Saturday, June 22, 2024

Cricket: Orsett and Thurrock 4th X1: Biff bashes Basildon


Orsett & Thurrock 4th XI 185/9 dec

Basildon & Pitsea 3rd XI 55 all out

By Dashiell T Hammett

OAT continued their fine form with a crushing victory at the June Ridgewell Cricket Ground in Orsett on Saturday.

As usual, Skipper Owen lost the toss, well as he says he is the home captain so

doesn’t actually get to call but for the sake of argument he lost, and Basildon elected to field. OAT opened the batting with Swiss Tony Groves and Carl Froch Oakley under partly cloudy skies.

A steady start was punctuated by a sharp shower that freshened up the pitch and on resumption of play a few wickets started to fall. With three wickets down for not many runs, Basildon & Pitsea were looking every bit as good as their second place in the league table suggested. OAT needed a hero to rescue the innings and who better to be a hero than a part time firefighter? Elliott Biff McCartney, so he is, was late yet again, not good for a fire fighter, but he was there in time to pad up and start getting turning the game back OAT way. It was hard going to start with, but with support from Mark O’Neill, Connor Ramm and Michael Parker, Biff was able to find his range before unleashing some brutal hitting towards the end of the innings to give the OAT bowlers something to defend. He eventually ended up on 86 not out before getting another run, the run to the front of the teas queue back in the pavilion!

Basildon & Pitsea, should I call them BAPs? Maybe not, anyway they have some good batsman and they were in confident mood before the run chase, although what happened next would change that! Skipper Owen tossed the new ball to Connor Ramm, who obviously has the nickname, Rambo. Cue loads of puns about the film franchise that to half the teams dismay, the younger players, including Rambo himself, didn’t get! As it happens, Rambo drew "first blood" with the wickets of Debond and Northwood courtesy of that rarity in club cricket, LBW, and a catch from that man Biff McCartney. Biff’s catch was like a proper dismissal that you see on the television according to some observers because he had to react and catch it behind himself while diving in the gulley, just like former South African Jonty Rhodes, cue more blank looks from the younger members of the team!

At the other end, Bill Pepe West was the swing to Ramm’s swang (ask Oakley) and he picked up 3 wickets for himself. Dean Price is Wright caught out Howling mad Murdoch for West’s first wicket before an excellent piece of captaincy resulted in his second. Skipper Owen put specialist mid off Parker at mid off and his hands removed Parkinson. The third was clean bowling Waterman who was the only batsman to reach double figures for the visitors. Despite the top order being blown away, Basildon still had a chance of salvaging a draw. Dark clouds were looming on the horizon and were moving in on a brisk breeze and another heavy shower could wash out the game.

Skipper Owen had another trick up his sleeve. Young spinner Tom Redman come on and took his customary wicket but OAT still needed to tidy up the innings with four more wickets as the sun gradually disappeared behind the approaching storm. Well if you need something tidying up then I suppose a man they call The Janitor is the person to call! Parker trundled in up the hill and on a good day for Skipper Owen’s captaincy, he took a wicket first ball, caught by Rambo at first slip. They say LBW decisions in the lower reaches of club cricket are like London buses and sure enough another one arrived when Parker trapped Brooks in front.

To be fair the only doubt for the umpire was maybe it might be going under the stumps! Skipper Owen decided to up the ante and bring the field in as runs were no longer an issue and he put himself at a very apt silly point. This paid off when Parker got Williams to loop the ball of the bat and showing the agility of a retired goalkeeper, he managed to dive and catch the ball just before it hit the ground. Parker’s fourth wicket and with it the match, arrived the very next delivery. The number 11 was injured during the game and was wheeled to the crease. A wide delivery tempted Hayton to waft his bat just enough to take the edge which was snaffled by wicket keeper Oakley.

So OAT march on and face leaders Belhus next week in a local derby. Before worrying about that fixture the 4th XI enjoyed that satisfying feeling of finishing the game and drinking their first beer in the clubhouse just as the heavy storm arrived!


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