On Wednesday 10th May the First XI faced an unbeaten Oxford Brookes XI. Everyone eventually assembled at a very nice Kenilworth Wardens Cricket Club, despite co-pilot Mihir initially taking Kit to a ground in Coventry. The team welcomed both debutant Nipun and the return of Jimmy Harris, who took no time at all in living up to his reputation of being naked at every possible opportunity and offering some borderline chat. After losing a third toss in a row UWMCC found themselves taking to the field in what could only be described as perfect conditions for batting.
Kit and Rhino opened up, with the former beating the bat on numerous occasions and the latter bowling with the consistency which we have come to take as given. However, it was the introduction of Snakey which yielded the breakthrough as the larger of the two openers who’d dealt solely in boundaries sliced one to Bex at backward point. This failed to slow the momentum of the Brookes innings and although Mihir could consider himself rather unfortunate for one of his aerial shots not to have gone to hand, the opener reached a very good 100 (his 3rd in 3 BUCS games – having told the MCCU team to get stuffed after the 2 in 2).
At 192-3 off 40 overs UWMCC were staring down the barrel of having an extremely large total to chase. However, nobody had counted on the death bowling trio of Rhino, Ferid and Kit. Ferdi bowling the last 9 overs from one end finished with extraordinary figures of 2-33. At the other Kit and Rhino bowled 6 between them which cost just 22 runs. In the end the Brookes innings closed on a faltering 228-6 – a total which would still require a much better UWMCC batting performance than we had seen thus far, but far from as many as it could have been.
UWMCC were 10-0 without a legal ball being bowled and the chase was off to a flyer. In the hope that he was still riding the wave of confidence after his bowling performance Ferdi was sent out to open as we looked for quick runs. Unfortunately, the wave came crashing back down as he was LBW first ball. Bex followed suit 3 balls later, caught and bowled, leaving UWMCC reeling at 12-2. ABG and Goodyear steadied the ship, whilst moving the score along at a decent rate, primarily thanks to an interesting fifth bowler Brookes persisted with. After the former was dismissed LBW, Goodyear and Root continued the good work, taking the score up 137, when Goodyear was caught behind for 64. Nipun was terribly unfortunate, being run out backing up following a powerful straight drive from Rooty. And then when Rooty dragged on the score was suddenly 166-6 and from a position of dominance UWMCC now looked second favourites.
Kit and Mihir built an excellent partnership taking the score up to 200, but a flurry of wickets saw UWMCC 211-9 – requiring 17 off the last 2 overs. After Jarris’ first few shots did little to instill confidence, Mihir decided to take the attack to Brookes, playing some wonderfully calculated lofted shots. The equation became 5 off the last 3 balls, but Mihir had lost the streak. Cometh the hour… cometh the man? But did you ever expect that man to be James Harris? Especially with willow in hand (I can’t say I did). Unfazed by having been dropped in the previous over Jimmy proceeded to strike the bowler back over his head for a one bounce four. Unbeknown to us onlookers this was also accompanied by a word of advice to the bowler of “Don’t bowl there fella”!! Did he realise we still needed one to complete an unlikely victory (in fairness he probably did)? But back up his chat he did as he sliced the next ball away through the covers to give UWMCC a memorable victory, which was much needed after the disappointment of being on the wrong side of a close one the week before.