Oaks Overcome Hostility With Bounceback Win!

The Second XI headed up the M3 yesterday with a mixture of confidence and nerves as they looked to put last week’s harrowing defeat behind them. Upon arrival, they were greeted by a used condom on the boundary and some breaking news from George Lethaby. Was Michaela pregnant? Was he moving to Ireland? No, he had forgotten his spikes, meaning he had to take to the field looking like an absolute cretin in black trainers.

Oaks Bowl First

Not the ideal start, but hey ho, The Oaks had to get on with it. The in-form Noah Beckell and Zak Newton opened the bowling, and it wasn’t long before the Tavs opener thick-edged Zak into the gleeful hands of Ian ‘Eeboy’ Bennett. Then, controversy. The umpire’s finger stayed down and the batsman stood firm. Sometimes it’s hard to hear an edge, but on this occasion, the pilot of a passing Chinook who was listening to ‘White Riot’ by The Clash through his headphones shouted, ‘HOWZAT’.

Fury and Counter-Fury

This caused much fury and counter-fury as the ‘gentleman’s game’ descended into bad feeling. In cricket, if you’re going to bend the rules somewhat, you should expect some criticism. Incandescence at being called out can cause one embarrassment that no amount of shadow boxing will make better. Still, after this, a game of not particularly friendly cricket broke out with The Oaks composing themselves and chipping away at the Tavs batsmen, with Zak finally getting his reward.

Kalum Breaks Through

Yet again, Noah and Zak were stingy, but in fairness to The Tavs batsmen, they showed low-scoring obduracy with further wickets hard to find. Unlike last week when bowling backup was limited, The Oaks had options and kept things tight. This paved the way for the excellent Kalum Sappumanage to bowl a beautiful spell and break the back of the Tavs order with a jug-avoiding four wickets. Sharan also bowled well without reward, leaving Ollie Rabley to pick up two and Jack Brundle another. The Oaks couldn’t finish it off though, and Tavs finished on a low total of 146-8.

The Chase

The Oaks had to chase the total with last week’s double-figure nightmare still fresh in their minds. When big-hitting Nick Green slashed an early wide one back into his pads and onto his stumps, the nerves were as palpable as the vomit rising up Nick’s throat. However, Jack and Nellie rebuilt slowly, and Nellie soon looked like he might have one of those ‘seeing it like a beach ball’ days. All looked well until Jack was done by a rare Jaffa. At 18-2, Tavs were fired up, as was their late-arriving supporter who informed The Oaks of the apparently staggering size of their wicketkeeper’s genitalia. Ah cricket… swallows dancing through summer skies, the smell of freshly cut grass, the sound of willow on leather, shadow boxing, used condoms, and the vivid description of a wicketkeeper’s cock. It just doesn’t get more quintessential than that.

Nellie the Elegant

Skipper Ian came to the crease and looked a bit out of sorts, but there was a feeling that after being dropped twice, this could be his day. It wasn’t. Ian was clean bowled and The Oaks still had work to do at 63-3. George Lethaby came to the crease out of nick and knowing that the free-flowing Nellie needed support. It was briefly an anxious time, but Nellie was a calming influence, rocking back and smearing a six to pass 50.

George Finds his Mojo as Will Impresses His New Lady

George settled and ticked along, growing in confidence, allowing Nellie, who was now flying, to play the starring role. The partnership grew and The Oaks were now cruising. When Nellie eventually departed for an excellent 79, it was disappointing rather than alarming as the target was now in single figures. This allowed Will Rabley to impress his new girlfriend with a couple of boundaries, taking The Oaks home, with George remaining unbeaten on 33.

A Tricky Day Becomes a Cruise

So, a tricky day became a walk in the park, or even the cricket pitch. A lot of these lads have been around each other for a fair few years now, so they know how to back each other up and will their teammates on. Nellie’s 79 was great, but equally important was his steadying influence over George that helped build the partnership that took us home, earning him a much-deserved MOTM.

After crashing to earth with a bump against Basingstoke last week, The Oaks made a quick exit and landed smoothly back into Oakley Park to cheer on the First XI, who were battling their way to victory against Hook 3s. A good day, a solid performance, and a fine Caribbean barbecue.

On we travel.

Nellie receives his MOTM can of Red Stripe