On behalf of the 4s extraordinaire David Horne-
OGCC 4th XI vs Basingstoke 5th XI
There were some fairy-tale characters in evidence at Stratton Park on Saturday as the 4s took on Basingstoke. If I’m honest, nothing like enough on which to hang a match report, but as Goldilocks said, bear with me. Would it turn out to be a Grimm afternoon, or would they live happily ever after?
The sun shone, but the North Wind did blow, and after winning the toss,Basingstoke sent the 4s into the field in what were deceptively tricky conditions.
Lee Noble and skipper Paul Downham opened the bowling and were as mean as the ugly sisters and equally out of luck, with the ‘stoke openers edging first right, then left of slip and chances not going to hand. Scoreboard pressure was growing though and, just like Georgie Porgie, the captain followed two maidens and then made them cry, bowling their #1 (24-1). The new man let down his long, flowing locks like Rapunzel, but had the beard and flashing blade of Dartagnan, cutting forcefully whenever given any width, but Rob Orr and Emily Patten-Hall kept it very tight, supported by some committed fielding, and it was an attritional 64-1 at the half-way drinks.
The skipper needed someone to put their hand up and bowl into the wind and U13 keeper Kaitlyn Orr (who, like the frog prince, abandoned her pads) clearly took umbrage at the musketeer launching her dad for 6 on the last ball of his spell and volunteered. She was immediately on the money and there surely won’t be many more magical moments this season than when she bowled him for her first senior wicket with her fourth ball, to the 4s delight. She wasn’t done there though and 75-2 became 110-3 with a plumb LBW a few overs later, earning figures of 2-20 from 4 overs. With Bethany Cranstone bowling well in tandem at the other end, OGCC should be rightly proud of its women and girl cricketers and the work Paul and his coaching team put in with them.
Basingstoke had started to accelerate though, with catches dropped, and if Kaitlyn was the young kid on the block, the captain turned to the first of his wily old goats, bringing on Ian Sheffield. Like Cinderella, the 4s finally did get to the ball as the ‘stoke danger man pulled to square leg and David Horne took a catch on his league debut despite doing his best humpty dumpty impression. Ian followed up his debut wicket with another (bowled) one run later. Paul’s Midas touch found gold again when he brought himself back on and pinned their #6 LBW with a dipping full-toss, then took a sharp catch for Ian’s third wicket, and at 166-7 our tails were up. It was then the turn of the gruffest of our three billy-goats to shine. Spready had been keeping very tidily despite some uneven bounce and was in chirpy mood (“Oh no he wasn’t!”, “Oh yes he was!”). Good work by Chris Knapp in the field sent the ball in, but with both batters at his end, Spready relayed the ball up to bowler Rob for a run-out. Then, while a tight stumping chance was being appealed, the ‘stoke #10 went wandering and forgot the golden rule of panto (“He’s behind you”) and with the bails off, Spready whipped a stump out of the ground and appealed again, this time successfully. Top glove work. It had been a solid team effort, with Mitch Phillips showing off his impressive arm out in the deep, and it felt like we’d done better than ceding 196-9 from 40 overs.
Lee and Mitch started the chase but it was tough going against the openers and we were soon 11-2. Luckily, we’d brought our magic chair (surely there is a fairy tale with a magic chair?) in the form of Knappy. Resplendent in factor 50 and club cap, and classical in style, Chris wouldn’t have looked out of place in black-and-white Pathe newsreel footage. With Rob Orr playing very nicely and breezily punishing any bad balls, the pair took us to 58 and had just about seen off Basingstoke’s impressive young male-female combo before Rob (39) was bowled playing across the line. Kaitlyn edged behind to a snorter from their youngster Kunal Jain, who was hooping it; many lesser batters wouldn’t have got near it, as David proved when he unwittingly evaded the hat-trick ball. Chris and David accumulated steadily until the other side of drinks, but at 82-4 from 24 overs with the required rate climbing over 7, David fell for a self-inflicted run-out, much in the same way he has run-out of fairy tale metaphors in this match report. Paul looked to accelerate before being bowled by the returning Jain and Emily fell to a copy-cat run-out. Chris (27) added some Ramprakash flourishes to his earlier Tavare-esque defence but was bowled after an excellent knock, leaving Spready and Ian (another six) to have some fun and put on an unbeaten 37 together but ultimately there was no fairy-tale ending and we were 40 runs short. It was a hugely enjoyable afternoon with some real highlights and great spirit shown and congratulations to Ian and particularly Kaitlyn for their first wickets.