Oaks Work Hard to See off Battling Hook

Oakley I’s hosted Hook III’s, looking to bounce back from their narrow defeat at South Winchester last weekend. There were two changes to the team this week. With Will Cheyney and Stephen Bown both unavailable, the Oaks welcomed Stefan Kaltner back to the side, along with Chris ‘Moz’ Morris.

The real fun at Oakley Park began before a ball was bowled. As both teams stood chatting before their warm-ups, a huge crack was heard and a humongous branch fell off the great tree that greets visitors to the ground, consequently blocking the road. We will never know what caused it to fall—some say Big Mike shouted at it, others say Woody hit a six directly at it, whilst others claim it was just really old, and if you look at the branch, you can see it’s all rotted and black. Who knows. Thankfully nobody was hurt, so we can joke about it. Once the excitement died down, Captain Dan ‘DJ’ Jones won the toss and chose to bat first.

The Batting

Ever-present Matt Burrell opened the batting along with a new partner in the form of Michael ‘Woody’ Wood. The opening pair successfully and calmly saw off the opening bowlers from Hook and looked well settled at the crease. However, a change in the bowling led to Matt departing for 22, attempting to kick on by going over the top but finding a fielder instead. A 49 opening stand was still a good start. Nigel ‘Gazelle’ Bishop came to join Woody at the crease.

Woody must not have been watching Matt’s dismissal, as he was shortly out caught for 13 attempting to go over the top as well. Not to worry though, as this brought Josh Carpenter to the crease, having hit back-to-back 50s in his last two appearances. Josh looked to continue this imperious form and was soon at his free-scoring best, being well supported by Nigel. Nigel took more time to settle himself into his innings, but once he got in, he soon cracked some lovely boundaries, hitting the ball so hard I thought another branch had fallen from the tree.

Despite their initial comfort, Josh soon flashed one in the air and was well caught and began walking back to the clubhouse. However, Alex Brundle was umpiring at the time and has clearly got quite good at it, as he spotted a no-ball and signalled it way before Josh got bat on ball. A big reprieve for Josh, and he was keen to make it count. Nigel and Josh continued to bat well together, taking the Oaks past drinks as DJ began to dream of putting his feet up and seeing us secure maximum batting points.

Nigel, though, went for one big shot too many and was, like others, caught attempting to hit over the top down the ground. Nigel departed for a well-crafted 36, part of a 96-run partnership with Josh, leaving the I’s on 146-3. DJ came to the crease looking to continue the rate of scoring and to support Josh. Unflustered by the dismissal of Nigel, Josh soon passed 50 for the third time in as many games. DJ then departed for 9 with 12 overs remaining to bring Moz to the crease. Meanwhile, with Nigel out, he was able to show me the official ‘Lawnscience’ song, which I expect to see topping the charts soon. If you haven’t heard it yet, please ask Nigel for a listen, it’s fantastic.

Both Josh and Moz are rather athletic lads, so they soon set about putting pressure on fielders with quick runs, pushing the score past 200. With only five overs to go, Josh chased a wide one and was caught behind for 83 in an effort to go big at the end. A fantastic knock, which included three sixes, but such is the mentality of the young man that he was annoyed not to make 100. However, if he keeps batting like that, then I have little doubt we will see a century from him this season. Brundle joined Moz with the Oaks on 215-5, and the pair quickly set about getting the score past 225 to secure maximum batting points. I don’t know for sure, but I like to think Bayliss was sat at home watching the game on YouTube with a smile and muttering to himself, ‘that’s why you bat first.’

Perhaps Moz forgot he was no longer batting with Josh as he called Brundle through for a very tight single, resulting in a run-out. Brundle is arguably one of the quickest between the wickets, but he had to depart for 13, suggesting that run probably wasn’t on. Michael ‘Big Mike’ Bryant came to the crease and soon began attempting to launch the ball to Kempshott. He did succeed in hitting one huge six, which unfortunately did not reach Kempshott, but he departed for 7 in the final over. Patrick ‘Paddy’ Saines came to the crease, and he and Moz successfully negotiated the final deliveries. Oakley finished on 252-7 with Moz not out on 20 and Paddy not out on 3. A pleasing total for skipper DJ, and with a strong bowling attack, the I’s were in a great position at tea.

The Defence

With a healthy total on the board, Stef and Mike opened the bowling, hunting for early wickets as the Oaks took to the field. Before departing, Woody told me that he would get a catch today and galloped off to field at gully with a smile. Knowing a good start would be crucial to any chance of success, Hook captain Jon Webster went after the openers. It was not long before Mike made a breakthrough, having the other opener caught at gully by Woody. Next time I see Woody, I will ask him for lottery numbers. Mike followed this up by soon taking the wicket of Webster for 44, caught at point by the leaping gazelle that is Nigel Bishop. Hook found themselves 61-2, and Oakley were full of confidence. Stef went wicketless in his opening spell, which I cannot recall ever happening when I’ve scored a game. It definitely did not frustrate him in any way whatsoever.

Harry Tucknott came on to replace Stef, whilst Mike bowled through at the other end. Harry bowled an excellent and much tighter spell than some of his others this season, much to the delight of everyone. He was soon rewarded with a wicket, trapping the batter LBW. Later in the same over, a comical run-out occurred. The new bat smashed a ball straight to DJ and set off for a run. The non-striker took a couple of steps before deciding he didn’t fancy being run out and attempted to send his partner back to no avail. Had the batter turned around and run back, he would have seen that DJ had launched a wild throw past a diving Paddy, which could have created panic. Thankfully, Matt was on hand to stop the overthrows and began calmly walking in whilst the two batters found themselves at the other end of the pitch. After being screamed at to get the ball in, Matt, remaining exceedingly calm, gently underarmed it to Paddy to run out the batter, who duly got changed, put all his stuff in the car, and went home.

Hook were now 64-4 and in trouble, especially with Harry bowling so well. He bowled so effectively that he soon produced a peach of a delivery to take away the top of off-stump for his second wicket of the day. Mike, meanwhile, finished with 2-45 off his nine overs. Brundle came on to bowl to give Harry a breather, as DJ came on to replace Mike. This coincided with a period when the Hook batters decided they may as well have a go. They put on 70 for the sixth wicket before a moment of brilliance saw the partnership broken. As the batter advanced to hit DJ down the ground, the ball went past the bat, and Paddy’s lightning-quick gloves removed the bails before they had a chance to turn around. Did DJ successfully turn the ball past the bat? I’ll let you decide. Regardless, the finger went up, and Paddy had his stumping. Paddy had been spotted speaking to Rhianna Southby after she took three stumpings in a Southern Vipers match on Thursday afternoon, which maybe inspired this lightning-quick stumping.

At 144-6, victory seemed inevitable, with Harry and Stef brought back on to try and take the final wickets. Harry had his third wicket quickly after bowling another batter. Who knew he would get more wickets by bowling straight? Stef was likely seething at the thought of not taking a wicket all game, but thankfully he picked up two in the same over. To tell you the truth, I don’t really remember his wickets as around this time the Play-Cricket scoring app stopped working, so I was frantically attempting to write down what was happening on paper to fix it later. I’m sure they were great, with one caught by Paddy and one being bowled. Harry then finished the innings off, picking up the final wicket thanks to a catch by Stef, leaving Hook all out for 159 from 37 overs.

Stef ended with a very handy 2-25 off his eight, but Harry was the pick of the bowlers, taking 4-43 from his eight overs. I know everyone was thrilled for the lad, as he bowled as well as we all know he can. It’s easy to forget he’s only 16 due to how mature he can be, so it is an excellent sign for the future to see a young lad take wickets for the I’s. However, back to revision for you now, Harry—GCSE exams to pass this week. All five bowlers bowled well today and were backed up in the field by all, making it a

very professional performance. The gazelle in particular, was sprinting round the field and making some excellent stops. I would also like to thank Stef and Harry for wrapping the innings up so quickly, so I was able to sort out the frozen score very quickly, though not quickly enough for the fans at home to get a complaint in. 


Overall, it was a fairly comfortable day for Oakley where everyone chipped in leading to a great team victory. It was pleasing as always to see members of the victorious II’s come back to cheer the Oaks home. It was party time post-match at Oakley Park and everyone present enjoyed a lovely evening of Caribbean food and music. A huge thank you must go to everyone involved, but to Stef and Mike in particular for cooking an amazing BBQ for everyone after their bowling efforts, working tirelessly to ensure it was a great time for all.

The club was in great spirits after the game and it brought a tear to the Chair’s eye to see so many club members, friends and family enjoying each other’s stories and camaraderie. I hope we can look forward to many more evenings like that again this season. Most importantly, absolutely nothing silly happened after the last members of the club went home to carry on the party. As for the I’s, they will be home again next Saturdaywhen they host Whiteparish, looking to make it back to back wins. 

On we travel. Although we need to travel around that massive branch that’s still blocking the road. 

Man of the Match – Josh Carpenter for his 83 off 78.