Saturday Preview as the Rain Clears

It often seems the case for us cricketers that the rain always falls on a Saturday. Not this year, well not so far anyway. For the last few weeks, the cricket has been on fine days sandwiched by the type of “oh well, it’s good for the garden” weather that we don’t want.

So, as the rain trickles down my window like the tears of a chairman caught wondering from his crease, I remain upbeat about our chances of cricket tomorrow afternoon. Why? Well, because my weather app says the sun will shine on the righteous tomorrow.

So, without further ado, here’s the review.

The unbeaten First XI travel to Hambleden for a tough test against another side off to a flier. Alex makes enforced changes from last week, with several players away. James Bayliss is off camping, Will Cheyney is at a wedding, and Steve Bown, with the worst excuse of all three, is painting his house.

This means in-form Matt Burrell comes into the side along with the returning Chris Morris and Nigel Bishop steps up from Second XI duty to bolster the batting. There are no such problems in the field, with on fire Stef Kaltner and Neil Robinson leading the bowling attack. They will be ably assisted by first change youngsters, Josh Carpenter, and Harry Tucknott.

Belief and team spirit has got the Oaks over the line in two tight games so far. A stiffer test tomorrow will need an improvement with the bat if they are to avoid another lower order rescue mission. Hopefully, tomorrow will be the day the batting clicks and The Oaks move up a gear as a complete unit. Should be a cracker, this one.

The Two’s have got off to a barnstorming start to the season with the demolition of St Cross V and a good Donnington side. This does have its disadvantages though, as an unbeaten 79 last week has earned Matt Burrell promotion to the First XI. Dan ‘Darren Stevens’ Beckell, remains in place though and will open with Jack Brundle as he looks to stay unbeaten.

Ben Robinson is unavailable and with Nigel Bishop also up to the First XI, there has been some head scratching during selection. Whilst this would normally be a problem, Jack won’t be unhappy with the experienced Nellie Warner, George Lethaby and Fawad Amin, coming in as able replacements. Having a big Oaks squad helps a lot when we have players missing.

Herriard First XI are the visitors and they will provide a stern test for The Oaks who will need to bat and bowl well to secure the victory. Always a good local derby this one and the result will help to provide the evidence needed to see if The Oaks’ lofty position is a genuine one.

The Third String travel to Long Sutton to face Odiham 4th. An obligatory eclectic line up will look to recover from a titanic bowler dominated defeat against Herriard Two’s last week. They need to do this by improving on their batting, with the positive being that some players can’t do any worse.

There are changes but I can’t really remember what they are all are. Spin king, James Middleton, has had to bail out and Avi is also missing after getting injured during a fight in an empty room. I do have the line-up though and it has all the makings of a Little Britain sketch. To emphasise this, Bob Lethaby, the man no one calls Mr Cricket, is being described as an all rounder after 6 runs and two wickets last week.

Bowling looks okay and the inclusion of Lee Noble will bolster a line-up that includes the metronomic ‘Mad’ Alan Howarth, left-armer seamer and five-wicket bagger, Ollie ‘short-fuse’ Rabley, spin wizard, Rav ‘The Heave’ Kancharla and Mike ‘Costly’ De Vos. Speed merchant, Bob ‘The Oakley Express’ Lethaby, continues to improve from a knee injury familiar with many a vintage paceman.

Batting may well again rest on the like of Kris Tucknott and Phil Carpenter, with the hope of cameo roles from Ollie Rabley and Mike De Vos, who both batted with a blend of the sublime and the chaotic, last week. Then there is Bob Lethaby, who will be looking to build on an elegant six runs last week (should have been eight).

Deano James will hope to get his season off the mark by not squaring his pads up in front of the middle stump with all the precision of a civil engineer, and Rav Kancharla can only improve on last week (when he played his worst ever shot for a vintage golden duck). Youngsters, Ryan Parry, and Charlie Miller will add some sanity to proceedings and will get plenty of action as they look to develop their Oakley careers further.

Should be a game high on quality, this, he said, lying in a manner that would make Boris Johnson blush.

So, the The Oakley bus roars into life again. Try to enjoy the thrills and spill of amateur cricket whilst seeing if The Oaks can post another win or three.

See you all a the Theatre of Scenes after the game.