Deddington’s improved performances for the past few weeks were finally repaid this week when the firsts secured their opening win of the season. Away to Swinbrook on a blowy afternoon captain Ramesh won the toss and elected to bat on a small ground where 200 looked to be a minimum score. Just as Gerry and Niall were walking out to bat Deddington realised that they were a man short with Ivo missed off the e-mail about selection.
Gerry and Niall got Deddington off to a steady start, Niall helping Gerry to improve his fitness with some rapid running between the wickets and Gerry hitting some classy boundaries on. However they were both outscored by extras in the early period as Swinbrook gave away wides and no-balls to help Deddington off to a positive start. Niall however fell to a ball that nipped back in and Gerry didn’t quite get hold of a pull shot and a good catch was taken at midwicket. Webby and Russ came and went briefly, although both hit sixes, Webby’s straight back down the ground and Russ’s a thickish top edge which went over the point boundary (cue crys of “sponsored by OxSports” from Ollie) from the first ball he faced. Webby went for a quick single but pulled his hamstring and then it was only a matter of time and with his footwork hindered popped up a catch to short cover. This period saw Deddington’s scoring slowed down as the slow pace of the pitch, uneven bounce and Swinbrook’s slow bowlers tightened their grip with Deddington on about 90 runs. Rammy and Chris Blackburn then occupied the crease and combined watchfulness with some bludgeoned boundaries, including a six from Rammy that didn’t get more than 3 metres off the ground but flew to the boundary like a missile. Rammy also hit a four to possibly the longest boundary and with the Swinbrook captain under it, it could have been all over but the distance just turned him around he took a heavy fall and cracked a rib. Gerry, looking at the man lying on the ground holding his chest decided his tooth had fallen out seeing a piece of chewing gum go flying. Rammy attempted another big hit but it held up in the wind and a difficult chance was taken by the fielder at long-on to top socre with 29. Chris Blackburn also went and the score was poised on 140 with a handful of overs to go. Ollie Redford came in his new role as the number seven pinch hitter, striking two fours off the first two balls to move the score forward. Sam Shadbolt also showed some attacking intent scoring 25 off 14 deliveries and Stu Leece, grabbed a couple before being caught off the last ball of the innings, to give Deddington a total of 177.
With 10 men Deddington took to the field knowing it was a small target on a small ground but there had been plenty of life in the pitch so they were in with a chance if they could start well. Stu Leece and Rob Preston opened the bowling and Swinbrook came out in T20 mode scoring at 7 over off the first 6, with Rob struggling against the left handers and Stu taking some time to find his rhythm. Rob put down a tough chance with the batsman hammering the ball back at him and hitting him in the stomach, but the man-mountain that is Rob Preston barely even reacted, in fact he claimed he didn’t know where the ball was until it hit him. Sam Shadbolt also had a brainless moment when Rob switched to around the wicket and told his teammates to move the wrong sightscreen. Stu then bowled one and Rob found a spot on the pitch where there zero bounce and snagged the other. Rammy then brought himself on to exert a bit of control and while Swinbrook were doing some serious attacking, with the run rate essentially irrelevant Deddington claimed wickets at regular intervals, with Rammy bowling one of their men around his legs a particularly good one. Niall took a couple of good catches in to dismiss key men and then it was simply a matter of whether Stu and Rammy could wrap things up before they ran out of overs. At this point Deddington witnessed the first defensive shot of the day from Swinbrook by the captain who normally opens but was batting 11 due to his injury. Fittingly Rammy claimed the last wicket, to have five in total, and in contrast to the first 9 wickets which were greeted with big celebrations, the tenth fell and there was a huge outpouring of relief on the first win.
This meant that on the club night out (excellently organised by Ollie Redford) there were some very high and strong spirits and the celebrations lasted long into the night. With the first win under the belt the fight for survival is now well and truly on, roll on next Saturday!