Orsett & Thurrock 3rd XI 244/8
OAT returned to winning ways in a thrilling run chase at the June Ridgewell Ground in Orsett in a fractious encounter with Chingford.
Skipper Owen won the toss and decided he would like to have a bowl and it seemed straight away that the decision had paid off with the visitors quickly reduced to 23/4.
Paul “Dutchy” Gelder had been summoned from semi retirement and the Yorkshireman was opening the new ball attack with Klay Klaus Smith. Klaus took both openers with aJack Churchyard at mid on providing the safe pair of hands on each occasion.
Gelder trapped Ali LBW before Churchyard run out Butt after he had a mix up with Mirza. This wasn’t to be Mirza’s only contribution as the game wore on! Mirza and Dixon led the Chingford recovery as they put scored 81 not out and 49 respectively. Dixon was only denied his half century after another poor call from Mirza led to another mix up and another Churchyard run out. Before
Mirza himself reached his half century he had a massive let off as he survived a caught behind off the bowling of first change seamer Parker. A huge deviation, noise and the fact it hit the bat on the way into Owen’s gloves meant it was more of a celebration than an appeal but the umpire from Chingford remained unmoved apart from saying he thought the deviation was caused by spin. A few words were exchanged and the game eventually restarted. Parker finally got his reward with the last ball of his spell as he had Awan caught by Harry Dove at point for 28 runs. Parker was also involved in the next wicket as leg spinner Rob Holten removed Prestedge for a duck after he provided the catch at square leg and OAT seemed like they were able to stem the runs once again.
The Chingford tail had other ideas though as Khan got 24 before Mason Wren bowled him and then Bates was run out for 16 after yet another poor call from Mirza and yet another run out by Churchyard, this time assisted by Greg Mendham.
Chingford had posted a useful 240 from their 45 overs but although OAT were confident of chasing it, the consensus over the break was that they shouldn’t have conceded so many after a period where the standards dropped during the innings.
OAT went into this game with a long batting line up, in fact apart from Gelder at number 11, every batsman has opened an innat some point in the last couple of seasons and this experience was to prove vital as the OAT batting line up chased their victory target.
Mark O’Neil is nicknamed Cat and he certainly lived up to this as he pounced on the Chingford bowling attack with a variety of shots, including his favourite scoring areas between point and backward point. At the other end Churchyard was taking a more measured approach and he had scored a useful 12 before he was caught off the bowling of Simmons. Dove was the next man in and he also made a quick and useful 19 runs before Younas had him caught on the boundary by some excellent fielding from Simmons. At the other end O’Neil had breezed past his half century and with the handy double figure building blocks at the other end he was providing the cement and mortar that was holding the run chase together.
Mason Wren was in at number 4 for OAT and while still on 0 he provided perhaps the moment of the match. Butt was bowling from the Orsett Hospital used to be here before the houses were built end and Wren decided that he wanted to get stuck into Butt and land the ball exactly there. Unfortunately he mistimed his shot and the ball went miles into the by now grey skies and seemed to take an eternity to come back to earth. Butt made a cheeky dash to claim a caught and bowled but the keeper the other end also fancied his chances of claiming the catch. The keeper was none other than that man Mirza and despite his call both players still went for the ball and ended up in what looked like a nasty collision. We ended up with Mirza on the floor, then the bowler on top of him and the balls bounced off Butt (control yourselves) and landed on the ground to give the OAT man a reprieve.
All parties were unharmed in the incident and play resumed with the umpires struggling to regain their composure as Butt finished his over. Wren took advantage of this and made 31 before Prestedge had him caught as OAT were now in a commanding position. Mark O’Neil completed his century after a wild over throw allowed him a second run after taking a leisurely single much to the delight of the OAT spectayand his teammates on the boundary edge. O’Neil eventually succumbed to Prestedge but his innings was the perfect mix of punishing the bad ball when it comes and playing a straight bat to the straight deliveries. Now the set batsman had gone, Chingford attacked again and started to drag themselves back into the game as Mendham (11) and Kooyman (0) come and went.
Skipper Owen come in at 7 to further emphasise the strength of this teams deep batting line up and he played the classic captain’s innings as he ended up on 34 not out by the time OAT reached their target. He was assisted by Rob Holten who hit a quick fire 16 including a couple of huge sixes pulled just behind square leg. Holten was bowled by Khan and this bought Parker to the crease with a 30 runs needed but by now the overs were counting down and OAT just had to keep half an eye on that.
Chingford had their opening bowlers back on and the captain and his vice captain decided the game needed to be wrapped up as an over and a half remained. Parker hit the ball down the ground with the aim of getting the set batsman Owen on strike. He managed that but Simmons at mid off did a one handed pick up and throw to clatter the stumps meaning Parker was run out for 8.
OAT still had 2 wickets in hand and one big shot would win the game so they were not too worried as Klay, himself a good batsman walked out unbelievable number 10. The very next ball the risk had paid off as Owen dispatched the delivery over the boundary and down School Lane as OAT returned to winning ways.
It was a great comeback performance by the 3rd XI with the stand out displays being O’Neil and Owen with the bat, Churchyard in the field and Klaus Smith with the ball.