With the week’s controversial news that we had been reinstated to the Airey Cup after Faringdon were excluded for playing an ineligible player, it was only fate that we would face them on Saturday.

All week the forecast had been bad for the day, so the covers were on overnight and back on at the start of the game. Barry “Two Pints” Martin went out for the toss, and lost, meaning we had the pleasure of batting first in the heavily overcast, drizzly conditions.

As usual, opening up was Colin “Grumps” Mercer and Mike “Just Turned 45” Konschel. The pitch looked like another absolute beaut thanks to the covers having been on, other than a couple popping when deliveries pitched short, it played like a beaut all day. Tomes started from the field end, with a mix of everything, some beamers, some short stuff, some seam and some dangerous in swinging stuff pitched up. At the other end was Oglesby, who had the ball moving in the air consistently, and could go either way, but took a few overs to find his line. A pitch up in swinger was enough to see the back of Mike “Shouldn’t Swap Bats” Konschel, gone LBW for 2.

Once again, in at 3 was Dave “New Bat” Summersbee. Following on from his recent run of form he looked solid, seeing off the opening bowlers without too much alarm. Both bats seeming to tease the fielders, by scoring / edging runs through places fielders had just moved from. Oglesby was replaced by Giles, who nibbled a few in off the seam, but bowled a little short without much protection on the leg side. Tomes’ age meant he could bowl a maximum of 7 overs in a spell, this saw him replaced by Robinshaw, who bowled off spin, varying his pace and length. Robinshaw’s first ball was enough for Dave “No Beater” Summersbee, who clipped a full toss to mid-off for 14. Barry “Can’t Win A Toss” Martin at 4 didn’t last long, after hitting one boundary, he misjudged the pace of a shorter ball from Robinshaw and dollied up a caught and bowled, gone for 4.

Next up was Steve “The Ginger Undertaker” Bramley, aptly named by the opposition, who was caught for 3. Richard “Hurty Finger” Chapman braved the crippling injury to bat 6. The score at this point had ticked along to somewhere around the 150 mark, before Colin “Dropped At Gully Early” Mercer was dismissed playing a sweep shot against the returned opening quick, toeing it to square leg for 79. The inform Dave “Don’t Get A Job In His Office” Spencer came to the crease next and quickly smashed one back over the bowlers head into the gardens. This brought up rapturous applause from the growing crowd, as it’s his first boundary of the season, took him into double figures for the first time this season and finally looked good at the crease. A couple of balls later he left a ‘leg cutter’ which nipped back like an off break and bowled him, gone for 16. With Richard “Still Has A Bad Finger” Chapman chipping a forward defence up to cover, who took a diving catch forward, gone for 31, we had Ryan “Won’t Move His BBQ” Martin and Steve “Likes A Nap” Pritchard at the crease.

Steve “Bicycle” Pritchard ran himself out shortly afterwards, dropped the ball at his feet, and started running… Ryan “Financial Adviser” Martin didn’t. Golden duck for Will “Shitty Pants” Harvey left us 180 odd for 9 and Duncan “Long Dog” Wooloff walking out to bat. Two awesome sixes from Ryan “BASH BASH” Martin (26*), and a boundary from Duncan “Easy To Bounce” Wooloff (7), took us through to 217 all out.

Since writing that half, I have now waited a week to write the second half, so memories of the fielding / bowling performance are likely to be a little briefer and less accurate! Obviously, what I do remember is the excellent tea, provided by Steve and Libby, with still warm cookies being delivered mid-tea.

Mike “Call The Dentist” Konschel and Ryan “Malinga” Martin opened the bowling, both bowling well, Ryan “Seam Bowler” Martin nipped one back through the gate to bowl one of the openers. We took relatively steady wickets, until Faringdon’s run machine Nigel Hume came to the crease and scored the majority of their runs, but I’ll get onto him…

A brilliant direct hit run out from Barry “Dead Eye” Martin got rid of the dangerous Giles, who’s mentality to batting appeared to follow the old adage of ‘swing hard’, playing aggressively at anything lose. A good catch from Steve “Long Barrier” Bramley at square leg got rid of the leftie, the only other catch we took was Will “Salmon” Harvey, who at mid-wicket made it look like the ball was flying miles over his head, before popping the hands up to take a blinder above his head.

All the while, Hume was scoring quickly and taking the game away from us. Steve “Spins It Too Far” Pritchard could have had him a couple of times, but didn’t quite get the luck needed. In desperation El Capitan turned back to his openers to deliver the all important breakthrough. Mike “DHL Driver” Konschel did deliver, after getting a bit of tap from Hume, he was bowled for 92. This left Faringdon needing 30 odd, with 3 wickets in hand.

Two more quick wickets, I think one each (?), saw them needing 20, with one wicket remaining. At this point, the injured Faringdon number 11 came out. Skipper, in the spirit of cricket, allowed him to have a runner, who will remain nameless. Some singles, some twos, and then some controversy… with the ball rolling out to mid wicket, Faringdon went for a single, with the runner heading to the keepers end Mike “Dead Arm” Konschel throw the ball in, over the top of the stumps, in making his ground the runner extended his arm and the ball struck him and flew off the third man. At this point, we have to admit our surprised, when in the spirit of the game, Faringdon decided to keep running, taking an extra two after the deflection.

We still had plenty of time after this to take the final wicket, but never created a chance. Once again, the two overs we didn’t bat, may have made quite a different in the result. The second clutch game of the season that we’ve come out on the wrong side of.

Onto the awards…

MoTM went to Colin “Scored More Than Barry” Mercer for 79. Other nomination for Ryan “Honourary Pip For The Day” Martin for runs and wickets.

Champagne moment went to Barry “86 Runs All Season” Martin for the direct hit run out. Other nominations included Dave “Midweek Bully” Spencer for a 6 and Ryan “Bash” Martin for a 6.

Pigs Ear went to Barry “Hasn’t Scored Anymore Runs Yet” Martin for four very bad overthrows. Other nomination for Steve “Strawberry Lightning” Pritchard for running himself out.

TFC went to Will “Real Cyclist” Harvey for the golden duck and only bowling two overs. Other nomination for Ian “I Turn Up When I Want” Challand for turning up at the end of the game.

In all honesty, retrospective Pigs Ear should go to Barry “Sausage Sandwich” Martin for finding a god knows how old sausage sandwich and offering to eat it if we bought him a jug of cider. We of course had a whip round and bought the jug, never will you see a happier face on a man than whilst he was eating it. Also, should note a nomination for Dave “Use A Mallet Next Time” Summersbee, who soon after this, hit a tennis ball at the jug and knocked it over.

Now onto a double game weekend vs Marsh Gibbon, league Saturday at their place then home on Sunday in the cup.