After arriving at Lincoln College Sports Ground, as the away skipper Darryl called incorrectly and lost the toss; we were inserted on a wicket that looked challenging and bowler friendly.
Darryl and Wes went out to bat and the wicket was a nuisance from ball one. It seemed very two paced with early signs of variable bounce. This was evident when in the 5th Over Darryl was adjudged to be LBW, Charan was bowled first ball (a new member of the primary club) and Nick Angus was also bowled within the same over. So downs had lost 3 wickets in one over 6-3 in the 5th over. After this mini collapse Wes and Rivett set out about recovering the innings, Rivett was trying to set a new record for the number of balls faced without scoring a run.
After what felt like an eternity Nick finally got off the mark after 39 balls and was rewarded with a standing ovation from his teammates; Wes continued to play his shots with some glorious cover drives and a straight six back over the bowler’s head. The partnership was broken when Wes was given out caught behind for an important and valuable 39 runs. Chahal senior joined Nick at the wicket with intentions of building a partnership that would give downs the opportunity to set a match winning score. The partnership lasted 2 overs as Chahal was trapped LBW for 0. Paddy joined Nick at the wicket looking to grind out and utilise his vast experience on this tricky wkt. Unfortunately, paddy too fell LBW to the East Oxford bowling although there is a case that Paddy had snicked the ball on to his pads before he was given out. At around 35 overs Downs were on 75-6 looking down the barrel of being shot out for less than 100 runs.
Coatesy joined Nick and the same pattern followed as Graham was bowled I believe without troubling the scorers. At this point I feel I must credit the home team, despite being bottom of the league they bowled wkt to wkt seizing on the fact the wicket was bowler friendly, a solid game plan to bowl at the wickets to entice and take advantage of the inconsistent bounce.
Steve Roberts joined Rivett at the wicket with Downs in all sorts of trouble, 70-7 off 42 overs, not looking good for the away team. Believe this is where the pressure was pushed back onto the home team as Nick and Steve looked as though they had decided that 4 balls were hard to come by and singles were the order of the day. Good running between the wkts and respecting the good balls allowed the partnership to score around 15-20 runs (the partnership does not sound much but had indorsed some energy into the innings) Nick was dismissed for a patient and heroic 28 runs in 120 balls middling one to midwicket and the fielder catching the ball with his eye closed (straight from the horse’s mouth) well done Vice Captain……… Now the opposition would have thought that the last 2 wkts would fall cheaply and the home team could enjoy their tea and knock off a score for around 100-110 runs.
Downs No – 10 Cauncey had other ideas. Nick departed on the score around 95 runs leaving Downs 95-8, Ian set his intensions out very clearly hitting through the line adding valuable runs with Roberts as singles were still on the menu and taken when the opportunity presented itself. From overs 42 – 51, Steve & Ian posted a partnership of around 40 runs that at the end of the game proved to be priceless. Steve Roberts was bowled for 13 runs and in the context of the game a valuable innings. Rachael joined Ian at the wicket with the intention of allowing Ian to farm most of the strike and take the innings over the 150. A further 5 runs were added when Ian was bowled first ball in the last over for an explosive and entertaining 37 runs. The team showed a real sense of appreciation for the efforts of the lower order knowing that they may well have posted a challenging total knowing the gremlins within the wicket. Well done to the lower Order and Nick for batting out the overs and allowing the team to enjoy tea and in the hunt for 25 points. Target Posted 145ao
After tea Downs set about the task of defending the total with Steve and Nick opening up with the new nut. Steve and Rivett bowled some very tight lines and were rewarded with two quick wickets. We continued to bowl patiently with East Oxford’s number 4 coming in and playing some big shots from the off, although he was given a huge lifeline with Nick bowled the ball and it hit the batsmen plum in front of stumps but Nick decided to run straight down the middle of the track with his follow through so that the umpire couldn’t see; umpire unable to raise the finger. After a good spell of bowling from Rivett (2 wkts) and Steve (1 wkt) , Darryl decided to turn to youth, Charan and Rachael, and was rewarded when Charan took two wickets in his first over.
Rachael continued her good form with the ball and was rewarded with another wicket. It wasn’t long before the tail was cleaned up leaving Charan with figures of 5-14 of 4 overs and Rachael with 2 wickets from her 5 overs. Fantastic fielding from the team and thoughtful captaincy from Darryl allowed downs to leave East Oxford with 25 points in the bag. As the night progressed some of the team hit the town in Oxford, curry and beer allowing the captain to confidently believe that Downs had survived relegation concerns with two games to go and sitting pretty in 6 place. (Team wish to whisper the last comment has mathematically 6 to 7 points should make relegation not possible) Well done “Luckaree” and the team. (Special mention for the guys that had to endure looking at the skippers shirt during the night out, Darryl you might need a wardrobe makeover)