The Friday storm cleared to leave a blustery Saturday where all games went ahead. As usual, it was a mixed bag.
The First XI kept themselves in with an outside chance of promotion with a hard fought and impressive win at Amport.
The day started comically as players started turning up outside Bob’s house in Andover. Bob also got in his car and plugged in the post code, only to hear his SatNav informing him he had arrived at his destination before he had even put his car into first gear.
DJ had shared the post code of the Amport secretary, who, so it turns out, lives 4 doors away from Bob and shares exactly the same post code. That boy has had a troubling year. If he is not throwing up in the chairman’s car he is sending players to play cricket in his back garden. Yet he still got us 5k sponsorship.
The Oaks batted first on a weather affected pitch. It was offering everything to the bowlers, leaving the batters playing the ball like it was a snake leaping out of a wicker basket. If Jofra Archer played on it, it would have ended up like the Battle of La Somme.
No one enjoyed playing on it, but no one complained either and the top order all played a gutsy innings. Gerry Dique and Michael Wood both fought hard, but it was Alex Brundle (26) and Elliot Hennessey (24) who stood out, building a base for the middle order to let loose.
Cameos for Will Montgomery (10) and Mike Tiley (15) helped keep the scoreboard ticking but it was a belligerent 43 from Brad Compton-Bearne that put Oakley in a position where they could defend a score with gusto. It was an excellent knock for Brad who has struggled in recent weeks.
Oakley eventually finished on 178. A good score on that pitch but only if the bowlers found the right lines.
They did so, with Brad and Elliot Hennessey in particular, blitzing through the top order, leaving Amport in all sorts of trouble at 25-4. However, Amport rode their luck with a series of edges and half chances going down, allowing them to rebuild and get to 84-4.
At that point, Amport were marginal favourites, but the Oakley bowlers held their nerve. 3 wickets for Alex Brundle, two for DJ and another for Brad finished the job and a well-earned 35 run victory against a decent side.
The Oaks may just miss out on promotion this year, but this was a timely reminder that they are a good side after a few confidence damaging knocks in recent weeks. It puts them in good shape for another couple of fixtures and the Guy Jewell Final next week.
Whatever happens, it was great to see them bounce back and prove to themselves they are a good unit.
MOM: Alex Brundle 3 wickets, 23 runs and excellent as a stand in captain
Weather: Cool and sunny with a shower threat 20c
The Two’s had a day to forget after getting skittle for just 100 against Hartley Wintney yesterday. A lacklustre batting performance on a sticky weather affected pitch was never going to be enough. Only 22 from James Adams and 19 from George Lethaby, are just about worth a mention.
Losing the last 5 wickets for two runs summed up a pitiful afternoon. The only thing in doubt was how long it would take to lose. The answer is 30 overs.
The bowling was not too bad considering the circumstances with the only wickets going to Josh Carpenter and Nick Green.
The season is fading fast for the second XI, but they must keep going and try to get something from the final two games to go into next season with some momentum.
MOM: No one
Weather: Cool & Blustery 20
The Third XI, depleted by holidays, were predictably beaten by Sparsholt III who are playing well below their standard and are waltzing to promotion.
However, the boys did the club proud and fought to the end, taking positives from not allowing Sparsholt full batting points, with Taner McCewan the star with ball in hand.
The boys were all out for 68, with Phil Carpenter the top scorer on 24. However, they played in a tremendous spirit and with the young players getting bigger and stronger, they will only improve further next summer.
Weather: Cool & Sunny 20
MOM: Taner McEwan: Excellent spell of bowling
Well done all, lets stick together and try and push the first XI onward in the coming fortnight.
Up the Oaks!