Oaks Finish the Season in Style!

Autumn was in the air on a bright and blustery Saturday as The Oaks completed their final fixtures in what has been, arguably, the best season in the club’s long history.

The First XI entertained AWE Tadley and with the title in the bag, they still had the opportunity to complete a 100% season.

Tadley batted first and in all truth, had little resistance against the Oakley bowling attack, despite the fixture having the air of a Sunday friendly about it.

There were wickets for Clive Welsman (4) Tom Barnes (3) Alex Brundle (1) and Brad Compton-Bearne (1) as the AWE innings was wrapped up for 102.

The Oaks chased the total without much fluency, with Dan Sumner seeming to want to pepper the farmers field with every shot as he hit yet another 50 in a season where he has blossomed into a fine player.

After Nellie Warner departed on 18, there was a minor middle order collapse with 5 wickets going down, but Alex Brundle saw The Oaks home, with Dan unbeaten.

The boys put their celebrations on hold as they waited anxiously for the result of the Two’s dramatic game at Old Basing, using Jeff King as their live reporter as that game twisted and turned.

With big cheers going up around Oakley at the news of a Two’s win, the First XI demonstrated the spirit that has evolved at Oakley, which, in turn, has resulted in success on the field.

The Two’s travelled to high flying Old Basing III (played at Bramley) seeking a record breaking top six finish in RNE1.

It turned into something of a thriller, with a battling Steve Savage 50 being the catalyst to a score that was defendable.

In a low scoring game there were also important knocks for Mike Tiley (36) Alan North (27) George Lethaby (18) all working in multiples of 3  before the excellent Bret King ruined it by scoring 13 rather than 12.

The total of 163 looking mediocre but veteran, Alan North, felt that due to the way the pitch was playing, it was quite formidable.

Supporters, Bob Jones and Bob & Harry Lethaby retired for tea at the pub across the way that was having a beer festival featuring a band that was over reliant on the bass player and some eclectic clientele looking like they had been created from God’s spare parts shed.

When the chef burst from the kitchen with a meat cleaver, followed by a chap who explained that Marley (the club dog) was sniffing his leg because that was where his cat had been over-stimulated the night before, they decided it was time to go back and cheer the boys on.

The Oaks needed to bowl well but Steve Bown decided he didn’t want to and was taken off by the umpire for bowling two no balls that were regarded as dangerous.

However, at the other end, Ollie Rabley, spurred on by a cover version of Mr Brightside by The Kilers, took on the responsibility and pressure of bowling tight lines with calm authority, picking up two wickets in a fine spell.

Ian Bennett, who was bowling okay but getting expensive was then the next victim of the slightly over zealous umpiring and was also taken off for dangerous no balling.

However, this led to to the start of the Rav Kancharla show as he picked up 3 wickets including that of the aggressive Old Basing opener who was now key to the result. It was Rav’s wicket, but the catch by Steve Bown (his 3rd of the day) would be regarded outstanding at any level. Bownie is a top class fielder and match winner in these kind of games (put the cheque in the post mate)

It was now a case of The Oaks holding their nerve and Brett King was also superb, fully deserving of a slightly fortunate wicket his efforts warranted.

The Oaks finished up with Alan North and George Lethaby tightening the screw and it was somewhat fitting the captain took the final scalp of the season, leaving Old Basing all out on 133.

The victory propelled The Oaks up to 5th in the league and they rushed back to Oakley to join in the First XI celebrations on what was a cracking end to a season that will live long in everyone’s memories.

*As the chairman, to witness the spirit between the two teams is very emotional. It is something that I wanted to create when taking the role in 2012. However, it takes time and you have to bring in good people right across the club. That means everyone from committee members, to players, to colts volunteers and managers who have the huge responsibility of honing the next group of young players.

To have several players thanking me for my efforts last night was hugely satisfying but the truth is, without the players and members buying into the philosophy we have tried to create, it would and could have been an abject failure. There were certainly a few rocks fired into the spokes along the way.

What I didn’t really know was whether success could be achieved with what we brought into the club. Do you have to bring in a couple of ‘Big time Charlie’s’ to get unprecedented success at this level?

We proved that this doesn’t need to be the case and although the challenges now get tougher, we are well placed, with a couple of suitable additions, to prosper at the next level. We are still very much work in progress which is incredibly exciting for everyone at the club.

Well done everyone for supporting this lovely little club; I know you have all enjoyed it as much as I have this season.

Bob Lethaby





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