LEPRECHAUNS: 125 for 6
Batting: I. Wayne 72* P.Turner 17 M.Ffrench-Davis 6
Bowling: Block 9-0-46-2; Turner 5-1-6-1; J.Wilson 8-3-10-1; P.Coffey 12-6-31-1
HALVERSTOWN: 88 for 6
Batting: D.Ryall 46* D.Drumm 16* S.Rix 7 G.Barnes 5 C.Johnston 3
Bowling: D.Ryall 6-0-15-2; B.McAllister 4-2-8-1; K.Hodson 10-3-15-1 ; G.O'Shea 3-0-18-1
S.Hayes 4-0-21-1; D.Drumm 6-0-15-0 ; B.Hobbs 3-0-24-0
Since I was off to the USA for a month the following day, arrangements were made to have an account of the match written by someone else. Unfortunately, like my arrangements to have my house re-plumbed whilst I was away, it did not work out. The results of the match report being unwritten have not been as keenly felt as the failure to finish the job on the plumbing, but I do feel the need to complete this job- unlike my plumbers. Time certainly dims the memory and therefore you will be spared too much detail, though it was a most honourable draw that certainly merits a good mention in the annals of the Oaks.
Leprechauns is, like White City, one the most keenly anticipated matches of the season, so it was a bit of a disappointment to have 10 players- and that included Darren Ryall who had to leave early, but hoped to be able to get back later. It was a timed game, 20 overs after 4.45pm and, after the usual charade of the toss, of course it was Leprechauns to bat. We bowled remarkably well and Leps found the going tough in terms of run rate. Only two players got to double figures, but unfortunately one of them - Wayne- was 72. Darren's slow bowling mesmerised them and his 2 for 15 off 6 was well earned. Brian McAllister bowled superbly, conceding just 8 runs off his 4 overs and it was good to see newcomers Gerard O'Shea and Stuart Hayes (kind of a newcomer!) take wickets.The outstanding spell, though, was 10 overs from Kevin Hodson, returning 1 for 15 with 3 maidens. Great stuff!
Batting was always going to be our problem, accentuated by Darren leaving at this point. He hoped to get back in an hour or so, with luck, but lasting until then was going to be a problem. And so it proved. Kevin out first ball, Oaks 6 for 3 after 4 overs, wickets falling faster than batsmen could pad up, chaos! Steve Rix put on a quick 7 and Graham Barnes at least held out for a few overs. I had emphasised that we had plenty of time, suddenly we hadn't! Five batsmen all caught! We were not going to last until Darren got back unless something changed. Cecil went in with orders to stay in (though no one else listened to the same instruction!). He batted most resolutely, blocking the first 25 balls he faced and his 3 before falling LBW to Wilson was hard earned. I kept Cecil company for a long period, moving up the batting order to 7 in order to hold out until the cavalry- in the shape of Darren- arrived. Similarly to Cecil, I scored my first single on the 27th ball faced. By now Darren had returned, replacing Cecil at the crease; his instruction was to play his natural game- he would anyway! The combination of Darren bashing and me blocking seemed to unnerve the bowlers and Darren's big hitting 46 not out came off 31 balls. My 16 not out came off 60 balls- and close to an hour an a half at the crease. We got the draw and there was even a time when I wondered should we go for a win. But no, let's not get carried away with ourselves, a draw is fine. Leprechauns were frustrated, we were overjoyed! A great day's cricket on which to finish the season. One win, one draw and 5 defeats, but there are promising signs there for 2019 that the acorns planted this year may grow in the season ahead.