OGCC 2nd XI V Newton (Home, Saturday 1st May 2021) by Andy King
With his newly acquired skill of winning the toss, Daz had no hesitation in batting first at home to Newton at the weekend, the team who trailed in OG's wake in the mini 2020 season, being runners up in both the league and Cup.
This fact may have provided extra motivation for the visitors to achieve a positive result and so it transpired with a 4 wicket win dominated by a brutal ton from Cragg to leave OG with a "won one, lost one" record after the first two games of the season.
The week leading up to the game had been dry and the track was certainly leaning towards being one for the batsmen rather than the bowlers so it was with confidence that the OG openers, Jonny and Jehrome, strode out to the middle with their team mates' best wishes and pearls of advice ringing in their ears.
Both started cautiously against the Newton attack of Ashworth and Goodhall, the former extracting admirable pace and bounce from the OG track, and causing some early problems for J and J.
Jehrome, fresh from his opening day 50 last week, soon got into his stride and rhythm with some cuts for four but soon after Jonny was trapped LBW to the pacy Ashworth, OG 15 for 1.
AK joined Jehrome and the pair consolidated and then started to build a partnership mixed with sensible running and boundaries to take the home team to 50 for 1.
Jehrome, full of confidence at this early season stage, played all around the wicket whilst AK drove anything over pitched to move into the 20s and the partnership built nicely as the sun shone down.
The OG crowd settling in with the anticipation of a first innings 200+ innings on the cards.
Jehrome's confidence was evident as he pulled out a classy reverse sweep/switch hit for four and, a few balls later, moved to 50 with OG now 80 for 1 and looking well set.
However, a change of bowling by the visitors was quickly followed by a wicket as Hyde trapped Jehrome in front to bring Andy Dwyer to the crease and soon after AK (29) became the 3rd LBW victim of the OG innings, bowled Pottage.
Still eyeing 200+, Andy Dwyer at 4 dominated a partnership with Rob Barrow, to take OG to 150, with his innings containing many of his trademark square cuts as he notched his first 50 of the season.
With overs running out and the run rate needing a boost, Rob (8) was caught at point and Mally was next in.
A glorious 6 from Mally, off his legs, raised the hopes of the 200+ total but it wasn't to be and, in the end, the innings wrapped up at 181 for 6 with Dwyer 59 not out.
This total felt 30/40 below par at "tea" given how the track was playing but the boys still fancied their chances given the abundance of bowling options available to Daz and an early wicket: bowled Allcock, caught Mally: provided the breakthrough being talked about in the team huddle.
With Allcock (2 for 28) then claiming another victim, caught acrobatically by King, and Daz getting in on the act, having Pottage caught behind, OG were buoyant and Newton 40ish for 3.
Cragg, batting at 5 for the visitors, started slowly and didn't really offer any glimpse of the innings which was to follow with a few nervous looking prods but, soon after, seemingly clicked into destruct mode, smashing all the OG bowlers out of the park much to the delight of his watching team mates.
Each boundary seemed to lift his confidence and he quickly turned the game around as he raced to his 50 and then onto a brutal 100 to put Newton in sight of victory.
With Daz exhausting all his bowling options, Rob Barrow was the only OG bowler with any real success on the day with 2 for 17.
For Cragg, a couple of chances were offered on the way to his ton (Daz misjudging a catch at mid off and AK making admirable ground to get under a huge skier only to see the ball frustratingly pop out of his grip) but he rode his (probably deserved) luck to end 116 not out and give his team the 4 wicket victory to leave OG shell shocked and nursing only 7 points as opposed to the 20 they were targeting at the start of the day.
OG will, however, get an immediate chance for revenge as we travel to Newton next Saturday to start the Hawke Trophy defence.
A disappointing loss but sometimes you just have to acknowledge a great innings and move on to the next game.
MOM for OG a close call between Jehrome and Andy D for their respective half centuries.
Jehrome looking good with two 50s in two games but, for his red inker, Andy takes the award this week.