2017 Report

by Alan Banyard with help as noted, particularly Alun Regan, also Peter Burrows

The start to the season was far from ideal as Chearsley were unable to raise a side for the first game, but thankfully they gave us plenty of notice and Graham managed to find a replacement at Woodley near Reading.

Woodley are quite a big club running two league teams including one in the Berkshire premier league, however the selected Sunday team whilst strong was a fair mix of players.  On a cold, blustery and at times damp day Guy Burford elected to bat first and on a surprisingly good if bouncy wicket we scored 234 for 3 from our 40 overs, which must be some sort of club record for the first game.  Peter Burrows made 31 in an opening partnership of 64 with Guy, then Guy, Simon Switala and Atanu Sinha our new player from Bartlemas all scored fifties with Simon managing to bat through undefeated including a third wicket partnership with Atanu of exactly 100.  Skipper: Guy

In the second innings we made a good start taking three wickets for 36, but in the end Woodley were a bit too strong for us and passed our total with four wickets to spare.  Anwar Pervaiz topped the bowling with a good spell and three wickets.  Highlights included Robin Taylor sending the off stump cartwheeling out of the ground and a spectacular one handed keepers catch from Simon.  Team performance:  Three catching opportunities, all taken!

In our next match at Farnham Royal, we were unable to cope with the opening bowling attack, who took out our top order and we were dismissed for 98.  Simon Switala, the loan survivor of the top order scored 20 and Graham Hawkins followed up with an aggressive 26.  Anwar took two wickets early on, but it was not enough despite a reasonable bowling performance all round and the game finished before drinks. Skipper: John

Third game of the season was at Letcombe, one of our favourite venues.  The game started in sunshine, but ended up freezing cold including more than half hour interruption due to rain.  We batted first again and made a good and brisk start with Simon Switala (20) and Alan Banyard (18) putting on a good opening partnership, before both departed in short succession, Simon to a rather spectacular catch.  That signalled a slump in run rate and wickets with only Atanu Sinha gritting it out and then going on to amass another splendid fifty.  Finally we were all out for 131, probably 20 under-par on a slow wicket/outfield.  Our bowling was arguably (definitely really!) better than our batting performance, especially as we had a wet ball to contend with as the rain break came near the start of the innings.  If Alun can provide the bowling figures, I'll summarise the highlights, but I recall Neil Robinson taking a wicket in his first over of the season, Anwar getting a couple more, Robin hitting the stumps with a perfect delivery, Akshat charging in a bowling quick and accurately, a tidy spell from John Kelly who also took a catch at mid-on and Holton debutant Suresh Patel bowling accurate looped spinners.  We took 7 wickets in all but went down with a couple of overs to spare in a game perhaps we could and should have won. Update from Alun"Notable bowling - Akshat 2 for 9, Anwar 2 for 16 and, yes, another 20 runs on the board would have made a comfortable victory" .Skipper: Alun

Our last early season away game was against Baldon at Marlborough school in Woodstock.  In a low scoring game on a sticky wicket we finally recorded a narrow hard fought victory. Alun adds the details -  "Bladon - 86 all out (Anwar 7 overs for just 4 runs, Alun 4 for 16). Us 87 for 9 with 1 over to spare (Anwar 21 not out)"   Skipper: John

As usual, the late May bank holiday was time we set off for our tour, this time to Dorset.  The midweek forecast was set fair for hot and sunny weather and we looked forward to games against Swanage on Sunday and our local touring Oxford rivals Cheney Teachers at Blandford Forum on Monday.  Sadly, the weather predictions were completely wrong and we managed to bowl only 15 overs against Cheney before the heavens opened for the second time and the match had to be abandoned.  Rumour has it that our Chairman, Hugh Kitchin, who actually normally opens the batting for Cheney (!) and skippered for them on the day, dropped himself down the order so as to avoid facing the likes of Robin, Alun, Graham, John and Neil.   Skipper: Guy

Despite a heavy downpour after only two overs of batting against Swanage, we did at least manage to get a full game in.  The venue was just about perfect, nice small ground, scenic with good facilities (bar!) and a Sunday team well matched to our own.  We batted first and put on 130-8 off 40 overs with Peter Burrow opening and batting over half the innings for a very sound 38 and John Kelly supporting later on with 18.  Nearly everyone "got in", but could keep going as seven of the other eight that batted were out for a score between 7 and 10.  Swanage knocked them off with loss of four wickets with Kiran Nair taking 2 of them.   Skipper: Guy

Our first Home game at Brookes was against Haddenham.  The wicket was surprisingly green and variable bounce, particularly low shooters, contributed to most of the wickets.  We managed to get four golden ducks in chasing Haddenham's 171, but Simon Switala managed to dig deep for an excellent and difficult fifty (56) after playing out some tricky deliveries.  Graham Hawkins also chipped in with 20, but we were all out for a disappointing 127.  The start of the game was dominated by Haddenham's star batsman who recorded over fifty within the first eight overs.  Skipper: John

Due to some ground issues at Brookes, we played our second home game at Stanton St John against BBC Caversham, one of our favourite opponents home or away.  Only eight players were available and when we were to put in to bat, a result did not look to promising.  However, Guy Burford opening scored a defiant 44 on a wicket that always offered something for the bowlers and we managed to bat out all but the last ball of our allotted time to finish on a creditable 134 for 7 (i.e. all out!).  It didn't seem enough though, until a run out by Robin Taylor and three wickets apiece for John Kelly and Dan Jacobs had BBC reeling at 48 for 7.  However, the BBC lower order batsman dug in and managed to bat out the last 19 overs without further loss.  Nevertheless, a very creditable draw for us in the circumstances. Skipper: Guy

After a week off, we were back at Brookes and a late fixture change meant we were playing Letcombe instead of Reading Lawyers.  The wicket was quite bouncy, a few balls dangerously so.  Guy Burford won the toss and we posted 144 all out with Hugh Kitchin and Simon Switala top scoring (29 and 28).  Our opening spell from Robin Taylor and Anwar Pervaiz was excellent, both taking a wicket and it looked like we might be able to defend our relatively low score.  However a big third wicket partnership took the game away from us.  Guy Burford took two tough catches, one on the long on boundary off Anwar a second towards the end drilled to short mid on off Alan Banyard to finally break the third wicket.  Robin and Anwar each then took their second wickets as they came back for their last overs, but it was a too little too late to save the game. Skipper: Guy

July 2nd brought perfect weather and a friendly Islip XI to Brookes. Their team, like ours, in the best village tradition mixing youth and experience.  We took to the field and restricted them to 125 all out (37 overs).  H&W ended on 127 for 9 bringing us a narrow victory with Dan Jacobs scoring 50.  Skipper: Alun  Click Match report by Peter Burrows

I was disappointed to miss the Islip game, however less so the following Sunday for the annual Millar trophy match against Great Milton.  What little details I have come from match manager, Robin Taylor.  It seems that Atanu and Giles must have batted well as they put on 54 for the first wicket and Atanu got 39.  However, thereafter the game didn't go so well and we were all out for 84 in the 23rd over!  Great Milton got the runs comfortably without any successes for the bowers. 

Alun adds the following; "Also of amusing note - I got injured whilst batting and Guy, who was not playing due to injury but making tea on the day, took over skippering in the field (wearing Elvis t-shirt & shorts) as he was less injured than me!" Skipper: Alun (and Guy!)

 Continued