In a weekend of unprecedented comebacks and with an enforced break from the South Lawn we all headed East (without our usual captain, West) to take on everything Isis could launch at us. We lost the toss and remarkably on such a hot, bright, sunny Bank Holiday afternoon, we were inserted. Did the oppo have some intelligence we we’re not privy to? Maybe.
At 89-9 after 30 it seemed they did as the game was all but over. The battle was clearly lost as we had ceded too much territory to our opponents already.
But wait! The fat lady hadn’t been informed as Nigel Walker joined Tom (11th hour replacement) Weedon. In scenes reminiscent of Headingley the previous day (& 1981), Weedon played the Stokes / Botham role whilst Walker was more Graham Dilley than Jack Leach. Weedon farmed the strike as much as possible, hit his maiden 6 (six) and a hatful of fours whilst Walker, when permitted, grabbed his own share of the spoils with several boundaries of his own whilst also executing diligent defence. Whatever previous success our opponents had had, this ancient relic was not for being toppled in a hurry.
Isis were therefore unable to maintain their stranglehold and before we had time for yet another drinks break to catch our breath, these two bowlers had advanced our cause to 148 before Weedon (45) succumbed in the final over leaving Walker undefeated on 14. 59 they had put on in a little under 10 overs and the tables had turned with Isis appearing more intent on infighting rather than dispatching their common enemy from the West.
Prior to this onslaught little resistance was offered as we had been like lambs to the slaughter. Even Cox (Snr) was having trouble timing his shots on a surface unfamiliar to Blenheim-ites – it being rock hard and offering little assistance to the bowlers other than the occasional extra bounce. Nevertheless Cox managed 40 with only scant cameo roles from two Spearmen for support before we found ourselves staring down the barrel. It had been tortuous progress, but more incompetence on our part rather than being terrorised by the opposition bowling.
New skipper Boardman displayed captaincy skills hitherto unseen from a Blenheim chief, setting out his new ideology during an inspired tea time team talk. Whilst celebrating our two new heroes he reminded them that it all meant nothing if we lose and offered them both first dibs at trying to defend our position. And defend it they did.
After 16 overs Isis had retreated to 32-2 with Walker & Weedon (2-14) holding a steady line. Reinforcements came in the shape of two Spearmen who launched 12 overs with a combined return of 3-34 leaving our hosts reeling on 52-5.
Gokani (1-19), Vaughan-Fowler and a returning Spearman (J) (2-20) completed the innings at a time when the batsmen were looking to get after them. But they too stood firm and the victory was complete.
The early skirmishes were indeed lost but the game was won and Isis defeated. They should have known that our very existence was borne out of battle and that we don’t roll over easily (sometimes).
Excellent catches were executed by Kerr, Spearman (J) & Weedon (who therefore cemented his all-rounder credentials). A plethora of easy, difficult and half chances along with near misses and outright jibs came & went but the 2019 Battle of Blenheim vs Isis was won by the boys from the South Lawn.
BPCC 148 ao (39.2 overs)
Isis 125-6 (40 overs)