Oxford Downs CC v Cryptics Cricket Club on Sun 03 Sep 2023 at 1300
Match was Drawn

Match report Let the muse of cricket take up the song as the Cryptics stepped out on to the greensward for the last time in 2023 in sweet Standlake, blessed by the urgent attention of a misplaced July sun. Wherefore we must ask why our captain William Wilkins sent us out into the field as the mercury climbed ever closer to 30 degrees? In fairness, he was not to know that Sathya would be tardy leaving us to field for ninety agonising minutes with only ten men. And he perceived that a well balanced team might have a successful first half in the field and then chase down whatever target was set. The Oxford Downs 1st XI had secured promotion the day before and whilst only two had been enrolled to play the Cryptics, most of the club seemed to have enjoyed Bacchanalian celebrations. Relieved, they retreated to the shelter of the pavilion and the game began. Ed Smart, playing his second game for the club and now a year older and a few inches taller, and basking in the accolade of being Bledlow CC 2nd XI's highest wicket taker this season impressed with a tidy opening spell but learned as others did that the surface was a friend to those bearing the willow wand. Youth was matched with experience in William Wilkins but nevertheless they would be wicketless in the opening overs. De Bhal and List were scoring quite freely and so Chris Ward joined the attack. Did he happen to mention to anyone that he first played against the Downs for the Cryptics twenty nine years ago? Oh he did.... Well with the Downs on 61, List finally lofted Ward to mid off where Jamie Firth backed away, looked for his sun glasses, wondered why he had come out without them, could not find them but then held on to catch. Jamie bowled with nagging accuracy but could not breach the canvas wall and De Bhal marched on past 50. Meanwhile Hunt was trapped LBW and the Downs were in disarray, relatively speaking, at 109-2. After a circumspect period with the run rate at last dropping below five an over, Gus Watts opened his shoulders and started to punish the bowlers irrespective of line or length misdemeanours. At the other end De Bhal was starting to become becalmed. He made four attempts in four balls at the reverse sweep off Paul Massey and missed them all. In his next over, making a further attempt, he was struck on the pad and adjudged LBW - a great example of a batsman being "thought out". Ed Smart returned for a second spell and was finally rewarded with the wicket of Watts who tried to ramp him and was bowled. The rampage eased and the Downs declared at 221-4 off forty one overs.
The author has enjoyed the hospitality of the Downs for many years (did he mention that 29 years ago....) and recalled all day games with lunches extended with speeches, port and cigars. No such debauchery on this occasion but another very fine tea was provided with an excellent spread of sandwiches and cake as well as fruit for those more conscious of what can happen if the cricket tea becomes the focus of the event.
In the event, the Cryptics sallied forth to respond and sent out their brave knights Jason "Dooleymonster" Doole and Junaid Aziz, who has scored over 200 runs in his first three games for the club. They batted circumspectly against the opening salvos from Ed Wildman and Will Watts. 22 runs off the first ten overs. But fluency started to emerge as they picked up the slow pace of the pitch. Just as they seemed to be moving into gear to take down the last hundred runs, both fell in successive overs with the score on 85, caught by de Bhal at mid off. Jamie Firth, "fresh" from scoring 94 the previous day for Tiddington, paused briefly in the middle before being bowled by Ling. A more eccentric offering came from Henry Sensecall who played lavishly and when he did not connect well, managed to drop the ball into spaces. He found a more cautious partner in Rob Walker and they dragged the Cryptics past the 100 mark. But a series of mistimed shots accounted for the next few wickets as gentle or mistimed chances were offered around the square. The anchor was thrown over the side as we crashed to 147-6 with Dan Hawes sending down loopy googlies that turned alarmingly - Alan Gregory walked back as one of his victims. Despite the encouragement just to bat out the last four overs, Ed Smart fancied a crack at Gus Watts but was also caught. It would be down to the wise heads of Ward and Wilkins to navigate the remaining two and a half overs and restore some honour - just under seventy runs short but a great afternoon's cricket.

Oxford Downs CC Batting
Player name RunsMB4s6sSR
1w 1b 5lb 
for 4 wickets
221 (41.0 overs)
J. De Bhal lbw  Massey 93
L.List ct  Firth b. Ward 20
M.Hunt lbw  Ward 13
G.Watts b  Smart 65
J.Florey Not Out  12
D.Hawes Not Out  7

Cryptics Cricket Club Cryptics Bowling

Player NameOversMaidensRunsWicketsAverageEconomy
Ed Smart9.0058158.006.44
William Wilkins3.001100.003.67
Chris Ward9.0226213.002.89
Jamie Firth8.014900.006.12
Paul Massey8.0241141.005.13
Alan Gregory4.003000.007.50

Cryptics Cricket Club Cryptics Batting
Player Name RMB4s6sSRCatchesStumpingsRun outs
2b 1lb 
for 8 wickets
Jason Doole ct  De Bhal b. Herbert 45
Junaid Aziz ct  De Bhal b. Ling 42
Henry Sensecall ct  Herbert b. G.Watts 32
Jamie Firth b  Ling 2
Rob Walker ct  De Bhal b. Herbert 12
Sathya Vadivale ct  Herbert b. Hawes 11
Ed Smart ct  De Bhal b. G.Watts 2
Alan Gregory lbw  Hawes 0
Chris Ward Not Out  5
William Wilkins Not Out  0
Paul Massey  

Oxford Downs CC Bowling

Player nameOversMaidensRunsWicketsAverageEconomy
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