A beautiful sunny afternoon saw a combination of 2nd and 3rd XI players travel to near Abingdon to take on Kingston Bagpuize from the Cherwell League. The Wolfpack opted to bat first and Madden and Walshy shared an opening stand of 46 before the latter departed to an absolute jaffa (his word!).

Madden went on to retire at 50 and this heralded the rather youthful partnership of Conor O’Hickey and Tohsif Manzoor at the crease. The pair looked well set but then both were dismissed when in the early teens. O’Hickey was out to an outstanding low catch by Matt Warner, whom we later learned is a Home Counties player!

The next two wickets to fall were those of Potter and Lardner (on debut). They both met the same fate and neither was happy to get the trigger from Wolvercote’s own umpire. Our next debutant, Amit, then set about compiling his runs, also making it to the 50 mark before being asked to retire. Captain Oliver joined him at the crease and accompanied him for some time whilst never looking at all comfortable. Those watching discussed the possibility that the weight of captaincy might be sitting heavy for the Iceman, until they were reminded of the number of pints (and tequilas!) he had sunk at the social the evening before.

Naseer and Murgatroyd added some quick runs before departing, leaving Luis stranded in the last over. This brought Madden back from retirement only for him to attempt a single to the aforementioned Warner who simply threw down one stump to bring Amit back in for the last 2 balls.

The final score was 199-9 off 40 overs.

The home side’s reply started following a delightful tea in the sunshine. Bizarrely, Luke managed just a 1 over spell before handing over to Potter. Contrastingly, Lardner opened from the other end and bowled well, conceding 22 runs from his 6 overs.

Bagpuize were progressing nicely, a little behind the rate but knowing that they had a secret weapon up their sleeve. Beatrix improved his contribution once he had installed his radar but, nevertheless, their opener grabbed his half-century and duly went for a rest.

Naseer and Amit then tightened the screws for 14 overs bowling some really tight stuff with Naseer taking a solitary wicket for his efforts. Tohsif then contributed 4 overs and he managed to grab 2 scalps whereupon our Columbian leg spinner was unleashed and Velasquez duly worked his magic.

At this stage, the ‘Baggies’ were well behind the rate but we were well aware that Warner was still to come. Luis chose to beguile his opponents by asking them to first locate the ball in its rather odd parabolas before nipping it past them into the quick (also Walshy’s word) hands of the keeper (Walsh!) who gratefully snaffled Walls, out stumped.

Warner then appeared, smashing the ball around the park before the Velasquez – Walsh partnership struck again. Luis got him running down the pitch, he missed, and the bails were removed before he could retrieve his ground.

We were then treated to 2 overs from the ever chatty O’Hickey, the 2nd being a vast improvement on the 1st. The death over had our opposition needing 16 to win and Potter was handed the by now rather mangled cherry. He produced classic wicket taking deliveries with his 4th and 5th balls and the game was won. He was on a hat trick for the final ball of the game which the batsman clobbered to Amit at cover. A suicidal run ensued, Amit did the honours and we ended the game with another wicket although not the hat trick that Potter had yearned for.

A great game, played in the right spirit and a wonderful way to start the new season.

Scores:

Wolvercote – 199-9 (B.Madden 54, A.Bolrikar 54 no)

Kingston Bagpuize – 185 (L.Velasquez 3-36)