Some of us made it to Kennington for the official meet time of 12.20pm for our bottom of the table clash with fellow promoted side Wolvercote III. Unfortunately the umpires didn’t get the memo that we were at Wolvercote’s 2nd ground, and our two sets of siblings didn’t realise that the M40 / A34 junction was an extension to the car park at Bicester Village on Saturday lunchtimes. The skippers agreed at the toss that the start would be delayed and assuming we would be 11 before the start Rich won the toss and invited the home team to bat first.
The umpires completed their dash across Oxford more quickly than our quartet could get their shopping done, and keen to get on with it insisted that the game started asap so we took to the field with just 7 – at this point the skipper was an absolute shoe-in for dunce of the day. However, on a bouncy wicket with a quick outfield we made a good start, Bis bowling very tidily knocked over opener Evans early on and Stu getting some good bounce beating or finding the outside edge a few times through his spell. Lala and his brother Taz (on debut) made it around 15 mins in, whilst Dave and Adriaan were another 30 mins behind – Dave had clearly nipped into Bicester Village and was keen to sport his new chunky long sleeve cable knit sweater, despite the increasing temperatures.
Bizarrely, the increase in number of fielders coincided with the home side upping the run rate. The wicket was playing true and the outfield was very quick so full value was gained for any shot played. Stu bowled through and was unlucky to go wicketless, whilst Bis, then Taz and then Lala rotated from the other end. The second breakthough arrived with the score on 80 with a Lala missile bowling Walsh for 30. The home team continued to play shots and the score ticked over, Rich catching another Lala missile via an edge on 104 then Howard taking a high one at mid-off at 115 keeping some check on the total.
Opener Lakshman and Akerman in at 6 then took the score to 169 with some good running and punishing anything overpitched, and with plenty of overs left were eyeing up a 220-240 total. Our best hope was to keep rotating our bowlers to break up any rhythm whilst spreading the field to prevent the boundaries. The tactics worked, Biz trapped Akerman LBW for 22, then Ayaz chipped Simon to our premier 50+ fielder Smith who gobbled it up at point, to make it 184-6. Two more batsmen were then caught at the wicket before Lala bowled No.11 for a blob and the home side had gone from 184-5 to 193 all out.
With no interest from anyone on getting done in time to watch the football we enjoyed a leisurely tea before Mikey and Howard strolled out to begin our reply. They started carefully, steering and guiding the ball, before gaining in confidence and unleashing the cut and drive. They ran well too and comfortably passed 50 and then 100 as the bowling side struggled to make any breakthrough. As they tired in the heat they offered a couple of chances, Mikey to the gully and then Howard chipped a simple chance back to the bowler that also hit the deck but it was clearly our day. Mikey passed 50 before Howard unluckily played on for 43 with the score on 133, a record DCC opening partnership.
Simon was next up, drafted in to prevent the predictable DCC middle order collapse. With Mikey needing around 30 to bring up his 3 figures all was going well, but our County player soon played himself in and found the boundary several times in a short space, combined with a few extras all of a sudden DCC needed just 6 to win and Mikey needed 5 of these. The message was relayed to the middle but maybe only registered with one of the batsmen. Simon understanding the need to give away the strike was maybe a little too keen and called Mikey through for a somewhat suicidal single and promptly ran him out for 95, in a flash snatching the dunce of the day award from the skipper whilst the man of the match trudged off with the consolation on knowing he’d won the game for us with a great innings. Simon promptly finished off the game for us finishing on 27* with Smith P narrowly avoiding a Joey Benjamin with 0*. An 8 wicket win and a confidence boost in the bag, we headed back to the Red Lion to celebrate a good day.
Man of the Match – Mikey, match winning knock
Dunce – Simon for running out the above!
Jedi – Howard, either the 4 off his legs or the catch over his head!