Stonor CC vs BPCC – 12th September 2021

Didn’t we have a lovely time the day we went to Stonor.

Phil B lost the toss but was nae so cross,

To be given first dibs on the track, you know.

But it didn’t take long to find out why we were inserted. The pitch was a tad spiteful with the odd delivery popping on a length. Despite the spite we made a steady start reaching 62-1 after 18 overs – Boardman himself being the lone victim caught for 7.

At the other end, Parker was finding the boundary regularly to continue his recent purple patch. For the first 32.4 overs he seemed the only batsman who could tame the track and time his shots but with the fall of his wicket for 46 (8 fours) the scoring dried up and only 8 runs were added in 9 overs. With the demise of both Cox (10) and young Yates (7) making his Blenheim debut, the Spearman brothers attempted to raise the run rate only to both perish in doing so and for neither to gain the bragging rights for the 2nd week running as they both ended on 4. The situation was looking dire then when Spearman Snr joined Weedon in his comeback match with the score on 87-6 and just 2.5 overs of the innings left and, worse, the pub not open until 6pm. Three further dot balls were recorded but then carnage! The scoring from this point went as follows; 4,4,2,0,6,6,1,1,1,2,4,1,4,1lb.

Weedon ended on 22* from 13 (2 sixes, 1 four) and Spearman 14* from 9 (3 fours). Yes these two swashbucklers had pummelled 37 runs off the last 14 balls to make the BPCC score a little more palatable (well quite a lot more palatable actually). The rest of team were left wondering; where had these two dynamic lower order batsmen been all season? Well, the answer lies partly in the next sentence.

Messrs Gokani, Walker, and Angol did not bat in this 35 over thrash-a-thon.

A total of 124 seemed about par and as such defendable on this bowler friendly track but we knew we had to bowl well. And as luck (skill/experience call it what you will) would have it, we did. First Walker continued from where he left off last week, getting some shape and bounce and ultimately the edge. Not once but 3 times. In a deviation from Blenheim norms all 3 were snaffled cleanly behind the stumps. Two by keeper Yates and one by Cox at slip.

With good-wheels-Weedon tying up the other end the game seemed to be tipping our way. Spearman (P) and Gokani replaced the openers but the pressure wasn’t relaxed and as a result wickets started to tumble regularly. 20-1 off 10 became 38-8 off 23 and the game was as good as over.

In an unprecedented display with the gloves young Yates snaffled another catch and not content with that bagged a stumping to boot to round off an almost perfect performance behind the stumps. Spearman Snr clung on to two mistimed pulls off Gokani at mid-wicket whilst another spooned up to square leg and the earth stood still for several seconds, tumbleweeds came and went, and we all held our breath. We needn’t have worried – Stan was there to alleviate our anxiety.

Elsewhere, Rhino nearly took the catch of the season at square leg. But didn’t. And Finn successfully chased down seemingly lost causes in the field.

Stonor staggered to 79-9 off their 35 with some of the bowling figures resembling a sudoku grid and which are worthy of repeating here;

N Walker 7-2-21-3

T Weedon 5-2-5-0

R Gokani 5-3-3-4

P Spearman 6-3-4-1

J Spearman 5-3-6-1

We don’t do Man of Match awards at Blenheim but if we did imagine the turmoil the adjudicator would have had. Would he (she/they) favour Parkers 46 first up – more than twice anyone else’s score in the match (until the last over was bowled). Or perhaps Gokani’s 4-for-peanuts to rip out Stonor’s middle order? Or maybe Spearman Snr for his fine all round game? Harvey Yates anyone – 4 quality dismissals on debut with the gloves in an unfamiliar team on an unfamiliar track? Walker for crucially ripping out the top 3 and thus denying Stonor a sound foundation on which to build? Or perhaps Weedon for demoralising our hosts with his big hitting when they were well in the ascendancy and following up with a lively opening spell to deny the openers space to settle?

We retired to the Rainbow Inn in Middle Assendon – another of those fine quirky country pubs we seem to specialise in on our travels and pondered that today, on paper perhaps, this was not our strongest side ever, but we came together as a team and became greater than the sum of our parts.