CAPTAINS LOG (Barry Seller - Seasons 2005 & 2006)
SATURDAY 12TH AUGUST BURBAGE V MRO
WON BY 2 WICKETS
After winning the toss i was left with a tricky decision as the last time we played here we batted first and were unable to defend 240! So today we decided to have a bowl first and it just about turned out to be the correct decision. We bowled well throughout the 45 overs with Tristan bowling with great pace and returning with three wickets. He received great support from Ian and Phil who took four wickets between them and then Scott at the end who was a constant threat with his bounce. He only conceeded 16 runs from his 11 overs and managed to pick up a wicket as well as two good slip catches.
In reply we lost an early wicket before Mo and Roger steadied the ship until Roger was caught. This should not have sent too many shivers through our camp as we only needed just over 80 runs but as usual we decided to do things the hard way as we proceeded to lose three wickets in an over and Burbage were right back in the hunt. This all changed though as the man of the match Scott strode to the wicket and hit his maiden 50 for the club with good shots all around the ground. Great support was given by Mike W who stayed solid with 15 not out although he had a lucky reprive when he was bowled off a no ball.
So in another close encounter with our nearest rivals in the league we just managed to edge it and need to take this confidence into the last remaining games starting with Avebury next Saturday. Up the oak!!
SATURDAY 5TH AUGUST MRO V SPYE PARK
LOST BY 9 WICKETS
In a game that was played under grey clouds it was perhaps fitting that we should lose so convincingly in what could turn out to be our last ever league game at Moredon playing fields. It would appear that we will be left with little choice but to withdraw from the league as the ground has in all practical terms become too poor for league cricket.
After losing the toss and having to bat first we made a poor overall performance with the bat with only Mo in the top order making double figures as the hostile Church took wickets at regular intervals. It was only Steve F and Mike W who ensured that we passed the hundred mark with 22* and 15 respectively.
In the reverse fixture earlier in the season Spye made hard work of chasing our 114 but today was to be a different story as Spye lost only one wicket. None of our bowlers could contain the Spye number three who smashed 71 not out and made light work of chasing down our total.
SATURDAY 29TH JULY MRO V COLLINGBOURNE
LOST BY 41 RUNS
After winning the toss and bowling first we kept things as tight as we could and gradually picked up the odd wicket as Collingbourne were unable to cut loose. It was not until the introduction of both S French and M Williams that the game began to swing in our favour. Mike W is perhaps the slowest bowler in the league by his own admission but today gave a masterclass as he collected 5 for 37 with his little outswingers. S French also collected vital wickets as he imroved his line and length the more he bowled. Collingbournes were eventually dismissed for 127 in the 41st over.
Chasing targets has been our strength this season but it was to be our downfall today as nobody apart from myself and Scott reached double figures, as we were all out for 86 in the 32nd over. Although we were missing two of our top order we should still have had enough batting to see us over the finishing line. That said Collingbourne's young opening bowler was perhaps one of the best we have faced this season and was probably the difference between the two sides. With Burbage picking up some improved form we will need to get back to winning ways pretty soon if we are to finish outside of the bottom two. Until next week against Spye Park up the oak!!
SATURDAY 22ND JULY BUSCOT PARK V MRO
SATURDAY 15TH JULY MRO V BLUNSDON
WON BY 1 RUN
Perhaps for the only time this season we went into this fixture not as the underdog's as Blunsdon continue to have selection woes. However a great game occurred as we just managed to scrape home by one run. Batting first on a hot day seemed tthe correct decision but we soon lost two wickets and when Roger was out for 19 in the 11th over Blunsdon had thier tails up and were really on top. In the last day of my third decade i hit a fifty which in an unbroken 84 run partnership with M Williams(35 not out) took us to 206 for 6 and which surey should have been a winning position.
Blunsdon have in J Beckett a guy who can win a match on his own and very nearly did so today, playing attacking shots all around the ground. Along with his skipper they took Blunsdon to within 20 runs of a certian victory before the wheels fell off. Mo and Mike Williams both bowled crucial spells and each removed the two danger batsmen. Blunsdon needed only 11 I think of the last over to be bowled by Phil who had to return as Mo had bowled out. Off the last ball three was still required but fortunately Phil held his nerve as Blunsdon could only manage a single.
At the start of the day i could not invision the game going the full 90 overs but these things happen when you least expect it. Like many occasions last season we took Blunsdon a little for granted and very nearly paid the price. Until next week agaainst Collingbourne up the oak!
SATURDAY 8TH JULY SWINDON CIVIL SERVICE V MRO
LOST BY 16 RUNS
After winning the toss and bowling first we made a dramatic start reducing our hosts to 10 for 3 as the Service top order could not handle Tristan's pace and accuracy. As the ball got older and the Service batsmen tightened up thier technique runs did become easier to gather as both M Spackman and A Mildenhall compiled fine half centuries to eventually steer thier side to a more than respectable 206 for 6 after thier 45 overs. In the field we were as poor as we have been all season drooping simple catches and giving far too many easy singles which should have and could have meant a total far nearer 175.
In reply we lost a wicket in the third over but then mounted a challenge that enabled us to come within a whisker of a fine victory. Roger continued his fine form hitting 43 and combining in a partnership of 83 with Mo who hit 47. Once these two were out it looked like our innings may fold but Tristan had other ideas as he hit a quickfire 29 and brought us within 30 runs of Service's target. With the return of A Mildenhall runs quickly evaporated and we were finally all out for 190. A great game which saw us come close to snatching victory which i am sure judging by Service's players reactions they did not expect us to come close to reaching. Until next week when we entertain local rival's Blunsdon up the oak!
SATURDAY 1ST JULY COOPER AVON TYRES V MRO
LOST BY 7 WICKETS
On perhaps the hottest day of the year i had no hesitation in batting first as the game was also being interupted by England's quarter final with Portugal. Thinking this would disrupt the team batting second more was logical however it ended up making no difference at all as Cooper Avon were easily able to match whatever we could throw at them.
Our batting stumbled throughout as most batsmen got themselves in but were soon dismissed once they reached 20 or so. At one point we were 100 for 6 after 27 overs and it looked like we would be all out for 130 as our lower order on paper was as weak as it has been all season. Scott though had other ideas as he hit his best score of the season, hitting shots all around the ground. With myself we put on 69 runs and managed to creep our total up to 194 which on a decent pitch and extremely good outfield appeared about par.
Cooper Avon's batsman started at a quick pace and at no stage were we able to stem the flow of runs. Only Tristan was able to find any control and make life difficult for the batsmen. As i said earlier even the two and a half hour football break did not disrupt the batsmen's concentration as thier opener cruised to 80 not out and saw Cooper Avon to a comfortable 7 wicket win. We were certainly 30 or so runs short but we can not be too dispondant as 190 plus in any game should give us a reasonable shout. Cooper Avon also have from what we saw have one of the best batting line ups so should be challenging for the title come September. So until next week when we play the return fixture's up the oak!!
SATURDAY 25TH JUNE MRO V SEAGRY
WON BY 4 WICKETS
Having not played Seagry for a couple of seasons it was good to see some old faces again. The match at tea appeared to be all over as Seagry amassed 203 from thier 45 overs with thier captain and opener hitting a fine 68. Seagry managed to reach thier total without really braking sweat as although we did not bowl or field badly they played sensibly throughout ensuring they kept wickets in hand to hit out at the end of thier innings.
As we know all to often chasing over 150 at Moredon has never been our forte but Roger and Tahir set us up brilliantly putting on 67 for the first wicket in only 14 overs. Roger hit his best score of the season, Mick G also played the supporting role well as he and Tristan took us past the 150 mark before Tristan was bowled. Myself and Mick put on another 30 runs before he was caught. Thankfully there were no further blips as myself and Phil took us past the 203 mark with 9 balls remaining to record perhaps our most impressive win for many a season.
This is only our third win of the season but as we approach the half way point we can be fairly pleased with our performances thus far, yes we have not scored enough runs consistently and we need to finish of teams quicker in the field but overall we have adapted well to the higher standards of this division. So until next week when we visit Cooper Avon Tyres for the cricket/football festival up the oak!!
SATURDAY 17TH JUNE MRO V AVEBURY
LOST BY 6 WICKETS
As i was not playing this game due to a family wedding here is the little i know about it. We batted first and like every game so far this season after losing an early wicket we consolidated through Mick G and Tahir then the inevitable happened where we lost plenty of wickets for not enough runs. Going from 71 for 3 to a dissapointing 104 all out. Admittedly this was arguably our weakest line up this season but with Latif returning a bigger score would have been far more competitive.
Avebury did not really struggle and after a decent start they made short work in reaching the target with Phil picking up a couple of wickets, with no one else really making an impression. All in all i guess a little dissapointing however it must be remembered that Avebury are not top of the league by accident. So until next week when we face old rivals Seagry up the oak!!
SATURDAY 10TH JUNE MRO V BURBAGE & EASTON ROYAL
WON BY 8 WICKETS
Looking for our first home win of the season against a team that gained promotion with us we started very brightly as we reduced Burbage to 12 for 3 after seven overs as they were unable to get to grips with the swing of Tristan and Phil. After somewhat of a recovery Burbage reached 80 before loosing another wicket and then with the reintroduction of Tristan, Burbage continually lost wickets and ended up 129 all out with Tristan finishing with figures of 12-5-32-6.
Needing to hit our highest score of the season to win the game we started nervously as Tahir was dropped second ball of the innings. After this let off runs began to flow as Roger hit his highest score of the season and Tahir playing well off his legs scoring 26 before he was out. Mick G and Mo then continued to play solidly ensuring we did not loose another wicket until the 27th over with the score on 94. Tristan then ensured no further wobbles occurred as along with the increasingly solid Mick G took us to the 130 runs we required to comlete a rather more comfortable victory than we had imagined. Up the oak!!
SATURDAY 3RD JUNE 2006 SPYE PARK V MRO
LOST BY 2 WICKETS
Entering June we finally encountered some true summer weather and so had no hesitation in batting first on arguably the best track in the division?? It appeared to be a good decision as we cantered to 68 for 2 after 21 overs and 200 would surely have to be reached against a team who the previous year were two leagues above us. Recent seasons have produced some mighty collapses but perhaps none as bad as todays as from 68 for 2 we found ourselves 81 for 9 in the space of 6 overs. Thankfully Scott proved to us all that he is certainly not a number 11 as he claims as he stroked the Spye bowlers all around the ground before being bowled for 19 and taking our total to 112 all out.
At tea we realised we would have to bowl very well to gain anything from the wicket as we assumed we were at least a hundred runs too short!! Spye started confidently with both openers finding the boundary but once Tristan found his stride runs began to dry up and wickets began to fall. At 50ish for 6ish (excuse the vagueness but sadly our scorebook was not filled in ) Spye were begining to panic as Scott entered the fray and took three wickets himself in three overs. Needing about 20 runs with just two wickets left the Spye batsman held their nerve and clawed thier way over the finishing line in a game that was so low scoring considering the conditions but one of the most exciting for a long time. Of the 18 wickets to fall, 14 of them amazingly were clean bowled so perhaps in we had got our heads down for only a few more overs and runs the result could have been very different. Up the oak!!
SATURDAY 27TH MAY 2006 COLLINGBOURNE V MRO
SATURDAY 20TH MAY 2006 MRO V BUSCOT PARK
LOST BY 134 RUNS
After a lot of thought today's game eventually got the go ahead as early morning rain failed to prevent play starting on time. With hindsight perhaps a cancellation would have been beneficial as we slipped to one of our biggest defeats for quite some time. As we are begining to find out, in this division the obvious difference is not the speed of bowlers or power of batsmen but just the strength in depth most teams seem to have.
By reducing Buscot Park to 16 for 4 in no time at all, an early visit to the Tawny Owl seemed to be on the cards, this was until Buscot's oversea's player and one of the many Fernandes brother's took centre stage. Buscot's middle order began repairing the damage done by the Morton brothers with careful strokeplay and minimising all unneccesary risk. Buscot's Aussie was eventually bowled for 58 by the ever improving Scott and at this stage we thought we could go on and knock over the lower order, but Mr Fernandes had other ideas as he hit an excellent 97 not out, one of the best and highest innings seen played at Moredon for many a season. Buscot's middle order enabled Buscot to reach a competetive score of 213 for 8 after 45 overs. Thankfully we dismissed the other Fernandes brother cheaply as two weeks previously he had hit 194!!
With the sun yet to make an appearence today we set off in pursuit of Buscot's total in yet another disasterous fashion as wickets fell constantly to Buscot's opening bowlers, with the Aussie again being prominent in proceedings (no sour grapes honest!! He seemed like a great guy, just too good for us today) Only Mike W managed to appear comfortable against the bowling as he stroked an attractive 26 runs before being last man out.
A final score of 79 all out in 31 overs was very poor as the wicket was playing well and I am sure we will come up against more testing bowling in the future. If we do not applly ourselves better in the future, just like Buscot's middle order managed when in crisis then we will suffer more heavy defeats. So with plenty to ponder for next week's clash against Collingbourne up the oak!!
SATURDAY 13TH MAY 2006 BLUNSDON V MRO
WON BY 2 WICKETS
The last time we played Blunsdon they were promoted to this division and had a very competitive team. As we ourselves can testify to, losing a couple of your best players can certiainly alter your expectations of the season. With Blunsdon unable to field virtually any first team players we took the field after being asked to bowl first in high spirits.
These hopes soon turned to frustration though as the Blunsdon openers defended stoutly and stroked anything short or wide through the jungle outfield and over the boundary. With fifty runs on the board in good time and no wicket to our credit, Mo then took a good low catch in the gulley to remove the Dangerous if slightly injury hampered K Aubrey. After this wicket Blunsdon began to crumble with seven batsman not registering a run and only the captain Hambling and Aubrey junior managing to ensure the total managed to record a semi respectable 125 all out. Special mention must go to Scott today who on making his debut for the club (and not having bowled for 7 years) took two wickets with his first two balls for us and closed the Blunsdon innings in a hurry.
After seeing the lucky scouser's managing to scramble a lucky equaliser in the cup final we set out to overhaul Blunsdon's total in a not so dramatic fashion. However in a repeat of last week the middle order were rushing to put thier pad's on by the end of the third over. As poor shot selection and a lack of application by the top order meant we were 20 for 4 it would require an innings of substance to win the match. Having scored his only previous Moredon fifty on this ground, Mo set out to repeat the feat and took the attck to the Blunsdon bowlers who he hit all around the ground before being unfortunately run out backing up for 55. After another mini collapse it was left to big Tim and the unsung hero Ian to guide us home with of stand of 25 runs in testing conditions as the drizzle began to fall.
So in only our second game in this division we managed our first win albeit against a depleted Blunsdon team who fought us all the way in a keenly contested game. So until next week when we take on Buscot Park who we are lead to believe even own an Aussie up the oak!!
SATURDAY 6TH MAY 2006 MRO V SWINDON CIVIL SERVICE
LOST BY 7 WICKETS
Firstly, I must apologise as from this season any updates on this website will be sporadic to say the least due to the requirement of nappy changing and bottle making duties. Anyhow we approached our first ever season in division two with the challenge of Swindon Civil Service with a team devoid of two of our best players as they have seeked pastures new in the fields of far out Berkshire.
After losing the toss on a dull and overcast day we were sent in and after losing three early wickets managed to build and then post a semi respectable total of 114 for 9. Good contributions came from all our middle order with Mo (24), Mike W (16) and Steve F (13*) all performing well so early in the season.
After tea we set out to defend the target in the same manner that served us so well last season, but as well as we bowled our fielding was particuarly poor and will have to improve drastically if we are to stand a chance in this division. We managed to take three Civil Service wickets as they made relatively short work of reaching the target in the 33rd over. Tristan and Ian were the only bowlers who threatened the opposition batsmen as extras came out as top scorer of the day with 26!!
We can take some confidence from today as we were not overawed and overall came out with a lot of credit. With an improvement in our batting I am sure we can cause a few surprises this season as the majority of teams in this division we have played before and sometimes even beaten! So until next week when we visit our local neighbours Blunsdon, up the oak!!
SATURDAY 27TH AUGUST CHERHILL V MRO
WON BY 8 WICKETS
Well there we go, another season comes to an end and perhaps there can be no better place to finish than at the lovely setting that is Cherhill. With the White horse nestling in the background and the fishing lakes providing a sideshow of entertainment, not to mention a rather boisterous hound a great day is gaurenteed. Today, we found ourselves in the unusual position of being able to win the league outright, as Burbage were only three points ahead and had a tricky game away to Swindon 3 to finish.
Sadly for Cherhill they looked a shadow of their former selves who have dominated fixtures against us in the past. If my memory serves me correctly we have not beaten them at all in recent seasons. Today though we were to record our biggest and most comfortable win of the season.
After winning the toss i had no choice to bowl first as the wicket was at Cherhill's captains admittance the worst he had witnessed in seven year's, this was added to the fact that Cherhill were last week knocked over for just 23 runs.
However our plans were soon knocked off course after some wayward bowling meant that Cherhill had 19 runs after 4 overs and last weeks result was becoming a distant memory. If we were to gain maximum points today then we had to bowl Cherhill out for less than 75, something that already seemed unlikely. The only damage we were inflicting was to Roger's body, as a Tristan eturn from the boundary landed full on Roger's base of his neck from at least 60 yards. This incident not only woke Roger up who carried on bravely but also the rest of the team as Latif took three quick wickets as Cherhill begun to crumble once the openers were removed.
When Tristan replaced Latif, chaos erupted as he took six wickets in only seven overs all cleaned bowled. Not many Moredon bowlers in the history of this club, which stretches well over a hundred years (even before Paul Wright played!) could have recorded better figures than Tristan achieved today. His 6 wickets for just two runs meant that Cherhill's final total was below the 75 runs that we desired, with extras top scoring with 24.
Tea was unfortunatley not taken by the lakes today as we have had in the past as Cherhill have had to close thier bar area, which is a shame as the area is a great place to relax. Needing to win by ten wickets to secure maximum points we set off in determined fashion as both Tahir and Roger looked unlikely to give their wicket away. With the score on 46 Roger was given out leg before, but the back had been broken from their total so it was just a case of losing no more wickets. After a call from an onlooker to our web site through the message board for Dave C to bat higher in the order his wish was granted but his hope lasted just two balls as Dave was caught behind. Mo went in next and duly saw us home unfortunately though unable to hit the boundary that would have taken us to 75 runs and another point which would have seen us win the league.
With the champagne being opened on Chehill's outfield i received a phone call from Julian B (Litten Tree) to inform us that Burbage had won but had picked up only 20 points, three fewer than ourselves. This meant that we both finished on equal points, so how crucial was that batting point for 75 runs which we could not achieve!!
With Burbage having won one more game than us and also having beaten us earlier in the season this then means they finish above us in the final standings. As i have reiterated so many times in these pages this season it has been a great year and we have surpassed many peoples expectations.
What the league decides to do with us in terms of promotion will only become clear in the forthcoming weeks, but what is certain as we lock away our bats for another season is that my skills will not be tested on the field but in the home as i will become a dad for the first time, something which will put the trials and tribulations of a stressfull season into true perspective. Up the oak!!
SATURDAY 20TH AUGUST MRO V WROUGHTON
WON BY 45 RUNS
Never before has the club found itself in such a lofty position since we joined the Wilshire league. By beating Wroughton today who were our nearest challengers for a promotion place, we have at worst secured second place in the league. Like Everton in last year's premier league, we were once again tipped for relegation, however by showing similer fighting traits we have secured a top two finish. Had we ever set out to win the league or even expect a top half finish then perhaps the pressure in many of the matches would have tolled. However, by playing enjoyable cricket without the pressure of heavy expectations we have surpassed many people's expectaions none more than mine!!
In what was our final home game of the season i won the toss and decided to bat. Like so many times this season we either put 50 plus runs on for the first wicket or lose one straight away. Unfortunately it was the latter as Tahir was clean bowled by the impressive Mcmeeking in the first over. Dave soon followed in the fourth over again clean bowled, Tristan attempted to play his shots but in tricky conditions he soon holed out to fine leg attemting to hook Mcmeeking. Myself and Roger attemted to put the innings back on track and took the score to 47 when Roger was well caught in the gully for 25 after withstanding some hostile bowling. Even though i could not get the ball off the square Latif made it look far easier as we took the score to 77 in the 32nd over before i was out for perhaps the slowest seven runs scored this season. Latif continued to strike the ball well but Mo and Mick G quickly departed. Latif was finally out for 37 and this certainly helped edge us to our final score of 129 all out.
One of the reasons for our success this season has been the length of our tail and once again today the tail wagged when the top order failed. Phil batting at a lowly number nine hit the ball well in his 14 not out and never let the Wroughton bowlers take the game for granted. When all eleven players are capable of scoring runs we are never out of a game as today shows. Guys like Phil have opened the innings for us in the past and scored big runs as Phil's innings against Wanborough a couple of seasons back has shown.
When we palyed Wroughton in June we had to defend 127 in the field and did so even though we tried to lose it with some poor fielding, so today we were again up against it as Wroughton had arguably a stronger batting line up. Like our innings earlier Wroughton lost three wickets by the 7th over with the score on 13.
Only two Wroughton players managed double figures as Nettlefold hit a defiant innings of 24 and in partnership with Woodcock looked like they could win the game before I Morton claimed the latter's wicket. Phil was impressive from the start and claimed 4 wickets. Ian and Latif each took two before Tristan claimed the last wicket to fall and arguably deserved more as he bowled the fastest we have witnessed this season. Wroughton were eventually all out for 84 in the 36th over and thus ensured we would edge out Wroughton for the second place in the league.
To finish second is something that we should all be proud of as the previous six season's have seen us suffer at the wrong end of the table. Whether we are permitted into the second division will remain to be seen as our wicket which has been relaid during the winter has improved but in all honesty not to the standard that we hoped for in May.
So we got into our final league fixture next Saturday away to Cherhill knowing a win could see us crowned champions something that we all would have chuckled about, all 19 weeks ago before a ball had been bowled. Up the oak!!
SATURDAY 13TH AUGUST MRO V LAMBOURN
SATURDAY 6TH AUGUST WANBOROUGH V MRO
WON BY 3 WICKETS
Having played Wanborough many times since joining this club in 2000, i have tasted defeat against them too often. One thing that should be said though is that every game has been extremely close but perhaps none closer than today's which went to the very last ball.
After winning the toss and having a Ricky Ponting moment of inspiration i decided to bowl first, something we have not experienced since way back on the 11th of June. The wicket at Wanborough is always one of the more pleasent we meet on the circuit and in previous experience batting first or second seems to have little bearing on the overall result.
We started in a fairly low key fashion and could not manage a wicket until the 18th over when Ian once again struck in only his second over. Our fielding did not help though as a total of four catches were spilled, lessons from Latif would be welcomed as again he held not only two sharp chances but also hit the stumps with a good throw to manifest a run out.
Wanborough constantly threatened to break lose and set a score in excess of 200, but with Ian and Tristan continuing to take wickets at regular intervals no batsman could really get set except for Nick Stacey who again scored a half century against us, although it must be said he has done this against most opponents this season. Wanborough after 45 overs finished on 184 for 8 a score we all felt was perhaps a little under par considering the good strip and suny weather. I guess it shows our confidence these days as at no time did we feel we could not successfully chase down this score.
Roger and Tahir once again started well and set us on our way with an opening brought of 65 before Tahir was bowled. This brought Dave to the wicket and he hit his top score this season of 21 as we began closing down Wanborough's total. With the score on 104 in the 29th over we were in the exact same position that Wanborough were in themselves. After losing some quick wickets including Roger for a fine 40 Latif picked up the mantle and began to hit the tiring Wanborough bowling all around the ground. In partnership with Phil we required 35 runs off the last five overs, a close game indeed beckoned. Phil was out in the penultimate over after hitting a breezy 15 and we still needed 15 runs which then become 9 off the last. Latif hit a four from the first ball then a single which brought Ian to the crease needing five, he hit another single as then did Latif. The fifth ball was swished at and missed by a nervous Ian which left three to win from the final ball. All was quiet on the boundary rope as not even a jogging Richard Angwin from the BBC weather team could deflect our concentration. As the final ball was bowled Ian took the brave option and went for broke connecting well, sending the ball through extra cover for four and his teammates into celebration. Wanborough left the field in disbelief believing they had done enough to secure victory and Ian to a hero's welcome.
This was one of the best games we have played this season including the tie against Wilcot, played in a great spirit as the Wanborough Umpire was keen to point out at the end of the game. Great credit and mention must go to Latif though, as surley without his half century our final score would have fallen well short. Once again we have shown this season that we do not know when we are beaten and will battle to the end. Next week we take on the in form Lambourn at Moredon a game whcih i feel will be far harder than our league positions currently show, up the oak!!
SATURDAY 30 JULY MRO V BEANACRE
WON BY 32 RUNS
After last weeks run festival at Burbage we were brought back down to the soggy earth with a big bump, as we narrowly edged out Beanacre in a game full of attritional value. Losing yet another home toss the Beanacre captain had no hesitation in choosing to field as the wicket was damp due to the wet end of July we are experiencing and the sky was cloudy with drizzle constantly surrounding us.
We lost Roger in the very first over Beanacre's A Storey who produced a magnificent spell finishing with 3 for 20 after his 12 overs, after ripping out our top order. Whilst not having the pace of bowlers we have faced in previous weeks no one has managed to cause us so many problems at the start of our innings. With good support form the other Beanacre bowlers we were in desperate trouble at 34 for 5 after 16 overs. With our middle order being absent after three withdrawels the previous night we had to rebuild in a different manner rather than the aggressive approach that has suited us so well recently.
Tim, playing only his second game this season played a very good and careful innings of 24 and picked up runs from whatever means were possible. In partnership with Dave, 34 runs were added and in the context of the game probably did enough to ensure we won as the margin of victory was only 32 runs.
From memory today was the first time this season that we were unable to use the full quota of overs as we were all out for our lowest total this year of 104 in the 40th over. Our last six batsman totalled 64 runs so it shows how crucial they were in us posting our final score.
After a tea that featured samosa's no less we were eager to take early wickets and our fielding was helped by having both Tim and Matt back in the covers giving vocal encouragement all afternoon, which was much needed as the drizzle once again began to fall.
Although Beanacre lost an early wicket they managed to see off Tristan's early spell and in my opinion were creeping to a much needed victory as they had 31 on the board with just the one loss. The introduction of Ian soon began to change matters as he took 3 wickets in his first 7 overs. From a good postion Beanacre's lower order began to crumble and provided little resistance. Like a London bus, you wait for ages (in this case year's) then two appear in three weeks as Ian clean's up Beanacre's tail and claim's another five wicket haul. With good support from Phil who took three wickets and Mike with two Beanacre eventually fell 32 runs short in thier total of 72 all out.
Like so many games this season we once again snatch victory from position's of sure defeat only hours previous. As i have said before there may be many reason's for our success this year, such as an average standard this season from all clubs in this division or my true belief which is just our 'never say die spirit' which is constantly evident when setting totals. However the season finish's what will be true is that it will be our most successfull for many a year and one that so many individual's have played crucial roles in. Until next week when we visit our local rival's Wanborough at a slightly earlier start time as the season draw's to a close, up the oak!!
SATURDAY 23 JULY BURBAGE & E.R. V MRO
LOST BY 3 WICKETS
Never did i think i would hear myself say that 242 runs would not be enough but that was to be the case today as we visited the picturesque surroundings of Burbage and lost for the first time since the 4th of June. Today was always going to be a keenly contested fixture as it was first playing third and as we were to find out Burbage were very much up for the contest. On winning the toss i decided to bat as the track looked like the best we had played on this season.
Tahir and Roger started very well and posted thier second half century stand together before Tahir was out in the twentieth over with the score on a healthy 69 runs. Unfortunately the next two overs we lost both Roger and Mo for an addition of only six runs, which now meant myself and Imran had some rebuilding work to do.
Imran knows only one way of playing and that is by taking the attack to the opposition. He quickly ammassed 29 runs before being caught on the midwicket boundary. This brought Steve W to the crease for only the third time this season and in true Gordon Grenidge fashion he struck 48 quick runs before having to retire hurt with a sore elbow/fore arm.
With myself hitting my first 50 of the season and Latif once again a quickfire 23 we found ourselves closing the innings at 242 for 6, a total Burbage had not come close to hitting this season even when conditions suited.
So after the tea interval we were as confident as could be possible considering the task Burbage had facing them. This was heightend when Latif in his first over had thier opener caught behind. Burbage then though did not lose another wicket until the 15th over with the score flying along at 87 runs. By Burbage playing all the strokes in the coaching manual we were unable to stem the flow as whatever we bowled the run rate was always inreasing. None of our bowlers could keep the lid on the run rate with only Latif looking like taking wickets and Mo and Ian being the most conservative.
Burbage eventually overhauled our total in the 44th over and with three wickets remaining to secure a great victory in a day that produced over 480 runs. We could have no complaints at the end of the game as Burbage simply put in thier best batting performance of the season on a very fine track. So while it seemed odd that we could not defend 242 runs we do not need to feel to downbeat as this season has been already been a dramatic success. So next week we entertain Beanacre in a game that we will need to win if we have any intention of remaining in the top two as Burbage are due to face second placed Wroughton. Up the oak!!
SATURDAY 16TH JULY MRO V CORSHAM 3
WON BY 69 RUNS
Today's game was i felt going to be perhaps our sternest test yet this season as Corsham's results recently have matched our own. On arriving at the ground i found that not only had all thier players arrived but they were undertaking a stringent workout, something all of us could learn a lot from.
After finally winning a toss i decided to bat as the weather was perfect and we perform in general better fielding second. This decision soon though looked crazy as we lost three quick wickets and could only manage 36 runs from the first 20 overs!! The introduction of Imran at number five changed the match dramatically. Corsham had surrounded the bat for the first half of our innings but Imran had the Corsham fielders fleeing in all directions as he counter attacked superbly. The next six overs produced 45 runs and suddenly our innings had some momentum. When Imran was out going for another big hit only went to cause Corsham more headaches as Latif came to the crease and looked in fine form from the start.
Amazingly Latif and myself in yet another anchor role managed to score 115 runs from the last 15 overs as the Corsham spinner's had no answer's for Latif's wristy stroke play. Admittedly Corsham's catching left something to be desired as they dropped at least 5 catches most of which were routine. At one stage we would certainly have settled for anything in the region of 150 so to get to 201 for the loss of only four wickets was a great achievement. Latif ended on 75 not out and i scored my highest score of the season 49 not out. The attitude of the Corsham players could not have been more highly contrasted as they could not believe what hit them in the last 15 overs cosidering what the first 20 overs brought them.
We went into the field knowing Corsham had some decent batter's so took nothing for granted. Phil returned from injury and bowled well in tandem with Latif and both took an early wicket to prevent Corsham scoring at more than three an over. Only Corsham's experienced opener, S Copland could handle our attack as he hit a fine 61 runs. With Ian taking over from his brother, wickets continued to fall, as he finished with his best ever Wiltshire league figures of 9-1-30-5. Mo also bowled a tight spell to ensure another Wilcot performance did not occur as he picked up two wickets.
Corsham's innings ended on 132 all out in the 41st over so provided us with another victory which like so many previous weeks seemed highly unlikely at about 3pm and 20 overs gone. There is no secret to our winning run other than we are showing a remarkable fight in our batting especially as we are refusing to roll over. Like all winning teams we require crucial aspects of play to go our way and today it did with Corsham dropping many catches and ourselves holding some great ones. Our team is pretty much the same as last year with the exception of Tahir and Tristan, it's just at crucial times like today different player's are holding thier hands up and giving that little extra.
So until next week when we face another in form team in Burbage who by all accounts play on a good track up the oak!!
SATURDAY 9TH JULY SWINDON 3 V MRO
WON BY 23 RUNS
We entered this game in the unprecedented position of being top of the league, something which was surely beyond all of our expectations in April. Our performances though including today have shown though that we are not top by accident.
The game was switched on Friday from Ramsbury to our own ground Moredon, so it was by good fortune that we arrived at the ground with our own set of stumps, numbers and boundary markers as Swindon were unable to provide any.
On losing yet another toss, the same scenario as last week beckoned as we were invited to bat. Unfortunately our start to the innings was not repeated as we quickly found ourselves 30 for 4 as Swindon hit thier straps and barely bowled a bad bowl in the first 15 overs. When the fifth wicket fell with less than 50 on the board it looked like we could be heading down the Tawny Owl for our tea, but just like at Wroughton we had other ideas. I played another innings out of the Geoffrey Boycott coaching manual while Latif hit a beligerent 22 runs which got our momentum going finally. With support from Dave who hit 16 we got the score up to 100 by the 38th over. The next seven overs produced 30 runs with myself finally out for 42 and Mike W ending on 13 not out.
To bat out 45 overs was a great effort although we certainly would have liked a total nearer 175 but this gave a chance although the Swindon side was packed with decent players. In our previous meeting in May only one player remained from that side today. Swindon's attack today was very good and exploited the conditions well with the ball swinging all over the place in the first 30 overs.
Defending this total meant we would need early wickets but this was hampered by losing the everpresent Phil in midweek through a domestic incident in his new house. This did though allow us to witness the new ball pairing of Tristan and Latif who began in fine fashion not allowing any easy runs and picking up both openers in the process.
Swindon were always in with a good chance due to them batting all the way down the order. The run rate was well in our control though as by the 25th over Swindon had only lost two wickets but had scored only 40 run. With Mike W replacing Latif from the croquet end the game swung in our direction as he picked up four wickets for 36 runs in his 12 overs. With Latif returning from the other end Swindon needed 30 runs from seven overs but with only two wickets remaining. Mo soon put an end to this as he took two wickets, with Mick G catching thier last man to claim us a 23 run win.
This game was really a mirror image of the Wroughton game where we batted indifferently but posted a reasonable score but then went on to win reasonably comfortably due to a big concerted effort in the field. This two games now highlight how our fortunes have changed as previous seasons would have seen us loose games like today as we would be unable to squeeze wickets out and lower the run rate without the like of Tristan and Latif. So until next week when the inform Corsham 3 visit Moredon up the oak!!
SATURDAY 2 JULY MRO V WILCOT
WON BY 3 RUNS
Turning up at the ground today i was surprised but glad to see the head groundsman of Swindon council tending to the wicket prior to the game. Speaking to him the council are intent on improving the wicket and todays game is testament to the fact the square has already made steps in the right direction.
On losing the toss yet again, it was no surprise that we were asked to bat as the clouds were brewing overhead and there was no sign of the sun that was forcast.
Tahir and Roger started carefully but both were soon into their stride hitting shots all around the wicket. They put on our best opening partnership for quite some time in reaching 115 when Tahir was out for 61, his first half century for the club.
Runs kept flowing as Mo hit anything loose as he quickly reached 30 before being caught at deep mid-wicket. After 30 overs we had amazingly reached 135 runs on a day when at first it appeared anything over 150 would be a winning score. Latif appeared at number four for his first appearence of the season and hit 22 before he was caught. Meanwhile Roger had hit another excellent half century before being bowled for 55. Although we lost some late wickets to Wilcot's tempting leg spinner myself and Phil ensured we ended on 220 for 7 wickets, quite some achievement in the context of the conditions.
After a cake festival of a tea we went into the field in a confident manner and were soon rewarded with two wickets as Phil bowled both openers around thier legs. Although wickets fell reguarly for Wilcot their run rate was still around 4 an over helped by the fact that we conceded 25 wides, all i will say on this is that the umpires were consistent in thier decisions. After 34 overs Wilcot were 143 for 6 and seemingly out of the game but thier number 7 had other ideas and took the attack straight back to us. He played one of the best innings i have seen from an opposition player for quite some time and so nearly won Wilcot the game.
Wilcot required 7 runs of the last over and it appeared we could have a repeat of the tie both teams played out at the begining of the season. Mike W was the man to bowl the last over and took a wicket with his second ball after the first went for a single. The next three deliveries yielded only one run so Wilcot's inform number seven who had 57 to his name already needed four to tie or five to win. With every fielder on the boundary Mike held his nerve and Wilcot could only score a single with us running out thier number seven as he attempted a second and thus allowing us to win by three runs.
Today's game was one of the best i have been involved in for a very long time, played in a great spirit which is typical of this division. We could perhaps be forgiven for our complacency in the field as 220 runs would normally be too many to chase down especiallly as we knew Wilcot were bottom of the league. But we had very few answers for thier hitting when the game seemed dead in the middle overs. My only criticism from today was that we were too quiet in the field and had no intensity as we just coasted expecting an easy victory which so nearly cost us dear.
So as we record our first home victory this season we go to Swindon 3 next week still in the top three and still with the confidence we can beat any team in this division so long as we give it 110% Up the oak!!
SATURDAY 25TH JUNE MRO V CHERHILL
SATURDAY 18TH JUNE WROUGHTON V MRO
WON BY 15 RUNS
Arriving at Wroughton with a full complement of players on time we had arguably our strongest eleven for many a game, but how misleading a team on paper can appear!!
After losing yet another toss we were surprisingly asked on the hottest day of the year by far to have a bat first. Wroughton have returned to the Weir field this season and have in all honesty done an excellent job in resurrecting the ground to a decent playing standard. Wroughton were though obviously concerned of what the track would do, hence the decision to insert us.
Tahir and Roger started steadily enough on what straight away could be seen to be a slow wicket but one with a true bounce. Disaster struck in the 8th over when Tahir was out leg before, this brought the in form Mo to the crease but sadly he departed a couple of balls later caught at square leg. Our strong batting line up was being tested straight away as Wroughton who were second before the start were as keen as mustard in the field and could sense blood under the warm skies.
Roger and then Tristan departed with only 21 on the score board and a early finish seemed the only result but Moredon are made of tougher stuff these days. Finally i put in a bating performance that enabled us to not only bat out the allocated overs but to set a challenging total of 128 to win. The lower order once again performed well with Steve Williams returning from a brief retirement and scoring 12 runs. Mike W followed up last weeks resistance with a fine 14 before he was trapped leg before. This brought Phil to the crease and he showed once more the form of a couple of years ago in hitting 19 (though Wroughton's score book did sau 25??). Wroughton must have been surprised at our resistance because at 21 for 4, 127 seemed a long way off, so all of us were more than pleased at tea to still be in with a chance.
After a good tea of which Ian seemed to see more of than the rest of us we set off in determined fashion and we were quickly rewarded with a wicket as Leon took a great catch at mid off. Phil then struck quickly twice more, in the process dismissing the dangerous looking Wroughton captain. Tristan would have got in on the act as well but as the afternoon would show was let down by some sloppy catching. By the 18th over Wroughton were five wickets down with very few recognised batsman to come and with such a long outfield the run rate was almost at a standstill.
Leon and Ian came on to bowl and each took a wicket with Ian finishing with 3 for 19. The last two wickets proved difficult to remove as yet again we dropped basic catches. It was left to Mike to dismiss the number 11 with Wroughton ending just 15 runs shy of our total.
This was a great game in so many ways, as at one stage it looked like we would struggle to get past 50 runs but intelligent batting helped post a challenging total. If we had been ruthless in the field we could easily have dismissed Wroughton for less than 75 and not let them come so close to our score. But with all this said and done this was a great result and shows we deserve our league position. Until next week when we entertain Cherhill up the oak!!
SATURDAY 11TH JUNE LAMBOURN V MRO
WON BY 4 WICKETS
Eventually the sun has begun to shine on a Saturday this season as we arrived at the super setting of Lambourn again though not with our full complement of players as Dave was at home celebrating his birthday. After losing another toss we were asked to field something i would not have chosen as we always seem to play better batting first. All was not lost though as Phil put in an excellent opening spell removing Lambourn's top four batsmen all bowled with only 52 runs on the board.
To their credit Lambourn's middle order dug in as we all assumed we could knock them over for less than a hundred. With at times a huge amount of luck Lambourn scampered quick singles and chipped the ball into quite unusual and always empty spaces of the ground.
Replacing Phil after his 12 overs was the ever reliable Mike W and he began to enjoy his best spell of bowling for well over a season finishing with 5 for 41 off 9.5 overs. This limited Lambourn to 168 all out,a total they did well to achieve considering their earlier position. Paul Annets was the mainstay of Lambourn's innings hitting a pugnacious 51 runs.
As recent history shows chasing totals over 150 is not our strong suit but for today at least we buried that theory as Roger and Mo put the Lambourn bowlers to the sword. After losing myself in the tenth over with the score on 28 we did not lose another wicket until the 26th over and with the score on 122. Roger was the man out after producing another fine half century to a ball that was a full toss but will no doubt be debated until the end of the next millenium as to it's legality. Not only was i unfortunatley in the middle of this decision i then had to give two lbw decisions as it looked like we may lose the game from a position where we were dead certs for victory. Eventually Mike W and Dave guided us home in the 42nd over for a well earned victory. In truth Lambourn did not bowl great with the exception of their captain but we still had to punish the bad delivery and Mo and Roger did this superbly and were crucial in us winning the game.
So another fine win keeps up our unbeaten away record as we now make the short trip to Wroughton next Saturday who have been in fine form this season. Lastly a special mention must go to Matt Edmonds who umpired for over thirty overs, a job he has only just taken up this season but has done so with great authority for someone with so little experience. Up the oak!!
SATURDAY 4TH JUNE MRO V WANBROUGH
LOST BY 18 RUNS
This weekend marked the first third of the season passing already which seems quite amazing especially with the weather still maintaining a wintry feel. Also quite unbelievably we found ourselves in the lofty position of second in the division and having tasted defeat just once. So with our current form we expected a good show against our visitors Wanbrough with whom we have had some very close games with over the past six or so seasons. This was not to be though as we put in a below par performance in comparison to our previous games.
After losing the toss i was surprised to find ourselves fielding as the strip was green and i assumed we would be batting which would have suited us especially as we had only nine men at 1.55pm due to unforeseen difficulties with tea preperation. This also meant we had a new opening bowler in Mo who did a fine job and returned final figures of 12-5-19-0.
Wanbrough started well attacking anything wide but lost thier first wicket in the fourth over when a mix up in running resulted in an easy run out. Wanbrough did not lose another wicket until the 15th over with the score on 40. Phil came into the attack and bowled well again without much luck but did pick up the valuable wicket of Paul Sore. With Mo bowled out Ian come into the attack and put in his best spell for the club in a long time conceding only one boundry in his eleven overs though unfortunately did not pick up a wicket that his bowling deserved. Phil returned for the last two overs of the innings and picked up three wickets as Wanbrough finished the innings on 169 for 9.
This was a very mixed bowling performance with all the bowlers doing well but were perhaps let down by some poor fielding with catches being dropped and too many singles being taken when they should not have been. With the margin of defeat being so close in the end perhaps this was where the game was lost.
Another major contribution was our disasterous start to our innings with three wickets falling with only two runs on the board as Roger, Mo and Dave all departed early. To finish on 151 all out was then great credit to our middle order who all put in good performances with Tristan scoring his first fifty for the club. He was well supported by Mick and Leon (14 and 16). After Tristan was out it looked like we may fold but Phil had different ideas as he recorded his best score this term by taking the attack to the Wanbrough bowlers in scoring 31 and taking us so close to what seemed a very unlikely victory in only the third over.
To lose by 18 runs was obviously dissapointing but we showed great fightback in totalling 151 but as this game shows if we have any ambition to remain in second position then we still have many aspects of our game to improve upon. So until next week when we venture into the horse country that is Lambourn up the oak!!
SATURDAY 28TH MAY BEANACRE V MRO
WON BY 95 RUNS
Another week and another new ground, which for but a few had ever played at and thankfuuly did not prove too difficult to find although i did manage to find Somerfield's carpark at the first attempt!
On a very windy but mild afternoon i lost the toss for the first time this season and we were asked to bat which i may well have chosen anyway as this appears to be our best option to win games.
Unfortunately we lost our first wicket in the third over when Dave was bowled for one. Mo then came to the wicket and played some handsome cover drives before he perished to the same bowler for thirteen. At this point we were 32 for 2 after 11 overs on a pitch that was playing far from consistent but this did not deter Roger who was playing magnificently through the off side and regularly found the boundary. Myself and Roger added another thirty runs before i was caught behind. Mick G came to the wicket and his second scoring shot was a big hooked six over fine leg.
Roger and Mick batted very steadily for 13 overs ensuring we had enough wickets left to get to a score in the region of 150. Mick was bowled in the 34th over for 16 and the score on 97. This brought Tristan to the crease at the ideal time as straight away he could play his shots. In the last ten overs we scored 71 runs with Roger passing 50 for the second game in a row and Tristan hitting three big sixes in his 44 not out off thirty balls.
At the end of our 45 overs we totalled 177 for the loss of four wickets which was built around Roger's unbeaten 82. This was a great effort as Beanacre had a new bowler who bowled a hostile 12 over spell and liked to test the middle of the pitch more often then not and with the pitch being unpredictable it was testing times throughout.
After tea we set out to do exactly the same as we did against Corsham and strangle them in the early overs. After Tristan's first ball was clobbered for four Beanacre's intentions were clear, but his very next ball was brilliantly caught at first slip by Mike W above his head and thier danger man was gone (he scored 147 in the last game v Wanbrough).
Once this early breakthrough was made Beanacre had no answer for Phil's and Tristan's line and length bowling and at one stage they found themselves 24 for 7 with the game looking like it would be all wrapped up six. Beanacre's number 8 and 9 did rally though and took thier final total to 82 all out and victory to us by 95 runs.
We bowled very well with Tristan picking up 4 wickets and Phil getting three all bowled, Ian managed two at the end with Mike also picking up one. This was a great performance with again everybody having some involvement in the victory something i can't stress the importance of enough.
The only thing left to say about the day was a very regretable incident involving Nasser who was only playing his third game for the club and the first this season. After finding out he was to bat number six he decided to leave the nice surroundings of Melksham to set of back home in protest, as a "STAR BAT" should not be as low as six. This decision was very odd considering he had no mode of transport and Swindon being at least 30 miles away!
We may have only lost one game this season but i will not pamper to anybody's demands. We do not have the best ground or team but as this season has shown we have a good team spirit with everybody enjoying thier cricket and this little incident shows that players like Nasser will not be welcomed at the club.
With the game finishing ahead of schedule Mo comically pointed out we could get home before Nasser! This made everbody laugh and finished of well what could have been a very tricky day. Until next week when we take on Wanbrough which is always a close game between us both up the oak!!
SATURDAY 21ST MAY MRO V BURBAGE & E.R. CANCELLED
SATURDAY 14TH MAY CORSHAM 3 V MRO WON BY 52 RUNS
We were all looking forward to again playing on a new ground at Corsham even though it would be our second artificial in just three weeks. The afternoon did not however begin well as an accident on the M4 caused huge tailbacks that only Paul W managed to miss after my frantic text messages were just a little too late and we all ended up getting to the ground with about ten minutes to spare!
Upon our arrival i again won the toss for the third time this season and decided to bat first as we had yet to do that this season as previous scores on this ground suggested we could be chasing anything over 200 runs.
Dave and Roger begun our innings superbly hitting anything off line to the boundary. After ten overs we had 28 on the board without loss, then Dave was bowled for 16 in the 17th over with the score on a healthy 55 runs. Mo and Roger continued the excellent start with them playing strokes all around the ground with the mat providing good bounce and pace. Roger batted brilliantly for 30 overs in scoring 71 and putting us in a good position to set a challenging score.
The last 15 overs though only produced another 69 runs as we lost seven wi