It was a day for heartaches and hangovers. The former being the home ground of that notable cricketing outfit captained by Sir Tim Rice and our venue of play, Aston Rowant CC. The latter, what a few of the Scotties brought with them to the ground. Young Master K. Pack mumbled something unhappily about reliving his (quite recent) University days and pints of wine, whilst Reilly (J) arrived with what could only be described an elephantine hangover, kindly donated by that cruellest of mistresses – red wine. The skipper meanwhile, determined to break free from the chains of his reputation for lateness, arrived early once again (three in a row!!), with 46% of the team, about one tree’s worth of willow, several mattresses of pads, and a child’s bike in the boot. However, the Butlers being similar in style and temperament to the Scotties, the curtain was not lifted on any sporting endeavours until around 1400 anyway. The toss proved not to be ours on the day, and we were sent in to field.
First up – Messrs Pack and Thickett to opening the Scotties attack. Kyle managed to beat the bat early and out went their number two with scoreboard reading 20-1. Ant laboured hard in the sun but his efforts were to go unrewarded, harsh returns for a fine effort that regularly asked questions of the batsmen. Luckily, Justin and Brett had definitely had their Biltong and Boerwors that morning, and were hungry for wickets. Justin turned the screw and ended up with three wickets early on as unsettled from the other end, and soon the scoreboard was more tragedy than farce, at 90-6. However, like every good play, a hero arrived. Messrs Jones and Bullen, we salute you. What can only be described as Oxfordshire’s version of the Battle of Thermopylae followed as they bravely withstood everything the Scotties had to throw (or maybe bowl) at them, and by the end of the Butler XI innings the scoreboard read 214-6. The game was on.
Tea was delicious, a fabulous assorted collection of carbs made all the sweeter (or more savoury?) by the fact that the fielding bit was done, and cold refreshments could be enjoyed in the sunshine. Perhaps one more than planned in the author’s case, but no-one would begrudge him the indulgence – the services of his bat were not to be required. Brett decided that some runs was the order of the day and headed to a controlled 43 as a few unlucky wickets were going down at the other end, but no-one (least of all himself) was ready for the virtuoso performance of Watson, D(avid). In keeping with the arts theme of the day, the newly formed Captain Scott Invitation XI cheerleading outfit “C**ty and The Hat-Tricks” struck up with their favourite one-word song “shoooooooot!”. Davey drove, pulled, smote, struck and lofted his way to a wonderful 77* as the brothers Reilly each contributed at the other end with a quick and tidy 24 (Reilly, S) and 22 not-out (Reilly, J). Davey, that would have been a century if you had needed it. The victory was sweet, and the Butlers XI as ever an excellent group of opponents and long-standing friends. We look forwards to seeing you next year chaps!