Thursday, 27 September 2018

All Stars Presentation Evening

The All Stars season was rounded of on Wednesday evening when the majority of the children who had participated during the season received their certificates and medals.

The presentations were made by first team captain Will Eason and Stephen Green who both graduated into Premier League Cricket through the Club's Youth system.

This was the first year that Horspath had run the All Stars program and the Club is indebted to Craig Wharton for the effort, and time he has devoted to making it such a success. Thanks also to Dave Heritage, Darryl Brown and a few brave parents who provided invaluable support.

Posted by: max

Monday, 24 September 2018

Umpire Dennis Whittaker bows out at age of 80

Guard of honour for umpire Dennis Whittaker
UMPIRE Dennis Whittaker called time for the final occasion with a special tournament at Horspath to mark his retirement from the game at the age of 80.

Unfortunately, the weather gods didn't smile kindly on his farewell with persistent rain on Saturday. But, despite this, Dennis, who has been donning the white coat for 44 years, decided play should go-ahead for his swansong.

With the three clubs he has been most closely associated with - Oxford Caribbean, Horspath and Yarnton & Cowley - participating in a round-robin competition, a guard of honour was formed by the players to applaud him on to the pitch. Horspath, who fielded a side consisting mainly of committee members, faced Yarnton & Cowley in the opening 10 overs-a-side contest.

President Denis Walker, accompanied by Max Eason, got Horspath off to a lively start with a couple of early boundaries as the hosts posted 75 thanks mainly to some powerful blows from Chris Jones, who retired with 30-something.

Horspath line up with umpire Dennis Whittaker
However, with dropped catches aplenty and some decidedly dodgy fielding it wasn't enough as a considerably more youthful Yarnton & Cowley side eased home in the last over. Chairman John Hilland provided the highlight for the hosts with a running catch in front of the scout hut, before setting off on an extravagant celebration.

By the time Oxford Caribbean had completed their innings in the second game against Yarnton & Cowley the steady drizzle had turned to heavy rain and the genial Mr Whittaker decided to draw stumps for one last time. However, it wasn't before the umpire, who is widely reported to have given more lbws in the OCA than any other, raised the finger to claim one last victim.

Back in the bar, Dennis, with his favourite glass of Appleton's Jamaican rum in hand, had no doubt it was the correct decision. "It was plumb, man," he said before following it up with that familiar hearty laugh we have come to know so well over the years.

Posted by: Russ

Friday, 21 September 2018

Final Knockings

The final game of the season takes place tomorrow Saturday as Horspath stage a three team round robin to celebrate the retirement from umpiring at the age of 80 of Dennis ' DenDen' Whittaker. The three Clubs that Dennis has been closely associated - Oxford Caribbean; Horspath and Yarnton & Cowley are participating. The Horspath side is selected almost entirely from committee members and subject to fitness tests and kit searches will include the President, Chairman, Treasurer and Secretary amongst other surprising participants. The games are 10 overs per side starting at 1.00 with the Horspath v Ox Caribs match. The bar is obviously open

Posted by: max

Wednesday, 19 September 2018

Ben and Will hit tons in Horspath Run Feast

BEN Thompson and Will Eason hit sparkling centuries as the annual Horspath Feast match turned into the Horspath Run Feast.

Returning to play at his old ground, Thompson led the way with a brilliant unbeaten 104 as the President's XI rattled up a massive 294-4 dec after being put in to bat. But Horspath weren't to be outdone with Eason compiling an undefeated 110, ably supported by Adrian Manger's 66 not out, in his side's reply of 261-5 to secure an honourable draw.

Thompson showed he was in the mood to post a big total early in his innings with an exquisite cover drive, and with Aston Rowant's Chris Watling scoring at a rapid rate, the President's XI were soon racking up the runs. Watling hit a superb straight six before bringing up his half-century with a boundary down the ground. He added a ninth four before being bowled by Eason for 55 off 42 deliveries as he attempted an audacious ramp shot, making it 78-1.

Witney Swifts' Charlie Fisher ensured there was no respite for the hosts, though, hammering 40 from 47 balls, with two sixes and five fours, before he fell to a smart stumping by Will Hawtin off Stuart Berry with the score on 142. Thompson went to his fifty with two runs into the legside, and with Banbury's Josh Megson quickly into his stride, lunch arrived with the President's XI already on 194-2.

With the runs having flowed so freely, the break turned into an elongated lunch of around two hours during which members and guests enjoyed an excellent array of food prepared by chef Hayden Moon. Entertaining speeches followed by Max Eason, on behalf of the club, and Banbury stalwart Neil Megson, who had taken over the President's XI captaincy.

President Denis Walker then presented Max with a framed photo of when he received an ECB 'Coach of the Year' Award from former England batsman Graham Thorpe at the Oval this summer. It prompted Max to ruefully relate how much the award had ended up costing him after he had taken the family down to London for the day.

When umpires Bob Chamberlain and Dick Decaires getting play back under way, Josh Megson went to his half-century in style with a straight six, before he was stumped by Hawtin off Manger for 69 from 43 balls, which included four maximums and seven boundaries, having shared a third-wicket stand with Thompson of 126.

Thompson went to a splendid century with a quick single to point. His innings was a fitting tribute to his dad, John, and nan, Irene, who sadly passed away earlier this year, and were among those absent friends that a glass had been raised to at lunch. The declaration came when Horley's David Eaton skied a catch to Dan Todd off Manger for 19. Thompson remained undefeated with his runs coming off 128 balls, which included three sixes and ten fours.

Horspath's reply got off to a highly inauspicious start as they slumped to 67-5 with Reading's former Horspath paceman, Ian Slatcher, and Aston Rowant's Wes Morrick taking two wickets apiece, before Banbury's Richard Simpson also got in on the act. However, Will Eason and Manger then set about repairing the damage.

Horspath's captain brought up his fifty with a square drive for two, before going on to bring up the 100 partnership with a neat cut for four through backward point. Manger proved the ideal foil and he reached a well-deserved half-century with a four down to fine leg. The pair marched on relentlessly and Eason completed an excellent century with a flashing drive to the cover boundary, before the close came in fading light.

Eason, whose runs came off 120 balls with 22 fours, and Manger, who hit 11 boundaries in his 103-ball knock, had shared a magnificent unbroken stand of 194 for the sixth wicket. It meant that there had 555 runs on the day, which certainly kept scorers Tommy Pritchard and Mick Warren busy. It truly had been a run feast.

Posted by: Russ

Tuesday, 18 September 2018

Horspath heroes lift Oxfordshire Cup in thriller

Horspath celebrate winning the Bernard Tollett Oxfordshire Cup
HORSPATH staged a brilliant run chase to lift the Bernard Tollett Oxfordshire Cup with a thrilling four-wicket victory after Oxford Downs's George Sandbach played one of the greatest innings in the final's 47-year history.

The destructive left-hander hammered a sensational unbeaten 129 off 69 balls to take Downs to a formidable 193-3 in a gripping game at the Chadlington Brewery-sponsored Oxfordshire T20 finals day at Wormsley, near Stokenchurch. But Horspath, inspired by an explosive half-century from opener Tom Cosford, dug deep on a superb batting pitch to secure victory at 196-6 with four balls to spare in front of a crowd of around 500.

Will Eason saw his side make a terrific start after he won the toss and elected to field, with left-arm seamer Liam Manley bowling Andrew Lake without scoring with the third ball of the match to leave Downs 0-1. However, that only served to bring Sandbach to the wicket, and after almost being run out early in his innings by Stephen Green he proceeded to flay the Horspath attack to all parts of the picturesque Sir Paul Getty's Ground.

He breezed past fifty as he dominated a second-wicket stand of 120 with Will Watts, who made 30 before being bowled by the first ball of the 15th over as Cosford returned for his second spell. Sandbach had powered on to 99 when Green produced a brilliant run out to remove Amin Rafiq for ten, racing in from the mid-wicket boundary before whipping the ball in from around 40 yards for a direct hit at the non-striker's end to leave Downs 150-3.

A single saw Sandbach complete a spectacular century, and he kept up the onslaught to the end of the innings with his stunning knock including five mighty sixes, including two with extravagant reverse sweeps, and 13 fours. Cosford's figures of 1-23 from his four overs were all the more admirable in the context of the game, while Manley picked up 1-26 from his three overs.

Downs had posted a formidable total, but Horspath were undaunted and Cosford got their reply off to a blistering start. With some powerful straight hitting, he put on 52 for the first wicket with Tom Coleman in just four overs, before the latter was lbw to Harry Sutton for eight.

Darryl Brown maintained the tempo, though, with Cosford before Horspath were rocked when Sandbach took two wickets in the space of as many balls in the seventh over. Cosford had made 52 from just 18 deliveries with five sixes and four boundaries when he was caught at point by Watts, and Will Hawtin then fell to a catch by Sutton on the mid-wicket boundary.

However, Shahbaz Ali steadied the ship with Brown, taking the score to 114 before the South African all-rounder was bowled by Watts for 37 from 25 balls. Horspath suffered a further setback in the following over with Green caught at long off by James Ellwood for seven to make it 121-5.

Eason and Ali moved the score on to 164 when the latter was bowled by Sutton for a run-a-ball 29, leaving Horspath requiring 26 to win off the last three overs. That brought Jamil Faruq to the crease and, with 20 needed off the final two overs, four singles were garnered before he hit Rafiq for a massive six over mid-wicket.

The umpires then stepped in to inform Downs they had gone over the allotted time for bowling their 20 overs, and awarded Horspath six penalty runs, leaving four required for victory off the final over. Singles came from the first two balls bowled by Brad Airey, before Eason fittingly hit the winning boundary over square leg to spark wild Horspath celebrations. The captain was unbeaten on 29 from 19 balls, while Faruq's 16 not out came off just eight deliveries.

Sandbach, who added to his stunning century with figures of 2-30, was named as man of the match, while Sutton picked up 2-43 and Watts took 1-19 from four economical overs.

Eason, who was presented with the cup by Yorkshire's former Oxfordshire paceman Jack Brooks, said: "It was a fantastic game of cricket and George's innings would have been well worthy of winning the final. I was pretty proud of our lads just in terms of the way we didn't give up. It would have been easy to do so chasing a total like that, but we kept up with the run rate the whole time."

It was the third time Horspath have been crowned the county's T20 kings with their previous successes coming in 2013 and 2014. Eason added: "I think with the way the competition is now structured we play seven midweek games and to win it on the back of that is a big thing for us because we have put a lot of hard work in through the summer. It's a reward for the performances we have put in over the previous weeks."

Posted by: Russ