The Third XI entertained Odiham 4’s on Saturday. I say ‘entertained’ somewhat loosely as this was no thriller, at least until Avi intervened (more of that later). This was more of an Antichrist of the recent Ashes series. At least the rain backed off, leaving the paper towels and sawdust redundant for at least a fortnight.
Bowling First – Bob Unveils New Delivery
The Oaks bowled first, with Jeff, the skipper and best Oaks bowler by about 100 miles, opting for the veteran opening partnership of Bob and Avi. Both bowled adequately rather than well, with the Odiham openers matching something turgid with something turgid.
This resulted in the young fielders occasionally wondering why they were stood out in the wind and passing showers when a self-catering trip to the Helmand Province might have been preferable. Bob at least tried to liven things up by trying out some new deliveries in his hapless armoury. One of these involved his studs getting caught in turf and him landing face first into the mud upon delivery.
Deano also entertained behind the stumps in a performance that demonstrated all the authority of a horse trying to complete a 1500 piece jigsaw. One attempt at putting the bails back on took so long, the watching supporters were spotted walking to their cars with lengths of hosepipe.
Odiham moved to 80 without loss as the crowed roared… sorry, snored in excitement. It was time for a change, with Jeff bringing himself and Ravi on. It inevitably did the trick with both picking up wickets as Odiham collapsed to 92-5. However, The Oaks couldn’t keep up the momentum and despite a couple of good wickets for youngsters Olly Thakur and one for George Bird, Odiham racked up 80 more runs. Everyone except Chippy Carpenter had a bowl. All the youngsters showed some potential.
Jeff Predicts Positive Chase
At the break Jeff, a glass nine tenths full type of guy, thought that 176 was a target that could be chased down. This admirable, somewhat delusional assessment, was soon put to bed when a binary looking scorecard left the Oaks at 5 for 4. An unwanted posting on the ‘that’s so village’ Twitter page looked likely. With Jeff and Phil back in the hutch, the chances of an Oakley win were in line with a white Christmas in Sydney.
Some somewhat chaotic defiance did come from Deano’s extraordinary 13 ball duck and 12 from from Zak Poulter (who looked out of place due to looking like he knew what was doing). Otherwise no one managed to get into double figures. Avi (9) could have done if he had not got caught up in controversy. Quite an achievement in the type of game that you would have put your house on there being no controversy.
I think this is what happened but I am still having counselling for post match traumatic disorder, so it might not be quite right. Given out LBW to one that hit his shin in front of middle-stump, Avi started to walk. However, it had bounced twice. No ball. The reprieve was short lived as Avi was out of his crease and run out. Realising they would have to go full on ‘Devon Loch’ to lose this one, Odiham did the right thing and called him back.
Avi had made his stand though and refused the offer. It was all very bizarre. A bit like one of those weird half asleep, half awake dreams where everything is arse about face and Odiham’s Steve ‘Spready’ Spreadborough is, for the first time in history, entirely innocent. It took a while for order to be restored whilst everyone tried to work out if they were hallucinating.
So, after Avi (who was actually batting well) had denied himself a decent knock, the game came to its inevitable conclusion. Odiham ran out deserved winners by a lot of runs (we amassed 45). Hands were shaken and congratulations offered. There were some positives. All the youngsters bowled well and Zak Poulter already looks ready to step into men’s cricket with relative ease. Harrison Bird is great little bowler who will take plenty of wickets.
Everyone then packed up their bags, got in their cars and drove home still wondering what on earth had just happened.
On we travel.
MOM: Tall Jeff. Too good at bowling for this level.