There was not a lot of optimism of getting a game in when arriving at the ground. Anyone who had looked at a weather app the day before would have seen 6 hours of 100% rain from 12:00 onwards. However overnight that prognosis had changed, and we expected some rain about 13:00 and then fairly clear after that.
Marcham won the toss and WGCC were inserted, it immediately decided to rain, so the players all retreated into the clubhouse to watch the early kick-off in the Premier League. Liverpool Vs Burnley was showing from a fairly sunny looking Liverpool (as a side note there seems to be far too many Liverpool fans in this club). Oh for some of that weather down south. The rain outside continued for the whole of the football, only relenting briefly for the umpires to go outside and it immediately start again. It eventually stopped and play would start at 15:30.
The match had been reduced to 25 overs a side and 5 overs per bowler allowed but the Wantage order remained as expected, Bhu being promoted to open in the absence of Rob, who was suffering in bed with a bout of Covid. With no Rob there the onus was on one of the openers to take up the mantle of the aggressor in the partnership, not many thought that would be Col but it definitely was. He was blazing boundaries left, right and centre, including a straight 6 and a glorious backfoot punch through cover. As a result of this when the score was on 47, Col had scored 41 of them. Bhu then decided to then get in on the act and hit an incredible flat 6 that barely went 8 feet above the ground and hit the guttering on the clubhouse. Unfortunately, it was short lived as he was caught the very next ball for 11(17), which brought Summs to the crease.
Skip’s job early on was to get Col back on to strike and the plan succeeded as the pair put on 20 in the next 3 overs until Col tried to cut a straight ball and was bowled for 59(42). Next in was “Run Machine” Spenny, fresh off his 3rd hundred of the season.
Spenny has been in a Steve Smith-esque obsessive mode recently and had spent all his free time shadow batting in his bedroom and had unfortunately left his bat there. He did know about forgetting it but had decided not to travel the 5-minute drive during the 2-hour rain delay to collect it as he thought the game wasn’t going to go ahead. That left him with two options: use his old broken bat or borrow someone else’s. He opted for the latter and strode out with Wonga’s bat in hand. It did not go well as he nudged a single with his first ball and then missed a straight one with his second and was bowled. Bingo was next in, not a long innings but did manage to top edge a sweep into his helmet (which the opposition strangely appealed for an LBW) and was then caught for a 3rd ball duck.
Suddenly from 73-1, WGCC had slipped to 81-4 and would require a bit of a rebuild as Mabbs joined Summs. It would have to be a quick rebuild as you don’t get long in a TF25 (T. Weekes) and the pair put on 47 in 7 overs with some lusty blows, including Mabbs hitting one over long-on and into the garden, before Summs was bowled for 29(34)
Mr Harvey and Grant both came and went for 1(4) as Mabbs was still trying to get Wantage up to an imposing total. He eventually went for 33(28) as he was caught at long-on trying to hit another 6 and get us close to 150. Wonga was caught for 1(7) in the last over and then Tweeky was dropped by the ‘keeper fist ball before scrambling a single to leave Chief facing the final ball of the innings. He had a wild swipe and hit it into his own pads leaving him 0*(3) and still no average for the season.
The final score was 143 and after a quick turn around after all the delays, WGCC were into the field.
Mr Harvey opened up from the Reading Road end of the ground and Marcham opener Barnes played out a watchful maiden. At the pavilion end Mabbs started up and their other opener, Jeacock was in a far more aggressive mode. There was a lot of swishing but not a lot of connecting as Mabbs was finding some movement. Jeacock was the first to go as Will found his top edge and it flew high to Col at cover.
Mabbs finished his spell of 3 overs only going for 2 runs, replaced by Grant. It didn’t start too well for Grant as he bowled a couple of wides in his first over. Will would carry on and bowl his 5 through, and in one of them Chief would inexplicably do the exact same piece of poor fielding that awarded him the Pig’s Ear last week. The ball was travelling slower than last week but again he went down into a long barrier and let the ball slip through his legs. During these overs there had been some light drizzle (had this contributed to Chief’s misfield, we will never know… probably not) that gradually increased to full on rain. The umpires eventually took the players off in the 9th over with the score 30-1.
At this point the prospect of the match being finished seemed remote. The minimum number of overs to have a game is 20, so there was less than 20 mins to get back out on the field. Miraculously it then stopped raining. After some discussions about the condition of an adjacent pitch, it was agreed that play would resume.
Will would be allowed to finish his final over and would then be bowled out, finishing with 5-1-17-1. Grant continued from the pavilion end and Chief would replace Will at the Reading Road end.
Chief was immediately into the wickets as Palmer top edged a sweep to Grant on the 45, next up was lefty Horseman (no one likes a lefty). Luckily, he tried to up the ante straight away but only managed to hit it straight at Summs at mid-on. Suddenly Chief was on a hat-trick. Everyone in attacking positions? Not quite, just Tweeky moved from short 3rd man to slip. Hat-trick ball was full and straight but was just hit confidently back to the bowler.
Onto Chief’s 2nd over, this time the watchful Barnes was on strike. He decided that now was the time to come out of his bunker but only managed to skew it to Wonga at cover, who comfortably took the catch. This brought in another lefty Buckland (since when are teams allowed more than one of them?) He decided to try and sweep slog the first ball he faced but only succeeded in top edging it to Grant at short 3rd man, so Chief got a 2nd hat-trick ball in consecutive overs. A more attacking field this time? Nope, the same field. This time the ball was a bit too high, and a bit leg sided, so not even worth the appeal when it wrapped Wrey on the pads.
Wrey would be out in the next over as Grant would produce a ball that was not too high nor going down leg to trap him LBW. Grant would finish with 4-0-25-1.
Two overs left for Chief, could he get his maiden 5fer. Yes, he could. Pitching a ball on middle and off, it slightly turned and Mugglestone missed it and was bowled leg stump. Finally, the fielders were allowed to come in and congratulate him (skip didn’t want any delays in getting the overs in). Webb was next man in and defended the first ball, so no hat-trick ball this over. He did decide that 2nd ball was the time to bring out the scoop but because Chief bowls so slowly he only got 1 for it.
Col replaced Grant and immediately picked up the wicked of Phipps, caught by Grant (Jug for three catches) Chief then finished up his spell by being hit for his only boundary. He finished with 4-1-8-5. Col bowled another tidy over and finished with 2-0-8-1 before Tweeky replaced Chief and picked up the wicket of Webb caught by Mabbs at mid-on for his first catch of the season. Tweeky only got the one over and finished with 1-0-4-1. Mabbs came on to bowl the last over of the game and it only took him 2 balls to get the final wicket bowling Ainsworth, leaving Marcham 72 all out. Mabbs finished with 3.2-1-4-1
Many jugs were dunk and Pizza consumed late into the night as the final of The Hundred was on TV.
Pig’s Ear was Chief for doing exactly the same thing 2 weeks in a row, a long barrier with the ball along the ground (at an even slower pace than last week) which then went straight through him. Spenny was also nominated for forgetting his bat and not using the 2-hour delay to go and get it
Champagne Moment was won by Chief for the ball that got him his 5 for. Also nominated was Bhu for his flat 6 and Mabbs for his straight 6 into the garden
MotM Clean sweep of awards for Chief for his maiden 5 for and 0*, also nominated were Mabbs for 33(28) & 1-4 and Col for his 59(42) and 1-8.
Result: A win for Wantage, 25 points, plus the additional 1pt for Ali as umpire. Next week we travel to Thame 3s, knowing that a win will secure promotion