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, Anwargetting 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!)
The President’s game came next and the Captains XI batted first and put on a winning score with Peter Burrows making a man of the match fifty. There were several good contributions, but we were a few players short for two teams and it wasn’t the most exciting of games. The dinner afterwards at the White Horse was excellent though. Skipper: John Kelly (W), Dan Jacobs (L).
According to Robin Taylor, the following game against Appleton, which I missed along with the next few games, was an exciting affair, which we narrowly lost. Apparently Neil Robinson starred for us with four wickets. Skipper: John – Alun writes; “Appleton – Us 81 all out (after 40 for the first wicket), then horrendous collapse”.
The matches against Welford Park (30 July) and Phoenix (6 Aug) despite scoring 200 also resulted in narrow losses by 1 and 2 wickets respectively.
Alun writes; “Welford Park – Us 123 all out after 44 for the first wicket (Peter C 39, Atanu30) then customary collapse. Oppo 124 for 8 with 6 overs to spare. Exiting game as Johntook 3 quick wickets later on and looked like they were collapsing, but their no 10 bat reversed the trend and scored critical runs. Skip John
Phoenix – Oppo 208 all out – despite a strong start, they succumbed to a Holton & Wheatley-esque middle order collapse with Graham taking 4 for 30. We got to 200 for 8. We kept up with the scoring rate quite well and were 104 for 1 after 20 overs (Atanu 57, Simon 38), but we then started to collapse and started to fall behind, despite a late flurry. Skip John”
Our last consecutive home game was against OCCSSC and Peter Burrows writes ” We had 4 new guys on Sunday including Dr Elliott from Wheatley, and one of Dan’s Wolvercote teammates, Chris Potter who produced a stunning run-out. Jay Cox, a first-timer, did well and seemed to enjoy it, including scoring 0 in a 47 partnership with Simon S!! Simon was out for 52 – a really good patient innings. We were 121 a.o. to their 146 a.o. – each team had 4 ducks. Raza Ali took 4 wickets, Elliott didn’t but as no.1 bowled really well, Robin, Alun, John and Neil too, all taking wickets. A good match, H&W fielded well, but our batting was the let-down”.
Meanwhile, our evening game against Bartlemas was cancelled due to rain, but we managed to reorganise the fixture for the following Thursday (17 Aug). Then that was cancelled too due to rain and lack of numbers anyway.
Our first late season away game was against Sydenham at Aston Rowant. Peter Burrowsand Peter Cowdrey put on a steady century opening partnership, although neither quite managed 50. This set us up for a challenging score of 177 for 4 in 35 overs. Sydenham started well in reply, but once we had the top order out, wickets tumbled continuously and we ended up with a fine win by 72. I recall taking the last wicket, but need to check the main wicket takers. Ah, Raza Ali and Graham took three wickets each, with Simon getting 3 catches and a stumping..
The next game should have been at Grey’s Green, but they cancelled and we played a rearranged game at Monks Risborough. I missed this one, apparently it was great game at a nice location which we just lost.
Alun Summarises the last four games;
Monks Risborough – Us 137 for 4 with Peter C & Chris putting on 75 for the first wicket (neither reached a 50, though). Oppo got the runs comfortably, losing 6 wickets, with 8 overs to spare. No bowling of note. Skip Guy
Cholsey – Oppo 157 for 8 off 35 overs. We had an excellent start, with the oppo struggling at 40 for 5 after 15 overs (Graham 3 for 21, Alun 2 for 18), but our lower order bowlers were a little off colour on the day and their 8th wicket partnership ground out a 70 partnership. Simon got 3 catches and a stumping again. Our batting didn’t follow the usual pattern. This time we had an extremely slow start, scoring only 18 off our first 10 overs, which then put pressure on the middle order. However, a good knock of 43 from Chris Potter revived some hope, but it proved to be too much of a task in the end and we struggled to reach 117. Skip Alun
Wolvercote – On a very dodgy Stanton St John wicket (AB – just my opinion, but I found it not so difficult to bat on if a bit of variable bounce), we bowled out a very strong Wolvercote batting line up for 166, thanks mainly to some good early bowling (Elliot 3 for 25, Anwar 2 for only 10 runs, Alun 2 for 28). With their top order struggling to build a meaningful total, it looked like an unlikely victory was not out of the question. Chris Potter, playing for his ‘native’ team in this game, only managed to clock up 4 runs! The Wolvercote middle order, though, started taking our later bowling apart, despite wickets falling at regular intervals (with John ending up with 3 wickets). Despite Wolvercote’s bowling not being anywhere near the standard of their batting (and nowhere near as good as our bowling), we collapsed from the outset, with most of our runs coming in the latter half of the line up (Tom Kitchin top scoring with 18 (Alan got 14!) ) and we were bowled out for a meagre 61.
Caversham – We bowled out the oppo for 110 with Raj Wagh (loan player from Caversham) taking 3 wickets for only 9 runs and Alun taking 2 wickets for only 7 runs off 6 overs. Our innings completely baffled the crowd when Robin & Graham inexplicably strode out of the pavilion all padded up to open our innings. Robin hit a brisk, if colourful, 20 and with Simon hitting a solid 30 (including a magnificent 6), the foundations were laid. Despite the inevitable collapse, a win was always in sight and with 1 needed off the last ball, Anwarexpertly edged the winning single through the slips. Skip Guy