Buoyant Oaks Bag First Win as Joby and Will Prosper!

With the threat of rain receding westwards, the Third XI ‘got the game on’ at the semi-picturesque Newfound yesterday. Their opponents, Petersfield, arrived in dribs and drabs, and it was soon apparent they were a pleasant and eclectic bunch, featuring both the buoyancy of youth and a stoical battle against the aging process.

Oakley did their best to match them in the eclectic department, lining up with Steve Savage, a 73-year-old wicketkeeper, and 14-year-old Joby ‘Mcanuff’ Beatty. The Oaks also featured 49-year-old skipper Dan Beckell, in-form pie chucker and club chairman Bob Lethaby (56), and I don’t know how old (but not young) Dave Bowers and Jeff ‘Tall Jeff’ Triner (who appeared to have his knees held together with gaffer tape).

Petersfield Bat First with Some Canine Drama

Petersfield batted first with Dave Bowers and debut boy Joby opening The Oaks attack. It soon became apparent that Joby could bowl tight lines whilst at the other end Dave was doing what Dave does best. This resulted in a turgid affair where runs became as rare as a Mumbai snowstorm.

With 8 runs on the board after the same number of overs, the bumper crowd of 9 needed some excitement. This came courtesy of a mastiff, Rottweiler XL Bully Bastard type thing, invading the pitch. Ever the coward, the chairman scoured the trees to see which one his 56-year-old hip could climb up as imaginative headlines ran through his mind’s eye: ‘HOWZAT – FOUR DEAD IN VILLAGE CRICKET ATTACK’.

However, in a moment of irony, the dog was becalmed by the often excitable Dave Bowers, who gently took hold of it without any apparent concerns he might have been seconds away from meeting his maker. This seemed to inspire Dave as he took a cluster of Petersfield wickets, and an air of inevitability hung over the outcome.

Joby and Will on the Money

Meanwhile, Joby seemed to be playing a game where the better he bowled, the less likely it was he would get a wicket, somehow completing his first spell empty-handed. The lad needs to learn that at this level, awful deliveries get wickets. A one-on-one session with Deano James could be the answer.

Joby was replaced by fellow Under 15, Will McCarthy. Will is already quite an imposing figure and proceeded to bowl with great energy. Whilst not yet as metronomic as Joby, Will caused plenty of uncertainty and panic, resulting in a flurry of wickets as Petersfield collapsed.

The Dead Ball

At the other end, the chairman had overcome his ‘death by canine’ paranoia and was asked to replace Dave, who had completed his good day with 3 wickets and a snared devil dog. As Bob prepared for his first delivery, the umpire raised his arm to indicate Bob should halt his run-up due to a movement in the field. Bob was having none of that nonsense and simply diverted around the umpire and bowled anyway. A true cricketing rebel without a cause.

The delivery (a decent one by the way) was called dead, and once the umpire’s incandescence had simmered down, Bob was asked to bowl the ball again. It was a wide full toss that was hammered into an entirely innocent tree at the speed of…well, an Oakley Express. Bob did recover though, and whilst not hitting the heights of previous weeks, he did manage to pick up a couple of wickets.

4 For Will and a Joby Reward

At the other end, Will McCarthy was picking up a four-wicket haul whilst Joby, at last, got the wicket he thoroughly deserved. Tea was taken just after lunch with Petersfield scrambling to a paltry 58. Bob was still not finished with his antics and managed to spray a sachet of green salad sauce over his crotch that made it look like he was leaking something nasty on his whites courtesy of a hideous infection.

So, with 58 required, Noah Beckell and Tall Jeff went out to complete the job. Noah looked in the mood for fun with two classy-looking drives through the covers racing for 4. That was enough for Jeff, who then decided to dominate the strike and the bowlers in a manner that suggested he had to be somewhere important, very soon.

No Mercy Jeff

Jeff clattered his way to 38 and Noah remained unbeaten on 12 as The Oaks cruised to a 24-point victory. There will be tougher, more humbling days ahead for The Oaks, but as a team, when playing inferior opposition, you can only do a job and do it properly without being patronizing. Petersfield were a lovely group with some good players who are developing, learning, and enjoying the game.

From a chairman’s point of view, seeing some genuine talent coming through to help secure the future of the club is an absolute pleasure. Well done to all, and a special mention to George Rowley, Ben Robinson, and Alex Holman who didn’t get to do much on this occasion but willingly accepted that’s the way it goes sometimes.

On we travelled…back to a sun-kissed Oakley Park to have a cool beer and cheer on the first team to victory. A good day all round.

MOM: Will McCarthy – 4 wickets and a great attitude.