Historic 5th XI game

FIRST EVER 5th XI League Fixture - Dartford 5th XI vs OCC 5th XI

6th May 2017

First of all I would like to say this fixture would not have taken place without the commitment and support of the committee and its members, and the momentous effort in fund raising making a third home pitch possible, and ultimately allowing OCC to enter a 5th XI into League fixtures for their first ever season.

Having volunteered for the role of captain in a sheer moment of weakness and not being able to make the first team selection it was left in the capable hands of Adam Page to find me a bunch of misfits willing to lay everything on the line for OCC. With the additional help of Haydon Alcock (a huge thanks) and 80 phone calls later, 4 of us set of for Oakfield Park with 6 more going direct, there were no miscounts we were going undaunted with 10.

When we arrived I was pleasantly surprised to find a lovely pavilion and decent wicket, with a start time of 1:30pm I was introduced to the Dartford captain and offered to view the wicket and toss of the coin. I must point out at this time our numbers had swelled to 6 so when winning the toss (tails if anyone interested) I nervously chose to field with their captain generously agreeing to delay the start until a few more of us arrived. After another 10 minutes and 3 more players joining us we walked out to the middle to begin our campaign.


The first over was bowled by a very nervous Sanjay, and let it be recorded the first ball was a dot, great start and after the completion of the first over Dartford were 3-0. Now it was decision time, should the captain come on or should he pass the cherry over to a proper bowler. After the head ruling the heart (deciding to bowl the first over on the new 3rd pitch), Alan Anil was given the honour which turned out to be a masterstroke and with his final ball of the over he cleaned bowled their opener hardly cartwheeling the stump but a good effort never the less. Both openers maintained their discipline and Dartford struggled to push the score along with very few boundaries and plenty of dot balls. After a couple more wickets Dartford started to rally and a middle stand of 70 cemented their position and meant they gained some momentum, our bowlers continued to bowl well with senior debuts for juniors Devaj Keerthi and Aditya Palaniappan both bowling 5 overs spells at only 4 an over. Other notable bowling spells from old timer Rob Manik 7 overs 0-26 and Jay Gunar 7 overs 2-29, meant that Dartford could not score too many, we managed to get the final wicket with a run out which I can only explain as comical. The number 11, a young lad charged the ball and missed, Rob Graham wicket keeping threw the ball and hit the stumps – NOT OUT, the number 11 then called yes to run and it was a simple case of ball in hand and pull a stump out of the ground. The only other notable point was a fine run out by yours truly swooping on to a ball and with cat like reflexes and throwing the ball at the stumps for ‘Bob’ to remove the bails, high fives all round. DARTFORD – 154 all out.

I must say we had an excellent tea (almost Jim and Trudy-esque). This gave me some time to pontificate over the batting line up, taking into account senior players who can umpire and asking youngsters who can score (not something higher teams have to consider) as well having to ask where they bat for their school or OCC colts teams. In the changing room Rob Manik batting 4 was having some kit issues, now I don’t know if it’s just me but if I was playing my first game I would double check that I have all my kit. Not Rob, he was missing his helmet, his box, his gloves and why? He was blaming his kids, apparently he had a new bag and asked his 2 youngest boys to transfer his kit from his old bag to his new bag, if we did not already have a major contender for Plankton of the year award already in the bag then this would be my nomination.

I opened the batting and was going to face the first ball; if I couldn’t open the bowling I was definitely doing this. After a solid block a few balls later we scampered through for a single avoiding being the first duck to be recorded in 5th XI league annuals, this honour goes to Jay Gunar but don’t worry Jay it had to be someone. We lost a couple of quick wickets and 7-2 it could have been better, having begged borrowed and lets generously say acquired (where did you get that box?) Rob Manik joined the party.  If we were going to get close to 150 this partnership had to succeed, we started nicely and got the scoreboard ticking at 3 an over but the script writers were not going to have their fairy tale ending when I holed out to deep square leg. As I left the scene and Rob Manik moaning about how rubbish his bat was (he had lent his brother his other bat, which incidentally Rich did not use) I had to hastily take my pads off and umpire, no rest for the wicked. Another couple of quick wickets and the other senior pro Rob Graham partnered Rob Manik, another crucial pair that just had to succeed. Any way with RG back in the hutch (4 runs) and RM (27 runs) it was left to Sanjay and Aditya to restore some pride, and they did. Both batted very well accumulating another 40 runs leaving us on 119-7 after 40 overs, a very respectable score and with maximum bowling points and 6 batting points getting 11 points and being on the losing side was a great effort.

Just one more story to tell on this historic day and back to Rob Manik in the changing room. As Rob and I were discussing the game in a virtually empty dressing room he proceeded to sit on my batting helmet and crack, broke the visor.

I would just like to thank everyone involved in making this historic day possible including Dartford who made us feel very welcome and played the game in the right spirit with the emphasis which in my opinion at this level is introducing and developing the colts and junior players to senior cricket.

Stephen Moffat - Captain OCC 5th XI