Away v Great Oakley – won by 138 runs

Sunday – Storm dodgers!

It was bank holiday weekend in late May, which only meant one thing – lots of Graces cricket and a double day Northants bonanza, hosted by our good friends from Great Oakley, who invited us for a first Graces visit to Corby.
The Sunday XI saw a makeshift ‘Barbarians’ style Graces team, featuring six Gracesdebuatants and six under 18s, surely the youngest Graces XI ever!?!

Skippered by Matt, at his local club, Graces batted first, hoping to avoid the almost inevitable thunderstorms that had been predicted all week with weather warnings! Matt and Henry opened the batting and the youngsters of Great Oakley showed some inexperience as a flurry of extras soon got the scoreboard ticking over. However, a couple of loose shots saw the two key wickets of the openers cheaply. Tim and Chris (from Barton Seagrave) steadied things with a solid partnership and some quick fire boundaries before Chris would see his ‘Zing’ stumps glow red missing a straight one from young leftie Abrahams for 18 from 15 balls.

Michael, who made his previous appearance in 2019 vs Barton Seagrave, and his son Cory both looked solid in defence, although some tight bowling saw it difficult to get runs as the black clouds gathered ominously. Although Tim, finding that wearing his glasses on the pitch actually allowed him to see the ball when batting, kept the runs ticking over. The wickets would then fell rather quickly as 91/3 suddenly became 121/8, with Great Oakley’s Under 17 Tedore taking three in very quick succession. This left 12 year old Annabelle, a very popular Barton Seagrave opponent in recent years, and local 11 year old Arryn, playing his first ever adult game at only an hour’s notice, at the crease with still 16 overs remaining.

Graces should not have been worried, as despite their younger years, they would bat with immense maturity, showing solid defence and good ability to work the ones and two as the tail would wag. Annabelle would eventually depart after 27 excellent deliveries faced, the third most, leaving Dan to join Arryn to see the remaining few overs. Arryn continued to iimpress all on the ground with a fantastic display of resilience and both he and Dan ran well
and block securely to see the innings out at 169/9. Tim top scoring with 38, Chris next with 18 and then Arryn with an unbeaten 17 from 55 balls, more faced than any other player in the game!

Having seen two more lightning-infused storm clouds pass either side of the ground, Graces began their innings knowing that there were two or three key wickets to take to have a chance. Great Oakley were led into bat by Logue and Damon Page, another Graces player! Graces’ youngsters would against show their potential with county-selected Annabelle making an earlier breakthrough of Logue and district-selected Hayden getting the important wicket of Damon, despite having been also previously been given out caught behind but brought back in upon reflection of hitting the pad. When Heath Jr became another wicket for Hayden, Graces realised they were in with a sniff. Dan would be introduced to replace Annabelle and he would then get the crucial wicket of the county senior player Pegg.

Hayden would add a third to his tally before Dan grabbed a second, leaving Great Oakley 22/6. Graces introduced a second of Matt’s district side with young leggie Cory finding good dip in his action to further trouble the lower order. Another young leggie in Joe would have the other end and between them the final four would be mopped up rather quickly. Henry taking two smart stumpings and Dan a catch to give Cory three wickets with Annabelle grabbing a catch from Joe to finish the Great Oakley innings for just 31 in 15.1 overs.

Another 15 overs would be bowled after to give all the players an opportunity to turn their arm over, with another 8 wickets falling again. 30 overs, 18 wickets, four thunderstorm clouds dodged and a Graces win!