting to be done.

Over the coming weeks Nordic and I will be running training sessions to get people up to speed with how the roller and tractor work, with the hope that more people can be left to their own devices and help out. If you would like to help, please let one of us know as soon as possible!

Back to the game.

Skip did the right thing and lost the toss, which actually worked out well, Witney decided to have a bat. If we’d have won the toss I highly suspect we’d have put them in anyway. Rumours were rife at tea that Witney players were overheard stating their reasoning for having a bat was because they’d heard we were a batting team. Uh oh.

So out we went, Ryan and birthday boy Mabbett taking the new ball. Ryan started quick and aggressive but never getting the luck he deserved. A number of near misses kept the slip corden interested for the first ten. His figures of 5-1-17-0 would have been significantly better had Limmy Tane not dropped a chance at first slip which went for four and if Coach hadn’t let one through his legs for two at cover.

Mabbs at the other end was having a bit more luck. Bowling one of the best spells you’ll see this season he consistently beat the outside edge with excellent away swing bowling. His wicket came the ball after an absolute jaffa, however the actual wicket was a tentative push forward from the batsmen and the ball bouncing backwards onto his stumps. They all count!

Konsch replaced Ryan from the Road End and took a wicket with his first ball. The Witney number 3 trying to capitalise on some width and getting a fine edge through to Dino behind the stumps. The left handed number 4 then spent the next 5 overs being absolutely terrorised by Mikey. After beating the edge a million times he finally found the edge, and the catch was taken once again by Dino behind the stumps. Quote of the day came during this spell from Ryan at square leg who was happy to point out that the batsmen’s bat wasn’t actually a hologram after a forward defensive. Mike’s third wicket was a strong catch in the gully by Uncle Chazbo, not quite as strong as Brownlie’s for NZ, so don’t listen to Fester’s claims.

From the Pavilion End Duncan joined the attack and bowled the worst maiden of his career, but I guess it’s a maiden, no, it was dross! After that, he sorted his areas out and started to baffle both left and right handers, having an outside edge dropped by Dino (me, damn it) diving in front of first slip. After bowling 6 maidens in 10 overs Duncan was replaced by Chaz who continued the tight approach, conceding only 4 from 4 overs. Chaz however managed to pick up a couple of wickets. One LBW and one Bowled(?), they were just so memorable that I can’t remember.
Barry at the other end did a similar thing, keeping the runs down and taking wickets. Finishing with figures of 6.3-2-5-3, two away swingers finding the edge and being taken behind the stumps (taking my catch tally to 4 for the day) and one in swinger cleaning “rocketing” into the top of off stump.

All of this meant that we’d bowled Witney out for 65 in under 40 overs. Tea time, thank you Kerry for the ever excellent tea, and thank you Picnic for the doughnuts!
With Nib injured the opening mantel moved to one man team and birthday boy, Mabbett to partner Dino. M00bs somehow managed to cream a leg glance straight down the throat of square leg, a foot either side and it was an easy four runs.

Barry came out at 3 and quickly got on top of the bowling, a few boundaries later and we had scored the 66 required. The winning runs coming off a no-ball.
Another not out for me, taking my league average to 161, the highest in the OCA.

Pigs ear was Timmy, that’s the third time that’s been written this season already and we’ve only had 3 games. Oh dear Timmy. A combination of a dropped catch at slip and the inability to drop his pants whilst excitedly trying to get into the showers quickly made it a one horse race.

Champagne moment was Chaz’s catch at gully. Siter.

The new thanks for coming award went to Timmy as well, who had the pleasure of 40 odd overs in the slips, a drop, and not needed to bat.

Man of the match was Konsch for a game winning spell of 8-3-13-3, clearing through the Witney top order. Other nomination was Barry for his combined bowling figures and runs.

The only disappointing part of the day was finding out that it was only a 29 point win not a 30 point win. Somewhere (unknown) the rules have changed stating that you have to now chase a total lower than 70 down for the loss of no wickets to get the full 30 points.