Will Marsh and Stuart Crow opened the bowling and the Open University openers took to them, racing the score on to 65 in just nine overs. Five balls later, opener Umer was retired after reaching his fifty. Next over, Stuart had the new batsman Hilari bowled out for two with the score on 68. The Open University batsmen continued to press on with their scoring, adding nineteen runs until Stuart had Masood out lbw for five in the 14th over with the score on 87. Will and Stuart bowled their allocation of eight overs through and were replaced by Dileep Narayanasa and James Chantry respectively. Both were playing their first Sunday matches in 2017, and James made an instant impact by having opener Raja caught out by Russell Jones for 23 with his fourth delivery. Dileep took the next wicket in the 23rd over, having Ahmed caught by John Chilton for 20. Next over, James had Pandey caught out on 21 with his first ball, again by John who took an excellent low diving catch. He then had Hanif caught out by Russell for nought with his fifth ball - a double wicket maiden. In the 26th, James had Akhtar caught out by Ben Nightingale for one. 136-7. James's sixth over was a maiden and his seventh saw him take his fifth wicket, dismissing Imdad for one by taking a return catch. 145-8 after 29.1. OU's tenth and eleventh batsmen took to the bowling of Russell and John who replaced Dileep and James, moving the score on at just over seven an over for six overs, moving from 150 to 194 by the 36th over. At this point, Russell was replaced by Dileep to complete his bowling allocation. With his last delivery, Hanif, batting at eleven, completed his half century and retired with the OU total on 228. Umer returned to the crease and with Wahga took the OU to their final total of 236. James's debut bowling performance for Castlethorpe ended with figures of 8-2-26-5. A grand effort.
After tea, Castlethorpe set about their run chase under brooding cloud. John and Jack opened but were off the pitch at the end of the fifth over with the score on 25 as the heavens opened. The match resumed after a 35 minute rain delay. The break did nothing for Jack who called John through for a run that just was not there. He was, of course run out and left the field unable to work out what made him call for a run. Russell joined John but lasted just five balls as he was bowled in the seventh over for four. At the end of the eighth over, the drizzle turned to heavy rain and play was again suspended, this time for 32 minutes. As per the weather forecast, the skies cleared and the sun came out so the match resumed at 18:48 - absolutely no chance of an early finish - with Castlethorpe on 36-2. Ben and John added 21 to the score before Ben was caught out for 17 off the last ball of the thirteenth over. Aaron Day joined John but recorded his second golden duck of the weekend when he was caught out in the next over. Jamie King made his way to the middle and scored three before being caught out in the fifteenth over. He and John crossed before the catch was taken so Stuart Walding made his way to the non-striker's end. John was then caught out two deliveries later on 21.
Will and Basher put on a partnership of 20 before Will was caught for twelve, bringing James to the crease. He faced just two balls before having to watch as Basher was caught and bowled for ten. 84-8. The win was out of reach but frankly even a century was looking a long way off. Stuart Crow made his way to the middle and took a run off his third ball. In the next over, the 24th, Stuart took one off the third delivery and James took three from the fifth. After a wide, James took a single from the first legal delivery of the 25th returning strike to Stuart, who took a four then a two from the next two deliveries. From the last ball of the 26th over, Stuart took a single moving Castlethorpe's total to 100 (the first century score since the friendly at New Bradwell on May 14th) and retaining the strike. Stuart took four from the first delivery of the 27th over and then a single again from the last delivery, stealing the strike again! He scored two from the first delivery, one from the second and finally James was back on strike. It was not lucky for him though as the third delivery saw him bowled for six. Dileep made his way to the middle for the final Castlethorpe partnership of the weekend. The 29th over saw a change in the OU bowling and having struck a two and a four, Stuart was bowled out with the new bowler's fifth delivery. Castlethorpe were bowled out for 117 with Stuart Crow top scoring with 23.
It was a frustrating match, especially with the weather interruptions, with some memorable moments, particularly for James and Stuart, that ended just after 8pm in sunshine.
Match report by Sharron Jones