Following the OPs' victory in the 2022 Founders' Day cricket match, spirits were high as this years team took to the field to defend their title. Their opposition, seemingly undaunted by the array of cricketing talent they faced,posed for the obligatory team photo before retiring to discuss their batting order. With the requisite number of OPs guarding the boundary and umpire Keith Townson in place the College sent out their batsmen. What follows is the excellent match report provided by our esteemed umpire.
“Following the emotional highs of the Final March Past, the College and OPs came back to earth on Big Side for the Annual College v OPs Cricket match. It is one of life’s eternal mysteries how 11 OPs and a very aged (77years old) Umpire manage to come together in one place, sober, enthusiastic! clad in whites and ready for the fray against a keen and athletic College XI, but they did and the match went ahead on a typical English summer’s day, in the beautiful and bucolic setting of Royal Berkshire’s Pangbourne College. The College batted first and looked to be running away with the game as they set off at a rate of 16 runs per over. But inspired and canny bowling by the OP bowlers pinned the youngsters back – an example of experience versus youthful exuberance methinks – and despite some lusty blows from the College’s later batters, they were trimmed back to a score of 157 after their 20 overs. Technically speaking I suspect, a few of the College side were OPs as they had marched off earlier in the day to mark the end of their scholastic duties. But why let technicalities interfere with a good cricket match!
So the OPs needed to score at a modest 8 runs per over to win their second encounter in two years. Easy really on the face of it, and they got off to a bright start. But the College had some surprises up their sleeves, and one or two very good young bowlers who were able to tie down the “aged ones” amongst the OP side. But also, and to enter into the spirit of the occasion, the OP skipper retired a couple of batters after good knocks so as to give others a chance to show off apparently long-hidden skills. Well, that was the idea; but it didn’t exactly work that way as tight and accurate bowling coupled with some excellent catching by the College fielders stemmed the tide, and by the end of their allotted overs the OPs were 35 or so runs adrift.
The match was played in a delightful but earnest spirit, and the vast crowd who on a couple of occasions were the targets of towering sixes, got more vociferous as the sun warmed the afternoon and the alcohol flowed. A great and enjoyable afternoon all round. Well played both sides, and we look forward to 2024 for the rematch”.
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