2s v Oxford University 2s

The 2s, or more accurately, as Southampton are to Liverpool, the ‘2s Academy’, with most of the team consisting of 3/4s players, were narrowly defeated in a long and well-fought game by Oxford University’s 2nd XI. Good standards were set before departure, with captain Amogh turning up 30 minutes late (being over 10 minutes late obviously isn’t a strike for captains). This was followed by confusion around which bus we were travelling on. The lads, under Amogh’s leadership, were in for a long day. When the situation had been resolved, the driver gave the 2s some motivational words about how we would win by 3 and be home by 4 (not quite mate). We were off, albeit 40 minutes after the arranged meet. Amogh continued his good run as 2’s captain when we arrived in Oxford. He somehow managed to give the driver the wrong postcode, meaning that the driver had to seek directions from residents of the housing estate he had led us down. After searching on the ground’s website, funnily enough Amogh found the right postcode. Upon arrival at the ground, the driver attempted to drive down a footpath, much to the horror of a lady walking in the opposite direction. After suggesting walking down the footpath instead, the boys had made it.
Warm-ups were interesting, with you’ll never guess who… Amogh, forgetting to bring any equipment. With the lads training in various kits, consisting of Tour Stash, Akuma kit, home club kit, and even playing whites for Ojas, we were looking strong af. Some of the best drills were on show, with slip catches making an appearance! In this, the 2s learnt some great slip fielding advice from Tim. A personal favourite was the tip to dive no matter how far the ball is away, so that the other slip fielder goes and retrieves it. Amogh was called to do the toss by the oppositions skipper, Barnaby. Amogh finally got something right, winning and electing to bowl. In the meantime, somehow Jonnie, who had driven, located the ground. He joined in with the bowling warm-up, greeting Pakora with one to the shins. With that, the 2s were ready.
The lads fielded for the full 50 overs; however, a strong bowling display was shown. Opening was Jonnie and CalGal, who both looked sharp first up. In their first spells, both managed to pick off Oxford’s top order. In this period, Amogh’s old district ‘friend’ came into bat at number 3. Amogh instantly recognised the lad, but then realised he didn’t know his name, much to Pakora and Tim’s amusement. Luckily for Amogh, the lad was out for single figures, saving him some embarrassment. Following strong start opening spells, Rohan came onto bowl. With his first ball, he struck! Charlie taking a good catch at cover. Amogh in the huddle told Rohan “I’m gonna make that look so sick in the match report.” Unfortunately, Amogh isn’t writing it mate. Rohan had bowled a full-toss outside off-stump, epitomizing how shit really can take wickets! Partnered up with Dan from the other end, both bowled well, stringing up dot balls and building up pressure on Oxford’s middle order. In the meantime, Amogh was unhappy with the fielding placements. For no reason other than him being “shit”, despite having done nothing wrong, Amogh decided to move Ben out of Cover and replace him with CalGal. This proved to be an interesting change, with CalGal miss-fielding 3 times, much to the amusement of Tim, who sarcastically congratulated Cal every time he picked the ball up cleanly. After the strong bowling start from the Seamers, on came some spin. Ojas and Nikhil bowled (and I cannot stress this enough) beautifully… most of the time. When bowling his stock delivery, Ojas was causing Oxford’s batsmen all sorts of problems. Instead of just bowling this though, Ojas decided to fire in his effort ball, which was often short and capitalised upon. Ojas took 1 wicket, but it was a questionable one at that. Pakora, with some smart glove work had stumped the batsman. The umpire, obviously admiring this, decided to give the lad out, even though he was 95% in. Jonnie was adamant that his foot was in the air. Being stood on the boundary obviously gave him a much clearer view… The umpire, probably realising this mistake, didn’t give a clear run-out later from CalGal’s throw. Some fielding masterclasses were on show, with notable mentions for Charlie, and Dan, who “leapt like a salmon” all afternoon, according to Tim. The captain, who had been picking up on Ben’s shit arm all afternoon (shoulders injured, ok?), missed an easy run out, failing to throw the ball 10m to Ojas. Some say he bottled the throw harder than Liverpool did the League. Nikhil bowled his variations, showing the 2s what he’d been working on over the winter. The ‘double-bouncer’, which almost took a wicket, was one of my favourites. Nikhil bowled well throughout his 5-over spell. At a boiling 16 degrees, one of Oxford’s batsman was struggling with the heat (he was on 15). Dan, in his second spell, was causing him all kinds of problems. Dan found the edge, with a good catch by Pakora. DAN HAD TAKEN A WICK… oh no it wasn’t given despite the batsman absolutely middling it. Pakora was upset. Onto the next ball… the batsman was cramped, with the ball rolling off his pad. His partner at the other end was ¾ of the way down the track before being sent back. Pakora had sprint in to retrieve the ball and throw to the non-strikers, only to find that the batsman had blocked him off. Pakora wasn’t best pleased to say the least. In a relatively eventful 50 Overs, Oxford ended on 231.
Onto the batting. Opening was Charlie and Pakora, who both looked very comfortable out in the middle. The two managed to build a very tidy platform for the rest to build from, with Pakora being dismissed in the 40s trying to work the ball down to long-on. Tim walked in having set himself the target of scoring 15 runs (strangely specific, I know) and was off the mark straight away with a glance to third man for 2 runs. In the meantime, Charlie was ticking along nicely at the other end. The two made it to drinks, with the 2s looking in a strong position at 115-1 from 25-overs. The Oxford boys were still adamant that they could win, even though the 2s were halfway through chasing the target. This led to Amogh laughing and CalGal pointing out that teams usually push on in the last 10. Both had obviously forgotten that Ben was batting at 5. After drinks, unfortunately Tim fell short of his target, departing for 13. In came the captain himself at 4. As he walked in, Ben put his gloves and helmet on, expecting to be batting in a few deliveries (mind you it took him 24 balls to get out for 1 last time). Amogh proved Ben wrong, scoring relatively frequently through glances to third man and even edging a boundary, to many’s surprise! However, when on 18, Amogh was cleaned up in a similar fashion to Tim. In walked Ben, who seemed to forget that we were chasing. Despite this, Charlie was looking in good touch at the other end, ensuring that the two were keeping the scoreboard ticking. The pressure was building out in the middle as a few good overs from the Oxford spinner left the 2s needing around a run a ball. The chat intensified, with Oxford often saying, “Come on” with their nickname “The Authentics”, or the nickname of the nickname, “Tics”, really intimidating the batsmen… Even though the run-rate had fallen, it still looked like the 2s would make it home with plenty of wickets in hand. Charlie had made it onto 85 before cutting one straight to point. He claimed that he only middled one for his 85. Was that a flex? I still can’t tell. CalGal came in and showed some good intent early on, hitting a boundary with his first ball. Shortly after, FINALLY Ben hit 1 off the square, just a bit unfortunate it was straight to long-on. Needing 26 from 18, in came Jonnie. He and CalGal looked promising together, working the ball round well, until he got out. This is where a collapse ensued. Ojas, after hitting the ball into the gap for an easy 2, was run out by ¾ of the track. CalGal had made it home safely to the non-strikers by the time Ojas had just set off for his second. Ojas, unhappy with Cal, had to depart for 1. With essentially a free hit, as it was the last ball of the 48th over and we wanted Cal on strike, Nikhil came in. He could’ve scored 2,4,6 runs to keep Cal on strike, but instead got clean bowled first up. Nikhil came off the pitch and said to Ben “wow, I’ve actually got a worse BUCS average than Amogh”- A very sad thought indeed. CalGal fought on, hitting a big 6 over long-on. It came down to the last over, with the 2s requiring 12. Cal, looking to smack the spinner over his head, started to move down the track. Unfortunately for him, he missed the ball and was stumped. Rohan and Dan were at the crease. Dan, who claimed he hadn’t batted for 4 months, got off the mark straight away. Rohan also hit a nice shot but was run out when returning for the second. This left the 2s all out, 10 short of the target.
The post-match analysis came from Amogh. “We were on top for most of the game” and “we left a few runs out there” were just some of the classics that he treated the boys to. Soon after, Jonnie left, which would later prove to be a very smart move. After Amogh’s lecture and the unrushed packing up of the changing room, the 2s were ready to get back on the bus and get home. This was until Tim and Pakora realised that the pavilion had been locked up. It wasn’t an ideal situation, but it was bearable. That was until SOMEONE decided to press all the buttons on the control panel. The fire alarm went off leaving the boys with a loud ringing sound for the duration of being locked in. Tim went on an exploration of the building, finding a quiet space in the Umpire’s changing room, in which calls could be made. Rohan called the nearest college, who put us through to security. Whilst waiting for help to arrive, the boys dabbled in a game of 1 hand 1 bounce. Amogh was hitting the ball sweetly (makes a change). The bus driver came to analyse the situation, trying to pull on the door handle (cheers mate, hadn’t thought of that one). 20 minutes later, 2 Campus security came towards the locked doors. Many of the 2s had gone to get their bags, thinking that’d be it, only to be told that it’d be a further 20 minutes before the groundsman would be back. While the boys waited, the security proceeded to play football, with many starting to believe that we’d been paid a visit from Prank Patrol. The 20 minutes turned out to be 40, meaning that the 2s didn’t arrive back on campus till 10pm. In a long day full of mishaps off the field, overall it was a strong performance from the ‘2s academy’.

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