Henley heroics seal victory for last-gasp Buccs

As I belatedly pen this match report, Australia have just retained The Ashes. In search of happier cricketing times, I need cast my mind back a few weeks, to when another set of plucky tourists – from as far afield as London, Dorchester and Bath no less – set about overcoming home advantage as the Buccs touched down in sunny Henley.

Captain Moules had arranged for the team to meet at a neighbouring pub for a pre-game breakfast but had not thought to check that food would be served. While our proud athletes sought nourishment in a pub’s worth of crisps and a pint or two, Henley’s youngsters opted for more conventional preparation in the nets – the odds were stacked against us from the start. Continuing his iffy start to the day, the skipper lost the toss on a freshly-rolled road and the Buccs found themselves in the grass for the first half of this 40/40 contest.

With fire in their bellies and the new cherry in hand, a pair of Buccs debutants, Michael Starkey and Eric Wedge-Bull, tore in and tested the techniques of the Henley openers, with Starkey picking up their opener early on. From the other end, Wedge-Bull was miserly and went for a highly creditable 21 from his eight overs. It wasn’t long before we turned to spin, which saw Archie Marsh rattle number three’s timbers and Richard Hobbs grab himself a couple. However, with his two scalps came two no-ball sixes into the aforementioned pub car park, so I’ll let the reader decide how well he bowled… Further destructive hitting followed, mostly from the Henley captain who made a very accomplished unbeaten century, and the hosts concluded their 40 overs on 233-5. The morning’s crisps had long since ceased to sustain us, so a top-notch tea was eagerly devoured.

With a long batting line-up (how many times have we said that and collapsed?), spirits were high despite Henley’s very competitive total. In a team blessed with wicket keepers, the two without the gloves, Tom Fletcher and Jon Harvey, were asked to strap on the pads and get us off to a good start. Henley’s youthful attack started well and we were shortly one down as Fletcher was strangled down the leg side. Buccs’s overseas, James Crichton, marched out at number three and he and Harvey quickly settled into their work and began chipping away at the target. It wasn’t long before Crichton began to cut loose, striking some mighty sixes into neighbouring gardens. Having crossed the river border from Oxfordshire into Berkshire earlier in the day en route to the ground, Crichton attempted once more to return the ball to the county from whence it came, only to lose his middle stump in the process for 60. Nick Moules shortly followed without troubling the scorers before Harvey departed for a well-constructed 58. A smattering of single-figure efforts followed and, from a position of relative comfort, a vintage Buccs batting card saw us seven down with around 60 still required and overs running out.

Angus Berry had been at the other end watching most of those wickets fall and decided enough was enough. He set about smiting the tiring bowling attack to all parts, ably assisted by Starkey. With a handful of overs left, it looked as if Berry was going to guide us home, but a mistimed heave brought about his downfall for 61. Andy Morgan walked out at 10 but was soon sent packing, leaving Hobbs and Starkey as last men standing. In need of more than a run a ball from the final two overs, Starkey hit the shot of the day over extra cover for a one-bounce four and the pair steadily accumulated ones and twos, taking us to a last-ball scenario. Buccs needed two to win and, with a super over beckoning, Hobbs plinked it over the in-field, scampered back for two and the game was ours!

For symmetry’s sake, more beers were enjoyed in the fading light to crown a famous win. My memory may be deserting me, but I’m fairly certain it was agreed that, in a summer of dramatic finishes and memorable last-wicket stands, this effort was surely unrivalled.

Innings of Henley

Saqib ct M Starkey 4
C Thomas b Hobbs 28
Praveen b A Marsh 22
B Purchase ret 101
Buckle ct b Hobbs 10
Daisy ct b Starkey 11
F Loveland not out 3
Chris not out 0

Extras 42
Total 233-5

M Starkey 8-0-39-2
E Wedge-Ball 8-2-21-0
A Marsh 8-1-53-1
S Moules 7-0-39-0
R Hobbs 7-0-39-0
A Berry 4-0-28-2

Innings of Buccaneers

J Harvey ct and b L Loveland 58
T Fletcher ct [ ] b F Loveland 1
J Crichton b Watson-Smith 60
N Moules Lbw Watson-Smith 0
A Berry ct Saquib b Daisy 61
S Moules ct [ ] b L Loveland 4
E Wedge-Ball b L Loveland 2
A Marsh b Saquib 4
M Starkey not out 22
R Hobbs not out 8

Extras 10
Total 234-8

Saqib 8-1-28-1
F Loveland 8-0-37-1
F Watson-Smith 8-0-52-2
Buckle 4-0-38-0
L Loveland 8-1-47-3
Daisy 3-0-24-2
Another 1-0-4-0

Buccs win by 2 wickets

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

Comments are closed.