1st team show off new kit at new clubhouse (Saturday 27th April)
In gale force conditions, the 1st XI played their first pre-season friendly, against Potters Bar CC at Church Meadow. Batting first, Potters Bar got off to a brisk start until Gale was dismissed to a good catch by Hassam Mushtaq in the deep off Mike Higgs. The Thame bowlers performed well given the extremely windy conditions, but the visitors put on 100 for the second wicket with J. Scott hitting 44 and P. Scott 55. Wickets then fell at regular intervals with new all-rounder Devane Warner taking 2-48, Higgs 2-43, Andy Russell 2-41 and Mushtaq 2-36. Captain Mike Beard took 1-18 off 7, with his new off-spin style. Potters Bar eventually scored 219-9 off their 40 overs.
When Thame batted the conditions had eased but it was still bitterly cold and spectators and scorers viewed the game from the comfort of the new pavilion. After a solid start, none of the Thame batsmen managed to push on, and the home side were eventually all out for 158. New opener Oliver Burland scored 42, Mike Beard 26 and a last wicket partnership of 35 saw Andy Russell hit 17 and Chris Jeffcock 15 not out. Thame lost by 61 runs in this pre-season friendly which nevertheless provided good practice despite the trying conditions.
The 1s travelled to Didcot the following week for another friendly.
2s win in the cold at Haddenham (Saturday 27th April)
The 2nd XI travelled to face local rivals, Haddenham.
Haddenham found it hard going as classy stroke play from James Neilson and Matt Furness kept the scoreboard rapidly rotating, both reaching 50 and retiring. Harry Thomas was caught out short of 50 off a top edge having opened well with Neilson. Adam Phippen and George Patey swung wildly at the end, leading Thame to 195.
After tea, Thame took to the field. They made it hard going, as Haddenham’s top order kept the run rate above the required level. After opening spells from Pete Tervet and Luke Hayes, the introduction of Ian McStay and Adam Phippen began to cause problems for the Haddenham team. McStay was unlucky as some loose fielding and wicketkeeping didn’t get him the reward his bowling deserved. Phippen found some rhythm and snaffled 2 wickets with good aggressive spin bowling. Captain Furness turned to Guy Holmes, who used the wind, clouds and conditions to perfection, snaffling a 5-for which lead Thame to victory.
3s and 4s combine for friendly victory (Sunday 28th April)
Sunday saw a combined Thame 3rd and 4th XIs travel to Westcott, in their first friendly of the season.
Winning the toss, Thame chose to put the hosts into bat. Disciplined and decisive bowling limited Westcott to 124-8 off their 45 overs. Notable bowling contributions from Jim Clark (3-2), Trevor Spindler (2-7) and Vimal Desai (3-33) gave Thame a good foothold in the game.
In reply, the Thame openers shared an opening partnership of 54, with Steve Shaw (26) and Tim Dabbs (20) getting the visitors off to a steady start. Taylor Vines then took the Thame XI home with an impressive 43* with 10 overs to spare and the loss of 6 wickets. A nice win for Thame in testing conditions.
Thame 3s and 4s then turned their attentions to each other when they faced off in the final pre-season game at Thame Meadows on Bank Holiday Monday.
1s defeated in cold at Didcot (Saturday 4th May)
The first team finished their preparations for the new season with an away friendly at Didcot. In another week of cricket in extreme cold conditions, Thame lost the toss and fielded first. Faisal Ali, making his debut for the club, bowled his full quota of overs with the new ball claiming 3 wickets for 30 runs. However. a decent partnership by Didcot’s 3rd and 4th batsmen led to them ending at 245 to chase.
Thame started solid, with Matt Furness providing some resistance at the top scoring 35, however Thame lost wickets at regular intervals. James Adams chipped in with 24 & Hassam scored 46, meaning Thame ended up at 194 all out chasing 235 in 47 overs after rain.
The 1st XI start the league campaign at home to Burnham next Saturday.
Women host Super 8s to start the season (Sunday 5th May)
Sunday brought teams from Oxford and Deddington to Church Meadow, for the first of the new HCWL 8-aside 16-over pairs tournaments. The new pavilion was a perfect setting not only for 3 teams plus officials and supporters, but also for the splendid tea laid on by the team and washed down with drinks from the new bar, to much admiration from the opposition.
Thame played Oxford first in a close game, losing only by 5 runs. Thame quickly got into an attacking stride with top runs from Sarah Sanderson (15) and Beth John (12). Fielding highlights were a double wicket over from Antonia Barnes, one bowled, one caught one-handed by Beth John behind the stumps. Other wickets came from Sarah Sanderson, Mel White and Bridget Cooper.
Against Deddington, Thame won by 17 runs, with a great 19 from Michelle Wells and 15 from Sarah. Thame’s steady bowling was rewarded with 3 wickets from Mel including a double wicket maiden over and a spectacular catch from Gill Kelleher. Further wickets came from Sarah (2) and Sally Brentnall (1). With only 6 fielders and a lot of ground to cover, Thame protected the boundaries well, leading to a deserved victory.
3rd XI v 4th XI – The Mashes (Monday 6th May)
As preparation for the new season, the 3rd and 4th XIs, supplemented by members of the Women’s team, faced off on the Bank Holiday Monday. This ‘Mashes’ clash, was the 2nd such event after the inaugural match last year, and is set to be a feature of the calendar for seasons to come!
The 3rd XI batted first, with opener Andy Jinman starting the season on fire with 108, supported in the main by Guy Holmes (39). Wickets were evenly spread amongst the 4th XI bowlers – Captain Ed Mather with 3, while Tony Barnes, Sean Bellenie and Mark Fellowes took 2 each. The 3s finished on 200.
In reply, the 4s failed to get going, slumping to 10-3 early, youngster Luke Hayes (5-18, his first 5fer) ripping through the top order. Joe Phippen top scored with 32, ably supported in a 50 partnership with Shay Reading (17), before a brief late entertaining partnership by Pete ‘Pistol’ Higson (14) and Beth John (11). The 4s never looked like reaching the target, ending 80 odd runs short.
Great preparation for both teams – the 3s travel to Challow & Childrey 3s and the 4s host Cumnor 3s this Saturday.