Saturday 3rd Jul 2021 – News flash…the skipper won the toss…Yep.. you read it correctly, the skipper won the toss!! On a track that was white on the Thursday evening, heavy rain Friday had added a tinge of green, but it still looked like it was a batting day. Rehman and Stuart padded up and strode out to the middle, looking to get Westcott off to a solid start. Rehman certainly didn’t disappoint, despatching the Horspath opening bowler back over his head in the first over and then smashed a huge six the following over, to really set the scene for the day. There was nothing that the bowlers could do with Rehman in this kind of mood and the score raced along to 77 from the first 11 overs, Stuart played sensibly at the other end, putting the bad ball away to the boundary, but Rehman passed his half century in pretty quick time and raced along to 65, before skying one to mid wicket. The speed of scoring understandably slowed somewhat after Rehman’s departure, however Dale and Stuart looked very solid as Westcott continued to tick the scoreboard along. Dale made a useful 22 before getting out to a loose shot, but Tanveer carried on the motion, scoring freely as he normally does. When Tanveer was bowled for 23, the total was on 133 for 3, with 20 overs left for Westcott to push on, with a 250 total in mind. Stuart made an extremely cultured 44, before getting out caught just shy of his half century. With Tiz out cheaply, Waqas scored a quick 20 before Alimar came in and played a lovely cameo innings, smashing three huge sixes into the field to move the score beyond 200 with a few overs to go. Tony supported him at the other end, until Alimar tried to hit the ball out the ground one too many times, but had still made a quickfire 32. Tony was then run out, having called two, then realising there wasn’t two, but a youthful looking, sprinting skipper, was already half way back down the track on his second run. JB scored a quick 5 runs in the 53rd over and Westcott had reached the 250 total they desired, for the loss of 8 wickets. This left Horspath 47 overs to bat.
I must say that every Horspath batsman that came in to bat played extremely correctly (as I would expect from a Home Counties club) and bowling them out was never going to be easy. Although Westcott managed to grab a couple of early wickets, Dale taking two good catches from the bowling of Waqas, it was the Horspath middle order that took the initiative back, with Dan Jones smearing any loose ball straight to the boundary and Horspath looked like they might make the game go deep. JB bowled a tidy little spell of 7 overs for only 17 runs, but no one looked like they would be able to break the partnership being created by the the two Jones’s. For once, the skipper was not effective on a pitch that was offering nothing much to the bowlers at this stage (although he did pick up a wicket with Dale taking his third catch of the day) and so Tanveer was requested to put some pace on the ball and try and hurry the batsmen up a little. This tactic worked as the elder Jones flicked one straight to Waqas at mid wicket, who took a comfortable catch. With the game in the balance, a couple of run outs brought the game back in Westcott’s direction as Horspath were now 7 down and the dilemma for them was whether to go for the win, but risk losing the game if they lost a wicket or two. In this format of the 100 over win-lose-draw game, run rates can become extremely important and there effectively becomes two totals in play. One being the winning total and one being the winning/losing draw total. With only three overs to go, the 250 total seemed like it would be a hard push for Horspath to reach, but, and without going too much into detail, Westcott needed to restrict Horspath to a score which allowed for a winning draw for Westcott based on run rate.. confused yet?? Some sensible field placings by the skipper and some accurate bowling in the last couple of overs further stifled the Horspath reply and Westcott managed to come away from the game with a winning draw.
Westcott CC would like to wish the young Horspath CC player Charlie Turner all the very best for a speedy recovery, after he was hit in the face whilst attempting a catch. Also, a big thank you to all Westcott players / staff that assisted during this unfortunate incident, helping to ensure a young players safety and wellbeing. Well done guys.