I drove for the first time this season to an away game on my lonesome, without the wise stalwart Tweeky giving me my motivational pre game mental preparation. (me trying to find out the secret hand shake for the masons).  Gatorade and cardboard flavoured “fresh” chicken pasta stowed away safely on the passenger seat was no substitute for the club legend.
I turned off the main road into the cricket ground  full of hope that today might be the day we could pull off our first away win of the season, my thoughts were abruptly put on hold as I nearly took the tent off my truck on the barrier and had to abandon my car on the side of the verge, and started an early warm up with the long walk to the pavilion. We told stories from the week gone by as the buzz at the ground grew larger with every vehicle that rolled across the outfield on their way to park at the Playground End. Skip, after a game of secret squirrel with Colin and James, walked to the middle to toss. Staying true to form he lost and we were asked to field first.

James Mabbett opened the bowling with Liam Turnbull, both bowling in great areas with not much reward until the 7th over where Mabbett took a tremendous caught and bowled to dismiss R.Beard for 12. One brings two, and two brings three rang true in quick succession with Turnbull joining the party, Spenny took a good catch at point, and promptly signalled to Liam to chuck one in full and straight at the incoming batsmen. The advice was heeded and Turnbull sent the number four packing, LBW first ball. Clifton Hampden were now 29-3 and in some trouble, but a good partnership between Benson and A.Beard put on 121 for the 4th wicket, before Turnbull coming back in his second spell dismissed Beard, LBW, for 40 and finished with figures of 9-0-34-3. Through the middle overs Bury and Haine plugged away and were very unlucky to not take a wicket but proved very economical, finishing with figures of 0 for 39 and 0 for 37 from there 9 overs.

Scott Saunders (6-0-37-2) bustled into the attack from the road end, bowling in tandem with Alex Fulton (4-0-20-0) who again was unlucky to not get any reward. And in the 37th over,  just as another partnership was brewing, Saunders struck twice dismissing the number six batsmen with his first ball of the over, Mercer taking a difficult chance at midwicket followed by Mabbett taking a superb diving catch in the deep to dismiss Benson for a considered 76. The score now 175 for 6 from 37 overs. T.Addison and Quirk ticked along nicely for Clifton, before Mabbett struck in his eighth and final over, Quirk not quick enough to get his bat in the way of the in-swinging yorker finishing with figures of 8-1-30-2. Bingo capped off a fine display of keeping on a tough pitch to run out Thacker without scoring. Clifton finished on 221 for 8 from their 45 overs.

Tea was taken, and the return leg of Mabbs Manwich was slid out from its foil wrapper, this time the creation of Liam. Visually it didn’t seem to rival James’ world foods section offering from the week before, but not much went to waste and the crumbs were cleared up in time for the second innings to begin.

Mercer and Lane opened up for Wantage and Grove. Colin came out the blocks with real firepower, blasting the opening bowlers to all parts for a rapid 35 from just 23 balls. Before falling LBW to the first ball of the change bowler M.Addisons’ spell. A good platform had been set with the score at 53 for 1 from 9 overs. In came Liam at number three who began to play himself in before unfortunately mistiming a head height cut shot straight to mid off, for 3. Spenny, next to the crease, started positively, but came unstuck trying to turn one into the leg side, the ball from L.Harvey coming off a leading edge and popping up to midwicket. Spenny out for 8 and the score now 73 for 3 from 15 overs and the game finely in the balance.

Bingo in at five was looking solid and assertive from the start. Playing the good balls with the respect they deserved and putting the bad balls away when they came, including a huge six over square leg, on what was a tricky two-paced pitch to play on. During the following 20 overs Binnington and Lane brought about a healthy 113 run partnership which put WAGCC in a very strong position to win the game. Bingo was finally undone for 35 by a very good ball which M.Addison got to jag back in off the seam from around the wicket, to clip off stump.

Summersbee walked to the crease with Lane starting to feel the effects of fatigue from the sun and actually managing to stay in for a good chunk of an innings for once. Not long after, TPL dispatched a full toss from the left arm spinner down the ground to reach his century, applause and shrieks of kiss the badge resonated from the pavilion. His century coming from 134 balls in 2.5 hours. Skip continued to play some good positive strokes, including hitting the young opening bowler straight back over his head for 6. Pushing for the win in the next over, he tried to reverse sweep/paddle/pull/hook the left arm spinner and was caught at slip for 1.

In strolled James Mabbett, luckily saving the energy from not bowling his full allocation of overs to strike a thunderous blow down the ground for 4 off the left arm spinner to take Wantage and Grove CC to their first away game of the season.

Pigs ear went to Skip for his shot selection. Champagne moment also went to Skip, for his straight 6 down the ground. MOTM went to Tim L for his 108*.