Report by Ollie Rabley
Guess the next number in this sequence: 11, 10, 12, 11, 10…? The numbers reflect the players skipper Kris Tucknott had at his disposal through a turbulent 24-hour period in the lead up to Saturday’s match against league leaders, Ashford Hill. A couple of late but unavoidable withdrawals meant that with about 30 minutes to go before the game was due to start, we were down to 10. The correct answer to the question is of course, 11. A call for assistance went out to the Oaks community, and under 13s skipper Will McCarthy, took the opportunity to step forward and get his first taste of men’s cricket.
Kris took look at a distinctly green tinged wicket, decided it was the closest thing to a road that Newfound could muster, won the toss and decided to have a bat. The experienced/inexperienced left hand /right hand combination of Steve Savage and Ryan Parry set about facing up to some probing opening bowling. As the season is progressing, Ryan is looking increasingly assured in the role of opener, learning more and more about defending good balls while still looking to score off bad.
Lee and Steve Search Search for Respectability
The partnership stood at 34 after 13 overs before Ryan got a decent one from Ashford Hill’s sharp looking first change bowler. At this point, there was a quiet confidence in the Oaks camp with an experienced middle order waiting to build on that promising start. However, that confidence proved to be a little misplaced as Mike De Vos, Kris, and Ollie Rabley, all contrived different ways of getting out without troubling the scorers.
Lee Noble was next up to try and spend a little time keeping Savage (who by now was seeing the ball quite nicely) company. That goal was achieved, with a 29-run partnership giving the Oaks scoreboard a bit more respectability. Unfortunately, Savage was not able to resist the temptation of playing a “silly shot” (his words not mine), leaving Lee to try to marshall the tail so that Oaks could bat out the overs. Lee biffed his way to a belligerent 41, giving Oaks a target of 112 to defend.
Rallying the troops, Kris said that 112 wasn’t many, but it was more than it could have been. There was something to defend, with decent bowling and enthusiastic fielding. Lee had not seized up too much so was able to open the bowling, with his usual accuracy. At the other end, Ollie was doing a good job at not giving the fielders the opportunity to scrabble around looking for the ball in the undergrowth alongside the ground. A decent line and a length that found the patch of the Newfound wicket that has a bit of bounce, meant that the scoring rate was relatively pedestrian. Lee picked up the first wicket, courtesy of a flying catch by Kris (who had used a drop a couple of overs earlier as a sighter).
Spin King Offers Hope
Oaks newest spin king James Middleton came on as first change. After a relatively expensive first couple of overs, James then looked to tie down Hill’s batsmen with a challenging combination of flight and turn. That brought him 3 wickets, one of which was a stumping courtesy of the lightning-fast hands of Savage. Another smart piece of work from Savage to take an edge off Ollie’s bowling and a wicket for Alan Howarth, meant that Hill were 6 down with 30 still needed to win. Could Oaks pull off an unlikely victory?
That possibility was still on the cards a few overs later, when Mike came on to take a wicket with his first ball. A question for you stattos out there…. When was the last time an Oak got a golden duck and a first ball wicket in the same match? Answers to The Chair please.
Unfortunately, the glorious victory wasn’t to be. Hill were able to wrap up a 3-wicket victory with 10 overs to spare.
Beaten but Not Bowed
Losing games obviously brings a few negatives, so we don’t need to dwell on them here. But 3s cricket is all about looking for the positives, and there were plenty here…. We gave the league leaders a decent game. Ryan in his first year after graduating from Colts cricket is starting to come to terms with his role in the team. Savage is back in the runs and looking sharp behind the stumps. Lee is showing what a great asset to the club he is with both bat and ball. Charlie Miller is a constant source of encouragement to his teammates (both older and younger than him). Will McCarthy has seen what men’s cricket is about and will be better for the experience.
So, let’s not get despondent. Ding, ding, the bus is still on the road.