By Connor Wakefield
On a hot and sunny Saturday afternoon, a spirited Risinghurst side made the trip down the A34 to Wantage & Grove Cricket Club to face Challow & Childrey 3rds. On a wicket that would not look out of place on a motorway, they arrived to see a large boundary to one side, and a tiny boundary no fewer than 5 yards from the ring in places.
In what can now only be described as ‘standard fashion’, Risinghurst lost an important toss and were put in to field. A universal decision was made later in the game that the toss will now be voted on mid-week as a team decision due to the losing streak we find ourselves on.
At first, things got off to a good start for Risinghurst, with the hosts down three wickets for 44 runs in the 12th over. Asif Khan (9-2-42) & James Cole (9-1-49) opened with 5 & 4 overs respectively, with three of James’ four opening overs being maidens. Three wickets fell within four overs, with catches from Ben Masih & Connor Wakefield as Dom (5-1-36) and Anand (6-0-31) tried to keep the scores respectable. However, they were not to celebrate a wicket again for 20 overs, with Challow number 4, A. Lynch, scoring a magnificent 122 runs in a well-rounded display of batting. With a combination of mis-fields, good shots and twenty-five wides, the hosts finished with a total of 260 runs. It would require a historic run chase for a tired Risinghurst team.
In reply, Wakefield & Raza set about leading the charge with 8 fours and 33 runs within the first 6 overs, with Raza falling for 4 after mistiming a full ball to cover. A pull-shot from Wakefield could be labelled the turning point of the match, which saw the 7-over-old ball lost in the bushes and a 40 over old replacement brought out. Despite Connor’s comments to his batting partner about ‘staying forward’, the first ball saw him fail to do so, with the ball keeping low and sending him back to the pavilion with 29 runs.
This set about a mini collapse in the Risinghurst top order, with Ben, Raj & Faisal falling for 6 runs between them. With Abhay then given out LBW for a duck, a decision which the umpire later apologised for given Abhay had hit the ball, Risinghurst found themselves 50-6 off just 13 overs. A Dom Gurden cameo followed, before being bowled for 19 by a spinner who could have been mistaken for a man trying to throw the ball further vertically than horizontally.
This brought about a shift in pace for Risinghurst with Anand & James at the crease. This set about a lull in the game as they went about getting time in the middle. This was not to the amusement of one Challow player (Nick-named Gordon Ramsay by some), who spent most of his time complaining about Risinghurst players ‘blocking the ball’ and ‘wasting his Saturday’. This, for the man who bats at number 11 for the home side, was not helped by some spirited support from the Risinghurst contingent, who ensured that every block was applauded.
Despite the notion of Risinghurst blocking out, the rate was a steady three an over, and before no time we found ourselves pushing towards the 125 mark for an additional bonus point. This was met, and whilst Anand (28) and skipper Kyle Brooks (11) fell, an in-form Asif Khan (8) found himself at the crease. As Mr Ramsay continued to go pink in the face, James Cole (23*) saw Risinghurst across the line for an additional batting point, with Asif being caught leaving Risinghurst all out for 151 runs.