First XI Cruise to Victory to Hit Top Spot
With all the chaos going on at Oakley Park yesterday, The First XI’s straightforward victory at Michelmersh was a rather unspectacular affair in comparison. However, after the euphoria of last week’s victory v RAM, The Oaks needed to guard against complacency to keep up their 100% campaign.
The Oaks batted first and were struggling early on as Elliot Hennessy and Dan Jones dug in and tried to build a score. A partnership of 79 ensued before Dan was out for 36. Dan Sumner then registered a rare duck and Alan North just four but the Oaks rebuilt . A well fought 80 for Elliot along with useful knocks by Mike Tiley (35) Will Montgomery (26) and James ‘Ballet’ Bayliss (15 no) saw The Oaks pushing for maximum points.
After short stints from Ian Bennett (4) and Alex Brundle (1) it was down to Rob Wood to ensure maximum batting points.
Defending 225, The Oaks, in the absence of Tom Barnes, Brad Compton-Bearne and Clive Welsman, opened with Elliot Hennesey and new boy Fawad Ahmed. Fawad introduced himself to Oakley with a wicket off his first ball and never looked back in a scintillating opening spell.
A combination of poor batting and good bowling that ripped through M&T ended the contest without any fuss. Fawad finished with 4 wickets, AB 3, Rob Wood 2 and Elliot 1 in a paltry total of 62. Job done and maximum points in the bag. It was not a game that will go down in Oaks folklore but it was a thorough and dismissive performance.
As predicted in my brilliant preview, I didn’t think Oakley would be complacent and they weren’t. So there.
Weather: Warm and Sunny 22c
MOM: Elliot Hennessy/Fawad Ahmed
The Oaks went into yesterday’s game with high fling Donnington knowing that a win would keep them on the outskirts of the promotion hunt, whilst a defeat meant they were probably out of the reckoning for another season.
What unfolded was a day of high emotion, drama and euphoria in one of the best games of cricket this old ground has witnessed. The Oaks batted first and were going well with Steve Savage (49) and Nellie Warner (46) building a fine partnership.
After Nellie got out, Mick Wood rebuilt with Steve but in the heat and against good bowling the runs dried up. Frustration boiled over and a few players and the author of this report acted a bit foolishly. This was because we had a long batting line up and we assumed 220 plus was needed on a good pitch.
It was a stupid, as negativity lifted Donnington spirits, but it was perhaps understandable as we all knew the context of the game. Steve flew off the handle at Bob after he was out and feeling a bit silly, Bob disappeared for a while. It was a horrible feeling, but I guess that is what happens when passion goes too far.
We finished on 175. Probably not enough.
The Oaks spirits were low, and Donnington were flying, tucking into anything wayward as the more jovial chaps amongst their following chuckled at our desperation.
With the game virtually gone, George made changes and brought himself, Spalding and Sam ‘Eddie’ Stobart into proceedings. They all bowled superbly, and the fielders responded (Taner took an amazing catch). Wickets started coming and the runs dried up amongst a plethora of maidens and ducks. Thank goodness, a respectable defeat and a few points.
Hold on…wait…without anyone realising, the run rate was up to 5 an over and Donnington were suddenly batting nervously. Was this game on? Surely not?
It was you know! Oakley were transformed and all over the batsmen who were a bag of jangling nerves courtesy of the calamity engulfing them. Jeff King and James Adams were now bowling well too. However, another twist. With 15 needed their number 9 pumped 2 fours. One fortunate, one a classy high elbowed drive. Oh flip.
Balderdash, just three needed, Donnington 8 down. Bob thought it was 9 down and celebrated like and absolute category A buffoon when Steve Savage stumped the high elbowed front foot drive player.
Bob then sat down feeling like a circus clown as the opposition laughed at him for thinking it was all over. It was terribly embarrassing but there was still hope. Still three needed and yet further drama with no bowlers left. Bob’s heart was pumping faster than a steam train.
Over to Nellie. The silly fool bowled a wide first ball up. Two needed. Could he compose himself and be a ruddy hero? The birds stopped singing in the trees and a red kite stopped and hovered above, gripped by the action (I’m making that bit up).
In slow motion, the ball floated towards the wooden 3 pegs. A swing, a miss, then a clatter. Well, *by Jiminy, these scoundrels had only gone and won it. It was better than any walk in my 40 years of walking. It was flipping ecstasy.
Bob and Steve hugged and made up like they were in some corny Hollywood movie. Both admitted to being a bit over the top but love conquers all, including being idiots, apparently. All that was missing was some soft rock background music as they left the pitch. ‘On the Wings of Love’ by George Osborne would have been appropriate.
The drink flowed, and everyone gathered themselves to reflect on a day that will go down in Oaks history.
Cricket eh…bloomin’ Henry!
Anyone requiring the unedited version can PM me.
Weather: Sunny and warm, 23c
MOM: The Team
*By Jiminy: jiminy. exclamation of surprise, 1803, a disguised oath, perhaps for Jesu Domine “Jesus Lord.” Extended form jiminy cricket is attested from 1848 and suggests Jesus Christ (cf. also JiminyChristmas, 1890). Later used at Oakley Cricket Club by Peter Holcroft.
Third XI and Deano James
Rumours are circulating in the media that Deano James is providing the Third Team report this week. With Deano scoring 7 and taking two catches, this could be the greatest report ever to hit this website.
Watch this space.