5 from 5
By Richard Looms
Stand in skipper sees 2s home.
As a first rate cricket tea sat unwrapped in the kitchen of the CCC clubhouse awaiting its time to shine, the diminutive figure of Craig Hendry lost the toss and found himself a little surprised to be passing on news that we would be bowling. Hawker and Waddington may sound like an unlikely merger prompting a new line in aeronautical board games but it is in effect a promising opening bowling partnership. The two J’s produced some eminently nickable deliveries in the opening overs but in the drizzly conditions the opposition top order played positively and got Oakham to their first 50 in around ten overs.
The Niffy bowlers plugged away well though and wickets fell fairly regularly, largely to some solid catches in the outfield. A key one appeared to be the dismissal of the assured looking Oakham number 3 whose skied leading edge Page Senior managed to stay upright and mobile long enough to snaffle at mid wicket. Keen observers will have noticed how the same fielder had cleverly kept the same batsman on strike the ball before by throwing a late pike into a dive over a fiercely hit pull for four.
The latter part of Oakham’s innings is the tale of a tussle between some experienced cricketers. Oakham left hander Graham North drove and pulled to good effect so that a score of approaching 200 looked possible. Page Senior hobbled his best to keep the run rate down but it was middle Page, and Seconds debutant, Dave, whose 4 wicket spell of tidy overs curtailed the innings at 163 and included the caught and bowled of the dangerous North.
Mmmmm. Cream scones.
The CCC run chase began with Page Junior and Vas looking comfortable against a slow bowling opening partnership. Vas was particularly positive and when Page fell lbw he developed a very productive partnership with Matt Sharpe. Your correspondent was umpiring at this point and enjoyed some aggressive but sensible batting from both players. By now the experienced Oakham outfield upped the level of chat as they knew the upper hand was in the process of being wrestled away from them. Sharpe showed admirable confidence and composure, striking the ball crisply but falling for 25 just before drinks attempting to repeat his gorgeous lifted drive of the previous over off the Oakham first change seamer. Oakham felt they had a match turning slice of luck when long off and long on converged on a near six from Vas and the former spilled the ball into the grateful hands of the latter. A very unfortunate way for an excellent innings to end just two runs short of what would have been a well-deserved half century. Oakham felt they were right in it now as there were two new batsman at the crease.
A key moment occurred several overs later when the first change seamer, now finding a regular bit of nibble off the seam, found the edge of skipper Hendry’s bat with one that had the keeper initially moving toward the leg side. The attempted one handed take was spilled, whereas a similarly difficult chance offered earlier in the day to Hendry himself was gobbled up. What do catches win?
The drop proved decisive as Craig, ably supported by Dylan, then Dave Page and finally Joe, played with increasing fluency and power. The winning runs, and the skipper’s half century were brought up with a typically towering six. An emphatic way to conclude a very satisfying fifth win in a row for the flag flying seconds.
A game which had begun in grey drizzle without the inspirational leadership of Richard Looms, ended with stand in skipper Craig Hendry walking off unbeaten and wreathed in smiles and late afternoon sunshine. And at the heart of it, a special tea.
Next stop Market Harborough away. Will it be the joy of six?
By. Page S.