First XI Bounce Back With First Win!

Report by Billy Turner

Oakley I’s hosted South Wilts III’s on Saturday in their first home league game of the season. Following a defeat at Odiham last week, the team was desperate for a win to get the season back on track. There were two changes to the team this week as Michael Wood and Nigel Bishop made way for PhD friends Joe Marlow and Nick Green. Captain Dan ‘DJ’ Jones won the toss and decided to bowl first (Bayliss would have batted).

The Bowling

As he always does, opening bowler Stefan Kaltner set the tone for the innings, bowling a wicket maiden to give Oakley an early advantage, and they never looked back. A second wicket followed quickly for Stef as he found the outside edge. Mike Bryant did well to get a hand to the edge, then a second hand, then finally a third hand which he used to parry the ball towards wicketkeeper Paddy Saines who happily gobbled up the ball and claimed the catch, much to the delight/relief of Stef. Mike, meanwhile, took the new ball with Stef, bowling steadily until DJ decided to bring on Alex Brundle and Josh Carpenter.

Both bowlers again bowled well in a much tighter bowling spell than last week. Josh undeservedly went without a wicket, but Brundle picked up two, one being caught by Stef and the other bowling the opposition captain, leaving South Wilts in trouble at 49-4. DJ brought himself on to keep the pressure on before the drinks break, after which we saw the introduction of Harry Tucknott in an effort to find a fifth wicket. Harry may not have picked up a wicket, but bowled only one wide in his spell, a big improvement from last week which everyone was delighted by, especially Harry. DJ decided to bring on fellow spinner Will Cheyney, which proved to be a great move as he picked up a wicket in his second over, with DJ taking a very sharp sprinting catch at cover.

This proved to be the opening Oakley needed as Will picked up two more wickets shortly after this, both bowled, before Stef came back on to pick up two more wickets, both bowled. It’s almost like bowling straight works? This flurry of wickets took South Wilts from 98-4 to 114-9, leaving Oakley fully on top. Will took the final wicket with an LBW (did I mention the value of bowling straight?) to leave South Wilts all out for 120 off 42.3 overs. Will ended with excellent figures of 4-17 off 7.3, and on most days that would be pick of the bowlers. However, Stef posted an outrageous 4-8 off his 9 overs, including 4 maidens. Stef’s consistency has been invaluable for the I’s since he joined the club, and performances like this prove it. Brundle chipped in with 2-18 to round off the wickets. DJ was undoubtedly pleased by the fact there were only 9 wides bowled, a massive improvement from the 34 last week. The Oaks fielded well, even Nick Green managing to behave himself, and they were well on top at the tea break.

The Batting

Matt Burrell partnered DJ to begin the chase, which took a setback as DJ departed for a duck. The less said about it, the better. I did think it was nice of DJ to get out just as his dad arrived to pick up the legendary Grandad Bob so he could say goodbye to both, class touch. Joe joined an undeterred Matt as both players struck the ball around nicely. Around this time, the III’s came back from Newfound having wrapped up a comprehensive 24-point victory to cheer on the I’s.

Coincidentally, Matt was then caught behind for 24 and in true cricketing spirit, walked off before the umpire had a chance to signal, leaving Oakley 70-2. Josh joined Joe looking for more runs as he looks to try and break records this year. However, after a couple of blows, he had to depart, bowled for 17. Nick Green went out into the middle with glee at the idea of batting with his friend Joe. Joe, however, did not fancy this prospect, as only two balls later he was out, caught for a run-a-ball 42. Joe impressed on his first league game for the I’s, and one suspects there are many more runs to come.

Will joined Nick with the score 103-4 and closing on victory with just 18 needed. However, discussions had taken place leading to the conclusion that if Oakley could reach a score of 125, they would get an extra batting point. This would mean reaching 119 and hitting a six, and there are not many who enjoy hitting sixes like Nick. Unfortunately, Nick was unable to hang around for this moment, being caught for 1.

Brundle joined Will as Will sensibly knocked the ball around to reach a score of 119 with Brundle on strike. Those wondering if he would go for it or not had an answer immediately as he took a huge swing at the next ball. Brundle continued to swing hard and soon he nailed one. Unfortunately, it only went for 4, winning the game for the Oaks but falling short of 125.

Post Match

Oakley picked up 21 points on what was overall a fairly comfortable day and an efficient performance. Huge credit should go to the bowlers for tightening their lines from last week and setting the game up for the batters. Congrats to Will and Stef for their four-wicket hauls. Thanks go to South Wilts for the game, and we wish them luck for the rest of the season. Also, thanks to Kris Tucknott for umpiring fairly well. I say fairly well as he did fail to count to 6 on more than one occasion, and everyone knows the scorer is never wrong.

Thanks as well to James Bayliss for keeping me company as I scored, along with Woody Bridgeman (New Woody). I can’t remember what we spoke about so it must have been some fantastic small talk. Lastly, a huge thank you to everyone else who came to support the team at Oakley Park, including the III’s, and to those who had drinks after the game. Next up is the trip to South Winchester CC to build on this solid performance.

In the words of the chair: ‘On we travel’.

MOM: Stef Kaltner