Format: 40 overs
IVCC arrived in the beautiful surroundings of Great & Little Tew Cricket Club eager to avenge last season’s defeat against St Clement’s Strollers at the same venue. The opening overs of this encounter were serene, with no hint of the carnage that was waiting around the corner. When IVCC opening batsman Ali was dismissed in the 14th over, the score was on just 62; some 26 overs later, the rabble known as Iffley Village had amassed a stunning 352 runs for the loss of just 3 wickets.
“Justice” Denning smashed 128 (18 fours and 4 sixes), Olly compiled exactly 100 (12 fours and 4 sixes) without breaking a sweat and Captain Bill overcame his misgivings about the one-sidedness of the match by smashing 82 not out (7 fours and 5 sixes). It was a stunning display of batting from all three, and the Strollers’ bowlers and fielders could only watch helplessly as the ball was flailed to all parts by the merciless trio. Even Mr Rochester, Mr Bedford, Mr Warry and Mr Brennan, who were on a daytrip from a Jane Austen novel, couldn’t intervene.
A few stats: IVCC tore past their previous best score of 282 in the 35th over; having only seen one century for the club prior to this game, two more were notched in this one; Mark, Olly and Bill scored the second, third and fourth highest scores in the club’s history. Remarkable stuff.
Tea was a fabulous feast laid on by the IVCC players. Garr, gutted not to have had the chance to make hay in the middle, duly made hay at the buffet, and then, dismayed to learn that he would need to open the bowling, found himself regretting that second mini-pastie. And the slice of chocolate cake. And the extra sandwich. The tea interval also brought a light sprinkling of rain, a sight that was welcomed by the IVCC bowling attack and presumably cursed by the Strollers.
Garr managed to haul his bloated self down the hill and, powered by pork pies and flatulence, found some extra zip off the damp wicket. One ball in the second over brought an early breakthrough, seaming, bouncing and finding the edge before settling in the safe hands of Ali at second slip. For just a few seconds, IVCC felt like a proper cricket team, taking wickets the proper way.
Normal service was resumed shortly afterwards, as four catches went down in the space of 17 overs (two more off Garr, one of the unlucky Matt Law and one off Ali). With the light fading and another rain shower on the way, the players were removed from the field of play by the G&L Tew chairman who was concerned about the state of his pitch.
So the record books shall show “Match abandoned” for this encounter. But those two words, as is often the case with sport, rather undersell the magnitude of what happened on this wet day in August 2016.
Gareth “Garr” Ellis, aka The Rump-Shaker