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Holton & Wheatley vs Appleton

Sunday 9 August 2009

Original Report by John Simpson


 Holton squeezed out by strong Appleton side

Appleton usually put out a strong team against us, but we’d beaten Tiddington last week and were at the start of another winning streak. The weather last week was pretty wet, and we expected a damp ground and a slow outfield. The covers had been on over Saturday night, but for the rest of the time the wicket had been exposed to the elements. So we needed to win the toss and field.


Oh well, Plan B. We were batting.


With Peter Cowdrey back, we started off with a couple of recognized openers. The Appleton opening bowlers had played a bit too, and kept up a tight spell with some swing and some uneven bounce, especially at the bottom end. We started off cautiously, with Peter managing some dashing cuts between solid defence. By the 11th over, we were on 21 for 0 when Peter (10) received a rasping in-swinger which clattered his middle stump. Despite some aggressive hits Alan Banyard, next up, also took a fast in-swinger from the downhill first-change and saw his stumps toppled for four runs (37-2). It wasn’t Phil Knox’s day either, caught next ball for a duck (37-3).


It wasn’t easy to score freely, as we’d demonstrated, so we needed to get stuck in to raise a decent total. Hopes were lifted in the pavilion as Simon Switala strode to the crease, and he and I put on 21 before Simon was caught for 6 (58-4). Nick Wingfield (1) was looking for quick runs, but was stumped before they had arrived (74-5), but we’d managed to put on the beginnings of a partnership, aided throughout by some thoughtful wides (19 in all when the innings closed).


With Nick gone, we were relying on our captain to dig us out of a hole. He pasted his first ball for a long four, and threatened to attack the bowling, which was by now slightly gentler. But it wasn’t long, sadly, before he gave a catch, and departed for 9 (85-6). John Kelly has batted nicely before, but he was out of luck today, caught for a duck – prompting Guy’s match commentary at tea-time “we’ve had so many ducks we’ll have a build a pond”. At 91-7 at was Phil Wood’s turn at the crease, and Phil shaped up well, starting with a cluster of singles before getting his eye in and hitting out strongly. The score rose to 118 before I dragged a mishit sweep back on to my stumps (59 – sorry, Dave, that took me past your batting record!).


But it wasn’t enough runs. We needed 180 to set a challenging total on that pitch. Graham Hawkins, hero of many of a game of yesteryear, strode out to damage the bowling – now rather stronger as the opening bowlers were making a reappearance – but was unfortunately bowled for another duck. But all the while Phil was accumulating, with fours starting to flow. With our overs were nearly up, and as the guillotine came down on our innings, Phil was finally stumped for 24, with Neil Robinson watching wistfully at the other end on an undefeated 1.


149 all out was enough to give us a chance, but we would have to bowl well, and hope for some lucky breaks. We discussed this all in detail over tea, amply provided – for the second time this season – by our Chairman Alan Banyard.


Holton and Wheatley 149


John Simpson         bowled                     59

Peter Cowdrey       bowled                     10

Alan Banyard         bowled                       4

Phil Knox               caught                        0

Simon Switala         caught                        6

Nick Wingfield        stumped                     1

Guy Burford            caught                        9

John Kelly               caught                        0

Phil Wood               stumped                   24

Neil Robinson          not out                       1

Extras                                          27


Fall of wickets: 21-1 (2), 37-2 (3), 37-3 (4), 58-4 (5), 74-5 (6), 85-6 (7), 91-7 (8), 118-8 (1), 118-9 (10), 149-10 (9)


Run rate: 10 overs – 21, 20 – 42, 30 – 85, 40 – 149


Time ticked on, and it was almost twenty to six when we took the field to do battle with the Appleton task force. If they played out their 40 overs the dusk would be settling over Holton and the fielders would probably be at a debilitating disadvantage.


We started with Phil Wood, fresh from his batting heroics, charging downhill, and with John Kelly taking the short straw uphill. Ball 6 of the first over saw our first success, as Phil knocked back the opener’s stumps with the score on 1. The Appleton No 3 hove into view, and threaten to hoom the ball left, right, and centre. John suffered a bit from this, but we soon had a piece of luck as the batsmen crossed for a tight single but No 3 failed to make his ground before the ball was back in Simon’s gloves and the bails off. 19-2 and things could go our way.


We’d bargained without No 4, though. The Appleton pair started to pile on the runs: 46 from the first 10 overs, and then 98 after 20. I replaced John for a few overs, but failed to get the necessary wicket, and Graham took over from Phil with equal lack of success.


Just when it looked as if we were heading for an eight-wicket defeat, Guy remembered to put himself on, and came steaming downhill like an express train. With his fifth ball the stalwart No 3 edged the ball to me at slip, and (to everyone’s surprise) they were three wickets down. We’d found a chink in their armour, and if we could dispose of the remaining batting around their imperturbable opener, we might be in with a chance.


But the Appleton score was dangerously close to ours, and we had little time left. Guy continued to bowl fiercely downhill but runs were coming from the other end, as Neil and John tried to staunch the flow. In his third over Guy broke through again, sending the ball crashing into the batsman’s stumps, and then doing the same thing again two balls later. Peter Cowdrey scored a direct hit, running out their No 7 for 2. But still the opener carried on, scoring heavily as our hopes started to fade.


The return of Phil Wood brought an excellent catch behind by Simon, and by now Appleton were seven wickets down and just inches from the target. A strong two past point by the opener (69 not out) finally saw Appleton home safely in a game which swung occasionally our way, but which they managed to wrap up in the end with three wickets and eleven overs to spare. Bowling honours to Guy, with a creditable 3-10, closely followed by Phil Wood, whose tight 15-1 of 6.3 overs kept one end tidy.


Appleton 151-7


Phil Wood                 6.3-0-15-1

John Kelly                 5-0-44-0

John Simpson            7-0-32-0

Graham Hawkins       4-0-26-0

Guy Burford              4-1-10-3

Neil Robinson           2-0-18-0


Run rate: 10 overs – 46, 20 – 98


Catches: John Simpson, Simon Switala


Seven loses so far this season, as against five wins (with three drawn games and two cancellations). Our remaining matches are all away from home, beginning next Sunday with Charlton-on-Otmoor. We need to make a few more runs to give our bowlers more of a chance. And that’s what we’ll be setting out to do next week.