Result: Lost by 19 runs
The lovely University College ground in southern Oxford was the venue for IVCC's third fixture of 2016, a midweek T20 thrash against OCA stalwarts Oxenford. The Villagers made six changes from Sunday's game against Appleton: Daylight, Dickie, Cav, Ferg and Garr were joined by Tim Morton (making his first appearance of the season), all-time leading IVCC wicket-taker Dan Bibb, Matt Watts (making his second ever IVCC appearance almost two years after making his first), Matt's son Gus (aka "Little Gav"), Mark Denning (a former teammate from village cricket of both Tim and Dan) and new IVCC member and hopefully soon-to-be regular Miles Johnson.
With Captain Bill otherwise engaged with work obligations, Garr took up captaincy duties for the second time this season and got off to a bad start by losing the toss: IVCC would have to bat second on an evening which was already pretty gloomy at 6pm. The skipper's mood did not lighten much when he learnt that Robbie Eason, captain of Horspath CC 1st XI and University College groundsman, was opening the batting for Oxenford. However, the ex-Oxfordshire player did not reckon with the bowling of Daylight and was comprehensively bowled for just 14 after looking pretty comfortable. Remarkably, that was Daylight's first wicket for IVCC in his 7th appearance (and in his 17th over of bowling). Meanwhile, from the pavillion end, Little Gav roared in with some accurate left-arm seam and was unfortunate not to pick up a wicket from a tight LBW shout. Both opening bowlers bowled with great accuracy and kept the scoring rate down - Oxenford were on just 36 after both had gone through their allocation.
With Gav (0-18) and Daylight (1-17) done, Captain Garr turned to left armers from both ends. Dan Bibb reclaimed his place as IVCC's leading wicket-taker in the season opener at Abingdon, and he extended his lead here in a superb spell of tight slow bowling. He took two wickets, one bowled and one LBW, to finish with excellent figures of 2-19 from 4. From the other end, Dickie Tyler (0-22 from 3) bowled with good line and length and would have had a wicket in the book but for some errant catching and some fortunate batting.
Just in case IVCC hadn't used enough left-arm bowlers, Garr turned to debutant Miles Johnson to finish up from the Donnington Bridge end. Miles bowled with good pace and - a few wides not withstanding - good accuracy and picked up two wickets, the first clean bowled and the second from a superb running catch from Watts Sr at deep midwicket. Garr threw himself the ball and finished up from the pavillion end, bowling some good line and length (unfortunately not always at the same time), getting decent movement off the pitch and picking up the wicket of Oxenford's captain, well caught by the bear paws of Dickie. In between times, Cav managed to dislocate a finger behind the stumps and Daylight had to don the pads for the last couple of overs. Oxenford finished on 114 for 6 from 20 overs and IVCC would need to score at just 5.75 per over to win the game.
The run chase started reasonably well enough, with Ferg and Mark looking comfortable (although Ferg did survive a first-ball LBW shout that was later described by Umpire Gus as "pretty much out") until Ferg lost his off stump for 6. Tim joined Mark in the middle and both played some nice shots, Mark hitting particularly well over long-on on a couple of occasions, and Tim hitting an effortless six over midwicket.
With the light now almost completely absent, batting was getting pretty tricky, and Tim's dismissal for 14 sparked the third batting collapse of the week: Mark (21), Watts Sr (1), Garr (8) and then Daylight (0) all holed out in quick succession to leave the Village staring at the possibility of an all-time low score. One has to feel somewhat sorry for Daylight, who followed up his zero-ball duck on Sunday with a first-baller tonight. Some semblance of respectability was restored by the seventh wicket partnership of Miles and Little Gav (who at the tender age of sixteen years old has taken Arthur's title of Youngest Ever Villager), who both picked the gaps in the field superbly and ran hard between the wickets: between them they managed three threes and eight twos as they hauled IVCC to a reasonable final total of 95 for 7 (with Gav dismissed on the last ball of the innings for 23). Miles finished up a solid all-round performance on debut with 17 not out.
So only 20 runs in it in the end, although it didn't really feel like a close run-chase once the middle order had caved in. One has to reflect on the 16 wides bowled by IVCC and wonder if this game could have been closer with some more careful bowling and some less reckless middle-order batting. IVCC now look forward to Sunday's game against Wantage & Grove as they look for a second win of the season.