Report by Mike Harrop:
A quadruplet of Houlders, two Barras and two Harrops made up the backbone of a strong FAS side which played Shipton-under-Wychwood - ably augmented by the odd (very) Dare-Bear, a Stonedog and the on-loan comedian Tommy Cooper. Despite a brief shower, the game started remarkably promptly for an FAS fixture and our own "original ginger" won the toss and elected to bat. In all good journalistic manner it was an innings of three halves. A flying start by Slash.com (28) and Coops (64) who put on 88 in 14 overs, until both were dismissed in rapid succession. A period of consolidation by Houders (26) and The Bear (28) took the total up to 139 in the 32nd over. Finally some good bat speed by JimJam (26) and others took the total to 191/9 off the allotted 40 overs.
Ginger Leader looked into the crystal ball to consult Baz and both foresaw a shortage of bowlers and therefore persuaded CB to be prepared to don the gloves at halfway if we needed Coops to purvey some spin. Coops let on in passing that he couldn't get in his school side as a 'keeper (some oik called Ollie Pope kept hogging the limelight), so he learnt to weave his spinning magic at an early age . . . more of which later. Junior Houlder and junior Harrop opened the bowling and exploited the conditions perfectly and, by the time Shipton had got to the 15th over, they were already 3 down for only 46. Aaron's spell was particularly spectacular with his first 5 overs including 4 maidens and an unplayable delivery that castled our very own Grouty. Dave Harrop chipped in with 2/13 off his first five overs and the scene was set for Slash.com and Houders to continue the good work. Both bowled extremely well but with no reward and, with CB now demonstrating his impeccable art behind the timbers, Ginger Leader decided to try his arm as Shipton's Australian import was settling in for what potentially could have been a match-winning innings. Bowling a negative line to contain the runs he too was wicketless but the stage was set for Coops to tie up one end and the openers to finish their spells from the other. Dave Harrop managed to get the Aussie out ably assisted by a stunning catch from Houders on the boundary and Coops then waded in with 3 wickets in an over, albeit two of them to the rankest balls that any purveyor of bad spin would have been proud to call their own! The scene was set for Ginger Leader's masterstroke - TFC avoidance for Stonedog as he bowled the 39th over and Dare-Bear the 40th. Shipton finished 148/8 in what was a much closer match than the scorebook would let you believe.
Report by Daniel Mortlock:
Normally the challenge of captaining a friendly team in a twenty/20 is that there aren't enough overs to give everyone a bat or a bowl, but in our game against Slaughters United this evening we had the opposite problem: hardly anyone in the side could bowl; and half of the rest didn't want to bat thanks to a combination of injuries. (How we used to manage a week-long tour is a true mystery given that today we were the walking wounded on just the third day of four.)
Still, we managed to stay competitive for most of the first innings, with the Slaughters score of 77/4 at the 14-over mark no more than respectable. The stars for us had been Joe White (2/17, thanks to nice catches by Jamie Dare and Danny Caro) and Tommy Dare (1/16), who bowled on a full-length pitch for possibly the first time ever and took a proper wicket when he beat one of the opposition openers and Toby Reynolds completed a nice stumping. For a moment it seemed Tommy had nabbed two in two when the new bat was caught in the covers by Daniel, but the delivery had bounced twice and the umpire reluctantly, if correctly, signalled "no ball".
If the threatened rain (from the allegedly Star Destroyer-shaped clouds) had come then we'd have been the happier of the two teams . . . but it didn't and pretty soon we weren't. The Slaughters more than doubled their total in the last 6 overs of their innings as our bowlers struggled and everyone we'd successfully been hiding was relentlessly and repeatedly found: catches went down; boundaries were hit mere feet either side of our now largely immobile fielders; and a lot of double-teapots were on display.
Our chase was solid but essentially completely unthreatening - in some sense it was not really a chase at all. (Perhaps we should have gone with Henry's suggestion that he be replaced with one of the gun batters from the Shipton game who had by now arrived to watch.) A score of 37/2 after 11 overs meant there was nothing more for it but to get some batting practice. Danny Caro (19), Joe White (17) and Nigel Reynolds (20) were the only ones to make it into double figures; Jacob Caro (3*) made his first tour runs; and . . . er . . . that was about it.