The Oakley Women are Off and Running!

Just like a certain ship that set off on its maiden voyage from Southampton in April 1912, The Oakley Ladies Team ventured out for their first competitive Cricket Match with a sense of hope and adventure. Not even the amber weather warning was going to stop us from escaping the Sunday evening ‘what’s for tea?’ conversations at home. The Trojans had clearly heard that there were some new kids in town (albeit some of us a bit creaky) and were a no show which led us onto our first game against Stratfield Turgis.

We opened the batting with Ruth and Sarah S where some plucky running was soon on display, steadying all our nerves and raising our hopes that this might actually be ‘fun’. Second up was Jude and Jen, who after a facing a few wide balls managed to get into the groove of some good runs and lost only 1 wicket. Rebecca B and Claire really showed how it was done with some powerful shots and great calling between the pair. And lastly Sarah A and the mighty lefty that is Lori-Ann demonstrated great tactical ball placement (courtesy of our coaching session this morning) and only 1 unlucky catch.

The positive news – we were all still alive and nobody had cried (not even Ian)

Onto fielding – what could go wrong when our Queen of Cool Rebecca B opened the bowling displaying the nerves of a person that is really quite good a bowling. And for the Brucey Bonus – our first catch of the day by Sarah ‘Safe Hands’ Shearing! Jude was up next, who gave little away and The Oaks displayed some great backing up. It was all feeling a bit jolly by the time Sarah S starting throwing balls about and with some sublime fielding by Jude and Jen we managed to keep their runs to er… not that many.

Our pocket rocket Claire bowled a fantastic Over where at this point Sarah S was catching balls for fun and frolics and Jen followed up with some great steady bowling. There was another catch by ‘Safe Hands’ at some point, some rather sneaky slow balls from Rebecca and at least one storming ball from our fierce Jude.

So there it was the end of our very first game, we had lost 6 wickets along the way but had a hopeful suspicion that we might have actually done it…. drum rolls sounding in our heads the score was announced Stratfield 222 – Oakley 244!

For our Second Game we faced Stratfield again who had definitely sharpened their tactics and were playing a much safer game.
We showed some really consistent bowling and batting with Penny, Joan, Hannah and Emily having joined the team. Joan was our Square Leg pro, keeping those 6’s to a minimum whilst hitting a beauty of her own later on. A much tougher game and with fingers crossed the scores were proclaimed as Stratfield 231 – Oakley 235!

And so onto the final against Winchester South. They looked like a team who might know what they were doing, and then went on to play like a team who DEFINITLEY knew what they were doing. This was a great opportunity for us to learn from their fielding positions and some great batting tactics displayed by a young Winchester pair who really enjoyed doing that ‘running thing’.

We did not give up the fight, our bowling took itself to another level and Ruth earned her pint of wine with a mighty caught and bowled, a battle of the catch between Jen and Joan (bragging rights to Joan this time) and we even did a bit of that ‘running thing’ of our own with again some super calling by Claire. Penny held her nerve with hitting some solid shots to the wall and we really started to move away from our ‘just whack it’ approach, you could see that we were now actively looking to find space to play the shot.

Huge positives taken by all with the Score finishing at Winchester 260 – Oakley 231.

Thanks for all the support from other Team Members and our families including husbands, teenagers, parents and rogue toddlers. And of course a thousand thanks go to our illustrious Coaches Ian and Gordy. You have both been so fantastically supportive, encouraging and patient (I know we make a lot of noise), and yes you were right, we might have actually enjoyed ourselves …. just a little bit.

Woman of the Match – Sarah Shearing for her 4 classy catches.

Whoopsie of the Day – The 3 unnamed Stooges all scrambling round for the ball that then went on for a 6 ?

On we travel….. to our next tournament on the 18th February.