Wooton & Boars Hill
Lose :: Played on Wednesday 24th July 2019
Knockers assembled at Wootton and Boars Hill CC in blazing sunshine to kick-off the Oxford 2019 Tour. Although there was the usual smattering of Knockers arriving late, it made for a pleasant change that one particular tourist was so keen to resume his Knockers career that en route to the ground the police had pulled him over to offer some constructive feedback on his driving technique. The opposition were a few players short themselves, so skipper Rory Goodson kindly volunteered the services of our late arrivals to play for them. The chosen trio were Sachin Rawson, Richard Calver and Knockers International Pro and Premier Spinner Charles Doubleday-Potts.
Lesser men might have enjoyed an afternoon ‘off’ whilst playing for the opposition, but not these three. For them this was not a pleasant Wednesday afternoon tour match. This was a grudge match, and an important opportunity to re-write the scripts of their recent Knockers’ pasts: Rawson’s double-bouncing mystery deliveries in Taunton, Calver’s form on the slide, and Charles’ pain of going wicketless the previous weekend with his American girlfriend in attendance. These three musketeers grabbed this opportunity with both hands as catches were taken, wickets were pouched and runs were plundered, steering Wootton and Boars Hill to a Knockers-inspired victory.
Goodson decided to bat first in this 25-overs a-side game in honour of the recently engaged Club Captain (absent from this tour, but the real miss was his three-quarter length women’s slacks), and this decision was vindicated with a 78 run opening stand between Ed Springett and Ed Marsh. Marsh was the first to fall, having dabbed his way delicately to 48 he nicked one behind off the probing bowling of a rejuvenated Rawson. The very next over Calver joined the party with two wickets in two balls: Springett sent one skywards and was caught, before Knockers debutant Ben Lyster-Binns was despatched by a fine caught-and-bowled for a golden quacker. Scott Landers denied Calver a hat-trick by confidently mowing his first ball over the infield. John Mitchell, having watched the Calver over from the safety of the non-striker’s end, kept the scoreboard ticking with Landers, before gifting Calver with his second catch of the day. Ziggy couldn’t sprinkle his stardust on proceedings as he was bowled for five. He’ll have to be our hero another day.
Landers was the first of three scalps to fall to Charles as he edged through to the keeper. The Knockers innings showed signs of petering out, but it isn’t a proper Knockers showing if the tail doesn’t wag! Christian Kutner had the punters purring with a swashbuckling 22 including the innings’ only six. It wasn’t a half-hit maximum either! Kuts provided Calver with his third of the innings, and the fourth followed swiftly as Tom Elliott validated some earlier driving criticisms. Hector Agnew and Goodson reformed their dynamic final wicket partnership with some slog sweeps and some ‘advancing five steps down the wicket to play a dead-bat defence before legging a single blindly’ (shot-names are welcome), before Agnew sought out Calver’s bucket hands off Charles’ bowling. Knockers seemed confident of defending their total of 145 off 24.3 overs.
This confidence was well placed as after a short ‘hydration’ break, Kuts bowled a fearsome spell of new ball bowling, steaming down the slope with the new cherry dancing. After a nicely worked run out from Lyster-Binns, Kuts cleaned up three Wootton batsmen (including Calver) with some absolute jaffers. He swung and seamed his way to 3-24 from his 5 overs and left Wootton teetering at 48-4. Despite a beautiful 5 over spell from Ed Marsh keeping the Wootton run-rate down and the best efforts of Agnew, Elliott, Ziggy and Goodson with the ball, Wootton were seen home with an over to spare by the composed unbeaten 59 from Rawson.
On another day Knockers might have engineered a victory from a strong position in the game, but were ultimately undone by some excellent performances from their own men in the opposition ranks. Many thanks to Wootton for hosting, and for recommending watering holes in town for that evening!
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Wooton & Boars Hill
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