A strong 1s team graced Cryfield on Wednesday to face off against Oxford Brookes 2s in a must-win game if the boys were to keep their promotion ambitions alive. The return of Colonel Hayes strengthened an already gun batting line up, featuring an in-form Gonszor and a hungover Vivek, with the latter having secured a last-minute invite to Jamie Vardy’s post-parade shindig. Fond memories of the Brookes fixture last year were rekindled pre-match, with some pondering the outcome of Oli Thornley and Aamish Saini having a son together. Verdict: Quicker to 10,000 runs than Ali Cook. As Gooders put the lads through their paces, part-time cowboy and full-time dragon Captain Bozza arrived to take on scoring duties for the day, emphatically sacking his chemistry revision without a moment’s thought. He would later reveal that having ordered a serious set of coloured pens for MCC scoring purposes, some unfortunate exam scheduling would see his dreams shattered into a thousand atoms. The dragon does not forget, and we await the inevitable justice.
Despite the batting prowess on offer, a cloudy overhead sky had the seamers excited and skipper Goodyear duly put Brookes in on a deck it seemed would offer a bit for both parties. Clayds and Snakey opened up and it quickly became clear that anything shorter than a good length would sit up and ask to be sent. The Brookes openers featured one very handy bat who raced to 20 and a larger chap who was no stranger to the buffet cart. Rather fond of a big swish outside off stump, the latter struggled to get bat on ball as the UWMCC openers both found plenty of early movement. Predictably his stay at the crease soon ended when a slightly shorter delivery from Clayds caught the splice of the bat and landed safely in the notoriously un-safe hands of Jimmy Harris at square leg. The lanky shackman had finally found a bit of form this season, and proceeded to snick off the other opener and had their no.3 caught at point by a diving Teds before the end of his opening spell.
At 30 odd for 3 after 12 overs, Brookes set about rebuilding, but found runs very difficult to come by as a tight opening spell from Jezza Roche complemented the spin of Gonszor from the other end. The fact that Gonz was unable to pick up a wicket was perhaps the biggest farce of all time as the ball simply did too much on countless occasions. Returning figures of 10-4-0-18, his slow left arm clinic had brought Brookes progress to a complete standstill. Hayes and Harris then took up the squeezing mantle (shout out to Rameez ‘big squeeze’ Moidu for teaching us everything we know) and wheeled away from opposite ends to great effect. Jimmy Harris found the breakthrough as their keeper inexplicably tried to take on long on as soon as the field was pushed back. The stupid bint. Snakey took a good catch in the deep and Brookes were 85-4. Soon after, Harris claimed the scalp of their no.4, who had scratched around for 41 before finally finding a fielder in Hayes, who took an impressive over the shoulder grab at extra cover. The man himself then found himself in the wickets when the Brookes no. 6 hit one straight to Gonz in the ring.
At 6 down and with overs running out, cleaning up the tail became a bit of a formality. Jezza returned to uproot their 7’s middle stump with a peach of a delivery which nipped back in. Clayds then nicked off another with the first ball of his second spell, and Goodyear comfortably pouched a skier two overs later to complete the 5-fer – Clayds finishing with figures of 9-2-5-25. Henners polished up proceedings when their number 11 found Viv at mid-off, and Brookes ended their innings on 144 all out. A pretty clinical fielding display from the boys and some very economical bowling – Jezza with 1-25 from his 8 overs, Harris with 2-29 from 10 and Hayes with 2-19 from 8.
Viv and Teds opened up to begin the chase and started positively before the latter fell victim to a ball that stuck in the pitch and found a leading edge trying to work it into the leg side. What followed was a brilliantly fluent knock from Gonz who, ably supported by Viv at the other end, led us to the Brookes total at a canter. Perhaps the chase would have been a whole lot different had a woefully inept effort at mid-on not seen Gonz dropped on 8, but our no.3 knuckled down after this life and hit six fours and two sixes in his 65. Viv moved into the 30s for the first time in his career and clearly lost in this unfound territory, was stumped for a well-constructed 32. Hayesy then hit a rapid 32, almost exclusively in boundaries, to ensure that, despite the loss of Gonz in a soft manner at the very end, UWMCC got home comfortably to win by 7 wickets.
A really excellent effort from the lads in all facets of the game, and a couple of good performances stand us in good stead for a promotion charge. The excitable mood amongst the troops even held strong when Rhino rocked up during our chase and threatened to write the match report. Nay dange.