A feast of food and wickets

For the first time since before Covid, the Warborough & Shillingford and Buccaneers fixture was played over the longer all-day format. The prospect of the famous lunch no doubt contributed to the rare sight of 11 Buccaneers at the ground well before play was due to get underway. On a humid morning where both searing heat and disruptive rain were expected, and with a green-tinged wicket underfoot, the Buccaneers won the toss and elected to bowl.

Rob Rydon and Charlie Pexton opened for the Buccaneers, both causing problems for the W&S openers with their swing and seam movement. Runs were hard to come by and Rydon drew first blood while at the other end Pexton was joining dots. When Pexton tempted the dangerous Zagoritis to fence at one, Jim Harcourt gobbled it up greedily behind the stumps. Only a four off a no-ball had spoiled impossibly frugal figures, with every other ball in a seven over spell being a dot in the scorebook.

Simon Leefe entered the attack and dominated most of the rest of the innings. Confusion reigned when opener Searle walked, caught behind, despite on-field protestations that there was no intention to appeal. Then it actually rained, with thunder and lightning adding to the drama, an early and extended lunch being taken in the safety of the soon-to-be-refurbished pavilion. Once the players were wet and the outfield was dry, the resumption brought Leefe his three-wicket haul and a startling catch at square leg off Archie Marsh. Marsh was at his bamboozling best while Ollie Robertson would probably have shared more of the spoils if he had worn spikes on a greasy surface. Warborough’s number four, Gedara, held the innings together with some tasty blows all around the wicket until Leefe caught him – in more comical fashion this time – off skipper Warwick Okines. Once the second drinks break had been taken, the cricket resuming almost apologetically for interrupting the day’s food and drink, Tom Fletcher’s direct-hit run out closed Warborough’s account at 129. Six bowlers had bowled seven overs and all chipped in with wickets.

So, over to the batsmen, who also shared the workload between them. Eswar Kalidasan tried to finish it in the first over but a lavish drive against the prodigiously swinging ball ended his day. Will Gresswell demonstrated why he shouldn’t be considered the weakest player in the Gresswell-Marsh-Pexton household with some powerful shots including a brilliant leg side swivel-shot that hasn’t got a name. Owen Gibbons was unluckily given out LBW while later Harcourt benefited from Warborough’s trademark sportsmanship to have an on-field decision reversed and then scored fluently. In between came the biggest shock of the day, Fletcher getting out for the first time at a ground where he has feasted many times before. He and the upper order had done most of the work by the time an enormous tea was taken, but it still required Leefe and Robertson to see the away team home without any late dramas.

The day was dominated by two meals and four drinks breaks, but in between the Buccaneers played some excellent cricket to notch their first win here since Fletcher’s century in 2018. Both teams retired to the Six Bells with full bellies and in good cheer, looking forward to what 2024 would serve up. 

2023 scorecard

Innings of Warborough & Shillingford

M Searle                     ct Harcourt      b Leefe                        11
Maple                                                  b Rydon                      1
A Zagoritis                   ct Harcourt      b Pexton                      5
Gedara                        ct Leefe           b Okines                      61
Firth                             ct Gibbons       b Leefe                        6
Hartley                                                 b Leefe                        5
E Potter                                               b O Robertson             0
Allen                            ct Leefe           b A Marsh                    14
I Potter (c)                                           not out                         5
Du Winton                                           b A Marsh                    3
Bell                                                      run out (Fletcher)        0

Extras 18                                                                    
Total (42.3 overs) 129 all out


R Rydon                      7-3-13-1
C Pexton                     7-6-5-1
O Robertson               7-1-26-1
S Leefe                        7-2-27-3
A Marsh                      7.3-3-16-2
W Okines                    7-1-27-1

Innings of Buccaneers

E Kalidasan                                         b Hartley                      0
T Fletcher                    ct Zagoritis      b Gedara                     31
W Gresswell                                        b Gedara                     29
O Gibbons                   lbw                   b Gedara                     2         
J Harcourt (wkt)          ct                     b Du Winton                31
S Leefe                                                not out                         17
O Robertson                                       not out                         8
R Rydon
C Pexton
A Marsh
W Okines (c)
Extras 15
Total (29 overs) 133 for 5wkts


Hartley                         8-0-25-1
I Potter                        3-0-24-0
Gedara                        5-0-21-3
Du Winton                   4-0-15-1
Firth                             4-0-20-0
Bell                              4-0-15-0
E Potter                       1-0-10-0

Buccaneers won by 5 wickets

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