© 2019 – Nicolas Rackow for OUCC
(By Elodie Harbourne)
After only 5 days had passed since Oxford MCCU women beat Cambridge convincingly in the T20 Varsity, Oxford suffered a 10 wicket loss away at King’s College and Selwyn College Sports Ground.
Winning the toss, captain, Vanessa Picker, chose to bat first on a reasonably sunny day. Picker, and Olivia Lee-Smith, opened up for Oxford and began cautiously against the accurate and consistent bowling of Kelly Castle (Anglia Ruskin, so not eligible for Varsity matches) and Becky Cole.
Oxford had just 27 runs at the fall of the first wicket (Lee-Smith for 7 (35) in the 10th over, with some work still needing to be done in order to score a defendable total. Shona McNab soon followed Lee-Smith for 3 (2) and Picker was run out not too long after that for 21 (42), with Oxford finding themselves 3 for 45 at the halfway stage. This run out proved to be the first of three in Oxford’s batting innings, which didn’t go unnoticed at the time by this writer’s nerves whenever a run was taken.
A solid 32 run partnership for the 4th wicket followed between Izzy Harrison and Lucy Duncan, which saw a combination of determined batting, rotating of the strike, and the occasional bad ball punished sufficiently. Harrison was caught out for a useful 13 (21) trying to increase Oxford’s run rate and departed with the score on 4 for 77, in the 22nd over.
Caitlin Deacock joined Duncan in the middle to put on a partnership of 38 for the 5th wicket. After a string of seven dot balls, Deacock found her footing and soon got going, mostly with 2’s, with the ball not quite reaching the boundary, what with the long grass and long boundaries. Both batters looked comfortable in the middle, so much so that Duncan did not want to leave … Just as well as she was picking up singles and rotating the strike with ease, which helped push up Oxford’s run rate from barely 3 runs per over to eventually 4. Deacock departed for a well-made 17 (29) in the last over and was swiftly followed by Surabhi Shukla 0 (0), who was unlucky to be on the receiving end of a run out in the scramble for runs.
Alex Skinner delivered a 2 on her only ball faced, leaving Duncan and Skinner not out on 29 (42) and 2 (1) respectively. Oxford managed a score of 6 for 119 in 30 overs (with only three boundaries scored!), only one run off Amy Hearn’s T20 prediction.
The Cambridge openers, Katie Gibson and Castle (Anglia Ruskin), started their reply in a similar fashion to Oxford’s innings, with Cambridge scoring just 24 runs off the first 7 overs with Oxford having scored 23 runs at the same stage, thanks to some economical bowling from Hearn (who finished with figures of 6-0-16-0) and Elodie Harbourne (6-1-19-0).
However, after 10 overs, Cambridge had managed 47 runs (compared to Oxford’s 27) and were well above the required run rate. At the halfway stage, Cambridge were 68 for the loss of no wickets, and a win was still possible for Oxford if they could take a few quick wickets after drinks (curse of the drinks break?) and bowl tightly to keep the run rate down. Sadly this did not prove to be the case for Oxford, as Castle took a fancy to Alice Hart’s and Shukla’s bowling and reached a well-deserved 50, eventually finishing on 56 off 63 balls. Gibson finished just shy of her 50, with a gritty 47 off 93 balls.
Deacock bowled economically later on (3-0-10-0) but it was not enough and it took Cambridge all of 26.3 overs to score the required 120 runs. Despite Oxford losing by 10 wickets, it was not quite an absolute hammering as the losing margin would suggest. Having given away 10 less extras than Cambridge (17 in total for Oxford), the depth of Oxford’s bowling attack will prove useful in the 50 over games to come, and credit must be given to Harrison behind the stumps, putting her body on the line constantly and only conceding 2 byes.
If Oxford could have removed Cambridge’s star batter (Anglia Ruskin) early on, the final result could have been a very different story, something Oxford can take some confidence in, looking forward to the One Day Varsity later this season.
Summary of scores:
OUCC 6/119 (30 overs)
Cambridge 0/120 (27 overs)
Deacock 0/10 (3)
Hearn 0/16 (6)
Shukla 0/17 (3)