Report from Matt Neal
On a day characterized by ever changing weather, Oakley Cricket Club hosted Herriard in what turned out to be a thrilling contest which went all the way down to the final few balls in the very last over. The weather was notably inconsistent: intermittent spells of sunshine were punctuated by cloud cover and the odd shower, making conditions challenging for both sides. Despite the elements, Jack won the toss bravely opted for the Oaks to set a score and get runs on the board first.
Opening the batting, Oakley raced away to a flying start. Steve Savage dispatching the very first ball of the innings for four. Benjamin and Steve Savage were both hitting the ball sweetly, piling the pressure on Herriard in the early overs.
After the opening few overs, the ball started to move around a lot more, and batting became far more challenging. Steve, Benjamin and Alan fell within quick succession, leaving Kalum and Jack to steady the ship. After a slower and steadier period of play, Kalum was bowled by a fine delivery from Izzy Apperley, bringing Alex Ogden to the crease.
Oggers Turns on the Style
A forgiving start with a couple of missed chances ensued, and then Alex settled into his innings. Hitting six 4’s and two 6’s, he scored a rapid 49 off 44 balls, in what turned out to be a match changing innings, but was unfortunately bowled out one run shy of his 50.,
The rest of the order all added what turned out to be vital contributions, with the Oaks putting 213 runs on the board in 39.4 overs.
Herriard by return came to the crease and began an initially slow response. With strike rates of 50 and 41 respectively, their two openers were looking to set a platform and accelerate, but fine bowling from an attack led by Ollie and Zak saw both openers were sent back to the pavilion cheaply.
No.3 Madhav Reddy then occupied the crease for what would turn out to be the rest of the afternoon, whilst the Oaks set about dismissing each of his partners as they came in, and then got out again. Kalum took the fourth wicket to bring an early drinks break, with Herriard being behind the run rate and Oakley feeling like they had themselves firmly in the driving seat.
In the Balance
But Herriard weren’t done yet. A valuable knock of 23 from Sandeep Shahane in 31 balls was ended by a stunning catch from George Rowley at square leg, giving Zak his second wicket, which was almost immediately followed by his third, a mere two balls later.
Herriards wicketkeeper then came to the crease and set to work supporting Madhav, who now had his foot firmly on the accelerator. A couple of fine shots had placed Herriard well in contention, with 3 wickets in hand and just 12 runs to score off the final over, in order to win the game.
Oaks Take Control
In a great display of captaincy, Jack Brundle stood up and took the final over of the game on. Everyone knew that two sixes spelt the end of the game, yet without any hint of being flustered, Jack produced an absolute jaffa to dismiss Herriard’s wicketkeeper with the first ball of the over.
Frustrated at the other end, Madhav, stranded on 80 runs, called a suicide run the following ball, which produced a run out. This swung the pressure firmly back on to Herriard and with one wicket remaining, Jack finished his match-winning over with 4 top deliveries, the final wicket being a run out to end the innings.
A nail-biting finish with excellent contributions from the whole team throughout the day, Oakley finished the game with 8 runs to spare.