2XI vs Herriard
After a week off due to the weather, the O’s headed home to face Herriard 1XI, yet another 1st team, but who had been struggling so far this year. A foreign situation had faced us earlier in the week, that of having too many players to choose from(!) meaning that some balance was finally brought back to the team.
A return for James Birch and Matt Hall after a couple weeks off each, and Rob W-S was also back from injury. Sanjay made his first appearance of the season as he tasted freedom after his exams.
With Ed working that morning and therefore arriving late, the skipper really didn’t want to field with 10 men. Thankfully he won the toss, and elected to put the pads on. Roger walked out with new partner Alfie beside him, the captain interested to see how he’d go. It was a steady start from the pair, the pitch a bit green and slow, but some generous bowling meant that extras provided some early support. Progress continued, but Roger soon departed for 9, edging onto the stumps. Rob joined Alfie, and a good first 10 was slowed slightly towards the first drinks break. But soon rob found his gear, and the runs once again started flowing. Alfie too joined in, and after being given a life in the 20s, jostled with Rob to see who could reach 50 first. Rob won this battle, but was indeed quickly followed by Alfie.
Eventually Herriard got a breakthrough, Rob bowled for an excellent 58, and the captain walked out to try and continue the attack. However Alfie soon departed too for 57, replaced by his father who had scurried over from Reading. The captain was unusually aggressive early on, knowing time was of the essence, and planted the spinner back over his head, however this was the only thing he timed all day and scrapped his was to 21 before departing in the closing stages. Yet Ed fared far better, and the former skippers late flurry of boundaries meant OGCC posted 216-4, with Ed unbeaten on 48.
A splendid tea greeted us from Dave Smith, along with some lovely Macmillan cakes from the bake sale, after which Odiham were raring to go. The trusted pairing of Mark Hurst and Matt Hall opened up, and brought instant pressure and wickets, with Mark picking up two in his first two overs. 10 overs in the opposition were already feeling the pressure, and a mix up and a terrific direct hit from Alfie in the covers sent the promising no.4 packing. James and Jamie came on, providing pace down the hill and swing up it, and were both unlucky not to pick up any wickets but did keep it very tight.
A swapping of ends for Jamie allowed Sanjay to enter the attack, and picked up a wicket on his first ball of the season, an inside edge caught by the keeper! The ball was turning and Odiham’s tails were up. An lbw appeal was turned away, so Sanjay smartly just bowled him instead, and then follow that with another the next ball! The hat-trick field was set, but alas the batsman just managed to block it out. Not wanting to be left out, Jamie too knocked over the stumps to get his deserved wicket, and at 70-7, a quick finish looked on the cards. But some rearguard action and perhaps some weariness crept in to allow it to drag on, but thankfully Birchy returned to clean up, picking up 3 quick ones to bowl them out for 123.
A terrific max points win, one that hopefully now sets the benchmark for the rest of the season. Some exceptional bowling stats which I’ll list below, and we remain home next week against Aldershot looking for another win to help us climb the ladder.
Le Roux: 8-2-15-1