Saturday 1st May 2021 – Westcott CC welcomed OBNCC for the final pre-season fixture before the action begins for real next weekend. With both teams missing a couple of key players, it was the home skipper who won the toss and asked the visitors to bat on a drying wicket. Rehman and Alimar opened up with the new ball and soon found that any loose delivery would be despatched to the boundary by the OBNCC openers. The breakthrough came in the 7th over however, with Rehman bowling a lovely in swinging delivery that took an inside edge and removed the batsman’s bails. The score moved steadily on to 49, before a change of bowling paid off, with Waqas taking the edge of the other OBNCC batsman and Tony took the catch behind the stumps. The skipper took the opportunity to bring himself on and bowled his usual tight lines, restricting the run rate and taking three wickets during his 10 over spell (Ivan taking a good catch in the deep). JK supported the skipper at the other end, bowling with control, picking up a couple of wickets and the OBNCC score moved steadily onto 122 for 8 after 40 overs. However, the OBNCC tail proved somewhat more stubborn and a combination of some big hitting and poor fielding allowed for the batting total to reach 171, before Rehman took the the last wicket in the final over of the innings. A decent enough performance in the field, but definitely room for improvement as the season goes forth.

Alimar and Stuart opened up the Westcott innings, Alimar playing some lovely shots from the off, with Stuart providing a more resolute approach, but both looked comfortable at the crease. The first wicket fell in the eighth over, with Alimar playing a loose shot across the line when on 27. Waqas played a couple of nice shots before being bowled by what looked a decent swinging ball from N Khan and the score in reply was similar to that of the OBNCC innings. However, Pete Smith (aka Finbarr aka Stuart Bingham) played a mature, sensible innings, knocking the ball in the gaps, taking runs when they were offered, and he and Stuart moved the score along to 116, before Stuart was out bowled when on 33. The OBNCC skipper ringed the bowling changes trying to find further wickets, but Rehman had other ideas and smashed a very quick 32no to finish the game off in the 42nd over, with a win for Westcott for the loss of four wickets.

Finbarr ended on a defiant 44no and in the post match interview, described his innings as “scratchy”, but proved that by not being willing to give up his wicket cheaply, pays dividends. A lesson for us all to learn and take notice of in the 50 over format. Many thanks to Derek and Martin for umpiring and Westcott CC wishes O&BNCC all the very best for their campaign this season. A good bunch of lads and great to hear some quality banter throughout the day.

So, the league starts in earnest next Saturday, with a trip to Bletchley Town CC, match starting at 1230pm.