OXFORD UNIVERSITY v SURREY UNIVERSITY

BUCS Qualifying League

at The Parks, Wednesday 21st April 2021

A cold blustery day and a new pitch in the centre of the square welcomed the players to The Parks for the first competitive fixture of the season: 50 overs per side. Foster won the toss for the hosts and elected to bat on a pitch that proved placid, but slightly sluggish, and the outfield was slow.

Murphy and Duxbury began confidently against a lively opening attack, but in the 5th over the former was well caught by the ‘keeper from a leg-glance (21-1: 9). Dunnett looked immediately at ease and scored fluently, whilst Duxbury continued to accumulate productively against two further accurate seamers; both ran short singles aggressively. It was a surprise when, in the 21st over, the former was bowled by off-spinner and skipper Wimble who bowled accurately with controlled variation throughout (81-2: 36). He was joined by another accurate off-spinner (Mitchell), and the pair bowled well in tandem, conceding just 4 runs per over. Oliver was soon into his stride, and with Duxbury now well established, they kept the score ticking over with good running, however, in overs 21-40 there were just 2 boundaries. They had just completed a century partnership from 20 overs when Oliver was bowled (183-3: 44). Duxbury had reached a worthy 50 from 85 balls, but as he tried to accelerate, he lost his timing, and in the 45th over he was lbw to the deserving Stevens (193-4: 87), having played the key innings. Job was caught at mid-wicket first ball, and in the next over Foster holed out to the same position (196-6: 3). It looked as though 220 was the most the Blues could hope for with 27 balls remaining, but Mohamed and Marshall had other ideas. The former put bat to ball effectively and the latter scampered singles and played a variety of unorthodox shots; suddenly the visitors became slightly rattled and there were mis-fields and wides. They added 40 from just 19 balls and had completely changed the momentum of the innings when Mohamed was caught (236-7: 29 from 19 balls), and Marshall was bowled (242-8: 14). The hosts finished with 247-9, showing the value of establishing a solid base with wickets in hand. The visitors had fielded well and there wasn’t a weak link in their bowling attack; they were understandably frustrated to be chasing at least 25 more than they had been expecting.

Fisher and Barker opened the bowling and this time it was the former who made an important early breakthrough, having the dangerous Samuel well caught by Oliver at cover, diving away to his left (6-1: 1). Jarman tried to take Mohamed’s arm on at 3rd man, who beat him with an excellent bounce throw (21-2: 5). Taylor and Mitchell set about repairing the damage and batted confidently, bringing up the 50 in the 15th over when Fisher held on to a storming catch at mid-off when the ball was drilled to his right by Mitchell off Pyman (53-3: 15). The left-arm spin of Dunnett had been introduced, and in the middle of a very economical spell (7-1-19-1) he had the talented Wimble well caught at slip by Duxbury (58-4: 4). In Pyman’s next over, Stevens was palpably LBW (64-5: 0). In the 21st over Kale played the ball to fine leg, and the batsmen set off for a third run. A flat throw to ‘keeper Job was itself thrown to the bowler’s end where the striker was run out by a yard (73-6: 5). With the innings in tatters, Smith came in and at least kept Taylor company. The latter had looked in command from the outset and played some delightful strokes compiling an excellent 50 from 68 balls. In the 30th over, Marshall trapped Smith LBW (105-7: 6) and a couple of overs later Foster’s left-arm spin castled Siddhu (110-8: 0). He then claimed the prize scalp of Taylor by bowling him, to end a fine battling innings (115-9: 65). Shanks joined Pennycate, and with nothing to lose, they set about the bowling, adding 40 in 23 balls with some exotic shots before the former holed out to Foster at long-on off Fisher (155 all out: 25), leaving the latter undefeated on 15. All the bowlers had bowled with purpose, and were well supported in the field with 3 fine catches and 2 run outs. The Blues looked the sharper more determined and focused side and deservedly won by 72 runs. Surrey had several good cricketers who showed what they could do, but they needed more than one player to play a significant innings.

 

Mark Williams