© 2019 – Nicolas Rackow for OUCC
(By Elodie Harbourne)
The first match of the season would have seen the Oxford MCCU women raring to go after a successful inaugural pre-season tour to Desert Springs, had half the team not been up most of the night for May Day celebrations. A convincing win away at Leicester left the women feeling hopeful for a successful season to come.
The girls started strongly in the field after a solid warm up lasting a whole 10 minutes, by having Leicester 1 for 16 after the first 10 overs, thanks to some tight bowling from Sam Bennett (4-1-5-1) and Amy Hearn (4-0-6-0) upfront.
Leicester’s number four batter threw spanners in the works momentarily but some cunning field placements from the captain, Vanessa Picker, saw their number four caught on the leg side boundary after Alice Hart held her nerve brilliantly (3-2-15-1). Credit must be given to Olivia Lee-Smith who took a stunning catch running in from the boundary.
Their next batter had to ask where to stand when at the striker’s end (and also what she’s supposed to do when the bowling end changes between overs…) so after some investigation, it was found that the Leicester team comprised of a few people who had played some cricket before and the rest of the team were sourced from the rugby team who had played earlier that day.
Elodie Harbourne felt so bad that she decided to stop play in order to explain to one batter that if they were to pick up their bat from where they were standing, they would hit their own stumps and be out. It is probably not surprising therefore that Leicester found themselves all out for 60 in 25.5 overs, helped along by a few dropped catches, with only 32 runs scored off the bat. It remains to be known whether one batter, who was brilliantly stumped by Izzy Harrison (2 stumpings), knows how they were out. The spoils were shared amongst the bowlers, Chloe Dack (4-0-6-2), Harbourne (5-0-15-1), Niharika Sachdeva (3-0-6-2), and Sofia Baldelli (2-0-5-1), with Lee-Smith finishing off the end of the tail with figures of 0.5-0-0-2.
After burning off their tea on the trek back to the pitch, it appeared that Oxford wanted to be back on the bus as soon as possible and set off the chase at a lightning rate, taking 23 off the first two overs. Dack was bowled by arguably the best ball of the day for 11( 6) in the 3rd over and was immediately followed by Hart, who was unlucky to be run out (by her captain it appeared…hopefully not the first of many for the season!) on her first ball. Oxford had managed 33 for 2 after 3 overs and they were only just getting started. What followed was an over consisting of 11 wides and no balls and some friendly coaching from the even more friendly umpire, who had a never-ending supply of sweets!
Harrison hit 3 of the 5 sort-of-legal balls she faced in the 4th over for 4 and Oxford ended the over on 58 for 2, needing 3 to win. A no ball (with a run off the bat) and a wide later, Oxford had scored the required 61 runs to win, with still technically only 4 overs bowled, meaning Oxford had won by 8 wickets. Picker and Harrison finished not out on 12 (9) and 15( 6) respectively, in an innings you could have missed had you blinked. In fact, it took longer to decipher the scorebook of Leicester’s innings than Oxford took to score the required runs. So it seems Oxford managed to win convincingly despite the majority of the team getting only a couple of hours of sleep, if that. Very promising indeed.
Summary of scores:
Leicester 10/60 (25.5 overs)
Smith 2/0 (0.5)
Bennett 1/5 (2)
Baldelli 1/5 (1)
Oxford 2/61 (4 overs)
Harrison 15 not out (6)
Picker 12 not out (8)
Dack 11 (6)