Weekend Review after Black Saturday is Followed by a Golden Sunday!

The First XI division suffered their second defeat on the trot on Saturday, falling away badly after a decent bowling performance reduced Sparsholt to 230. Alex Brundle (1) Dan Sumner (2) and Ronnie McCewan (2) were the wicket takers as The Oaks felt content with the target they were given.

Sadly, apart from 42 from Elliot Hennessey only some middle order defiance from Clive Welsman (18) and Alex Brundle (29 no) stopped a routing on a day when the batsmen just weren’t good enough (How can you win without Bayliss?)

There was none of the controversy of last week and this was always going to be a tough game for the lads against good opposition. They must now get back some confidence and go again after their promotion hopes have been dented but certainly not diminished with some winnable games ahead.

Weather: 22c Sunny Spells
MOM: Alex Brundle: Tried to keep it going with 29 Not Out

The Second XI had what was basically a must win game against Crown Taverners to keep up any hopes of promotion. Well, they didn’t win, they were well beaten in a game where they only fleetingly looked in it when they had Tavs reeling at 100 – 5.

However, Tavs batted deep and with the aid of too many extras by The Oaks they reached 226 all out. There was something symmetrical about the score card with the wickets coming in Two’s. two, for Fawad Amir, two for Josh Carpenter, two for Rob Wood, two for Will Cheyney and two run outs (Brett King and Bob Lethaby).

Josh was the star, causing all sorts of problems whilst taking 2 wickets in two balls. Look up Simon Jones v Michael Clarke, Ashes 2005 to see the second one replicated. Apologies to the Tavs batsman but It was rather funny.

Chasing the target, The Oaks were to be honest, not very good. Steve Bown (23) Ollie Rabley (21) Rob Wood (21) Fawad Amir (23) Brett King (11) and Bob Lethaby (a sumptuous unbeaten 15) all tried to keep the show on the road. However, all in all, The Oaks struggled against good if not exceptional bowling.

Weather 22c with Sunny periods
MOM: Josh Carpenter: Great bowling from a young lad full of potential

The Third string lost again but did put up some resistance after getting a bit of a caning in a Crown Tavs Two’s total of 277. It was a long afternoon chasing the ball around but there were consolation wickets for Ravi, Noah, Dave Bowers, Mike De Vos and George Fox.

Batting resistance came from Tall Jeff, George Fox, Dave Bowers, Mike De Vos and Will Rabley in a commendable total of 188. George was the highlight of this match with a deserved maiden 50 for The Oaks resulting in a jug of beer for the members purchased by Fox Snr.

The Third XI are enjoying playing and every week there is a star turn, so I regard that as a success in our first attempt at expanding the club.

Weather 22c Sunny spells
MOM: George Fox: Excellent maiden 50

Despite a first ever hat-trick of defeats, the atmosphere at the club was a fantastic one on Saturday night, with loads of players hanging around until dark. After a few sour grapes and some feeling a sense of injustice last week, it was like everyone remembered what we are doing this for. To play cricket hard, win when we can, but still have a few beers and a good crack if it all goes tits up.

Help For Heroes followed by a World Cup Win!

What happened yesterday will go down long in the Oakley memory bank. The World Cup Final coincided with The Oaks hosting the ‘Help for Heroes’ team that was established to aid sick and injured servicemen back into a normal civilian life.

What unfolded was a wonderful afternoon of cricket at Oakley and at Lords, culminating in the kind of sporting drama that could not be bettered by any music concert or theatre production anywhere in the world.

It was very humbling to have these service men and women at the club and their appreciation of our efforts was heart-warming stuff. Some of these people have suffered shocking, life changing experiences, so to share a game of cricket with them, then unbridled joy at what unfolded at Lords, gave us all great pleasure.

Everyone who played, catered, served and helped yesterday did themselves and the club proud. The game we all love got the sunny day it deserved and to experience such drama at the end of the day, was a joy to behold.

For those who watched cricket for the first time yesterday, how do you explain to them that in the form of a ‘Golden Duck’ it is also the most soul-destroying sport known to man?

Good times these. We now move on to next week.

Well done all.

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