© 2019 – Nicolas Rackow for OUCC
(By Elodie Harbourne)
The demands of a packed international calendar, with England hosting both the World Cup and a home Ashes series this summer, saw the annual Lords fixture take place earlier than usual on Tuesday 28th May. Nevertheless, it remained one of the highlights of the university season, and the Oxford MCCU girls certainly made the most of the occasion.
Perhaps their most impressive performance so far this season saw the girls record a comfortable victory against a competitive MCC side, led by ex-Kent and Durham cricketer Elysa Hubbard.
Southern Vipers and England Academy all-rounder Maia Bouchier made her first appearance for Oxford and proved a valuable addition to the side both on and off the field. She opened the bowling with Amy Hearn and the two made early inroads, taking a wicket each to leave the MCC reeling at 11-2.
Bringing leg spinner Elodie Harbourne on in the 8th over was an inspired bowling change from the captain, and after a loose first ball she took two wickets in the over – the first coming thanks to a brilliant catch from Shona McNab at cover, who also rather unfortunately injured herself in the process.
Wickets fell in clusters, and 2-11 quickly became 4-25, then 6-41, as Hearn uprooted Healey’s off stump and Harbourne dismissed Stacpoole, Bouchier taking a sharp catch diving forwards at slip. Ex-England international and Oxonian Claire Taylor top-scored with 41, including six boundaries, as the MCC began to rebuild, but they were soon undone by a fantastic spell of bowling from Chloe Dack.
She broke the 68-run stand between Taylor and Eloise Porter – who were both, albeit rather nervously, caught by Hearn at point – and her ten overs yielded just 29 runs. Dack removed Raval in her final over to finish with figures of 3-29 in what would turn out to be her final game for Oxford MCCU.
The captain then brought opening bowler Hearn back, but the seamer’s second spell lasted all of one ball as she took the final wicket of the innings. The MCC, then, were bowled out for 127 in 32.1 overs, with three wickets each for Hearn, Harbourne and Dack, and one for Bouchier.
The bowlers were backed up by some sharp fielding throughout the innings, which included a stunning catch taken by the bin behind the sightscreen, and an incident in which an unnamed Blues hockey player (and ex-England U13 footballer) managed to execute such an impressive diving stop that she actually lost the ball underneath her body, and, hilariously, proceeded to frantically search for it before realising she had been lying on top of it all along.
The Oxford openers batted with good intent both before and after a short tea break – readers will be pleased to hear that the food at Lord’s remains as good as ever – scoring at around 5 runs an over throughout the innings.
Picker and Bouchier made easy work of the target, as Bouchier top scored with an impressive 82 (65). Her innings included thirteen fours and a six, but she was caught by Raval on the boundary with only 7 runs needed for victory – a dismissal which the writer of this report feels must be attributed to Caitlin Deacock, who in a disappointing but not surprising turn of events proclaimed, ‘I’m not going to need to bat today’ only the ball before.
Bouchier was replaced at the crease by the infamous Deacock herself, native to both the cricket pitch and Saturday night events at The Bullingdon, but somewhat subdued after her trademark over-confidence had proved counterproductive in the T20 Varsity match only 11 days prior, yielding only a golden and an embarrassing walk back to the Fenner’s pavillion.
Deacock, however, surpassed herself this time – and surprised her teammates – to finish 3*, as captain Picker thankfully took responsibility and scored the winning runs. All in all, it was a successful day for the OUCC girls, and they very much enjoyed celebrating their victory – the first against the MCC in coach Graham Charlesworth’s memory – as well as that of the Men’s Blues in the 50-over Varsity match on the main square itself, with numerous canapes at the post-match reception in the Writing Room and a round at the Lord’s Tavern.
It remains to be seen, however, whether OULC’s Alice Hart will ever make it through her first full 50 overs on a cricket field. Only time will tell – although she did, the writer of this report can confirm, make it to Fever that evening, accompanied by teammate Alex Skinner, whilst Picker and Hearn, alongside squad member Niharika Sachdeva and scorer Sam Greenbank, took their post-match McDonald’s to Vinnie’s.
Don’t let nutritionist Helen (or Sally) catch wind of that one, for it was a meal criminally lacking in blueberries, and I fear that dangerously few post-match pints of milk were consumed. However it was onwards and upwards for Oxford MCCU women, for there were many more Nature Valley bars to be consumed – before, that is, they were restored to full price at Magdalen Street Tesco, in what the writer of this report believes to be the season’s biggest upset – and more games of cricket to be won.
Summary of scores:
MCC: 127 (AO) (33 overs)
Hearn 3/11 (6.1)
Dack 3/29 (10)
Harbourne 3/35 (8)
Oxford: 1/128 (24 overs)
Picker 33 not out
Deacock 3 not out