40 Over Defeat in Rural Oxfordshire
Brightwell 164-5, beat Mandarins, 163-7
Brightwell cum Sotwell is one of the Mandarins' most attractive fixtures, a lovely ground, nice opposition and fine pub, all in beautiful Oxfordshire countryside. Less attractive is the slow route through Henley to get there, which is why Chris McKeon and I were twenty minutes late arriving, debutant skipper Arvind having decided to bat on the basis that with only six players present at the ground, fielding was not much of an option.
David Williams was already out, run out in the first over. Best draw a veil over that. Drew Somerville followed for 13. There was then a lively partnership between Chris Baker, in good early season form, scoring 27, and Venky, who scored 18, including one superb six over midwicket. Brightwell bowlers generally kept things tight, and wickets fell reasonably regularly. Baxter accelerated to reach 50* by the close, whilst Sam Brand, ever the crowd-pleaser, enlivened his innings by breaking his bat.
Reducing the average age considerably, Gemma Porter came in at number 9 and ran very well between the wickets, though your correspondent found it rather difficult to keep up with her. Mandarins closed at 163-7 after 40 overs, which felt a reasonable, if not commanding total.
Things were looking very promising indeed when Drew Somerville bowled Brightwell's No 1 bat with the first ball of the innings. Sadly, this proved the highlight of Drew's spell. The other opener accumulated nicely, taking advantage of a ten man Mandarins side (due to two late injuries: not the match manager’s fault – Ed.), before being bowled by a ball that kept low from Venky.
Barringer, the Brightwell Number 4 proceeded to play very well all round the ground, though lucky to get away with a very good lbw shout from Paul McIntyre. Chris McKeon kept very well and had several close calls for stumpings. Arvind rotated his bowlers, the pick of whom was Gemma Porter, with 2-22 of 7 overs, but Brightwell overhauled the Mandarins for the loss of 5 wickets. But the Red Lion was as welcoming as ever.