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Result - Demijohns

Sat Jul 14th Grannies won by 7 wickets

Match report

On the way north the skipper was asked as to the make-up of our team and, after a short pause for reflection, was able to report to the driver and passenger that the Grannies’ armoury included 4 players who had played for 3 separate first class counties and an Oxford Blue. Rather than nods of satisfaction this prompted some concern from the 2 village cricketers in the front seats as they worried about being “out of place”. Upon learning that those county cricketers were in fact 3 current U13s for Surrey and Hampshire and a rather older Middlesex u13 (now touching U50), their concerns were somewhat allayed but whatever their age these 5 representative cricketers were instrumental in the Grannies recording an all too rare victory in 2018.

Having lost the toss the Grannies were invited to field and with 3 players still trapped in the maze of south east Oxford at the appointed start time, some additional fielding talent, alongside accurate bowling was going to be needed to prevent the Demijohns getting off to a flyer. This came in the form respectively of 12 year old Jack Philpott (Hartley Wintney U13) patrolling the fine leg boundary and 13 year old Ollie Sykes (Surrey U13) taking the new ball from the School End. Ollie produced a magical opening spell including 4 consecutive maidens and offering too much pace and accuracy for the DJ openers. At the Iffley Stadium End we actually had an adult in the form of Rory Bethwaite (pedigree unknown) who also generated good pace and the obdurate but defensive DJ openers were becalmed.

Pressure continued and mounted with the introduction of Henry Davies (Oxford Blue, 1992) at the Stadium end who wheeled away with classy variations in pace and turn to make scoring incredibly difficult until ultimately, after 20 overs and with the score at about 40, the drinks break prompted a rollicking from the DJ skipper. Immediately thereafter a catch was offered to the skipper, who broke a nail at mid on in pouching it, but we were amongst them.

Wickets continued to fall regularly. A smart catch at slip from the senior pro (Rob Gilley - Wellington College c1865), celebrated by the fielder so joyously as to suggest it may have been his first ever slip catch, accounted for the DJs number 3 and pressure from behind the stumps was maintained by the other senior pro (Jon Puddifant – HWCC c1770) who at one stage thought he had both a stumping and a catch all at the same time, only to drop the ball while going for the stumping and then missing the stumps!

Despite these triumphs and calamities the run rate stagnated. Ahmed Khan (Surrey U13) produced a beautiful spell of 7 overs of flighted and intelligent leg spin for 11 runs to show he was just as effective as his Surrey team mate, and his efforts were backed up by left armer Edward Philpott (Hampshire U13) during his spell before tea. Such was the vice like grip of the bowlers that DJs were compelled to continue after tea in order to set a competitive total.

However, with the declaration imminent the DJs captain really took off, punishing all the bowlers with tremendous hitting between mid off and square leg. A quick fire 85 meant the DJs could post 175 off 40 overs, with a likely 31 or so overs to be bowled against the Grannies and a required run rate of 5.7 per over. It was a fine declaration to keep the game alive and the DJ captain should be commended upon it.

Toby Sykes (Middlesex u13 c1982) and Kit Schutzer-Weissmann (Shrewsbury U8s) made a positive and decisive start with Sykes in particular collecting runs easily. The bowling was friendly it has to be said but as a friendly Granny Sykes meted out not so much punishment as admonishment, seizing on anything loose to stroke it to the boundary, but playing within himself and avoiding brutality. The lightening quick outfield clearly helped but suddenly we were 90-0 and cruising.

Then in the course of 2 overs both openers and the number 3 were removed as a consequence of good bowling and a smart piece of fielding and we had slumped to 104-3.

The other Schutzer-Weissmann (Shrewsbury U9s) and James Philpott (no fixed abode) came to the crease to rebuild, one with rakish belligerence, the other in dull conformity, until both found their eye and pressured the DJ bowlers with good running and stroke play such that we were never behind the rate.

With 3 overs to go S-W realised that his dinner appointment was imminent and therefore smote lustily to gather the final 12 runs we needed in 6 balls and then disappear into Oxford, potentially in time for evensong, but certainly in time to change into dinner jackets.

All in all a very satisfactory day with youth blooded, experience facilitating, surroundings magnificent, opposition sporting and weather perfect. It doesn’t get much better.

Match info

Christ Church Ground,

How to get there
Christ Church Sports Ground is on the Iffley Road in Oxford, next door to the Iffley Road athletics stadium. The entrance is between two brick pillars on the western side of Iffley Road not far from the western end of Circus St.