Hook Norton II’s vs. Deddington 1’s, Sat 26th June
We made the short trip west to Hooky, although it was a slightly longer trip for some, and even longer still for those who experienced some vehicular difficulties on the way. Hooky won the toss and decided to have a bat so we took to the field with just nine and awaited the cavalry. On paper we had another strong line up and were happy to be chasing down a total, unfortunately the tone for the day was set early when Alex found an edge which flew hard and high to first slip who tipped it round the corner but didn’t cling on. Our ground fielding was much improved from last week, and Hooky’s openers scratched around for the first 15 overs, but they offered us several more chances and we spurned all of them. Another was downed at slip, two at square leg, a dolly in the covers, one at mid on and another at the wicket – the culprits need not be named as they all know who they are. Never mind a cold, we wouldn’t even have caught the delta variant on that showing. Our catching technique needs some analysis, maybe we close our eyes?
Despite none of our bowlers finding a good rhythm or taking wickets, Hooky didn’t get away and we kept the run rate down to a manageable level until around the 30th over when Richard Foxon got his eye in (he looked like he had all the time in the world), some clean hitting of our spinners propelled Hooky to 212 from their 45 and we couldn’t even manage a bowling bonus point in only taking 3 wickets.
We took tea in a positive frame, the pitch playing well, the outfield relatively quick and our opponents not looking like they’d be challenging for the remaining places in the Olympic squad. This positivity was quickly dispelled with both openers going for a song again. Manny and Tom then set about rebuilding and put on 50 to keep us in the hunt, Manny’s first cut of the year going deep into the outfield was a highlight, and Hooky skipper Ash reminded us of his Deddington form in dropping Manny before later finally pouching him, just as Harry the scorer turned up which triggered collapse of 4-15 and with it our chances of chasing down a total. At this point Tom dropped anchor and whilst Victor Victor and then Rammy were still playing shots we were going to have to bat it out and scratch around for bonus points.
Once Rammy was dismissed, we once again were reliant on a bit of Bully (you can’t beat it – see last week’s report) and Tom to see us through. Hooky skipper Ash sensing a little glory brought himself on but with his arm getting rounder and lower he bowled a couple of deliveries on the next track over as wides and then a pull drive from Tom that clattered into the sightscreens crept us up to another batting point.
A Thriller this was not, but a solid performance from the final pair lifted our spirits a little, and a spectacular dummy spitting event after the penultimate ball from a Hooky bowler after an appeal was turned down lifted them further. Don’t look back in anger, I heard someone say – he obviously didn’t.
We retired to the local for a pint of the local hoping for a pop quiz, as on today’s showing we’d have absolutely walked that contest.
Next week we take on runaway leaders Chadlington – there are rumours of some very badly needing fielding practice and forming of a fines committee in time for the match. Our promotion chances are just about Staying Alive, but we’ll need a change in fortune soon otherwise we’ll just Fade to Grey.
Dunce: Rob (will probably be recorded as Rob Preston!)