Deddington 1 vs. Minster Lovell 3, 5th June 2021
With summer finally deciding to kick-start, perfect cricketing conditions were at last offered on what was a hot sunny Saturday afternoon. Pitch conditions looked great for batting and echoes of our club chairman’s (Simon Oldfield) earlier pitch assessment; “this is a 200+ batting wicket” got us dreaming big. We just had to win the toss.
First, our captain, had ‘good’ problems to resolve. With three openers in the side (two lefties and a right hander) along with several players all capable of playing higher up the batting order than their modesty would allow, decisions on who went where had to be made.
With the toss won and the batting order confirmed, we elected to bat. Going with our preferred left and right-hand opening combination it was down to P. Smith and N. Murphy to blemish the shine. Facing a young opening bowling attack, caution was necessary as whipper snappers can never be taken for granted. With the first over a maiden, it was N. Murphy to face next and he was looking to build on an impressive 60 a few weeks yonder. As he settled himself, we knew we could sit, relax, and bask in the sunshine for a couple of hours knowing we were in for another batting spectacle. As he trudged back to the hutch having faced his one delivery and clearly rehearsing his excuses, we started to query our ‘wise-owl’ chairman’s “200+ runs” comment. We were 0-1.
Have no fear, we have another opener, so all is well. With the scoreboard slowly but surely ticking, our batsmen never looked particularly troubled, and the bad ball was dispatched with authority as P. Smith played some graceful cover drives and flicks off the legs. However, trouble was never far away and J. Welch, having taken a leg guard, found his leg stump disturbed by a good ball from G. Souch. An uncharacteristic error from our number 3, who was starting to play some well-timed shots…off the square.
W. Dibsdall went in at number 4 and took a somewhat ‘no-nonsense’ approach. Aggression was dished out to any ball short of a length, or wide of a line. With a flurry of fours and the scoreboard now trotting, a unique partnership was establishing itself.
P. Smith, known for calling runs (sometimes suicidally) with energy and vigour caught W. Dibsdall unawares and left him with a long sprinting charge down the wicket while an alert fielder made haste. The verdict: run out and relief for the opposition as he was hitting the ball very hard.
Our captain D. Victor came in to restore order and help P. Smith keep the scoreboard moving. Having found the boundary, he was looking in his element until he dollied one up to an unsuspecting fielder who snaffled the opportunity with minimal fuss. Brother, A. Victor entered the mix and couldn’t help going aerial as well – second ball. Deddy now 118-5.
Meanwhile, a well-earned 50 for P. Smith. He was seeing the ball as big as a piano and was executing stroke-play all over the park to a flourishing tune. A joy to see. P. Smith had certainly made his mark.
S. Smith (no relation) joined P. Smith and together occupied the crease for some time, building a partnership of 124. A battle-worn P. Smith, now feeling the effects of time, exertion and dare I say age, earned himself an unhurried, yet quickly scored 100*. S. Smith then lofted one up and Deddington were 242-6. R. Chennagiri came in and exhibited some classy looking shots before going big on the longest part of the boundary and was well caught at long on. P. Smith finally succumbed to a straight delivery, but we sense fatigue and back strain were largely to blame and his majestic innings was at an end, bowled out for 126. M. Carpenter, R. Barton and S. Leece came in to safeguard and preserve our wickets as best they could so Minster Lovell bowled out their 45 overs. Deddington finished up on a colossal score of 283-9, 16 runs shy of the club record.
It was clear, with such a young Minster Lovell side, they had a big job on their hands against a relatively full-strength Deddington team and to their credit they bowled and fielded very well. They kept their heads up throughout a long hot 45 overs and I am in no doubt their captain would’ve been exceptionally proud of their efforts especially against in-form batsmen like P. Smith.
With such a big target to go after Minster Lovell tried to bat as positively as they could but with a well-rested S. Leece, bowling a pacey nagging length it was only a matter of time before a breakthrough came and wickets tumbled. He finished up with 7-11 off 6 overs with a c+b would you believe? N. Murphy made amends for his earlier batting mishap and smartly kept wicket with two impressive catches behind the stumps. Fellow opening bowler, M. Carpenter supported very well and was unfortunate not to pick up more than one wicket as he held a great line. He finished up with miserly figures of 1-9 off 5 overs. C. Ayris, for Minster Lovell demonstrated some lovely shots and resilience, but he simply ran out of partners. R. Chennagiri’s bamboozling spin proved too good for the tail enders and he picked up a brace (2-4 off 1 over) to secure an emphatic win and maximum points for Deddington.
Words: Smith S (No Relation). Music: DJ Pied Piper