Saturday 24th July 2021 – Bledlow Ridge CC were the visitors to Westcott on Saturday and currently lying mid-table, but were on the back of a fourth straight winning streak and are the only team to have beaten Westcott thus far this season, in a rain affected game at the Ridge, so not a team to be taken lightly.
With the weather looking “stormy”, the skipper won the toss (I think that is four in a row now for Strongy) and Bledlow Ridge were invited to bat first. With the vice skipper away celebrating his 50th birthday (from last year), Dale took the gloves behind the stumps for the afternoon. Although there was some extremely lack-lustre fielding abundant in many areas, the home team managed to bowl out the Ridge Bears for a very gettable 174. Key performance with the ball was Roy Peterkin, who bowled well for a miserly 3-19 off 10 overs, with Rehman, JB and Strongy all grabbing two wickets each.
With 50 overs to bat, the additional three overs on offer should have made the total achievable if Westcott batted sensibly. However, a couple of heavy showers had now spiced up the wicket somewhat and once again Westcott looked to struggle to chase a total down. At 79-2, things looked comfortable, but a quick flurry of wickets left the skipper somewhat stranded in the middle, as the total was reduced to 86-5.! Once again the heavens opened, just as the game was poised in Bledlow’s favour – five wickets needed for a Bledlow win, but plenty of overs for Westcott to knock off the runs, albeit on a now difficult track for batting, due to the rain.
With the opposition captain having a wedding to attend that evening and also thinking his team had got the winning draw, he was very quickly looking for a handshake to end the days proceedings. A glitch in the reporting upload on the Cherwell website later revealed that Westcott had in fact emerged with the winning draw, based on a superior run rate, as the minimum of 20 overs had been bowled in the second innings (as Tiz had correctly calculated). With the bonus points swapped around, this returned Westcott back to the top of the table for another week.
# However, we must not rest on our laurels and become lazy. Teams always want to beat the top of the table team and will raise their game accordingly, so we must be ahead of that and be prepared to battle. “Lack lustre” is not a word I like to hear about Westcott fielding and I fully expect a marked improvement next week, as Westcott visit Garsington & Cowley CC, who we know will not hang about when batting, so we need to be sharp in the field and raise our standards back to the level expected. That said, we remain at the top of the table and continue to strive for promotion at the end of the season, so all is not that bad 🙂