The second day of our Ox & Bux tour began with the dawn chorus waking up your correspondent at 4am in the delightful village of Ardington where 4 of us had stayed at the Boars Head. A sublime start, recalling the night before where Lord Fakenham talked our super host Peter into entry to a 50th birthday fancy dress party (we went as The Usual Suspects). At the party, Nick cuddled a TellyTubby and did an impression of Noddy Holder, Chris did some crowd surfing (carried away with the music), Fakenham scared some small children and Richard managed to pull the lady (dressed up as one of the girls from Abba) who’d made the cakes earlier in the day (us bakers tend to attract I reckon). 11 out of 10 on the great nights out scale.
After collecting Jeff and Julia from ‘PikeyTown’ just 2 miles away (that’s what our hosts called it, not us!) we had an excellent breakfast and headed for Amersham. Jeff can’t read UK road maps so Richard and he were a few minutes late and joined the fray as the Oak & Beech openers were starting to clobber Dave S and Fakenham to all parts of the ground. Dave managed to compose himself and take a wicket at which point he brought on Chris and Paul.
Hurrah! For the first time this season the high class bowler that we know as Chris Packham appeared and his rhythm and accuracy were a pleasure to behold. Highlights were a stunning bullet catch by Fakenham at short midwicket off Oak’s top scorer Ollie (a contender for catch of the season) and a sequence of 3 balls where a catch was dropped, Malcolm took a very clear stumping that was turned down and (for a hat trick of sorts) Chris tangled up the batsman to secure the wicket – bowled.
At the other end Paul was more consistent than his usual mercurial self, getting his inswinging cutters going very nicely and hardly conceding any runs, taking a wicket and enabling Dave to bring on part-time bowler Jeff who took a wicket with his first ball (caught by Chris, having a great match). Tom also came on and took a wicket with his first ball. Richard spoiled this trick by bowling a wide lob with his first ball then calming down a bit. Nick wrapped up the innings by bowling the last man.
Oak & Beech 85 all out
Lord Fakenham 4 overs 0 maidens 32 runs 1 wicket
David Stead 5 – 1 – 17 – 1
Chris Packham 5 – 2 – 16 – 4
Paul Brasted 4 – 3 – 1 – 1
Jeff Round 1 – 0 – 1 – 1
Tom Monahan 2 – 0 – 13 – 2
Richard Higginbottom 1 – 0 – 1 – 0
Nick Duckett 0.2 – 0 – 0 – 1
Nick and Paul opened in reply and were soon both back in the pavilion for one each. Jeff followed his sparkling 36 the day before with a disappointing duck, then Richard and Dave started to nudge towards the target until Richard top edged a ball he should have hit over the boundary to the keeper. Muppet. Malcolm joined Dave in the middle and both played classical strokes in chanceless innings to ease us past the winning target with 10 overs to spare, Dave top scoring with 34.
SGCC 89 for 4 won by 6 wickets
Paul Brasted bowled 1
Nick Duckett caught 1
Richard Higginbottom caught 7
Jeff Round bowled 0
David Stead not out 34
Malcolm Birks not out 19
After the game (we played from 11 to 3) we repaired to Adam’s place where the splendid Mr & Mrs Wood provided us with beer and food as we watched Germany demolish England. Shame the England players didn’t have the class of the Woods! A consensus established that none of us would have swapped our victory for an England victory. That’s the spirit! Now I can get back to watching Wimbledon.