Students fail to score enough


20/20 Cricket Oxford UCCE 137-8
Oxfordshire 138-5 Thirteen runs in the last over of this TwentyTwenty encounter
saw Oxfordshire home after two and a half hours of drama, mixed
with some razzmatazz and entertainment, in the Parks. It led to heartbreak for Paul McMahon’s Oxford UCCE side,
who had watched the game seemingly slip away during a highly
impressive display of disciplined hitting from Ian Crosby before
battling back in front of a huge crowd. The UCCE side won the toss and chose to bat, and McMahon
immediately set high standards when he declared, “It looks a
decent wicket, so we’re looking to put pressure on
Oxfordshire and hopefully leave them an exciting chase.”
Though the side fell short of the total he had in mind –
“probably about 160” – his words were otherwise
prophetic. The minor counties side opened with two quick wickets. Luke
Parker’s middle and leg stumps were disrupted at the end of
the first over and Steve Hawinkels was caught at slip from his
first ball. However, the run rate soon began moving steadily
upwards, despite the further loss of Amit Suman for five, during
a pair of fruitful partnerships. Firstly Mula Richards and Will
Howard opened up, finding the boundary five times before Howard
was run-out in a mix-up, and then Richards and Simon Chorlton
took the score to 63-4 before Keith Arnold trapped Richards
leg-before for 29. With five wickets down after eight overs, Oxford consolidated,
as the Oxfordshire bowlers increasingly found bounce from a
length and a tight line, reducing Chorlton and McMahon’s
run-scoring opportunities. McMahon was well caught in the covers
by Ben Thompson with the score on 100, and 13 runs later a
simpler take for the same fielder removed Chorlton after an
innings of 35. The students were grateful for a few late swings,
particularly Josh Knappett’s pull for six and cover drive
for four in the last over, and finished on 137-8. Suman opened the bowling for the UCCE with a promising spell,
with the game’s only maiden followed by the removal of Adam
Cook for a solitary boundary, caught behind by Knappett. However, McMahon and wristspinner Steve Moreton were helpless
to prevent a superb salvo by Crosby, who reached 50 after just 38
balls, with five fours and three sixes. The Oxfordshire opener,
his footwork outstanding, ruthlessly exploited the slightest
abberation in line or length – one Moreton over was hit for
two maximums over mid-on, one of which cleared the pavilion. The
UCCE were understandably delighted when Hawinkels, from the
Norham Gardens end, enticed him in to one shot too many and
Moreton held the catch at deep backward square leg. Oxfordshire found the runs drying up from then on as Parker,
Hawinkels and the returning McMahon all found a length similar to
that of the opposing bowlers at the same stage in their innings.
Though singles kept the scoreboard ticking, boundaries were
becoming increasingly rare and a succession of attempted reverse
sweeps seemed to show the batsmen’s frustration. Callum Taylor therefore came to the crease with the score at
116-5 after a pin-point throw had run out Chris Knightley with
two and a half overs remaining. A superb over from Suman,
conceding just three singles and a leg bye, left Thompson and
Taylor needing a momentous effort to win the game. However, after a Taylor single, one Thompson shot was enough
to reverse roles entirely. Cross-batting the ball over mid-on, he
watched it sail over the rope and leave just six to win from four
balls. The UCCE took the contest to the very last ball, but Thompson
struck it down the ground and a slight misfield was enough to
allow the scampering Taylor back for a second run, ending a
thrilling encounter in fitting fashion. McMahon, though “obviously disappointed,” said that
the game “could have gone either way,” and predicted,
“I’m sure that The Parks hasn’t see the last of
20/20 cricket.”ARCHIVE: 6th week TT 2004 


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