Weekend Preview of Saturday Games

Well, The Oaks head into the second week of June with all three sides in the top six of their respective divisions. This is courtesy of our first clean sweep of the summer, leaving everyone in a buoyant frame of mind.

With a fair but cool weather forecast, can we repeat the feat this weekend, or will it be a case of ‘After the Lord Mayor’s Show’? Let’s delve into our team sheets and the opposition’s form, which is now beginning to shape up.

First XI v Whiteparish

The First Team is at home again this week, entertaining Whiteparish, who make the long(ish) journey up the A303 for a rare visit to the theatre of scenes.

Unfortunately, Michael Wood is absent from the batting lineup, so Dan Jones, scratching for form, is back to open. Nellie Warner steps up after an excellent 79 in the 2s last week. Will Cheyney returns in a bid to recapture his early season form, while Chris ‘Mozzer’ Morris joins a fairly long Oaks unavailability list.

Otherwise, it’s as you are, with what appears to be a long batting lineup needing to offer additional support to the class act that is Josh Carpenter. We managed it last week with plenty of cameos (notably from Nige Bishop), helping us to a very competitive 244. Hopefully, we can build on that.

The bowling looks fine, with a four-pronged attack of Stef Kaltner, Mike Bryant, Alex Brndle and Harry Tucknott backed up by the spin of DJ and Will Cheyney. Josh will, as ever, provide good backup.

Whiteparish sit one place below The Oaks in 7th, so this could be a nip-and-tuck game where one error or big performance could decide it. Dan Babbage, with 234 runs, appears to be the key man with the bat and will be a prized scalp. Still, if The Oaks bowl as well as they can and move up a gear with the bat, no one will beat them easily.

This should be a good one, and it’s certainly a big game considering the position of both clubs.

Old Baing III V Second XI

The Second XI travel to Old Basing III in good spirits after coming through last week’s ill-tempered encounter at Crown Tavs with a comprehensive win. However, there are changes, with Nellie Warner up to the First XI, while George Lethaby and Will Rabley are both unavailable.

Ben Robinson comes up from the 3s with Kris Tucknott, while the bustling brute that is Alex Rogan makes his first Oaks league appearance after an annoying shoulder injury ruled him out of the early season. A good addition, one thinks.

Oakley look in great shape with the ball in hand. Zak Newton and Noah Beckell are getting better each week, while Ollie and Sharan are great change bowlers. Add to that the spin of Kalum and the frightening unguided missiles of Rogan, and we look pretty formidable.

The batting is slightly weaker without last week’s main scorers (Nellie and George), but hopefully, this week, it’s the turn of others. Big-hitting Nick Green and Ian Bennett are due for runs, and anyone from one to eight is capable of hitting a fifty, so I think we’ll be fine.

Old Basing are languishing near the bottom after a tough start to the season, but The Oaks know that thinking it will be easy will result in a metaphorical custard pie in the face. Avoid complacency, and there is no reason we can’t return to Oakley with a win.

Ashford Hill 2s V Third XI

The team with the toughest gig of all seems to be the in-form 3s. They travel to a rampant Ashford Hill 3s knowing they will have to be at their best to come away with something.

The Oaks appear to be pretty strong with the ball in hand, with Dave Bowers, Avi Thakur, and Joby Beatty all hitting the right areas. They will have plenty of backup, with Alan Howarth, Rav Kancharla, and Will McCarthy capable of doing damage.

The batting is a concern, and The Oaks can’t continue to rely on Dan Beckell to produce golden form all season (although he’s welcome to if he can), so others need to show they can join Jeff Triner in providing runs. Steve Savage can be relied on for 20s and 30s, and others need to do the same.

If The Oaks can achieve that, they are capable of pushing Ashford Hill all the way, but there’s no pretending this will be a repeat of recent walkovers.

So, some tough gigs this weekend, but if all the teams can do what they are good at, we have a more than decent chance of another fabulous weekend. If we give it all we have and don’t quite achieve it, we should enjoy it all the same.

On we travel.