After a crushing 240 run win over East Oxford 1st team, the 2nd XI looked in good form with bat and ball. They rocked up to Banbury in good spirts after an intense warm up, Woodsy who was looking to keep his 100% success rate at each toss this season; won his 7th toss in a row and elected to bat on what looked to be a hard wicket with a tinge of green on the surface. After 4 Changes from the previous weeks win, Rivett, Airey, Prav and Charan looked to impose their style of cricket and push for another win.
Centurion Wes and the returning Rivett were sent out to face the Banbury 3rds opening bowlers spearheaded by the experienced seamer Keith Arnold. After a steady start Wes started to accelerate the scoring with some powerful shots through the covers also depositing both the opening bowlers over the ropes for 6. During their opening stand of 34 Nick Rivett had the opportunity to gain a maximum when a no ball was called by the umpires (Free hit time) now I believe Nick tried to hit the following delivery so hard that he tried to deposit the ball into the motorway running along side the ground (M40 !!) Nick managed to miss the ball as his focus was power over technique…….. he missed the ball with the stumps flying in all directions, but alas he was not out;
Unfortunately, Nicks fortune/luck didn’t last as he snicked through to the keeper for 13. Charan strode out to the crease and after a few nice shots he creamed a half tracker straight to mid wicket. After losing 2 quick wickets Downs were 45-2, the next phase of play was very important the Big South African and Prav occupied the crease and after a few overs of rebulding some marvellous strokeplay from both Wes and Prav kept the scoreboard motoring along and in quick succesion Wes brought up his 50, the bugal must of sounded in within Bartletts ears as he decided enough was enough and decided to up his and the teams strike rate, their was no stopping the big man ably assisted by Prav who chipped in with a few lovely shots down the ground and through the covers. Wes looked as though back to back centuries were there for the taking but some how managed to lolly up a simple chance to cover point and was caught for an entertaining 94, a cracking innings in the context of the game a flawless innings (apart from his strike manipulating) the two put on 115 for the 3rd wicket.
Jag came out at number 5 and looked busy around the crease picking up a few singles and at the other end Prav was dissimissed caught at point for a well constructed 46 (well batted young man). Jag and the skipper hit their strides straight away with Darryl manipulting the ball at will for singles and boundaries and Jag at the other end hitting fours left right and centre and putting on 71 runs in a blink of an eye taking the score from 160 to 239 in just over 10 overs. After the skipper was dissmissed, Jonny Meardon and Jag put on a quickfire partnership with Jonny hitting a lusty blow of the spinner for 6; they both run well and hit the bad ball to the ropes, gaining clear instructions from Woodsy to not get out Jonny tried to hit another six and got caught (The Skipper was not pleased). Steve Roberts strolled to the crease for 1 ball at the non-strikers end to the teams amusement; the last ball of the innings was stroked through the covers for 4 ending on a positive and Downs able to take momentum into there bowling & fielding display after tea. A challenging total of 281 awaited the Banbury batsman after the break. Thanks to a superb exhibition of batting from Jag and Wes with good contributions from Prav and Woodsy.(interestingly all the wickets that fell for downs were caught !!!).
After a lovely tea, Downs were ready to bring the points home with a tight and disciplined display in the field. The 2 openers Cam Spilsbury and Steve Roberts bowled in tandum with Steve bowling an effective line and length without fail only conceding 1 boundry and ending with figures of 10-6-7-0 and failing to pick up a much deserved wicket whilst at the other end Cam bowled with good pace and hit good areas moving the ball around but unable to make the initial breakthrough. Banbury looked as though they had resigned themselves to losing the game and batted to gain as many points as they could from the game (very sad to see) Brad and Charan replaced the openers, Airey managed to make the intial breakthrough with an absolute jaffa, well bowled Brad.
At drinks the home team had reached 83-1 off 25 overs; Daryl rallied the troops and looked to make the drinks break count in Downs favour to create some momentum hopefully causing wickets to fall. The drinks break did exacatly that with confusion on a tight run causing the run out of the stubborn but experienced captain Megson fro 30 runs, Downs started picking up wickets at regular intervals, with some sharp glove work and good bowling from Meardon & Charan. Skipper shuffled the pack bringing on Rivett and Prav for short spells to try and dislodge the lower order batsman. A change of ends for Meardon looked like the last throw of the dice from Daryl as Banbury looked to gain max batting points handely placed at 172 – 6 with around 10 overs to go. Hill, Proctor & Phillps added good contributions in the middle order but perished to Meardon (3wkts) and Cam Spilsbury (2wkts) in his second spell blowing the tail away. Banbury were dismissed for 185 giving downs the win collecting max points from the game. Well bowled team, with the Chahal brothers picking up a wicket a piece, 2 for Cam, 1 for Airey and 3 for Meardo. Special mention to Steve Roberts for a fantastic spell, he didn’t capture any wickets this week but showed the young pretenders in the team that working as a bowling unit you don’t always get the rewards your performance merit. Well done Steve.
On a fine day Downs put in a almost flawless performance and pushed up the table with the stand out performance from Wes,Jag and the bowling unit. Also well done Daryl fantastic glovework behind the sticks.
Next week brings a home game against tough opposition in Westbury, after this latest performance the team look forward to the challenge.