OE’s make it Back to Back wins
By James Heavey
K.Hoq 51 & 4-24, S.Gomes 52, M.Holland 45*
Following last weekend’s hard-fought win at home vs Hertford 2’s in a nail-biting game, the First XI were keen to back this up away at the local ground of Southgate Compton.
On a day where cloud was mixed with patches of sun, OEs were hoping that their performance was anything other than patchy, but after losing the toss on a wicket which has a reputation for being up and down, OE’s found themselves in a spot of bother early on as both Jimmy and Shaikh were out to the opening bowlers (Carl and Liam Frame) with the score only on 10. A period of consolidation was needed, and the team were again indebted to both Kazi and Gomesy who joined up to begin to dominate the bowling in a partnership of 105.
But from a reasonably comfortable position and the batsman beginning to punish the bad balls with ease, a bit of wobble took place. Gomesy first played around the dangerous left-arm spin of the Compton captain (4-45), before Kazi also fell in the same manner with the score on 130. Hass, Pabs, Tush and Scutt in the middle order, all attempted a rebuilding job, but when one got in there was often a wicket falling at the other end, and the boys were in danger of losing the great platform provided by Gomesy and Kazi.
Scutt was last standing of those 4 and was looking for an able assistant to move the score forward from 179-7 with just 6.5 overs to go. Up stepped Holland, who came in and automatically began to find the gaps (somewhat fortunately at points) and produced some excellent running with the energetic Scutt to really put the bowlers under pressure. This being the case meant they did not hold their nerve and both Holland (45* off 22) and Scutt (28*) began to find the boundary on a regular basis both hitting large sixes as the score raced along and the duo put on 70 runs in just 41 balls (despite Holland wasting two balls in the final over). The final score ended on 249-7 and the ball was firmly in the OE’s court, but we were well aware that the pitch was playing really well and there was a short boundary which could be exploited with some loose bowling.
After a lovely tea, Compton began their chase and were circumspect against the classy opening spells of Busby and Gomes. Both hitting decent areas and avoiding being hit to the short side of the ground, but crucially after the opening burst, there were no wickets taken. The first change bowlers of Hass and Saqi were aiming to continue the good work but were slightly guilty of losing their lines a few times and this got the scoreboard moving along. Hass struck the first blow, however, removing Frame.L with a good catch from Gomes at long on. With the score looking threatening at 100-1, OE’s moved to the dependable duo of Kazi and Holland to try and tie things down, and problems came about immediately when Kazi had the ball spinning hard past the outside edge of the Compton number 3 on a number of occasions meaning Scutt’s glovework was really put to the test throughout this spell. Holland struck soon enough having Wallis on 46 taken at mid-wicket by the great hands of Busby and OE’s were starting to turn the screw. Kazi followed this up the next over as he removed the Compton captain’s middle stump and then Hass returning to the attack as trial by spin worked for OE’s in the middle order. Kazi 4-24 and Hass 2-36 meant that the team were now firmly in control.
There was some impressive lower order hitting from Alex Heaney but backed up in the field by some great keeping from Scutt, a wonderful catch in the deep from Busby (shock) and brilliant ground fielding from the rest of the boys (notably a left-handed stop whilst diving and throw in one motion from the ever spritely Holland) meant that OE’s were well in control of this match. Busby came back and a mixture of bumpers and Yorkers saw off the tail and the boys were moving forward and into the middle part of the season!
A great rendition of the team song showed the passion in a win and the determination being showed by all 11 teammates is there as we win together for the fourth time this season. Onto two tricky trips in the next two weeks at Potton and Eversholt, the boys will be looking to back up their good form and get the team song going at great decibels!
Match Report written by Matt Holland