Courtesy of Allan Engel
With the Palace playing host to the country-folk of Countryfile, the Club headed west to the bucolic surroundings of Great Tew to take on a youthful opposition more Little than Great.
Batting first, the opposition openers weathered the opening spell from Nigel and George, with the help of the odd let-off behind the stumps, before Nigel swung a yorker through the gate. Runs accrued slowly but steadily, Phil held a steepling caught-and-bowled, Stan finally held on to one for a rare Gokani wicket, more catches were dropped, perhaps the youngest (and certainly the smallest) BPCC player took the field as eleventh man in the shape of Finn Spearman; his fielding put his elders and tallers to shame. The opposition finally totalled 187 from their 40 overs. Curiously, all but one of the opposition batsmen were left-handed; either there is something odd in the water round there, or it’s just standard Oxfordshire inbreeding.
A depleted batting lineup meant that regular opener Stan was paired with makeshift filler-in Malcolm. Stan didn’t stay long enough (at the crease or the ground) and Malcolm padded up to a straight one – plumb LBW. James (45) was then joined by Jayden (54) and the two of them batted with fine timing and placement, looking comfortable against the relatively unthreatening bowling. The inevitable Blenheim clatter of wickets returned the initiative to Tew, Raj misguidedly attempted to turn a rare Gokani run into an impossible two, and it was left to George (27*) to try and shepherd the tail home. Eight runs were needed off the last three balls when George launched one over the bowler’s head for what neutral umpire James confidently signalled a six, the next ball was a dot, and a scrambled single off the last ensured a tie.