Report by Steve Poulter
Grey glum skies skidded across Oakley Park on Tuesday, blown by a chill breeze that sort to freeze the hopes of the young Oaks looking to make it 5 wins a row. Harry Tucknott, back from mowing down grown men’s wickets in the first XI, was skipper for the evening.
Rowledge were the opponents, recent visitors who had lost in the bum squeakiest of tight games just a couple of weeks ago. Lead by skipper Nacho they seemed keen on revenge, a dish best served cold, unlike actual nachos, which are much better covered in hot melting cheese, salsa, guacamole and a few jalapenos.
Pre match was another interesting spectacle, not for any unusual coin tosses (Rowledge won and put the Oaks in to bat) but from the impromptu parent evening that took place between Kris/Nigel and PE teacher for their sons. Some might question the impartiality of such a scorer, who surely wanted to see his own child beaten by those he’d helped hone into such fine sporting athletes.
And We’re Off
Rowledge looked up for the game from the off, while Oakley looked a little chilled and rigid in the field. After 3 overs Rowledge were 32 for 0 and looking comfortable, but a tighter over from Zac slowed up the run rate and produced the first wicket when the batter chopped the ball back into his own stumps. 36 for 1 after 4.
Rowledge kept going strongly though and Oakley were failing to apply enough pressure with their fielding, gifting a few extra unnecessary runs. They reached 51 after 6 over before Tom Woodward picked up the crucial wicket of their opener. She’d been playing some fantastic shots, but a pitched up ball from Tom was sent to Will McCathy who took a good catch at point. 62 for 2 from 7.
The game continued to plod along till the 11th over with Rowledge now on 84. Will clearly bored with proceedings decided to spice up the match, firstly by removing the wicket of Nacho and then clean bowling the wicket of the new batsman. A hattrick was on, the field suddenly seemed more alive and a keenness about him either having to buy or not buy a jug of beer spread through the watching Oaks members. At least until it was recalled that he wasn’t 18 quite yet and lemonade would have to suffice. Still with everyone watching closely the next ball turned out to be a wide. Such a tease a Will!
Rowledge, now 85 for 4, had to face skipper Harry T next. He promptly took the next wicket 4 balls later, clean bowling the young chap for a duck and potentially leaving him requiring therapy to overcome his nightmares of a giant chap throwing a ball at him at over 200mph.
89 for 5 after 12.
The Oaks had down a great job of slowing things down, but River and Freddie, bowling next, found the tail wagging extremely hard and scoring on anything lose. However both picked up wickets, Freddie having a great catch taken by Tom and River clean bowling their no.8 with a real slow ball that the batter swept back on to his own stumps on his second attempt to hit it. Harry finished off the last over, ending with nice figures of 8 for 1 from 3, while Rowledge had set the target of 148 for the Oaks to win.
Would it be enough to fend off the bat happy 5 in a row wanting Oaks?
Boundaries Flow and 50 for Will Again
Tom W and Olly we’re first in, but they were met by Rowledge bowling extremely well and very keen to defend their total. Tom (0) holed out in the 2nd over catching a thick edge to backwards point and Olly (1) was clean bowled the next over leaving Oakley 10 for 2 after 3.
Things we’re not looking so good at the Theatre of Screams, but with Harry and Will at the crease there was some serious fire power on offer if they could get going and get going they did. Harry stroked his 2nd ball for 4 and as if in competition with each other he and started Will started to pepper the boundaries with frequent 4s and the odd massive 6.
13 boundaries between them over the next 8 overs had Rowledge threatening to call in NATO to stop the bombardment.
Runs had raked up quickly and Will (52) was soon on his way back in having reached 52 not out, his second half century of the season, fantastic stuff! Harry (26) was back next over having seen out his 8 overs and they had put Oakley in a very commanding position of 106 for 2 from 11. 32 for the win.
The Final Push
Zac and Harrison were next in. Harrison (1) though was soon on his way back having been given lbw, and Dylan (1) followed when he got caught clipping one up to square leg. Momentum swinging back to Rowledge? No chance. Zac (11) picking singles and George (17) thumping 4s quickly brough Oakley safely home with 3 overs to spare, George thumping the last ball through mid-off for 4 for the win.
So 5 in a row for Oakley, after losing their first 4 matches, quite an impressive turn around. Can anyone stop the mighty Oaks making it 6? Will they make the play offs? Are there even play offs?
And does anyone know what an earth this hattrick/jug business was about?