Cricket

For the first time in a few years the sun shone on our annual cricket match against the school, writes Adam Crispin, and although we weren’t all on time we did have 11 players! The OWBA won the toss, and thinking we’d have a better chance of chasing runs rather than defending a target we put the school into bat. By the drinks interval at 20 overs it wasn’t looking such a good decision, as the school had moved almost effortlessly to 104 for 0, with skipper Tom Mitcham, playing his 49th and last 1st XI game, going very well in particular. This was despite some early, probing bowling from Will Moor and Charlie Wood, and Jay Wittram whirling away from the rugby pitch end almost like he’d never left school. The big moment of the first 20 overs was the introduction of the enfant terrible into the bowling attack. Gamekeeper-turned-poacher for the day, Jack Neville, now one of Devon’s most respected umpires, dusted off his whites for the first time in 12 years and slipped straight back into the groove with his nibbling seamers from the pavilion end, passing on an educational word or two to the batsmen and a running assessment of Matt Brimson’s umpiring at the same time. It was an honour for all of us to have been there and be part of it. The innings changed with the introduction of Rob Ayre from the rugby end, just as the school were looking to up the run rate. He finished up with 5-43, including WBS’s most recent international player Jamie Overton, while current head groundsman Baz Norden used all his knowledge of the wicket to also pick up a couple of cheap wickets and stem the flow. The school finished up with 213 from their 40 overs, a respectable but not imposing target. However, the reply got off to a bad start. Dom Ford was out chasing a wide one in the first over with his mind on choir practice – Dom, you’re not the Messiah, you’re a very naughty boy. Rob Holme fell in the third and the skipper to a brilliantly disguised slower ball in the fifth, which might (or might not) have had far better players in trouble. James Popplewell, also on his final 1st XI outing, claimed all three. Matt Brayley fell cheaply, albeit after helping to take the shine off the ball. However, Jaz Kalsi (57) and Charlie Wood (36) steadied the ship with a mix of cautious defence and aggressive stroke-play. When they both fell in quick succession, the Old Boys still needed nearly 100 runs, and Rob Ayre and Jack Neville came together. Rob attacked while Jack nudged and nurdled, and together brought the deficit down to make an OWBA win look more likely. The game then turned again when both were dismissed, and despite some lusty hitting from Jay Wittram, he was last man out in the 38th over with 25 runs still required. As well as Tom and James, Michael Platts-Martin and Harvey James also played their final games for school, and we look forward to welcoming them into the OWBA fold next year. Thanks to everyone who turned out, particularly Baz for producing a good wicket despite June’s rain, and thanks to Matt Brimson for organising and umpiring all day. The full team was: Rob Holme (77-84C), Dom Ford (Staff), Jaz Kalsi (04-08C), Adam Crispin (90 – 97G), Matt Brayley (94 – 01G), Charlie Wood (00-10C), Rob Ayre (81-89F), Jack Neville (73-78C), Jay Wittram (03-08G), Will Moor (92-06G), Baz Norden (Staff) Cricket