18th June 2022 (delayed post)

Looking to put last week’s loss behind us, week 7 of the league saw Wantage and Grove play host to Clifton Hampden. Arriving at a rather damp ground with damper weather forecast for later that afternoon it was clear that this was a day to bowl first. Skip, however, had a different plan and continued his form at the toss – now having lost seven from seven.

A fortunate break in the spitting rain at 1pm allowed for the new and untested opening partnership of Colin and Wilbury to start Wantage’s innings. After both opening bowlers tested Colin’s reactions with chest high full tosses, young left arm bowler Thacker settled into a good rhythm. Colin and Wilbury got Wantage off to a good start putting away the stray balls and running well between the wickets – including the second all ran four of the season. The 25th over saw Wilbury trapped LBW while trying to pull a full ball that kept low, bringing a respectable partnership of 132 to an end (Will Bury, LBW, Josh Burnhope, 59 from 78).

Timmy joined Colin in the middle and played with confidence, the pair putting on a further 63 for the team. A direct hit run out at the non-striker’s end in the 35th over brought an end to a good knock by Colin and gave the club’s new stumps their first taste of action (Colin Mercer, Run Out, Joe Richardson, 84 from 113). The next over spelt the end of Timmy too, being caught behind off a decent piece of bowling (Tim Lane, Ct Winston Smith, Josh Thacker, 26 from 35).

The new partnership of Spenny and Chitty led to a more explosive period of play with the pair attempting to outhit the other. Chitty started things off by dispatching one to the clubhouse roof. Not to be outdone Spenny followed this with a series of boundaries culminating in a short ball being launched into the barn development. At a score of 260 Skip had seen enough and called the boys in – leaving Spenny nine shy of a half century and giving Wantage 48 overs to bowl (Dave Spencer, Not Out, 41 from 23) (Jonny Chitty, Not Out, 19 from 18).

As we took to the field the high total on the board gave the team confidence despite the ever-present threat of the darkening skies. For the first time this season we had a Will-squared opening bowling partnership – Will Harvey opening up from his usual road end and Wilbury taking the other. Wilbury struck on the first ball of his spell bowling Smith with a swinging yorker and again in the 4th over clipping the outside of J. Burton’s off-stump. Harvey bowled well stringing together dot balls and was rewarded for his efforts with a catch taken by Skip at mid-off. The classic saying of “one brings two” turned out to be true on this day as the next over saw Benson feather a back-of-a-length ball from Wilbury through to Colin. Harvey continued to bowl a tight line and length which paid off for him with the wicket of Richardson.

It was at this point that the rain became to be too heavy to continue and the covers had to be brought on while the teams took shelter in the clubhouse. During this break, detailed and complex conversations were had, led by Spenny who had being studying the league handbook on the morning of the match, around the various “what if” situations for the outcomes of the match and their corresponding points allocation. Thankfully the weather cleared up and we were able to get back out only having lost around seven overs.

A change of tack was needed and into the attack came the spinning pair of Chief and Tweeky. The change paid-off straight away with Tweeky taking his first wicket of the day and feeding a third catch for Colin. Chief followed this up tempting Taboda into the big shot but hitting him in-front for LBW. A tidy series of overs by Tweeky and Chief built the pressure before Tweeky produced the ball of the day turning from outside off and smashing into middle stump.

Clifton Hampden were now eight down and we were searching for those all-important final two wickets. With all fielders now crowding the bat a few chances and half chances came but non were taken. The rain started to come down again and the decision was made that there would be no more play. Despite falling short of the win Wantage put up a good all-round performance and was awarded a winning draw and received 21 points from a possible 26.

Pigs ear was Will Harvey for a drop of an over the shoulder catch that fell between his hands and body.

Champagne Moment was awarded to Tweeky for his wicket that span from far outside the off-stump into middle.

MOTM was awarded to Wilbury for 59 and 3-43.

– Wilbury