© 2019 – Nicolas Rackow for OUCC
(By Elodie Harbourne)
Oxford MCCU lost by 36 runs in a friendly (quite literally) T20 game against a strong (again, quite literally) men’s batting line up from Oxfam, something that gave the bowlers something new to think about.
Oxford started strongly, taking 3 wickets in the first 4 overs (2 for Alice Hart and 1 for Alex Skinner), but the runs were flowing (partly thanks to 5 wides in the first over…) as the Oxfam men looked to hit the ball as far as they could right from the get-go. Hart was eventually rewarded with 3 wickets for sticking to her line and length and allowing the Oxfam men to get themselves out trying to hit big, finishing with figures of 4-0-26-3.
Captain, Vanessa Picker, looked to mix things up by bringing on leg spinner Elodie Harbourne in the 5th over to try to curtail their run scoring but with only two fielders allowed outside the 30 yard circle with the men looking to go big, perhaps not surprisingly, that over went for 14 runs with three powerful hits down the ground from pitched up balls. It took Harbourne until her 2nd over to adjust to bowling at men and her next 3 overs went for a total of 12 runs.
Olivia Lee-Smith came on to bowl and was immediately rewarded with a wicket in her first over from some tight bowling and kept up the standard throughout her 4 overs, finishing as the most economical Oxford bowler, with figures of 4-0-22-1. Frieda Hall-Hickman, in her first game of the season for Oxford, followed exactly how Lee-Smith had started, with a wicket in her first over, and proceeded to concede only 12 runs in her first 3 overs.
However, with wickets in hand, the Oxfam men looked to finish strongly and that’s what they did, taking 13 runs off Hall-Hickman’s last over (finishing with 4-0-25-1) and 15 off Skinner’s last two (4-0-29-1). Oxfam finished with a very gettable 136 (for 8, with 2 run outs), but batting under the fading light would make things slightly more tricky.
It quickly became clear that Oxfam’s bowling was not quite up to the same standard as their batting (or were they just trying to give us a game?), so seeing off the opening bowlers and accelerating past that seemed the plan. Their number 2 bowler finished with a remarkable economy rate of 1.5 runs per over and contributed to Oxford having only scored 43 runs with the loss of no wickets by the halfway stage.
Oxford were left with some serious work still needing to be done if they hoped to get anywhere near the required 137 runs to win but with all wickets in hand and some questionable bowling changes, it was still all to play for. Picker and Lee-Smith found themselves getting frustrated with the slow, loopy bowling and found themselves out caught for 31 (40) and 19 (43) respectively, to that bowler, in successive balls, as cricket quite often goes (or was it just that Lee-Smith ‘didn’t want to bat without her captain’? – overheard comment).
With the score on 65 in the 14th over, Skinner and Izzy Harrison combined for a 15 run partnership for the 3rd wicket but runs did not flow any more easily as was the general trend for the Oxford batters this innings.
Harrison faced a string of 6 dot balls off one bowler’s over (only containing 2 wides), which was surprisingly the only over that bowler bowled all day (?!). Skinner was out for a run-a-ball 6 runs, which included a ball bludgeoned to the leg side boundary on her second ball faced.
Shona McNab joined Harrison at the crease for a 16 run partnership, in the fading light, and Oxford’s chances of winning were quickly slipping away with no noticeable acceleration of the run rate. It appeared that we had settled with using this batting innings as some batting practice and we had only scored 96 runs by the end of the 19th over.
Arguably one of Oxfam’s best bowlers bowled the 20th over, which was his first over of the game, and produced what looked like was going to be a double-wicket maiden (McNab bowled for 12 (15) and Hart LBW for 0 (1)) before Hall-Hickman hit a 4 off the 7th ball of the over. Harrison finished not out on 8 (13) with Hall-Hickman on 4 (2). A frustrating innings in difficult light conditions but some useful batting practice nonetheless.
Hopefully the girls can take what they’ve learnt from playing a men’s team into their next fixture, tomorrow (third game in as many days), against Worcester’s cuppers team, which will most likely consist of some strong lads.
Summary of scores:
Oxfam 7/136 (20 overs)
Hart 3/26 (4)
Lee-Smith 1/22 (4)
Hall Hickman 1/25 (4)
Oxford 5/100 (20 overs)