Format: 40 overs
Result: Lost by 38 runs
Sunday saw Iffley Village make the journey to the pleasant Cotswolds village of Great Tew for a 40 overs match in stunning surroundings. Unbeknownst to the Villagers, St Clement’s Strollers were also venturing from the Spires into Cameron Country to play the Tew, who had only managed to scrape one team together for the 2 matches so they graciously withdrew their team and let the 2 visiting teams do battle on their turf.
The Strollers won the toss and elected to bat first, Captain A. W. Smith opened the bowling from the Wheatfield end and lead by example with the 3rd ball of the innings sending the leg stump catapulting out of the ground and Colin Bedford was back in the pavilion for 0. The skipper was certainly on fire in the Cotswold sunshine and in the third over Eddie Burn suffered a similar fate, this time it was the off stump that sent wickie Cavanagh diving for cover as Burnsy was sent packing for 2.
S Licence started to take advantage of the quick outfield getting one through mid-on for 4, before making a massive show of a leave only to watch Pederson’s straight ball give the stumps the slightest peck on the cheek on the way through to Cav and Licence was done for 5.
Alex Troth took over from the Wheatfield end and in his first over nearly got the Boycott-esque opener Julian ‘JLS’ Lawton Smith out when he hit a fast one straight at the square leg umpire who hit the deck quicker than as if he was in the ring with Ronda Rousey. This had the combined effect of obscuring Dickie Tyler’s view of the ball and distracting him so all he could do from the square leg field position was get enough of a finger on it to deflect it to BJ and save the boundary. However Troth soon got his wicket, trapping Mr Rochester LBW for 0.
JLS was joined at the crease by young Dan Savin who put some good shots together and this was going to be a dangerous partnership until 'Daylight’ Rob Berry got the type of mystical run out that you hear about but are rarely privileged enough to witness. Savin hit Daylight’s delivery hard and fast directly back at his shin; the young Abingdon man had noticed that JLS was backing up and so was well out of his crease, he gave the ball a deft flick and the ball stuck home before JLS could get his bat onto the white line. At least that is how Daylight describes it, to everyone else it seemed as though the ball went straight through his fingers struck him on the shin and ricocheted onto the stumps; but the result is the same. JLS was not convinced that he was not safe but unfortunately the Strollers used all their reviews early and so he had to walk.
Savin and new man in Sam Warry soon set up an impressive partnership; the fast outfield and seasonably warm day meant that the Villagers were somewhat lackadaisical in the field and the runs began to flow like cheap champagne. Gareth Ellis took over from Daylight from the Pavilion end and managed to plug the leak a little with some impressive fast, full bowling. Dickie Tyler came on at the Wheatfield end but couldn’t find the length required to trouble the batsmen and so the Skipper politely removed him from the attack and took over himself. it was Ellis who soon got the breakthrough however; Alex Troth taking a superb catch in the covers to remove Warry (37), ending the Strollers’ 93 run partnership. Bill then saw off the second Warry brother bowling him for 6, regrettably there were no spinning stumps for Cav to avoid this time but the damage was just as effective.
With the Villagers’ first string bowling attack back in action there was a renewed energy in the team; Adam Winter picked up a cover drive from Lee Davie, who wasn’t as quick between the sticks as perhaps he once was, and threw the ball into the bowler’s end where Bill was able to have a cup of tea before removing the bails and ending Davie’s (4) innings. Captain Smith was now on a mission to wrap the innings up and next in his sights was the tenacious Savin. Smith charged in and a blistering ball struck the young half centurion on the pads; some might say it was the confidence in the way every single Iffley player appealed that may have swayed the umpire rather than the direction of the ball but the finger was raised and the danger man finally gone for 64.
It seems only fitting that the final ball of the innings was bowled by the departing BJ who got Carter with another deceptively straight one so the Villagers had a target of 177.
The Tewers’ tea was a treat (nothing to compare to Jenny ‘Spen-dawg’ Spencer’s Millionaire Shortbread, however, which we are all looking forward to trying again) and afterwards BJ and Cav opened the batting. The Warry brothers were bowling from each end and were certainly living up to their name, bringing the fight to the Iffley batsmen like Leonidas at Thermopile. Within 11 overs they had dispatched the top 5 batsmen the Village had to offer - Cav (7) was caught behind; BJ (22) was let off when Sam Warry dropped him off Mike Warry’s bowling but then Mike had him caught in the slips; Winter (0), Berry (2), and D. Watkins (3) were bowled for 5 between them, the scoreboard at a worrying 34-5.
So it was left up to the all-rounders Ellis and Smith to start the come-back; and come back they did. The Warry brothers bowled their respective spells and the spinners Bedford and Warry Snr took over and the run rate increased astronomically. Soon Dan Savin took over from the Wheatfield end and despite announcing to Gareth that he ‘opened the bowling for the firsts’. Bill dispatched his first 2 deliveries over the rope for 4s. After the second ball disappeared into the brush curiosity got the better of Gareth and he had to ask, ‘which firsts?’ This prompted a Savin vs Ellis grudge match with the bowler trying to stare out Ellis with every ball. Bill (42) eventually played fast and loose at a ball that skewed up in the air and was taken with a very athletic diving catch at cover.
The unknown quantity of the Iffley side, Mark ‘Babyface’ Watkins entered the fray and despite his youthful appearance played a very mature controlled game and the Iffley scoreboard kept creeping steadily towards the total.
When Ellis (38) was caught off spinner Eddie Burn, however, the Villagers were still 50 runs from the total and in order to seal a victory it was time to see if the Iffley tail would wag. It didn’t. Babyface (8) was soon dispatched by Savin, skewing one into the covers and the final 2 wickets fell to Burn’s spin – Tyler (bowled for 3) and Taylor (bowled for 0) leaving Alex Troth the red ink for 6.
As usual, despite the result a good time was had by all and hats off to the hosts Great Tew who kept the bar open for us so we could see off the overseas contingent with some style.