Match Report 10th May 2014 – Heyford 2nd
Saturday saw our first game of the season and Abington’s
annual sojourn of what seems to be to the wind and rain capital of the county,
Heyford. (yes, I know Guilsborough is wetter but never as windy!) Given the
forecast was for more rain, Dave won the toss and put them in. Abington took
the field with 10 men (Stuart was delayed). Conditions were ‘interesting’ to
say the least with a gale blowing straight down the pitch from the pavilion
end. Debutant Martyn Crouch (downwind) and Didier opened, with both bowling
Abington went fairly quickly down to 9 men when Dunc at slip flopped like a
dying fish onto a bouncing edge and managed to dislocate his right shoulder.
Stuart arrived shortly after that and once he’d remembered how to put his
trousers on the right way round, took the field.
Abington got off to a fairly bright start with Martyn taking his first 2
wickets for the club, one being courtesy of a stunning low catch at slip by
Wurz. It could have been better with both wk Marc and Stuart at slip just
failing to hang on to sharp one handed chances.
Unfortunately, it was a tale of 2 ends for the whole innings with the upwind
bowlers struggling for a consistent length. Unfortunately, bowling into the
wind means the batsmen are hitting with it and it proved difficult to stop
regular boundaries that were hit over the top. It was pretty easy to stop
ground strokes – the long grass did most of the work. A couple of stoppage for
short showers among fairly bright spells didn’t help, with the ball
subsequently being constantly damp.
Wurz provided several comedy moments in the field, firstly combining several
step-overs with footwork out of ‘strictly’ while trying (and failing) to stop a
couple of well struck downwind shots from going to the boundary and then
winding up for a big throw which then hit the ground 5 yards in front of him.
‘Ball like a bar of soap’ apparently. He also went on to complete a hat-trick
of catches with a couple in the outfield as batsmen attempted to hit into the
Stuart replaced Martyn downwind and fairly quickly found his rhythm (we won’t
mention the first ball) and Kal won the prize to battle into the wind after
Didier. Both had pretty tidy spells, taking a wicket apiece.
Debutant Steve ‘Harmy’ Widdowson also made his bowling introduction. He didn’t
have a nickname before the game but given that he can be our fastest bowler and
the fact that his first 3 deliveries all went through a vacant 2nd/3rd slip, I
think you can see where we’re coming from. After getting his breath back from a
first over that contained 5 wides, however, he eased into things and took a
couple of wickets for a creditable performance.
Wickets continued fall regularly but not frequently, including a comedy run out
when James ‘the arm’ Pettitt managed to confuse the batsmen by throwing to the
middle of the pitch but found wk Marc ‘I never hit the stumps’ Gillham (who’d
anticipated where the throw was likely to go) and who - much to his and just
about everybody else’s surprise – threw down the wicket from about 5 yards with
the batsman just out of his ground.
Glenn came on for a short spell at the upwind end but, after a tidy first over,
suffered at the hand of the one Heyford batsman who had the power to clear the
boundary which brought Stuart back at that end. The only bowler to experience
bowling at both ends, he very creditably took another wicket and Martyn took
another to leave Heyford on 170 for 9.
It would be interesting to see figures for the proportion of runs scored
‘downwind’, certainly the wicket tally of 6(downwind):2 tells a story. 170 was
going to be a tough ask, particularly with how slow the outfield was.
Typically, during the tea break, the wind, while ever
present, seemed to die down a little and the threat of rain receded. We know
Heyford had a solid bowling unit and so it proved with all them going on to
bowl well. Obviously with Dunc resting up in casualty
Wurz and Beedo opened and set off solidly. Wurz was repeating his good form at
this ground and Paul was providing stubborn support until he managed to steer
one straight to point. Particularly annoying at the very fielder had been
chirping to him immediately before.
Wurz was joined by Martyn who showed excellent and stylish front foot defensive
technique – the fact that he never actually made contact with the ball was
irrelevant. Running between the wickets suddenly became interesting with both
players seemingly racing each other. While this is generally to be applauded -
running between the wickets is not usually one of Abington’s strengths (as
Glenn and Stuart were to prove later) – it did seem fairly inevitable that a
run-out was coming and it did, with Martyn falling on his sword, bringing James
to the crease.
While Wurz was batting well, it was proving difficult to find the boundary and
we were behind the rate at drinks.
Wurz was out pretty quickly thereafter, unluckily edging onto his pad to be caught
by the wk down the leg side. Glenn took his place and got a run off his first
ball for a strike rate of 100. Unfortunately this was going to reduce rapidly
thereafter! James was out fairly quickly, again after suffering earache from Mr
Chirpy at point, bringing Marc out to join Glenn.
It was proving difficult to score, particularly for Glenn who, despite manfully
trying to hit the ball in front of square, was failing spectacularly to do so
with all the timing of a busted clock. Plan B didn’t work either with the usual
deflections running about 30 yards before stopping in the long grass.
Marc meanwhile managed several lusty blows through, shall we say, wide mid
wicket (moo!!) but they were the only bright spots in an increasingly forlorn
effort. In poor light, it also didn’t help that the Heyford skipper changed his
field very other ball.
Marc went, followed quickly by Kal and Steve who both found out how difficult
it was to hit the ball, and Stuart who found how difficult it was to run with
Didier was last man in and successfully prevented an ‘all out’. Glenn ended up
with a 9 single not out. Abington lost by 64 runs with only 2 batsmen getting
into double figure (Wurz 36, Marc 16).
All in all, a disappointing effort but credit must go as well to Heyford who
knew how to bowl on their wicket, bowled well and made the most of the better
conditions. Let’s hope we’ll be able to say the same about Abington as we begin
the season at our new home in Boughton next week.