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19 Jun 2015 - Charlie Compton

Another Friday, another fixture against an opposition featuring Will House.

Quite a team this one too. Having traveled from London to get to The Vine in good time for a net, fielding practice, removal of the covers and a pint in the bar before the 18:00 start, they responded gracefully to the request from our skipper that we bat first on the basis that we still only had three players present at 18:10.

So Old Oaks eventually batted first on a beautifully sunny evening. Gary Atkins opened the innings with Mehtab and the two went about their business against a focused Blackwood attack. Some movement in the air and off the deck made for a difficult start, but a classy Atkins entertained with some punchy strokeplay and retired in the sixth over with a delightful lofted drive which landed in the garden of the nice house with a yellow door.

After Atkins’ departure, the aesthetics diminished somewhat as Old Oaks had little response to a well drilled bowling and fielding performance from the visitors. Mehtab (12) struggled before being bowled, our Prussian hero Seldon (10) failed to get into any rhythm before being sent back, Sykes (16) swung and missed far too often and Nash (12) struggled for fitness. When forced to run four threes in succession he dropped to his knees and looked very much the epitome of this sorry innings.

Barring Atkins, only Trevor Saker (19), taking a sabbatical from back yard cricket down under offered anything like the standard required to make this a competitive total. It’s great to have him back for a few weeks.

Having been set 136 to win, Blackwood set their stall out early doors with Rugg-Gunn and Terry both retiring within the first 8 overs. At which stage it was a delight to see House come out to the crease. But he wasn’t there for long. Perhaps “Here’s my bunny” wasn’t the wisest of things for Sykes to announce. House retired for 28 fairly quickly, at least 25 of which were off Sykes. Another chap came in and smashed it, but shoddy scoring means we’re not sure who else did what with the ball for Old Oaks. From memory, Smith and Saker impressed.

It must be said that the bowling and fielding was actually pretty good, and took this very good visiting team to the last over of the game. It was in the batting department (particularly run rate) that Old Oaks failed here.

Blackwood won by 8 wickets and went to Raj Bari