Offchurch CC v Napton CC
Report by Malcolm Thomas
Although on the mend, Team Captain, Sam, is still not quite match-fit.
His supporting presence at the match was welcome.
Like last week, Sam passed the captaincy onto Mike E.
Unlike last week, Mike did not wake up on match-day with something that prevented him taking on his responsibilities. Perhaps more on this in Sam’s review of the season at the dinner/dance next month?
Offchurch won the toss and put Napton into bat.
Napton lost an early wicket without priming the scoreboard.
Mike N joined Mike E at the wicket.
This pair proceeded cautiously preferring to defend rather than sacrifice another wicket cheaply.
They were eventually separated in the 15th over with Mike N being bowled. 43-2.
However, with less than 3 per over on the board, Napton needed to step up a gear.
Even with Joe joining Mike E in the centre, runs were rationed. Joe was caught in the 28th over. 96-3. A slight improvement in the run-rate but still less than 3.5 an over.
A total of 150 runs after the allocated 40 overs was beginning to look like something to aspire to !!
Tom partnered Mike E for 5 overs before the match-captain got his boot in the way giving the umpire no choice but to point at the heavens.
After ‘carrying his bat’ last week Stuart was next to the wicket and champing at the bit.
With well-taken singles and occasional boundaries Tom and Stuart moved the score along.
One high ball was dealt with by Stuart with no more than a glance that launched it full over the boundary.
This pair were still there at the 40-over mark taking the score to a credible 176-4.
Stuart, perhaps uncharacteristically, achieved a 100% strike-rate.
Tim was left at the pavilion padded-up and ready. This is mentioned as his disappointment was still being recorded at 10.30pm whilst nursing a pint.
Mike Eadon 42 runs 4 boundaries
Tom Hancock 37 runs Not Out 5 boundaries
Joe Alsop 32 runs 3 boundaries
Stuart Alsop 26 runs Not Out 4 boundaries inc 1 six
Mike Nyren 21 runs 4 boundaries
It should be noted that there were fewer boundaries in the above scores than would usually be expected for those totals.
The reason for this is the boundary that runs alongside the whole of the eastern side of the ground. A slope of about 20-25 degrees leads up to this boundary and it requires a good whack to travel the distance.
Of course, it’s the same for both sides.
During tea, it was debated if 176 would be enough to defend. At less than 4.5 per over required, Napton’s bowlers and fielders needed to be on top of their game.
The home team’s openers went immediately into top gear and cracked along at a run-rate of 6.5 for the first 5 overs.
First-change bowler Mike E put a stop to this by accounting for both of them in his first two overs; one clean bowled and another via the hands of Mike N.
In the next over Callum dismissed batsman No. 3, caught by Graham.
Offchurch then struggled to put together a scoring partnership.
A looping ball by Tom tempted one batsman to try for the big one.
Pin-point precision field-placing had positioned Callum on the boundary so that he didn’t need to move an inch as the ball came straight into his hands. A catch well taken.
Mike N got into the action with two wickets; a bowling and a catch by Joe.
Stuart also disturbed the woodwork a couple of times.
Rory, often mentioned in reports for his committed fielding, had great cause for celebration. Only introduced into the bowling attack in recent games, and then only occasionally, he took not only his first wicket for the club but a second in this match !! One caught-behind by Tim and another caught-and-bowled.
He slams the ball into the ground hard. Sitting behind his arm it was interesting to see the variation in bounce that he was creating. A talent to be developed in pre-season nets.
New boy Steve continues to impress in the field with his enthusiasm and cheery disposition whilst going about his job.
He was charged with covering the whole length of the aforementioned boundary at the top of the hill for all of the oppositions innings.
He ‘swept’ the area for approaching cricket balls with dedication and must have covered more ground than any other player on the day.
Mike had a splendid spell with the ball.
Callum bowled a ‘straight eight’ as an opening bowler. If not for one loose over his figures would have been excellent. A really valuable contribution.
Offchurch were all-out in the 25th over for 87 runs.
Mike Eadon 5 overs 1 maiden 2-5
Stuart Alsop 2 overs 1 maiden 2-6
Rory Tuck 2 overs 2-8
Mike Nyren 3 overs 2-13
Tom Hancock 3 overs 1-11
Callum Tuck 8 overs 1-28
With Napton’s pool of batsmen the ‘management’ again permutated the batting order so as to give the recognised batters a chance at the top of the order. It seems to be generally working well.
A satisfying result to finish off the games in the fixture-list.
Good preparation for the tour.