Both Magdalen and Queens headed in to Monday’s cuppers quarter-final tie in good form and with reason to be confident of progressing to a semi-final clash with St. John’s. However few could have predicted the size of Queens or the nature of Magdalen’s capitulation.
Having lost the toss and been inserted on a green-tinged pitch under overcast skies, Queens openers Kelly and Knox made a good start to their innings, helped by some uncharacteristically loose bowling from Magdalen pair De Costa and Ridgeon – perhaps nerves were kicking in.
That said, Kelly was lucky to survive early on after a careless stroke resulted in Sidhu dropping a straightforward chance at point. Magdalen finally made the breakthrough when De Costa trapped Knox plumb in front.
This lifted Magdalen, and despite several solid partnerships, Queens did not post the commanding total that they at one point threatened.
Notable knocks came from Kelly (36), who was bowled off a full toss from Winterton after looking set, ‘Alex B’ (29) and captain Banyard (27), bringing the Queens total to a very competitive 189 before they were bowled out shortly before their allotted 40 overs were bowled.
The Magdalen reply, however, can only be described as pitiful. Having forgotten to bring a new ball with which to bowl, Queens opened up with seamer Thompson and off-spinner Knox. Although Thompson bowled tidily, it was the impact of Knox which was to change the course of the game.
Magdalen proved utterly incapable of dealing with his slow, flighted deliveries, as batsman after batsman got themselves out trying to launch him out of the ground.
Having hit him for a huge straight six in his first over, Magdalen opener and star batsman Winterton attempted a similar shot shortly after, but found only the man at long-on having scored just 13.
Number three Sidhu followed the next over, given out lbw to Thompson first ball when it appeared as if he had got a big inside edge.
Just when a period of consolidation was clearly needed, Haw was caught on the mid-wicket boundary off Knox, and shortly afterwards skipper Canfor-Dumas lost his head and was stumped looking to hit over the top.
After number five Kennedy was also out cheaply, the score was 26 and Magdalen’s hopes of even getting near the Queens total had virtually disappeared.
Adam Rushworth proved the only Magdalen batsman capable of showing anywhere near the application needed, with a gutsy undefeated 29, but soon ran out of partners.
Knox took an astonishing return catch above his head to get rid of De Costa, and after Ridgeon got off the mark with a 6 the same fate awaited him, with a similarly sharp caught and bowled from Knox, leaving him with figures of 5-33.
The Magdalen tail failed to wag, and Magdalen were all out for the paltry total of 73. Thompson ended with figures of 2-14, while the opening pair were ably supported by first-change Kelly 3-16.
Queens will be delighted with the ease of their win, and look a team which is competitive in all departments, but will surely be in for a sterner test when they meet John’s in the semi-final.
Magdalen, meanwhile, were left scratching their heads, bemoaning the absence of some important players, but most of all disappointed that so many batsmen gave their wickets away so cheaply, undermining their good chance of a Final appearance at Parks had key players returned.