Oakamoor – AWAY – 13th July 2014



There can be no more dramatic, yet tranquil setting, than the steep, dense wooded escarpments surrounding the Oakamoor sports ground on the banks of the Churnet. Add sunshine, picnics, children playing games and an ice cream man and the scene is set for the quintessential villagecricket match. Indeed, that is what took place on Sunday, apart that is, from 31 explosions of power, which threatened the very fabric of this historic sports and social club. They also equated to 92 runs and decided the match. Click here to read more

The joy of fixtures like Oakamoor is for the wise old Gargoyles to pit their wits against the latest crop of emerging talent from the Oakamoor youth development teams and they obliged with a side drawn mainly from the ranks of their successful U17 and U15 teams, held togetherby three wily old pros. Not to be outdone, and in keeping with their non-ageist ethos, the Gargoyles gave debuts to their youngest ever player in Will Stupples-Newton, alongside Alan Jones, their oldest ever debutant.

Oakamoor batted first and the Smith brothers, moved the score along at 6 an over, until at 36, Tony Guest induced a leading edge and Oakamoor captain Smith was caught by Alstonefield captain Smith for 19. In the next over Andy Bray produced a peach to bowl the younger Smith and Guest followed up with a caught and bowled in his next over. 44 for 3 and honours about even. 6 overs later it was 108 for 5, after a whirlwind 50 from Fallows in 18 deliveries. To their credit, the Gargoyles’ bowlers, lacking the fiery pace of Chris Wilkins and Ben King for this match, all stuck to their line and length and had their reward with wickets, as they whittled away at Fallows’partners, but he just couldn’t stop his airborne assault. Tony Guest took 4 for 58, Richard Allen bowled a superb spell of arcing flight, with only 15 runs coming from his 5 overs, Ian McKay had figures of 3 for 15 off his 7 overs and Will Stupples-Newton showed tremendous poise and no little skill, in taking 1 for 24 in his first match. But the final word was with Fallows, as he bludgeoned his way towards his century, until at 92 off 31 helpless balls, he was run out attempting a rare single.

Oakamoor 192 all out and a target of 5.5 runs an over.

The early signs were encouraging, as opener Harry Jones was making batting look simple, in spite of the early loss of his opening partner,Andy Bray. He and Ian McKay seemed to have the measure of the lively Oakamoor attack, with shots all round the ground and the runs coming nicely. They had put on 67 runs and taken the score into the 90s, when McKay was given a brutal reminder of just how hard a cricket ball can be and was forced to seek the ice bucket on 33 not out.  Although Jones went on to notch up another unbeaten 50, with solid support from Alan Hayes, whose 17 not out was a career best, the runs were just not coming fast enough now and the asking rate was beyond hope. But on a beautiful summer evening, in such a glorious setting,  Gargoyles carry on enjoying their cricket regardless. Alan Jones stylishly played his way into form for his next match and Tony Guest gave a last over cameo of boundaries in his 11 not out, making sure all 35 overs were used.141 for 3 was no disgrace.

In-form Harry Jones on his way to another unbeaten 50