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Cricket Day 2024

Person talking to a group of people in cricket gear sitting on the steps of a sports pavilionOn 9 June 2024, we held our annual Cricket Day, the battle of the alumni cricket team versus our current student team, at University College Sports Ground.

Richard Guy (Chemistry, 1973) kindly wrote this report.

On a not very June-like Sunday afternoon, the annual College vs Old Members cricket fixture provided a competitive spectacle with over 400 runs being scored in a close-fought 35-overs per side game.  The ground, as always, was immaculate and the wicket – given the quantity of rain that had fallen in the previous month(s) – was true.

The College batted first, and it was soon evident that the OM bowling and fielding (especially in the absence of its regular captain) was going to be stretched to control the run rate.  The first 10 overs saw 60+ on the board but 3 wickets to Ieuan Ellis, and excellent ‘pace-off’ spells from Ben McFarlane, Shomit Dutta and Tom Gibbs, reduced the College to 120-4 after 20 overs.  OM optimism at this point, however, was thwarted by Ayman Ahmad, who used every part of his bat to score an excellent 79 and guide the College to a challenging total of 208-6 at the end of their 35 overs.  The OM fielding matched its usual high standard, with Nick Smith keeping very tidily behind the stumps.  Special mention must be made about the latter part of the innings which witnessed some excellent bowling by Giles Reynolds, a fair chunk of which was directed at his son Sam – the first time, I’m told, since former Master, Robin Butler, took the field against his son, Andrew, back in the inaugural fixture in 1990.

Tea was taken in the presence of the Master who had literally just flown in for the occasion.  George Laurence, the OM’s senior professional (Law, 1969), and the founder and ever-present player of the annual cricket match, welcomed the Master and expressed everyone’s delight that she was in attendance.  In response, Baroness Amos made clear her passion for the game and her determination to be present at future encounters (while not missing the chance with college alumni on hand to mention the Univ 775 fund-raising drive…).

The OM innings started circumspectly against the tight bowling of Conrad Hilton and Mahendra Chitrarasu with only 32 coming off the first 10 overs.  At this point, Giles Reynolds accelerated dramatically, aided by excellent running between the wickets with partner Hugo Cox, before falling for an outstanding 81 and leaving the game nicely poised at with the OMs at 128-1 with 10 overs to go.  Shomit Dutta, Matt O’Kane and Will Gore kept the score moving but the loss of wickets at crucial moments meant that the 15 required off the final over was a bridge too far.  The OM team finished on 201-5, losing by 7 runs.

An excellent game, played in a positive spirit, and was properly analysed and lubricated in the pub afterwards.  Particular thanks to Robbie Eason for all his hard work associated with getting the game on. I’m sure I speak for all the OM team in looking forward to next year’s encounter and a different outcome in the result!

Published: 3 July 2024

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