A depleted Second XI travelled the short distance to local side St Mary’s on Saturday, determined to enjoy an unexpected game. Had the churchmen ordered the good Lord to keep the rain clouds at bay? Possibly, as the forecast was appalling.
The clouds parted and the churchmen batted first. Briefly, The Oaks looked in the contest after 2 early wickets for Noah Beckell and some decent stuff from Chippy Carpenter. However, thereafter, The Oaks mixed good balls with dross, and St Mary’s took control.
That’s not to say the dross was surprising. Bob Lethaby, Nick Green and Ollie Rabley were not only dealing with injuries but also the complexity of bowling at right and left-handed batters who kept rotating the strike. A tricky combination, even for good uninjured bowlers. In between, Rabley junior showed potential and with a bit of consistency, could be a very decent bowler.
Bob looked briefly decent (a ball with his first delivery) and provided the obligatory injury of the day, stopping a front foot drive with his ankle and allowing it to smack him square in the face. Bob checked for the heroic spilling of claret, but it didn’t arrive, and he escaped with a bruised lip and a wobbly bottom tooth. Like most injured men, Bob wanted blood to justify the pain he was in.
The pick of the Oaks bowlers was Rav Kancharla, who went for just 18 off his 7 overs in a spell that offered brief hope for The Oaks. However, St Mary’s finished on 236 which had the Oaks thinking it may be 136 too many.
Most of the hope for The Oaks laid at the feet of Chippy Carpenter and Kris Tucknott. However, this hope was quickly extinguished when they were both out with one run between them. To be fair to Chippy, the ball that got him was what one describes as a jaffa.
Olli Rabley (10) and Jack Brundle (29) showed some determination to at least edge the score along, but when Ollie went, followed by his son Will (whose golden duck turned the changing room into the Mary Celeste) the Oaks were running out of anyone who knew how to hold a bat.
This left it to Bob Lethaby to hold fort as wickets tumbled around him. Bob saw Jack, Deano (2) Rav (8) Billy Turner (4) depart before he eventually went for 21. Bob’s was one of the most uncultured innings in Oakley’s history, with not one textbook shot played. Saying that, there might have been a forward defensive that resembled a forward defensive.
Still, credit where credit is due, Bob’s innings was responsible for two batting points as The Oaks past 75 and eventually 100. The last man standing was Noah Beckell, who remained unbeaten on 5. That was about it for The Oaks, but at least everyone had a go. Credit to Jack Brundle for making the most of what he had and making sure everyone got a game. Getting teams together has been a nightmare recently, with Covid, injuries and holidays, shattering the availability list. Yet, everyone still enjoyed it.
A special thank you Mrs Waldock of St Mary’s who provided us with our first post-Covid tea of the year; it was utterly sublime. When told he was a lucky man her husband, Keith, retorted, “I don’t get anything as good at home”.
Oh well Keith, the pleasure was all ours.