MCC v Ovingham 13 June @ Riding Mill

Match Reporter: Trevor Wood

A rather belated match report but a rare convincing victory that shouldn’t go unreported.

Mallards faced Ovingham still rather shell-shocked by the horrible injury to Mexter in the previous home game but with a good recent record against the visitors confidence was high. With Ovingham short-handed and Mallards over-manned, home regulars Scutt and Wilson kindly volunteered to play for the opposition.

Wood won the toss and as usual chose to bat second and for once his decision was rewarded with some excellent early bowling from the home side.

The regular opening pair of Dunhill and Browne bowled very tightly right from the start, backed up by some surprisingly sharp fielding, an approach that was finally rewarded when Wood pouched a simple chance in the covers in the fourth over with Ovingham at 17-1.

Whilst there were no more early wickets both bowlers continued to prove difficult to get away with Dunhill in particularly tight form and after eight overs the visitors had strugged to a mere 27-1 with Dunhill ending his spell on a terrific 1-8 and Browne returning 0-15 from his four.

The returning Stone and the equally venerable Haylock took over and kept a real brake on the scoring and after 13 overs the visitors were still struggling to get the ball away on 42-1. Haylock finally got his due reward in the next over, Beacock sharply stumping the opener Wallbank for a slow 25. With the bowlers well on top the score continued to creep along slowly and after 16 overs only 67 runs had been conceded with Stone and Haylock finishing with the admirable figures of 0-15 and 1-11 from their four overs.

Scott and Wood took over to complete the innings and after an expensive over from Scott saw 13 runs added to the score Mallards injury jinx struck again in the next over when Wood dived to prevent a single and dislocated and fractured a finger. With one ball of his first over left and his bowling hand and two-pace run up unhindered he completed the over with a wicket, Dickinson taking a comfortable catch at mid-off. Scott finished his spell with 0-15 from his two and after his successful last ball Wood decided to bowl the final over and it proved an inspired decision. His fourth ball was scooped direct to Mussett at mid-off and his fifth similarly taken by Nitsch at mid-on leaving him to finish his spell with a hat-trick ball to the new batsman, fellow Mallard Wilson, who bizarrely chose to block the ball rather than present his usual captain with a rare bowling achievement perhaps knowing that Wood was unlikely to play again this season and would have to wait a while to play him at number 11 every week (though revenge is of course a dish best served cold Mr Wilson!).

Mallards reply was brief and remarkably efficient. A new opening partnership of Mussett and Nitsch set their stall out immediately with Mussett picking off the bowling at will and Nitsch ensuring he improved his average at the other end as the pair steadily climbed comfortably towards the target. After six overs they had reached 30-0 and after 10 a very comfortable 47-0. Mussett retired on a well-made 31 and the in-form Butcher came to the crease to help steer the team to victory, a target they achieved with great comfort, finishing on 76-0 in the 15th over to win by 10 wickets with Nitsch unbeaten on a chanceless 19 and Butcher not out 10.