Format: 40 overs
Result: Lost by 9 wickets
After two matches which were called off due to wet weather, IVCC happily made the short trip to old chums Appleton for a 40-over clash on a warm late May afternoon. There were no debutants for the Villagers for a change, but they did welcome back two players for their second appearance: Young Arthur Beard, a product of the fabled IVCC youth system and a player who had made a fine 47 on debut at Wolvercote last year; and Jonny Gifford, a man who now has the slightly peculiar record of having played for IVCC in 100% of the club’s 40-over matches vs Appleton but 0% of the rest. Garr, Daylight, Adam and Alex were joined by five Villagers who had not played in the season opener at Abingdon: usual-skipper-but-running-late Bill, skipper-for-the-day Olly Ross, man-with-more-initials-than-is- necessary Fergus W.A. Cable-Alexander, the human wookie Dickie Tyler and acrobatic gloveman Cav.
With Bill and Adam not at the ground 15 minutes before start, Olly proposed to Appleton that IVCC would bat first. Appleton, also eager to bat, insisted on a coin toss, which Olly duly won, so we found ourselves putting our pads on anyway. The skipper named his top five and noted that we wouldn’t be three-down by 2.30pm (Bill’s expected arrival time) – unfortunately he was wrong. FWACA (2) shouldered arms to a ball which struck him on the pad and was fingered by Daylight in the first over; Young Arthur (4) insisted on trying to slog-sweep every ball and was caught at mid-off; and Olly (7) was well caught at point having made good contact with a wide one.
IVCC regulars will remember that at the start of the 2015 season we found ourselves in a similar predicament against Long Compton: 3-down for not-many and facing an uphill task. On that day, Captain Bill returned from a stag do and played an important knock in partnership with a certain Australian to dig ourselves out of a hole. Garr also made a key contribution in the recovery on that day, but he was denied the opportunity to do likewise here when Jonny gave him out LBW for 2. Adam (0), in at 5, was keen to test out his new bat, and keen to show prudence outside his off-stump cautiously left his first three balls. Unfortunately for him, the last of these smashed into off-stump and sent him back to the hutch without a single cherry on the new willow.
At this point the score was 16 for 5 and the newly arrived Bill was scrabbling around to find enough equipment and clothing to allow him to take to the field and bat. Eventually he strode out to the middle without any socks and proceeded to build the only meaningful partnership of the innings, with Cav. Bill (50) was his usual busy self, scampering ones and twos while also finding the boundary regularly enough to keep the scoreboard ticking over. He deservedly reached his first IVCC half-century with successive boundaries and then holed out to mid-off on the next ball. Well played, that man.
At the other end Cav (13) was looking good, albeit with a slightly unorthodox and stealthy approach to running between the wickets. Bill’s dismissal however triggered a second collapse and IVCC crumpled from 84 for 6 to 96 all out in just a few overs. Daylight (0) was run out without facing a ball, Cav played around a straight one and was bowled, Dickie (0) was castled first ball and Jonny (7) also lost his stumps. Poor Alex was left stranded, just 100 runs short of his maiden IVCC century.
After a tea that included jam doughnuts, the Villagers took to the field to see if they could winkle out a few early wickets and make a game of it. Jonny opened the bowling from the sewage end and rattled through a good spell of 1-16 from 5, taking the wicket of Lord via a dubious LBW decision. Daylight bowled from the pavilion end, and although he struggled to find his radar at first, finished up with respectable figures of 0-13 from 4 (11 of which came from the first 2 overs).
Appleton’s batsmen started to open up and play some shots against change bowlers Alex and Dickie, and with so few runs to play with skipper Olly was forced to experiment to try and get a wicket. Adam was thrown the ball for the first time in his IVCC career and bowled well for 0-9 from 2 overs, and would have had a wicket but for a spanner-handed attempt at a catch from Garr. The match was over on the last ball of the 20th over when Appleton’s Ed Gilkes hit a six over fine-leg to complete his own half-century.
So, an afternoon to forget for IVCC on the pitch, but we did have a nice time in the pub afterwards, so it wasn’t all bad. It also seems very fitting that on such a quintessential English summer’s day, we managed to engineer the quintessential English batting collapse. IVCC now look forward to an improved performance against Oxenford in a 20-over game this coming Thursday.
Addendum for stats fans:
Garr Official IVCC statistician