Orsett & Thurrock 3rd XI 244/6
By Michael J Parker
ON a day when the attention of the world was focused on a chapel in Windsor, there was another churchyard shining bright as OAT maintained their winning start to the season.
This fixture was moved to Theydon Bois CC due to the Hornchurch ground being deemed unfit for play and the day started with a massive sigh of relief for the OAT team as they realised the league don’t enforce the unfit rules on players as well!
OAT were in the field first up and Skipper Ty Owen utilised Monkey Hills and Callum Owen as his new ball attack in excellent late spring conditions.
The Hornchurch openers Javed and Khan made excellent use of the good pitch and set about with a solid start including “best knock you’ll see all day” (c) Andrew Hills!
Again availability was an issue and just like week the team had a player in fancy dress pretending to be a wicket keeper, the volunteer this week was Wayne The Viking Simmons and just like last week’s imposter behind the stumps he snaffled a diving catch down legside off Hills to get the first wicket. The unlucky batsman was Khan with 16 runs to his name.
This bought Hasnat to the middle and the wicket machine that is Stephen Brooks had him trapped LBW for 19. Javed up the other end was playing well and had a half century in his sights until the Chairman Of Operations at Blackshots, Alfie Feeney, had him caught by Hills in the covers for 47 to end “the best knock of the day”.
Butt was next to the crease and he holed out to an excellent catch from Prince Harry Dove in the slips. Brooks sent down another arm ball and the edge looped to Dove who dived full stretch one handed to continue what has been an impressive fielding display so far this season by the 3s. Brooks took his third and final wicket by clean bowling Tafeer for 18 with, you guessed it, another arm ball!
Skipper Owen gave the ball to Janitor Parker and all seemed to be going well as his caught and bowled removed Muhammed for 20. Unfortunately at the other end Khan took a liking to his medium pace before Hills come to the rescue with his just above medium pace to get the talismanic batsman for 65.
This seemed to knock the stuffing out of Hornchurch and Callum Owen took over Janitor duties to mop up Moody (0), Kiff (4) and finally Shevring, also for 4. This left Foxton stranded as the not out batsman as Hornchurch were 242 all out.
Despite a decent total on the board, OAT were still confident, especially after last weeks run chase in the rain against Belhus. Viking Simmons and teenager Jack Churchyard were entrusted with opening the batting in conditions that were still favourable. First ball up Simmons still getting used to his smaller bat popped up a chance that was put down at mid off.
The Viking made Hornchurch pay as he pillaged his way to 37 before being cleaned up by Moody. His opening partner Churchyard was making the most of his day with some exquisite shots to put the Hornchurch bowlers to the sword and passed his half century without any problems. Dove up the other end was aware that the run rate was well in hand and played a much more controlled innings this week by finding the gaps and rotating the strike. By now Churchyard was in the seventies until he made a “grave” error and walked past a Butt delivery to be stumped on 72, even so a great innings that helped set up the OAT run chase.
Greg Mendham walked in at number 4 to join Dove in the middle. Unfortunately Dove also walked up the other end to join him while the ball was in the keepers gloves and after a decent Strictly Come Dancing impression, Dove was run out at the non strikers end for 33. Mendham went on to a well made 18 before Butt cheekily bowled him out.
This OAT team bats deep and confidence was still high as Lee Kooyman was next man in alongside Skipper Owen. Owen though was suffering from a hand injury picked up in the first innings and had his fingers taped up like an entry from a gift wrap while wearing boxing gloves competition. Unable to properly hold a bat he decided to hit out and was subsequently bowled by cunning Foxton, formerly of Cunnington University.
Still the OAT conveyor belt of talent was in full flow and Andrew Hills walked to the middle as a very reasonable number 7 batsman. His quickfire 30 alongside the more measured approach of Kooyman put OAT on the threshold of victory before Hills was caught of the bowling of Khan although not before he hit a forward defensive for 3 runs, helped by a frustrated bowler trying to throw down the stumps and missing, much to the amusement of the OAT contingent on the boundary! With only a handful of runs needed, number 8 Alfie Feeney finished the game with a hat trick of boundaries as only he can to confirm a great team performance and run chase as OAT won by 4 wickets.
Special thanks to Theydon Bois and the Essex Cricket League for rescuing the fixture.