What a year it’s been. Availability struggles, some of the windiest cricket games of all time, and a fight to remain in Division One capped off by clinical victory over Buckingham Town by 9 wickets. Here is a quick recap of the game before I try my best to review the whole season:
The last game of the season and Long Marston 1st XI still weren’t quite safe. Safe in the knowledge that 10 points would guarantee 8th place, and a win could potentially see them slide up into the heady heights of 7th. Buckingham was the venue and at the toss it was revealed that the Buckingham captain would be arriving half an hour late as he was playing golf. Fascinating. Nevertheless, Beesley won and chose to bowl, the same method we used to beat Buckingham earlier in the year.
Our loveable overseas, Blake ‘Basher’ James took the new ball along with Dom Colville and the pair piled on the pressure early. Dom beating the outside edge countless times before Blake picked up two wickets in two balls. The overs ticked over with LM still asserting pressure but with no wickets to show for it.
Then, with an inspired piece of captaincy, Beesley decided Bash should bowl from the other end and he immediately scooped up another three wickets in just four balls. Back on top at 45-5, LM could see the light of relegation safety. However, it was at this point the Buckingham skipper came in and immediately took the attack to the LM bowlers. The score kept ticking and it fell to Laura Sandy to take the all important breakthrough wicket at 115-6. A couple more fell at the hands of Ali Bee and then one of the most bizarre dismissals I’ve seen in a while happened.
Angry at not receiving the call of a no-ball due to too many fielders outside the 30-yard circle, the set batsman decided to get himself out. He did this by trying to moon one of Laura’s deliveries to outer space but just spooning it up to Pinchy at point. Who dropped it! But wait, the story doesn’t end here. The batsman gestured to Pinchy to throw it into the keeper and run him out. Pinchy obliged. Storey removed the bails. Strange. I think 18 weeks of Cherwell umpiring have taken their toll. It was left to Bee to remove the last batsman and LM needed 140 to win in their 50 overs. Basher ending with 5-21 and Bee 3-19.
Tea was tasty as always at Buckingham with the Ashes on the TV. Sublime setup.
The batting performance was clinical. After being dropped early doors, captain James Beesley looked focused as he cruised his way to an unbeaten 70. Supported by Marsh and Lyons, it was an extremely comfortable chase, with the highlight being Mr. Lyons towering 6 to win the game, and also secure his place in the coveted Bomb Squad. Chasing it down in 25 overs with just one wicket gone, if we carried on going 300+ would’ve been on the cards.
25 points and after the news of Abingdon’s loss came through, we did indeed end up coming in 7th place in division one. Nothing to worry about in the end! Now let me say a few things about all the people that made this achievement possible. In order of games played (5 games or more):
Ewan George Crawley – 18 games: Absolute cornerstone of the team. Young man with a great head on his shoulders. Not a great head of hair mind you. Bats with impeccable maturity and a great all round cricketer. 3 league centuries says it all, and he’s only getting better.
Blake James – 18 games: What can I say about this legend. First season at Marlins and it feels like he’s been here for years. Very pleased he’ll be on his way back from the Windy city of Oamaru next spring. There was a noticeable growth in Basher as a player and just generally in terms of his mass over the summer and both have been incredibly enjoyable to watch progress. See you soon mate.
James Beesley – 17 games: Being skipper of a side plagued by poor availability is nobody’s idea of fun, but James did a brilliant job of it. Showed flashes of what he could do with the bat and we hope he’s fit to bowl like we all know he can come next year. Great resilience shown and I expect good years ahead under his leadership.
Matthew Storey – 16 games: Cheeks redder than Cherryade, Board Member Storey has put in so much for the club this year. Travelling back from London on a weekly basis to chat rubbish behind the sticks and look busy at the crease. Always up for a laugh and brilliant team man.
Ed Robinson – 15 games: And here’s to you Eddy Robinson, Long Marston loves you more than you could know. Oh ooooh oh. Superb year for the lad. Third most runs and second most wickets says it all. Genuine all-rounder. Batted, bowled and fielded better than he ever says in an LM shirt.
Mike Lyons – 14 games: The Great Man. Still easily the best fielder with the joint most catches in the side and a calming influence all year round. It is an absolute privilege to play alongside Pinchy. Supportive, funny and still a bloody good bat, its been a pleasure this year.
Ali Bee – 14 games: Leading wicket taker and a few cameos to take LM home in close games. Thoroughly enjoyed playing this year. Thanks everyone.
Hamish Sim - 12 games: VC for the year, Simmo probably didn’t play as many games as he’d like. Always a good laugh and providing a solid option at the top of the order. Look forward to playing with the lad next year.
Laura Sandy – 10 games: Absolutely brilliant addition to the 1st XI this season. Laura took Div 1 by storm, taking 4-38 in one of her first games. Great accuracy and just enough movement, a great option during the middle overs with the spinners. After scoring 2, walking off saying “it’s 2 more than usual” with a smile, a season highlight.
Chris Chapman – 7 games: The whole club should be very thankful to Chappers. A real club man who will play for whichever team needs him the most and give 100%. The quickest man in the Cherwell league and also one of the nicest. Cheers Chappers.
Dom Colville – 7 games: A top cricketer and a seriously nice bloke, Dom is a welcome addition to Long Marston. Nearly pulling off a stunning run chase against Westbury and finishing off the year with the new ball in hand, its only a matter of time before Dom starts winning games with both bat and ball. He also has the cutest dog on the planet.
A massive thank you to everyone else who played for the 1st XI this year, a combined 31 players! It really has been a pleasure to take the field with you all. Despite finishing lower in the table than in previous years, I must say it’s the most fun I’ve had on a pitch whilst playing at Marlins. Thank you to Chris Bowles for all your hard work, and Tracy for being the best scorer in the Cherwell. Apologies if I’ve missed anyone out but as a team, we are so grateful. All the best for the winter and safe travels to our friends from the Southern Hemisphere. See you next year. AB.