With no less than 9 BUCS debutants in the side, Sherbaz with only a handful of appearances, and somehow one TFC for Captain Bozza 2 years ago, experience going into this game was hard to come by against an Oxford team who were playing the UWMCC 1st XI only last year. Three friendlies players of Sander, Milward-Bose and Aneesh were those getting BUCS starts and although the feeling could’ve been very pessimistic without the ‘brilliant’ captaincy of Ballo missing, his replacement Adit Kulkarni had even less in his locker, with his captaincy experience amounting to the grand total of vice-captain of his school year 8 team. However, the boys knew to back their own ability, which for Seb Gemes is easy becauses he’s Australian and easy for Tasty because he’s Tasty.
A horror start from Adit on the bus meant no pumping tunes due to his lack of speakers but Murphy got pumped up anyway after he was horrified to find his transfer value at only £8 million on UWMCC fantasy. It was agreed on the bus that Tasty would be the day’s slip fielder as both him and Gemes behind the batsman would create a hostile atmosphere of chat for even the best as the team got to the ground nice and early. The bus driver was worried about parking fines in his selected parking spot but UN diplomat Kulkarni told him ‘I’m sure it will be fine on those double yellows’, before getting the boys out for a quick warm up.
With patchy showers predicted all day, and reduced overs games favouring the side batting second, Warwick looked to bowl first, and with Brookes wanting runs on the board, a fixed toss gave both teams what they wanted. A solid fielding performance was the primary thing demanded by the skipper after memories of anything Charlie Turner did last year living too long in the memory. After Adit had finally got the ball from the changing room, the opening bowlers of Adithya and Sherbaz started nicely but Sherbaz unfortunately had to back out after only one over due to injury. An early break through was a necessity in overcast swinging conditions. After Sherbaz’s replacement, Murphy, had unbearably started out with three wides, the opening batsmen couldn’t resist his wide half tracker but skewed it straight up to point where ninja fielder Milward-Bose put his Ultimate Frisbee skills to good use to take a superb high catch and set a precedent for some overall superb fielding. Many dot balls inside the powerplay put pressure on the batsman, except from a hilarious sky high no ball from Murphy (see any Worst Ball in Cricket History video)
leading to the following conversation:
Sander – “Were you trying the back of the hand ball?”
Murphy – “No, it was just fucking awful.”
The pressure told as their other opener, who had already been dropped, pushed one straight into the hands of Murphy at cover off the excellent bowling of Adithya who finished with 1-24 off of 7 overs. With two wickets down the Oxford batsmen became even more reckless, and although there were some connections, the inevitable snick came, giving Gemes a regulation catch to leave them 35-3 off 12. The batsmen walking in looked even worse and Warwick sensed that this was the time to be ruthless. Spurred on by the racist umpire who accused the only Pakistani bloke Hassan of ball tampering and telling us we were behind the over rate without bowling spin, two more wickets fell. Akash took a wicket in his first over before Murphy had another victim, bowled after padding onto the stumps, complete with penguin power pose celebration. Oxford Brookes were 65-5 off 14 at this point and really imploding. It could’ve been even better as the number 7 had been watching too much IPL and after lofting one high in the sky, and Donald Sander allowing an immigrant through his questionable long barrier, a regulation chance came to Aneesh but was put down. Our fielding was pretty much faultless from then on, with some very hurt shins and knees on the field and a ridiculous one handed stop by the Wall of Sander again, but the drop would prove costly.
After the top 5 appeared to show no ability at all, the number 7 looked fluent against the two spinners of Captain Bozza and Captain Adit and was able to put away the one bad ball in the over that seemed to let the pressure off, including some very flat bat sixes. The score seemed to get away from Warwick without them realising as the partnership went quickly past 50. The chat stayed strong but by the time the next wicket fell off the bowling of Bozza, caught by Aneesh, the score was 150-6, with the dropped batsman making 80. There was enough wag from the Oxford Brookes tail as the final wickets were spread about with Shebaz, Adit, Sander and Bozza all taking one each. Adit’s was a beautiful flighted delivery to bowl the batsman, which left a target of 234 for Warwick to chase, Oxford all out for 233 of 43 overs, a Bozza wicket maiden ending the innings.
Knowing that swing and seam were in play early doors and there was something in the pitch for spinners later on, UWMCC batsmen knew that this was no easy chase. Oxford initially looked to be helping us out with plenty of wides early on and very little off the bat, which was acceptable in the tricky conditions. However opener Hassan was to fall in the third over LBW for just 2 while the other opening bowler who was actually pretty good, not conceding a run off the bat till his sixth over, was able to get other opener Tasty out for 2 caught behind, bringing Gemes and Adit to the crease. Depsite a streaky first shot from Gemes, both looked good, especially off all the other crap bowling from the other end. Adit was then clearly strangled down the legside with a noise so loud deaf people could’ve heard it but the umpire said not out and Adit refused to walk, saying he wasn’t ‘coming all the way to Oxford to get out to that shit’. Inspiring stuff but karma bit Warwick in the butt as Gemes was clean bowled next ball by a good nut. Very little resistance seemed to follow and while Aneesh looked well set before being caught for 22 after a rain delay, unfancied Bozza and Seb Sander arrived at the crease with the score looking embarrassing on 74 for 7 off just 19.1 overs. An astonishing eighth wicket partnership followed of 70 and even more astonishingly was that captain Bozza hit not only boundary after boundary but also an almighty six. Bozza made 41 off 52 balls, before skying one up in the air, missing out on the 50 but his highest ever competitive innings and definitely an Iceland cheesecake to go with it afterwards (Ed. – I have censored what Murphy actually wrote here). Akash played well off his pads to before being out caught and final wicket leaving an unlikely 52 runs needed off 6 overs with only 1 wicket in hand. Murphy decided to get out for the purpose of sesh so the boys could get back to circle earlier. Sander finished resilient on 27* off 73 balls with the final total of 172 all out, only 51 runs behind with a very weakened team which Warwick 4th XI can take heart from. Notable performances were Bozza with 41 and 2-53 off 10, Murphy with 3-34 off 8 and no byes or drops for Gemes with an excellent fielding performance all round.