Saturday 21st August 2021 – The penultimate home game of the season for the 1st XI saw another desperate day of weather (climate change they say!!) After two weekends missing, the club captain finally took back the control of his troops and fortunately managed to win the toss for once in quite unpleasant conditions, but a game that Westcott needed to play and somehow force a result from, if they were to keep the pressure on the top two teams in the division. A simple enough decision to insert the opposition in to bat, even with only eight home players having turned up at the start of the game?! With Hedders stuck at work managing a system server update, Westcott took to the field with now ten players and worked hard to plug the ginormous gap that would be Hedders, but at least the skipper didn’t have the problem of prising him out of the slip cordon this week. Rehman bowled a fantastic ten over spell, picking up two well deserved wickets for only 15 runs before the rain came and the players quickly pushed the covers on and took refuge in the clubhouse. With both teams now losing overs, the laptop was required to punch in the totals and let the DLS system do it’s thing. Who had the laptop? Ah, the vice skipper had it, but he wasn’t playing (still nursing an old man injury apparently.!!)  A quick text by the skipper and Tony hurried into his car and up to the ground with said laptop in hand. The rain eventually subsided, a watery sunshine appeared and the umpires declared that the game was now a 40 over a side affair. After a brief drying off period, the players re emerged and Westcott set about keeping things tight to restrict the Aston Rowant total as best they could. A few lusty blows led to a shower of wickets, as Aston Rowant tried to balance the potential loss of wickets with scoring quick runs. This allowed Roy to pick up three wickets, finishing with nice figures of 3-30 from 8 overs, also taking three catches in the field, and the skipper finally removed the stubborn opener caught and bowled. JB bowled well with no luck and so Waqas returned at the death to pick up his first wicket, trusting his “nip backer” to clean bowl the tail ender. Aston Rowant finished on 170-9 in their 40 overs, which overall was a decent bowling and fielding effort by the ten man team.

Hedders reported that he was now en-route and so the full compliment of batting talent would be available for the Westcott innings. With Tony, the now designated DLS Manager still faffing about with the laptop, trying desperately to work out how to insert the batting totals and required run rates, the Westcott openers padded up. Finally a DLS target score of 178 from 40 overs was agreed by umpires and captains alike and Westcott’s innings could commence. Unfortunately Roy was given out LBW without scoring, which brought Dale to the crease. Both he and Stuart batted very sensibly, looking to build a sold foundation for the middle order, but also mindful of the DLS score, should the innings go beyond 20 overs. However, the evening seemed to be brightening up and a low sun appeared out of the clouds, to bring some warmth to the players. A few of the 2’s players had now turned up, having suffered a defeat at Tetsworth and the bar became a popular place of interest for those not playing. Stuart popped one up and was caught by a great diving catch for 13 and Dale played back to a low skidder and was bowled for 20, but Westcott had made a reasonable start. With the score hovering just under the target DLS score, Tanveer played a lovely controlled innings and the score moved nicely along with the required run rate. However, a little bit of confusion in the middle saw Tanveer unfortunately run out when on 32 and Rehman’s miserable run of form continued, as he cut the ball away hard through the third man region and was superbly caught only a few inches from the ground. In fairness, Aston Rowant did field extremely well (the luxury of youth I suppose) and took their catches to leave the game in the balance. Cue the skipper, who came in and played a mature, senior like innings, picking off the bad ball, but importantly kept the score board ticking along nicely in tune with the required run rate. With 65 required from the final 12 overs, Alimar played some of his usual effortless looking shots, including a beautiful straight drive, followed by a pull shot and Westcott started to take control of the game, but, it looked like it was still going to be a tight finish. With Alimar out caught for an extremely useful 31, Waqas looked to be aggressive and promptly smashed a four straight down the ground, but he was also run out a few balls later. At no stage had Westcott really got ahead of the run rate and now needed 12 from 12 balls. Skipper Strongy had it all under control though (or so he told us afterwards), smearing the ball to the boundary in the last couple of overs to leave Westcott requiring 1 run from the last four balls. A single was pinched, with JB sprinting to the danger end, but he was too quick for the fielding team and Westcott had reached the target with five wickets in hand, but with only two balls of the game remaining. “Comfortable” said the skipper afterwards, but not so for the watching masses.

So, a good victory for the boys that sees them keep the pressure on at the top of the table and thanks to the umpires Brian Standish and Peter Smith for their efforts throughout the afternoon. On to next week, with a visit by ex OCA rivals Oxenford CC. Let’s hope the weather is kinder to us in the last two weeks of the season 🙂