Charlbury 223-8 (50 overs)
Ben Forrester 78
East Oxford 165 (45.2 overs)
Stuart Atkins 4-27
Charlbury won the toss and elected to bat first. Charlbury’s first foray into the Cherwell League saw then take on East Oxford at Lincoln College. Tom Nash and Graham opened the batting and got Charlbury off to a good start. Tom struck the first boundary of the season when he hit a delivery through the covers and to the boundary for four. The outfield was slow after all of the recent rain and this would mean lots of hard running in order to set a defendable total. Graham started to grow in confidence as he stroked the ball around and he found several early singles and twos. Tom was batting well as he hit the ball on both sides of the wicket and was constantly looking for the quick single. Lincoln College is a big ground and Charlbury knew they would have to run hard for every run if they were to set a total that was defendable. After eight overs Charlbury had reached 32-0. Graham smashed a delivery for four and then a couple of overs later he repeated the dose. The East Oxford bowlers had settled into good lines and lengths so Charlbury resorted to pushing the ball around and picking the singles up where they could. Graham smashed another four back over the bowler’s head to bring up the fifty partnership, but then disaster struck as in trying to repeat the feat he was caught at mid-on for a well made 25. Nik now entered the fray. East Oxford changed their bowling around from one end bringing on a spinner and then they made it a double swap by bringing on another spinner. Nik missed one and was bowled meaning Ben had to come to the crease with the score on 56-2 off 16 overs. Tom was still running hard, pushing ones and twos around. Ben started slowly, just seeing what the new bowlers were bowling before he hammered a couple of deliveries to the boundary for four. The slow bowlers now found their length and line and started to tie up the batsmen. Tom then hit out at one, but got an inside edge and the ball cannoned back into the stumps and he was bowled for a patient 25. Stuart now joined Ben at the crease. Both batsmen now took a few overs to make sure Charlbury did not lose any more quick wickets and to also try and get themselves in. Both players ran hard trying to get every run that was on offer. After 29 overs Charlbury had reached 101-3 and East Oxford now made a double change in the bowling. Stuart as batting well, running hard for everything and constantly looking for the quick single. Ben was now looking in top form as he hit the ball around for ones and two. Both batsmen took a couple of overs to look at the new bowers then Ben began to attack. Ben smashed consecutive boundaries off one bowler before smashing a big six over long-on. Ben continued to attack and a two in the next over brought up a well deserved half century. The scoring was now accelerating hard and after 38 overs Charlbury had raced onto 156-3. Stuart was doing a great job at the wicket, trying to give Ben the strike whenever he could. A double change in the bowling was made as East Oxford desperately searched for the breakthrough wicket. The first change and one of the open bowlers now came back into the attack, but both players continued to take the attack to East Oxford. Then disaster struck as Stuart nailed one back, low, towards the bowler who took a good catch and Stuart was out for a good 24. Josh now entered the fray. Another change in the bowling was made as the second change replaced the first change bowler. Ben tried to hit one over the top of the new bowler, but didn’t quite get it right and hit the ball to mid-off and was caught for a great 78. Bimalka now joined his captain at the crease. The overs were by now running out fast. Josh launched a four back over the bowler’s head, but then missed one and was bowled. Marcus now entered the fray, but was not there too long as he was slow setting off for a quick run and din’t quite make his ground to be run out. Tom Eaton now came to the crease, but he too was not there long as he was quickly bowled. Dean now joined Bimalka at the crease with the score on 196-8 off 46 overs. East Oxford continued to change their bowling around as they looked to bowl Charlbury out. The 200 mark was passed and the hard running continued. Bimalka was throwing the kitchen sink at every delivery, but it was in the last over when he finally connected hitting a couple of boundaries to take Charlbury to 223-8 off their allotted 50 overs.
Charlbury were going to have to bowl well if they were going to defend their total. Jake and Stuart opened the bowling and got Charlbury off to a good start. Both bowlers quickly settled into a good length and line. Jake was bowling well, getting the batsmen to play miss. Stuart too was bowling a good spell, getting the ball to move around a bit and causing some problems for the batsmen. Then Charlbury got their first wicket when Stuart clean bowled the East Oxford captain. The other batsmen decided to try and hit out and found several boundary fours to keep the score moving. Things then got even better for Charlbury as in Stuart’s next over the new batsman played an attacking shot, but a diving Bimalka in the covers took a fantastic low catch to leave East Oxford 29-2 off eight overs. A couple of overs later a double change in the bowling was made when Bimalka and Dean both entered the attack. The ball was turning a bit and both bowlers quickly got into a good length and line, making run scoring difficult for the batsmen and keeping up the good work the opening bowlers had done. The batsmen just contented themselves with trying to push a few singles around to keep the scoreboard ticking over. Bimalka had dropped into his usual great length and line and was making things very difficult for all of the batsmen. Dean too was bowling a great spell, getting the ball to turn and with good variations of speed. One batsmen had been trying to hit out and decided to take the attack to Bimalka by smashing him back over his head, but Tom Eaton was waiting on the boundary and he took a great catch. Dean was not getting the wickets, but his spell was just as important as he tied the batsmen up in knots as they struggled to play any shots against his bowling. A couple of overs later and Bimalka grabbed his second victim when Jake took a good catch half way back to the boundary to leave East Oxford 70-4 off 23 overs. Charlbury were backing up this great bowling display with fantastic fielding, diving all over the place and chasing every single run scoring shot down, stopping many runs in the process. Then Dean got the wicket his bowling deserved when one batsmen hit out at him, but Jake took a good catch half way back to the boundary. Both spinners now finished their great allotted ten over spells and so a double change had to be made so Marcus and Josh entered the attack with East Oxford 86-5 off 30 overs. With the required rate rising quickly the batsmen had no option now but to attack everything. The running was even harder than it had been, but this lead to another opportunity. The ball was hit out to Marcus in the deep and the batsmen tried to get two, Marcus quickly fielded the ball, threw it in to Josh who completed the run out. The runs were coming a bit quicker now so Josh took himself out of the attack and brought Stuart back into it to try and stem the flow. In his first over back Stuart clean bowled one batsmen to pick up his third wicket. The boundaries were not coming, but the ones and twos were, but Charlbury seemed to be in control. Marcus was bowling a great spell, getting the ball to move around a bit and giving the batsmen no pace with which to work with. After 42 overs East Oxford had reached 150-7. A couple of overs later Stuart got his fourth wicket when he clean bowled another batsmen. The set batsmen suddenly didn’t look confident in the ability of the last couple of batsmen as he turned down a single in order to keep the strike. A run was pushed and the batsmen turned and went for a second, Jake was quickly to the ball and threw it in to Dean who completed the run out. Next over another single was turned down before the in batsman hit the ball into the deep, Bimalka quickly fielded the ball, threw it to Stuart who completed the run out and East Oxford were all out for 165.
A great first win for the lads built on a great innings from Ben ably supported by Graham, Tom, Stuart and Bimalka, then a great bowling and fielding display with a great spell from Stuart sealed the win – well done lads.
Charlbury 25 points