Wednesday, 18 September 2019

Generosity abounds at successful Feast day

Horspath and the President's XI with members and guests. Pictures: Rob Judges
GENEROSITY, it seemed, knew no bounds at the annual Horspath Feast match.

From the customary warm welcome to the traditionally magnificent lunch and, as it would transpire, the President XI's declaration, it was a day when magnaminity was in no short supply. The only thing missing amidst a run of sparkling September days was sunshine, with grey skies prevailing for proceedings. 

However, the President XI batsmen were quick to light up the morning with some scintillating strokeplay after being put in to bat by Horspath skipper Will Eason. Horspath old boy Ben Thompson, who hit a brilliant unbeaten century in the fixture last year, looked in the mood to repeat the feat as he moved serenely on to 17 before Liam Manley got one through his defences to make it 30-1.

President's XI captain Neil Megson and Horspath skipper Will Eason
flank umpires Mark Acock and Bob Chamberlain at the toss

Oxford Downs's Darryl Woods was next to go, having made 16 when his stumps were disturbed by an Ed Oakley delivery to leave the President's XI 40-2. Will Briggs and Dave Eaton took the score on to 71 before off-spinner Alfie Turner, making his Feast debut aged 15, bowled the latter, but that only served to bring Stokenchurch captain Chris North to the crease.

Fully embracing the social spirit of the Feast, he was soon peppering the boundaries with a superb display of clean hitting. He raced to fifty off just 34 balls, bringing up his half-century with a straight six, as lunch arrived with the President's XI 164-4.

Members, guests and sponsors then enjoyed an excellent spread of food prepared by the club's chef Hayden Moon and his team operating out of their Michelin star restaurant 'Le Moonoir!' Amusing speeches followed by Max Eason, on behalf of the club, and Banbury stalwart Neil Megson, captaining the opposition for Horspath president Denis Walker.

Light rain saw play prorogued (apologies but I just had to get that word in before the end of the season!) as lunch extended to more than two hours before umpires Mark Acock and Bob Chamberlain gave the go-ahead for the resumption. Briggs had made 46 from 55 balls with nine fours when he was bowled by off-spinner Harrison Ward making a welcome reappearance at his old club, having moved to Sussex to continue his career.

President Denis Walker with members, guests and sponsors
North moved on to 70 off 53 deliveries, which contained seven fours and six sixes, when his highly entertaining knock ended when left-arm spinner Robin Pykett enticed him to hole out to Robbie Eason at long off.

Dave Ward won the family bragging rights by successfully negotiating his son's bowling before retiring for 13, which left Wes Morrick to slam an unbeaten 21 from 14 balls enabling the declaration to come on 204-5 with Horspath having used ten bowlers.

It gave the hosts what would turn out to be a minimum of 31 overs to get the runs, and the President's XI could hardly have reckoned on Horspath's batting firing in such spectacular fashion after the frailties they had shown during the Home Counties Premier League season.

Openers Dominic O'Connor and Tom Coleman unleashed a barrage of boundaries as Horspath got off to a flying start. Megson turned to his England Over 50s teammate Shaun Miller in a bid to stop the run spree, and the Shipton-under-Wychwood left-arm spinner made the breakthrough with the score on 82 by bowling O'Connor in the ninth over for a splendid 46 from 33 balls, which contained 11 fours highlighted by some cracking off drives.

Horspath's ladies are all smiles during the Feast match
Coleman maintained the onslaught with some powerful hitting going to his half-century, which included eight fours and three sixes, before retiring on 52 off 29 deliveries with the score on 113. However, there was no let-up for the President's XI as Harrison Ward and Kyle Hopper continued to keep scorer Mick Warren busy.

Ward made a run-a-ball 20 before being bowled by Miller. Hopper stormed on, though, in imperious fashion. The Zimbabwean all-rounder had made 50 from 39 deliveries with six fours and a six when he retired with the total on 195.

It was then left to Robbie Eason (26no) and Turner to see Horspath home to victory at 207-2 off just 26.1 overs - and bring the curtain down on the season before the festivities continued long into the night.

Posted by: Russ

Tuesday, 10 September 2019

Horspath Feast - Monday 16th Sept

All Club members and guests are invited to attend the Annual Horspath Feast which is being held on Monday 16th September. The match between the Club XI and the President's XI will start at 11.30 with lunch being taken at 1pm. Anybody wanting to attend the lunch should add their name to the list in the Clubroom.

Posted by: Graham Plested

Sunday, 8 September 2019

Horspath spin king Belcher crowned top bowler

Lloyd Belcher claimed 41 victims.
HORSPATH'S king of spin Lloyd Belcher was crowned Home Counties Premier League Division 1's leading wicket-taker with 41 victims after taking 2-61 during the 85-run defeat at Aston Rowant.

Belcher, who broke his own club record last week by taking his tally to 39, led by two from Tom Nugent going into the final round of matches. With Horspath's left-arm spinner bowling Tom Condon in his first five-over spell while the Henley paceman completed his ten overs with 3-34 as the champions bowled out Datchet for 149 the pair were tied on 40.

But Belcher returned to Horspath's attack to bowl Chris Watling for 49 and secure top spot - an achievement that is even more impressive considering Horspath were relegated with two games to play. 

Watling's knock helped fire Rowant to 249-8 after they had elected to bat with opener Andrew Tolson hitting 73. Will Robertson made the breakthrough when George Reid edged behind to Will Hawtin for nine with 19 on the board, before Belcher struck for the first time by removing Condon for 12 to make it 43-2. 

There was no keeping Belcher out of the action and his catch off leg-spinner Kyle Hopper spelt the end of Rowant captain Josh Smith after he had made 25 and put on 55 with Tolson for the third wicket. The Rowant opener completed his half-century before Hopper enjoyed more success with former Horspath player James Fitzjohn being caught by Tom Cosford to leave the hosts on 126-4.

Robertson came back to end Tolson's fine knock, which came off 106 balls and contained 11 fours, with Cosford again taking the catch to make it 155-5. Watling and Hayden Rossouw added 58 for the sixth wicket before Belcher claimed his all-important 41st victim of the season when the former was bowled around his legs.

Cosford then took two wickets in two balls by bowling both Rossouw, who had made 21, and Adam Muttitt to make it 219-8. However, Leo Bethell ensured the innings finished with a flourish by smashing an unbeaten 29 off 17 balls with two fours and two sixes in an unbroken ninth-wicket stand of 30 with Gordon Harris as Rowant posted a challenging total.

Hopper finished with 2-39, while Cosford picked up 2-42 and Robertson 2-53 to join Belcher as the wicket-takers. Horspath's record-breaking left-arm spinner's wickets this season have come at an average of 22.32 off a massive 257.5 overs, which have included four five-wicket hauls and season's best figures of 6-47 at home to Tring Park.

The visitors' hopes of chasing down the runs suffered an early setback when Dominic O'Connor was caught behind by Rossouw off Gordon Harris for six with 14 on the scoreboard. Fellow opener Tom Coleman then went for 13 to the same combination to leave Horspath 27-2.

Cosford continued his consistent run of form with some fluent strokeplay in taking the chief role in a third-wicket stand of 54 with Hopper. The big-hitting all-rounder made 45 from 31 balls with six fours and a six to cement his position as the club's leading scorer this term with 461 runs when he was caught by Reid off Fitzjohn, who then trapped Robbie Eason lbw without scoring to make it 81-4.

Six runs later, Stephen Green was caught by Smith as Fitzjohn claimed a third victim. Hopper and Hawtin moved the score on to 126 before the latter was caught and bowled for 21 by Dom Whatman, who repeated the feat with his next delivery to remove Mark Skelton for nought. Just three more runs had been added when Robertson fell to a catch by Watling off Fitzjohn to leave Horspath 129-8.

Skipper Will Eason, who subsequently announced he is stepping down after six years at the helm, made 11 before he was lbw to Reid with the score on 162. And Hopper was the last man out for a watchful 45 when he was caught by Tolson off Harris as Horspath succumbed for 164. Fitzjohn finished with 4-32, while Harris picked up 3-24, Whatman 2-43 and Reid 1-4.

The bonus points Horspath collected from the defeat saw them move above Slough at the bottom of the table to end the season in ninth place.

Posted by: Russ

Horspath 2nd sign off with victory to stay up

HORSPATH 2nd ensured they stayed up in Cherwell League Division 2 with a 12-run victory at home to Wolverton Town.

Knowing they had to win to guarantee safety, the hosts were held to 180-6 after being put in to bat with opener Jamie Stead making a patient 41. He was supported by Alfie Turner (26) and Mohson Rana (24), before Dan Jones gave the innings a late boost with an unbeaten 19 off 14 balls.

Andy Cummings reduced Wolverton to 35-2 as he returned impressive figures of 2-22 from his ten overs, but the visitors recovered and were well placed at 124-3. However, Turner then dismissed opener Chris King for 54 and Horspath turned the screw.

The last seven wickets went down for 44 runs with Turner producing another fine spell to finish with 3-27. He was well backed up by Shahbaz Ali (1-36) and Liam Manley (1-43), while there was a first league wicket for Stead, who took 1-7 from two overs. The win sees Horspath end the season in eighth place.

Horspath 3rd finished seventh in Division 4 following an eight-wicket defeat at Bletchley Town.

The visitors were shot out for 105 in just 24 overs after being put in to bat, before Bletchley cruised to 108-2 off 18 overs.

Horspath 4th were relegated from Division 7 following a 34-run defeat at home to third-placed Minster Lovell 2nd.

The home side, who started the day above the drop zone in eighth place, restricted Minster to 190-6 after the visitors elected to bat with the wickets being claimed by Hayden Moon (3-39) and Elliot Ward (1-56) plus two run outs. Chris Batten, whose ten overs came at a cost of just 22 runs, also bowled well as Wes Spearman (52), Jacob Mayers (44) and Lee Keyes (41) kept the scoreboard ticking over.

Horspath were then bowled out for 156 despite John Perkins making 52 and Moon chipping in with 31. Jake Spearman (3-11), Bill Bowman (3-25) and Joshua Swadling (3-26) shared the wickets.

Horspath dropped to ninth place with Didcot 3rd, who had started the day in that position, beating Charlbury 2nd by one wicket to leapfrog above them.

Posted by: Russ

Sunday, 1 September 2019

Bowling star Belcher beats own Horspath record

Lloyd Belcher took his wicket tally to 39.
LLOYD Belcher broke his own Horspath record for most wickets in a season during the five-wicket home defeat by champions Henley in Home Counties Premier League Division 1.

The left-arm spinner returned figures of 3-51 to take his tally for the campaign to 39 - beating his previous best of 38 when Horspath were Division 2 champions in 2016. It also saw the 20-year-old regain pole position in the battle to be the top flight's leading wicket-taker after Henley paceman Tom Nugent had picked up 5-28 to move on to 37 as relegated Horspath were bowled out for 217 after electing to bat. 

Horspath's top order have struggled for runs this season, but Dominic O'Connor and Robbie Eason combined to produce the side's best opening partnership of the campaign. Eason brought up Horspath's fifty in style by hitting a delivery from Euan Woods down to the nets for six, and the hosts had reached 64 - doubling the side's previous best opening stand this term of 32 at Slough in May - when O'Connor was lbw for 34 attempting to sweep the Henley off-spinner.

Tom Cosford joined Eason and was quickly into his stride. The hundred came up with Eason again striking cleanly down to the nets for six off left-arm spinner Euan Brock. Cosford had cracked 37 off just 27 balls with three fours and three sixes before he was caught at extra cover by Nugent off Harry Jordan to make it 116-2.

Tom Coleman had made 11 when he was bowled around his legs by left-arm spinner Ali Akbar Raja, leaving Horspath 133-3. Eason was closing in on back-to-back half-centuries following his 67 against Datchet last week when he fell lbw to Woods for 48 from 95 balls, which contained five fours and two sixes, to make it 153-4.

Stephen Green and Will Hawtin then put on 49 for the fifth wicket, before Nugent returned to blow away the rest of the order. He bowled Green for 28 and one run later Hawtin suffered the same fate for 19. Jamil Faruq had made just one when Nugent shattered his stumps to leave Horspath 205-7, and without addition to the score Belcher was also bowled by his rival for the division's leading-wicket honours.

The collapse continued with skipper Will Eason another clean bowled victim, this time by Matt Rowe. Alfie Turner hit two boundaries off Nugent in the final over before the Henley fast bowler exacted his revenge by completing his five-wicket haul when the youngster was caught by Woods for nine off the last ball of the innings. It meant Horspath's last six wickets had gone down for just 15 runs, with Nugent backed up by Rowe (2-33), Woods (1-18), Jordan (1-20) and Raja (1-32).

Henley's run chase was delayed by a shower between innings, but once they got under way left-arm seamer Liam Manley struck an early blow when skipper Michael Roberts, in trying to cut, edged behind to Hawtin for one with just two on the board. Manley then hit the deck after deflecting a full-blooded drive from Rowe on to his head, but thankfully, he soon recovered and was able to continue bowling.

Rowe and England Under 19s wicket-keeper/batsman Jack Davies put on 61 for the second wicket, before Belcher bowled the former for 30 to move within one wicket of his own club record. However, Davies and Richard Morris kept him waiting for further success as they shared a stand of 83 for the third wicket.

Davies, who is on Middlesex's books, had just gone to his half-century with a single into the legside off Will Eason when Belcher equalled his own record as Morris drove at a well-flighted delivery and was caught behind for 44 from 32 balls, which included four fours and three sixes. Henley had added just four more runs when Davies was bowled for 56 by a cracking delivery from Turner, which turned away from the left-hander, whose runs came off 73 balls and contained nine fours.

Belcher was bowling superbly and Horspath's spin king beat his own club record when Andy Rishton chopped on to his stumps for 13 to make it 184-5. However, Woods had been untroubled and he saw the visitors to victory with an unbeaten 48 off 50 balls, which contained six fours and a six, as Henley coasted to 219-5 with 12.5 overs to spare.

Record-breaking bowler Belcher was again the pick of the Horspath attack with his achievement even more meritorious considering the side's struggles this season, while Manley picked up 1-24 and 15-year-old Turner showed promise with 1-48 from his seven overs.

Horspath complete the season with a trip to Aston Rowant next Saturday.

Posted by: Russ