Result: Won by 16 runs
IVCC faced off against the pugnacious publishers from Wiley-Blackwell at Horspath Cricket Club in this E18 (like T20 but with fewer overs) show-down. It wasn’t the most promising of evenings for cricket, with low, dark cloud enshrouding the pitch, threatening rain and sending shivers through the bodies of everyone involved. The prospect of batting second on such a gloomy August evening was not enticing, and luckily for the village, Captain Bill won the toss and chose to bat first.
The skipper decided to open the batting with the Rob “Chalk” Berry and Ali “Cheese” Meier. Given that he considers running between the wickets to be a chore, it was no surprise to see Daylight immediately trying to find the boundary from pretty much every ball. What was more surprising was that he mostly succeeded, and raced to his first ever half-century off 20-odd balls. He was aided by some less-than-enthusiastic fielding, but as ever there were some big hits to his favourite area between mid-wicket and long-on, and even a couple of blows over long-off. He eventually holed out for 74 from 31 balls, a proper Twenty20/Eighteen18 innings for the modern era.
After Daylight’s dismissal, Ali started to free his arms and pumped a couple of cover drives to the boundary before being caught by, err, Ali at backward point. Ali had also chosen this match to unveil his new shot, a weird sort of sweep/scoop/ramp hybrid that can only be played to head-high, looping full tosses. It was left to Olly (who smashed a big six over long off and into the scorer’s hut) and “Justice” Mark Denning to continue the boundary-hitting and take IVCC to a creditable 163 for 2 from 18 overs.
The pitch had looked like a corker for batting and the outfield very quick all through IVCC’s innings. It didn’t take long for the conditions to look even better for batting as Wiley’s openers feasted upon some loose IVCC bowling. Batsman Hurt put both Garr and Village debutant Stocky into the Locker by smashing them to all corners, and by the time both were through their spells, the publishers had racked up 80 without loss from 8 overs.
However, with the light levels lifting thanks to the late arrival of a certain celestial body, Dan Bibb, taking a break from winning Olympic silver in Rugby 7s, came on and wheeled through a good spell of slow-left arm bowling, ending up with figures of 1-21 from 4. From the other end, Captain Bill bowled full, straight and fast, and picked up a wicket of his own, caught by Garr at mid-on. With Olly pitching in with 2 tight overs, Wiley were left 16 runs shy of their target when the curtain fell at the end of the 18th over.
Gareth “Garr” Ellis, aka The Rump-Shaker