Report by Chris Barras:
The weather and the location could not have been more perfect for the start of the 2022 tour. What was more surprising was that FAS had a full team, fit and raring to go, at the appointed start time.
FAS lost the toss and, not surprisingly, found themselves in the field. After suffering an early blow when Joe White pulled up lame the FAS bowlers toiled manfully in the sunshine. Whilst wickets fell fairly regularly FAS were unable to stem the flow of runs coming from the bat of Bibury's young guest opener who scored 122 in a total of 211 in 30 overs. Next top score was extras with 30-odd! The bowling honours went to the leg spinners Dilly (3 wickets) and Felix Barras (2 wickets) with able support from Jimmy Wyatt, Tom Hall and Ben Kittow. On the fielding front Frosty was outstandingly brave, young gun Markus Pring was full of energy and enthusiasm, but the champagne moment had to be Hal the Bear Dare's reaction after heroically getting underneath but then spilling a spiralling skier in the deep.
FAS needed a good start to chase down a very competitive total and this they got. Openers Jimmy Wyatt and Andy Bell (despite neither of them apparently being the best cricketers in their family) put on nearly 100 for the first wicket. Tom Hall and Dilly (50* - or was it 49*?) kept the run rate ticking over at the required rate of 7, and when Tom fell with the target in sight the Bear came in and finished things off in style with some trademark lusty blows, all with an over or two to spare.
All in all a fun competitive game played in good spirit and finished off with the now customary Bibury barbeque.
Report by Daniel Mortlock:
In recent years the Bunnies have typically appeared at Blockley with under-strength and under-manned sides, a trend they reversed today by putting out a full eleven which included ex-Derbyshire players Harvey Hosein and Tom Poynton. With FAS's playing strength rather diluted across our three games, captain Jim Streeter negotiated to play a declaration game with the Bunnies batting first, superb decisions without which almost certainly would have lost today.
The Bunnies established an early dominance as their openers calmly put together an 87-run partnership as they found seamers Josh Vick (0/30 from 8 sapping overs in the heat) and Toby Reynolds (0/21) fairly easy to deal with. Indeed, it would have been a century partnership but for the Blockley outfield, which resembled a wildflower meadow - plenty of well-hit strokes were sufficient to pierce the field, only for the ball to then come to a halt a few yards in from the boundary. But this was the clue that unlocked the game for us: we needed to take the pace off the ball when we were bowling as well. Tom Dare (0/15) must be one of the few 13-year-olds to bowl three overs at a set First Class batsman and be hit for just one boundary - but, really, he was a bit quick through the air. So we turned to spin: while Harry Houlder (0/32) was still a bit sharp, we finally got things right with Faruk Kara (1/10 off 6 miserly overs) and Tom Reynolds, who took a tour-best 4/28. More important than the numbers, though, was that the victims included both the Bunnies' ringers: the absolute highlight, and potential Champagne moment of the tour, was when he pitched a perfect off-spinner that bowled Hosein (set on 69) through the gate; and then he get Poynton, who'd come in and smashed a flurry of leg-side boundaries and so was successfully goaded by Harry's shouts of "he's got no off-side game" that he played another cross-bat swipe . . . which went straight to a delighted Harry on the boundary.
At 153/4 after 29 overs the Bunnies were looking to make a final pre-decleration push, but after Tom's intervention and successful spells by Alex Stone (2/16) and Daniel Mortlock (2/0) we took the final 6 wickets for just 11 runs. The highlight here was when Will Siebert hit Daniel's first delivery to Rufus Dennis at short mid-wicket and called his dad Matt through for a completely impossible single, only to then change his mind, before realising the implications on his inheritance, at which point he tried to swap ends with Matt while Daniel took the bails off. We weren't having any of that - they hadn't even gone close to crossing - and so Matt headed off to call his solicitor, leaving Will to at least "make it count" . . . only to instead be bowled next ball. The Bunnies were now nine-down and we duly completed a team hat-trick to leave ourselves with a potentially plausible target of 165 to win.
Sadly, any hopes we had of chasing down our target were gone even before our innings started as the Bunnies inexplicably opted against using a cricket ball for the second innings, instead taking to the field with a luminous pink rock. We thus spent two pretty soporific hours watching our rusty top order mis-timing singles into the long grass as the Bunnies' slow bowlers got increasingly tennis-like bounce. It wasn't difficult to stay in - the bowlers' strike rate was 61.50 - but it was equally difficult to score - our team run rate was just 2.20. Bazball this was not.
Rufus Dennis (22 off 40 balls) was both our top and fastest scorer, with a strike rate of 55.00; Toby Reynolds (17 off 44 balls) flirted with respectability; and Nigel Reynolds (13* retired off 44 balls), Harry Houlder (6* off 27 balls) and Josh Vick (2* off 15 balls) all at least managed to remain undismissed, hence securing the draw; but the real masters of what might perhaps be called "fasball" were Jim Streeter (4 off 22 balls) and Daniel Mortlock (12 off 51 balls) who somehow contrived to fail to both score and stay in. The overall ledger was quite incredible: of the 246 deliveries we faced just two were hit for boundaries and 11 were hit for two; the other 233 were dots or ones, so hopefully at least an interesting Morse code message.