Oaks Succumb to the Bat With Nine Lives

Match report from Benjamin Robinson

The 2nd XI welcomed Rowledge 3’s to a pleasingly dry Oakley Park on Saturday – proving the Met Office faithful to be correct. One look at a green-tinged pitch suggested that the toss would be crucial, and the Oaks won the first battle of the day: putting the visitors in.

The Bat with Nine Lives

Oakley’s young pace attack comprising of Noah Beckell and Herbie Hamilton set about making early inroads. Both were rewarded with some oohs and aahs early on as the ball nipped around off a full length whilst the visitors’ captain looked to punish anything short.

The first (of many) missed chances came in the 3rd over as the Rowledge opener skied the ball towards Kalum Sapumanage at square leg. Kal put in the full 360 before deciding to try and locate the ball – at which point it had plummeted to the floor a couple of yards behind him. The batsmen continued to ride their luck and take advantage of some loose deliveries as they took the score to 50-0 after 8(ish).

At this point, the skipper tossed the ball to Kalum and Jeff Triner in search of a breakthrough. Kalum made amends for his earlier drop by removing an opener before Jeff got in on the act and dismissed their number 3. The fightback continued as Kalum removed a promising youngster before Jeff struck with the last ball before drinks to leave the visitors reeling at 87-4.

Positive at Drinks

The mood at drinks was a positive one but this would soon turn to despair. The Rowledge no 6 led a destructive counterattack as their skipper continued to provide catching practice to the Oakley fielders who duly obliged by dropping him on every occasion. Both batsmen passed 50 before, in desperation, Jack Brundle took it upon himself to successfully break the partnership for his first (apparently) league wicket since 2018. Unfortunately, this was not the start of a Rowledge collapse as their next man proceeded to strike at over 200 on his way to 48.

Rowledge’s captain huffed and puffed his way to his ton in the penultimate over leaving the Oaks batting line-up a mountain to climb – 269 needed to win.

Oaks’ Chase Ends Before it Starts

To get ahead of the rate early, ‘hitters’ Ravi Kancharla and Jeff were sent up the order. Unfortunately, the Oaks were left reeling at 24-3 as both fell early along with Neil Warner. With the rate already at 11s, captain Jack came in and blasted his way to 2 off 31 balls at drinks after successfully seeing out 6 consecutive maidens with ‘the wall’ Dan Beckell.

With even the most optimistic Oak resigned to defeat, the middle order decided to make use of time in the middle and have a net. Dan fell for a determined 22 before Jack and Benjamin Robinson put on 66 in the only partnership of note as Rowledge rotated their youthful bowling attack. Jack nicked off for a top score of 29 before Benjamin fell for 23 attempting to expand his wagon wheel from 100% through backward point. A wounded Kalum came and went leaving Noah and Phil Carpenter to bat out the overs for what would have been a well-deserved losing draw about 15 years ago.

A chastening afternoon out for the 2s but they will return stronger as they look to get back to winning ways away to Old Basing next week.