Format: 35 overs
Result: Won by 75 runs
IVCC vs Wantage and Grove CC Sunday 5th June 2016
After a run of rain ruined matches and crushing defeats the morale of IVCC was in danger of sinking to a new low and with a new fixture against unknown opposition looming it was time for the club to stamp it’s authority on the 2016 season – and how they did!
With several regular members unavailable we were graced with a couple of new faces amongst a smattering of old hands and with the sun shining, an excellent track, a fast outfield and a friendly barman the scene was set for a record-breaking day.
The skipper was reluctant to bat first having been skittled for 96 the week before, but all the signs pointed to runs on the board and with the grace of the cricketing gods tails landed and we inserted ourselves. 35 overs a side, win or lose. The batting order was nicely defined by a late arrival by Basil Walden-Jones giving Mark Law the opportunity to join Fergus Cable-Alexanzzzzzzzzzzzzzz (sorry, that name does go on) at the crease. A decent opening bowling attack was blunted by Mark’s defiant, watchful start and the Vaughn-esque strokeplay of Fergs, who raced to 27 including a straight 6 in the third over and 14 off the fourth. Sadly his innings was cut short in ridiculous fashion as he ran himself out attempting a second (Mr Law doesn’t do 2’s). Our new addition Ram, joined Mark at the crease (briefly) and shuffled off having chased a very wide one.
In came the tardy Basil keen to add to a promising 45 in his only previous knock of the season (not for IVCC I might add) but he was on the receiving end of a good off-cutter through the gate demonstrating that there was a bit in the pitch for bowlers as well. Then we came to the pivotal moment of match with the arrival at the crease of the bearded wonder in the US Marine Corps Cap, Tim Morton. With 3 out of his first 6 scoring shots clearing the ropes the scene was set for an innings of destruction Chris “don’t blush baby” Gayle would have been proud of. With local housing under fire and roof slates tumbling Tim raced to 50 overtaking Mark “The Tortoise” Law in the mid 30’s with ease.
Excitement grew on the sidelines, not because the barman had returned from painting a neighbour’s house but because records began to fall. First Tim went past the individual record of that hallowed anitpodean Bjorn Pedersen of 76, and then the partnership passed 100. As Tim entered the 90’s the skipper slipped out onto the field to umpire and to give Tim a post-century instruction. As he blazed another full toss into the trees to bring up a maiden IVCC century he was instructed to politely pop a catch up in the air. 43 runs later he missed a straight one. Nine 4’s and twelve 6’s, 4 lost balls and a damaged roof. A display that will probably never be witnessed again in our lifetime. Bravo they cried!
Mark shrewdly avoided a jug for a well played 47 (his brother Matt less lucky with a first baller) and, with a typically robust 25 from Rob “Daylight” Berry and a couple of lusty blows from the skipper Ross, a mightily impressive 282 – 8 was posted, a new record score for the club.
Tea was a taste sensation capped off beautifully with a selection of vodka shots (which cemented the Villagers desire to return in 2017!) and all the talk was of the smell of victory in the air (and of how many pints Fergs had consumed).
A tight opening spell by Miles “Mitch” Johnson was rewarded with an early breakthrough but the Wantage batsman Burton and Mercer soon found their stride clipping through midwicket and smoting over cover to 90-1 off only 13 overs. 137-2 off 21. Worried faces began to adorn the Villagers at the realisation that 282 may not be enough. Fear not rose the cry, cometh the hour cometh the man. No, not Ross in the midst of a tight spell. No, not Walden-Jones keeping the British end up with cheeky tweakers. Dan Watkins at first slip. After Basil Jones made the breakthrough with a long hop so short it nearly broke his own toes, the Wantage spirit was broken as Wood mistimed drive and Watkins, striding to his right like the BFG, plucked a catch one-handed inches off the ground in a Champagne Moment to be savoured.
After that Wantage were never in the race. Ram replaced an excellent Basil (2-34) and began to beguile the opposition with some so far unseen “straight bowling”. 2-14 just reward for tight lines. After a slow start Matt Law found a good line and length and both Troth (2-50) and Johnson (2-43) returned to score success with the opposition finding themselves 9 down in the last over.
A brave chase ended on 207-9 leaving Wantage and Grove 75 runs short and handing a hard fought but well-deserved victory to IVCC. A beautiful ground, sunny skies and particularly hospitable hosts meant for a fantastic inaugural fixture and both sides expressed a desire for a return match next season. Iffley Village CC’s season back on track………..but 5th June will always be known in the future as Tim Morton Day.