Oxford bowlers wide of the mark

19 June 2008

Tom Woolford

Sports Expert

Cambridge overturned last year’s 6-wicket defeat with a 47 run victory at Lord’s on Tuesday.

Oxford won the toss and elected to field despite fine weather and a flat batting pitch. Cambridge’s openers got off to a flyer, notching up 64 without loss off the first eight overs. Akbar Ansari (73) and Richard Timms (55) produced some accomplished square boundaries both sides of the wicket.

Timms appeared the more steady batsman, not giving bowlers a sniff at his wicket until he was caught at point off the bowling of Oxford captain Oliver Sadler in the 27th over with the score at 138.

Ansari survived a number of scares in the early part of his innings, edging over first slip and fortunate to see a caught and bowled half chance missed by Jonty Strachan in the ninth over.

He went on to post a decent 73 – his highest first class offering in his four matches so far – that set Cambridge up for a big total.

Support came all the way down the Cambridge card. Fred Owen looked from the off to accelerate the scoring that had stalled somewhat since the first ten overs, playing cross-batted shots to post a rapid 33 before lobbing a drive to mid on off Sadler’s bowling.

Scott MacLennan demonstrated stunning technique in a regrettably brief 27, but credit should go to Oxford’s Lewis Dingle who, noticing that MacLennan was producing brilliant front foot drives, intelligently dug one in short which MacLennan half hooked, half fended, top edging to keeper Henry Haslam. O’Driscoll (6), Whittington (16), Hemingway (12) and Baker (5) fell in the last five overs as Cambridge scrambled their way to 286, James (12*) and Heywood (1*) the not out batsmen.

Aside from the excellent opening stand, the telling contribution to Cambridge’s large total was a massive 46 in extras.

Oxford were sloppy with bowling and, at times, fielding discipline, with MacAdam and Morse sending down 14 and 9 wides respectively in their allocations. Charles Hill was tidy (10 overs for 42 runs) but unthreatening, Lewis Dingle (2-50) and James MacAdam – despite his many wides – reeled in Cambridge’s free scoring when they replaced the opening bowlers.

All-rounder Oliver Sadler then poached the key wickets of Timms and Owen, but only Jonty Strachan (3-45 from 7 overs) can claim to have had a good day with the ball.

The Oxford reply started steadily enough. After both Cambridge openers, Ben Jacklin and Michael James, struggled with their line in their opening overs, they soon tightened up and restricted Oxford’s scoring opportunities.

Jacklin’s eight overs went for a miserly fifteen runs, while James’s full allocation of ten overs cost just 37.

Nevertheless, Oxford’s openers Oliver Sadler and Brendan McKerchar took the score to 45 before McKerchar (23) drove uppishly to mid-off to give James his solitary wicket. The next over Sadler (20) played a pitched-up Jacklin ball on to his stumps.

Fergus Baker replaced Jacklin at the Nursery ground end and over-pitched his slow left armers for his first over and a half, getting smacked through mid on and long off for consecutive boundaries to the new batsman, Neil Kruger.

Baker got the wicket of Ball (1) from the first ball he put on a length, a touch of turn deceiving Ball who edged behind to Cambridge keeper Heywood while trying to cut the ball behind square.

Hemingway and O’Driscoll bowled tidily for the most part. Hemingway was rewarded by bowling Crawley (21) through the bat-pad gate. O’Driscoll elicited the edge from Kruger when the Oxford number three was on 41, but the ball sailed straight through Heywood behind the stumps.

Oxford were behind the required rate but still had a sniff at victory as Kruger hit Baker for two sixes over the short leg side boundary.

Attempting the same shot off Baker in the 42nd over, Kruger ballooned a leading edge to mid-on to depart for 81 and Oxford’s chances were realistically over.

Baker finished with flattering figures of 4-66 as he, O’Driscoll and Hemingway cleaned up the tail who scrambled desperately for runs, with Haslam run out for a 43 that included excellent drives through cover.

While the batting was impressive on both sides and passages of bowling were also of a high standard, it was Oxford’s 42 wide deliveries that put their middle and lower order under too much pressure. Oxford sent down an unprecedented 50 extras to lose the inaugural Twenty20 Varsity match but had clearly failed to learn their lesson in time for the Lord’s spectacle.

In the Women’s Varsity Match, Charlotte Hornsby set up Cambridge’s first victory for five years with a magnificent 119 not out as Cambridge posted 281-3 on the Nursery Ground at Lord’s.

It was, she said, her greatest cricketing achievement. “I’ve never experienced it before” said the centurion, “the key was hitting the bad balls and setting targets for each partnership”.

Captain Laura Gardiner paid tribute to her strong team, saying the victory over the dark blues was “absolutely fabulous”.

While recognising Hornby’s “phenomenal batting performance”, she highlighted the great consistency and persistence of the entire Cambridge bowling attack, with Lavendar claiming 4-20 and Bellfield (who had hit a rapid half century in Cambridge’s innings) 3-20.

Oxford sank to 127 all out, with only E. R. Wild (63) posting a score above 20. “There wasn’t a bad bowler on the pitch today”, she explained, “It was a great team effort and a tribute to the excellent coaching this season”.

ambridge overturned last year’s 6-wicket defeat with a 47 run victory at Lord’s on Tuesday.

Oxford won the toss and elected to field despite fine weather and a flat batting pitch. Cambridge’s openers got off to a flyer, notching up 64 without loss off the first eight overs. Akbar Ansari (73) and Richard Timms (55) produced some accomplished square boundaries both sides of the wicket.

Timms appeared the more steady batsman, not giving bowlers a sniff at his wicket until he was caught at point off the bowling of Oxford captain Oliver Sadler in the 27th over with the score at 138.

Ansari survived a number of scares in the early part of his innings, edging over first slip and fortunate to see a caught and bowled half chance missed by Jonty Strachan in the ninth over.

He went on to post a decent 73 – his highest first class offering in his four matches so far – that set Cambridge up for a big total.

Support came all the way down the Cambridge card. Fred Owen looked from the off to accelerate the scoring that had stalled somewhat since the first ten overs, playing cross-batted shots to post a rapid 33 before lobbing a drive to mid on off Sadler’s bowling.

Scott MacLennan demonstrated stunning technique in a regrettably brief 27, but credit should go to Oxford’s Lewis Dingle who, noticing that MacLennan was producing brilliant front foot drives, intelligently dug one in short which MacLennan half hooked, half fended, top edging to keeper Henry Haslam. O’Driscoll (6), Whittington (16), Hemingway (12) and Baker (5) fell in the last five overs as Cambridge scrambled their way to 286, James (12*) and Heywood (1*) the not out batsmen.

Aside from the excellent opening stand, the telling contribution to Cambridge’s large total was a massive 46 in extras.

Oxford were sloppy with bowling and, at times, fielding discipline, with MacAdam and Morse sending down 14 and 9 wides respectively in their allocations. Charles Hill was tidy (10 overs for 42 runs) but unthreatening, Lewis Dingle (2-50) and James MacAdam – despite his many wides – reeled in Cambridge’s free scoring when they replaced the opening bowlers.

All-rounder Oliver Sadler then poached the key wickets of Timms and Owen, but only Jonty Strachan (3-45 from 7 overs) can claim to have had a good day with the ball.

The Oxford reply started steadily enough. After both Cambridge openers, Ben Jacklin and Michael James, struggled with their line in their opening overs, they soon tightened up and restricted Oxford’s scoring opportunities.

Jacklin’s eight overs went for a miserly fifteen runs, while James’s full allocation of ten overs cost just 37.

Nevertheless, Oxford’s openers Oliver Sadler and Brendan McKerchar took the score to 45 before McKerchar (23) drove uppishly to mid-off to give James his solitary wicket. The next over Sadler (20) played a pitched-up Jacklin ball on to his stumps.

Fergus Baker replaced Jacklin at the Nursery ground end and over-pitched his slow left armers for his first over and a half, getting smacked through mid on and long off for consecutive boundaries to the new batsman, Neil Kruger.

Baker got the wicket of Ball (1) from the first ball he put on a length, a touch of turn deceiving Ball who edged behind to Cambridge keeper Heywood while trying to cut the ball behind square.

Hemingway and O’Driscoll bowled tidily for the most part. Hemingway was rewarded by bowling Crawley (21) through the bat-pad gate. O’Driscoll elicited the edge from Kruger when the Oxford number three was on 41, but the ball sailed straight through Heywood behind the stumps.

Oxford were behind the required rate but still had a sniff at victory as Kruger hit Baker for two sixes over the short leg side boundary.

Attempting the same shot off Baker in the 42nd over, Kruger ballooned a leading edge to mid-on to depart for 81 and Oxford’s chances were realistically over.

Baker finished with flattering figures of 4-66 as he, O’Driscoll and Hemingway cleaned up the tail who scrambled desperately for runs, with Haslam run out for a 43 that included excellent drives through cover.

While the batting was impressive on both sides and passages of bowling were also of a high standard, it was Oxford’s 42 wide deliveries that put their middle and lower order under too much pressure. Oxford sent down an unprecedented 50 extras to lose the inaugural Twenty20 Varsity match but had clearly failed to learn their lesson in time for the Lord’s spectacle.

In the Women’s Varsity Match, Charlotte Hornsby set up Cambridge’s first victory for five years with a magnificent 119 not out as Cambridge posted 281-3 on the Nursery Ground at Lord’s.

It was, she said, her greatest cricketing achievement. “I’ve never experienced it before” said the centurion, “the key was hitting the bad balls and setting targets for each partnership”.

Captain Laura Gardiner paid tribute to her strong team, saying the victory over the dark blues was “absolutely fabulous”.

While recognising Hornby’s “phenomenal batting performance”, she highlighted the great consistency and persistence of the entire Cambridge bowling attack, with Lavendar claiming 4-20 and Bellfield (who had hit a rapid half century in Cambridge’s innings) 3-20.

Oxford sank to 127 all out, with only E. R. Wild (63) posting a score above 20. “There wasn’t a bad bowler on the pitch today”, she explained, “It was a great team effort and a tribute to the excellent coaching this season”.