Third’s Lose but the Future Looks Bright!

Report from 3’s correspondent, Ollie Rabley

The 3s wrapped up the season with a home fixture against third placed AWE Tadley in a match that, in many ways, was a microcosm of the season as a whole.  There were some good bits, some bad bits, a bit of frustration at what might have been and plenty of hope for the future.

Oaks Bat First

The toss went Tadley’s way.  They chose to have a bowl first which made everybody (briefly) happy.  Skipper, Tall Jeff, is firmly in the “bat first at Newfound” camp.  Jeff’s joy turned out to be short lived….  Tadley’s opener Kieran Monger started with three dangerous looking away swingers, before finding the perfect leg stump line which, when followed by more swing, led to Jeff losing his off stump.  Jeff hasn’t seen any better bowling than that in his time with the Oaks (though some may see he didn’t see much of this bowling!!).  Kalum came in and quickly slapped a couple of 4s, before finding out that Monger can also swing the ball in.

Dan Stands Firm…For a While

Dan was looking reasonably untroubled and started the rebuilding job with Savage.  Steve then got surprised by some slow left arm turn from Ian Pearson.  Judging by the reaction from Tadley’s fielders they were just as shocked by what had just happened.  Ryan got in and as is his want fired some quick runs but couldn’t hang around for too long.  Time for Ollie to join Dan at the crease.  There were still the best part of 25 overs  to go, so boring, risk free batting was the order of the day.  That worked for a few overs, but then the beautiful extra drive that Dan had in his mind’s eye didn’t quite come to pass.  Bowled by a Mark Clay looping, swinging, turning, or something delivery.

Bird Flies as One for the Future

Adam got done by another bit of mystery spin (the mystery being did it spin or not), which brought in Harrison, the latest Colt off the production line.  Ollie was by now starting to build possibly the slowest 20-something run innings in Oakley history. At least it did form part of a 50 run partnership with Harrison which took Oaks to something approaching respectability.  Harrison didn’t look in too much trouble, even when facing Tadley’s returning opening bowlers.  He showed a remarkable aptitude for being able to chip the ball into spaces that fielders had just vacated.  The frustration that causes a fielding side is entertaining to watch at any level of cricket.  Well batted indeed young man.

The tail weren’t able to get much of an acceleration over the last few overs.  138 felt about 20 runs short of what might be a defendable total.

The Reply

But there was rain in the air, and indeed a fair amount on the ground.  So when Tadley went out to bat the pitch had been spiced up more than a bit.  So much so that Steve felt the need to stand back to Ollie, who from somewhere found bounce and a little swing.  Jeff hit his usual accurate line and length and picked up an early wicket.  A difficult dropped catch did not prove too expensive as Ryan swooped to force a run out.  10 overs down; 16 runs on the board….  The squeeze was on.

A Snuffed Out Glimmer

James and Ravi kept in tight with another wicket for James giving Tadley plenty to think about.  Unfortunately opener Tom Moore was quietly on his way to a 50, which ultimately (spoiler alert) was to make the difference.  A 40 run partnership with Kieran Monger took Tadley closer to the target.  Oaks did have a glimmer of hope when Jeff deceived Kieran with a slower ball, but Nick Hynard came in and snuffed that out.

The 3s can take heart that they have again given a team from the upper end of the table a close match, as they needed most of their 40 overs to get to the target.  This season has shown progress from previous years, with a better league position and higher points.  We have never struggled to get a reasonably competitive team out and had the chance to get more Colts exposure to senior league cricket.  Sitting here at the end of August, I’m optimistic that when May rolls round again we’ll be able to take it further forward.

On we will travel (but not for a few months yet).