With storm clouds, pierced by low, late Summer sun, circling the nearby White Horse Hill, there was a suitably ‘Fin de siecle’ backdrop to the final game of the season for Deddy Firsts. It was also the final game for Dave ‘Barney’ Barnhill, before he packs his kit into the loft for the final time. Dave has only been a member at Deddington for 5 years, but has been playing Oxfordshire League cricket for more than 30, notably for Oxford Rescue, until it folded. He has played in just about every league and division it is possible to play in and he has remained committed and fiercely competitive to the end. It was fitting that he captained the side yesterday and the Uffington team were generous in their recognition of his achievements over the years.
So to the game. With rain showers forecast, right on queue, a light shower on the stroke of 1.30 meant a short delay at the start, as Uffington opened their account. An early wicket from Lewis ‘ live-wire’ Bletchly and some excellent, but unrewarded swing bowling from Rob ‘Deepdale’ Preston kept things tight. Excellent fielding contributed to the pressure, resulting in the first of three run-outs in the Uffington innings. Just when Deddington thought they may have broken the back of the Uffington innings, a controlled and sensible sixth wicket partnership developed between the Uffington skipper Martin Key and hard hitter, Daniel Painter. Another heavy shower meant that tea was taken early, but the excellent partnership continued, with both reaching their 50s, before another run-out brought it to an end. George Welsh continued the good form he had found in recent weeks with the ball, finishing on 3 for 46, plus all three run-out happening during his overs. Smart work from him at the stumps, plus good work and cool heads in the field from the likes of Niall Murphy and ‘Live-wire’ accounting for the wickets. In the end Uffington posted Deddington 200 to win in the softening light.
To be honest, the run-chase never really go going. Hugh White was a calming influence, batting for the majority of the innings, but none of our ‘attack’ batsmen got in enough to accelerate the score sufficiently to put the Uffington bowling attack under pressure. Will Evans, started as brightly as as he finished last week, when he scored an excellent 75, but he perished to some good bowing, as did the rest of the team. The game finished when Dave Barnhill, in decidedly dusky light, was bowled second ball by the sharp Uffington opener, Hargreaves. He was quick to point out however, that he was in good company, as Don Bradman was out for a second ball duck in his last test innings! And all at Deddington have benefitted from the good company and comradeship of Dave both as an opponent and team mate for many years and we all hope to share many a walk around the boundary with him for many years to come. Happy retirement Dave.