Report by Neil Metcalfe, 11th August 2020
On Tuesday evening the U9A team had their next league fixture – this time against Woodhouse Grange U9A. Due to various timetables having to align, it was a fixture that for the first time was being done following a training session. It was also for many a good practice for their future subcontinent cricket tours what with the 30 degree heat throughout the day which stretched throughout the entirety of the cricketing segment of the late afternoon.
For the first time this season Ovington, under Wilf Metcalfe’s captaincy for the day, won the toss and also for the first time this season, fielded first. We were grateful for recent debutant Lubo Snee filling in as a substitute whilst waiting for Maya FitzGerald to arrive from a truncated swimming lesson (truncated for the benefit of the cricket team which we were also grateful for). Now regular bowling opening duo Thomas Robinson and Jack Gover started well though the first signs of the heat effects were seen early on in the fielding which being honest appeared the worst of the season so far with plenty of byes to help the opposition. The drier outfield may be partly to blame as well. Maya, who may have been cooler than the rest from her swimming stint, had a loose first delivery but then started to produce some nice deliveries at good pace outside the off stump and had 3 dot balls in a row. At the halfway stage, Woodhouse Grange had shown some nice shots at times and had been helped by the fielding, though there were enough dot balls to not have ran away with things. The second half of the innings saw Ovington come back strongly both in wickets and fewer scoring opportunities. This was seen when looking at 16 consecutive changes to the gross score – Woodhouse moved just five runs from 45 to 50 (gross). This limited the net score to 75-5. Jack Matthews helped by getting a wicket on debut and his namesake Jack G had a double wicket in his last over. Alex Lawson and Wilf bowled tightly.
After drinks came the batting efforts of Ovington. Opening not only the bowling, but also the batting, Thomas and Jack G did well in the battle of left-handed batting pair versus left-handed bowlers. Woodhouse did bowl some good balls, which resulted in Ovington twice having a negative gross score; Jack was unlucky to face the best ball of the innings two games in a row. However, after seeing off the opening bowling pair, Thomas in particular got motoring, hitting a season-best 15 not out with three boundaries coming thick and fast. A tactical change saw usual run accumulator Wilf move up the order into the middle pair with Maya, to try and stave off the stronger Woodhouse bowlers during their second overs. This tactic worked well overall by keeping the better balls away and Maya had her best batting display to date including a glorious on-drive. They ran well together. Wilf started to cash in against some of the other bowlers though was bowled by his fellow NCT baby by playing round a straight one when a simple drive would have done.
It then fell to last pair Alex and Jack M to face the final four overs. Despite on one occasion hitting their own wicket and myself, at square leg umpire, congratulating Woodhouse’s wicketkeeper on appealing, they did really well to play the situation and keep the scoreboard going. Ovington were admittedly helped by a fair number of wides and no balls at times throughout their innings. I mention this as the correct score going into the final over left Ovington needing three runs to tie or four runs to win, while Woodhouse needed not to give a net score of two runs to win. There were some audible mutterings form the Woodhouse parents, some of whom I know and are good chaps, who had thought they were further ahead. Maybe they were unaware that before the game it was agreed that wides and no balls were to be scored as two rather than one (which Woodhouse bowled a fair bit more of) or they had not noticed that Ovington had not only scored more boundaries than their opponents but by the end of the match had had 51 scoring entries to Woodhouse’s 42. Having obtained one more wicket was not a correct marker for where they thought they were! I do reflect about my own error for not having obtained the scoreboard for the match, forgotten probably due to training occurring straight before the match. Anyway, more importantly the pair saw off the last over very well leading to a 9-run win with the 59 gross score.
For learning, for all readers of this report it is written here that a likely hit wicket occurred in the last over which no player had seen or therefore appealed for. This was mentioned after the game from when it was suggested by Woodhouse that wickets are definitely given for such. This had no effect on the overall result but I anyway incorporated this on the official score site by reducing it to a 4-run win for Ovington (now 89/7 net). However, on checking MCC rule 31.1 this was an error as the correct square leg umpiring had occurred (as had happened in the previous match at Dunnington by both umpires) as well as information given at the post-match discussion on the topic that it is not out unless a fielding team appeals for this before the start of the next delivery. I hope this mentioning is of use in future for Ovington coaches and players.
Players from both teams performed some notable skills and good behaviour in the heat. It did also allow reflection on the hydration status in such weather for the players, the aforementioned need to set up the scoreboard as well as continue to appeal for scorers from parents to come forward for both home and away matches: scoring is very easy, especially if using paper and pencil! If there are volunteers for this, including setting up the scoreboard/benches/seats, it would be very welcome.
Well done to the players whose unbeaten season continues though rumours of holidays and unavailability look to threaten the next match which is at home, after (a shorter and much hydrated!!!) training on Tuesday against York. If anyone’s availability has changed to available due to quarantine changes to foreign holidays I am sorry to hear of the holiday change but would be delighted form a cricketing point of view!