Australian 050s second UK tour game vs Oxfordshire 050s at Oxford Downs CC Oxford on Monday 17 July 2017

Our day began at a leisurely 8 am with the sun shining and a visit to the famous Lido Pool Cheltenham which was built in 1935. At that time 135,000 folk attended the pool’s opening a few more than attended yesterday’s game.

The water was warm and sparkling and several female locals stopped their morning swim to comment on the fact why so many good looking 50s yr olds were there. This demonstrated conclusively that Mal Coleman didn’t have to wear his blazer with blue designer jeans to pull the chics. When Dave Crocker was asked to count the players in attendance and Scotsman Gordon McGurk was found absent someone apologised profusely that he had not been informed of the change of pool plans and that he had jogged to yesterday’s pool across town!

We arrived at Oxford downs Cricket club at about 11.30am and were greeted by 3 delightful ladies Pauline, Judith and Margie who in their 70s had provided morning tea. The oval looked a picture with the wicket hard and green amidst a cascade of emerald outfield which was very short on the roadside. We were here to play the recent division 4 Champions and a very tough game was guaranteed.

Oxford Downs Cricket Club was founded in 1923 the same year as Lindfield DCC in Sydney Shires due to the same desire of the returning troops from World War I to return to a normal life. The founders were grain farmers who fed the hungry folk of London and its surrounds. Nearby Stanlake village was established by Oxford University to house the students at St John’s College and at one point in history it was claimed you could walk from Oxford to Norfolk without leaving land owned by St John’s College. Its notable historic claim was nearby Edge Hill where Oliver Cromwell’s Roundheads defeated the Royalist Cavaliers in a turning point of the civil war. The most famous cricketer to play on the ground was Andrew Strauss who attended Oxford Uni and on 5 June 1994 opened the batting with Sir Leonard Hutton’s son in the annual fixture.

In 2002 the Clubhouse was destroyed by fire and with the aid of the 2 adjoining farmers the ground was realigned and a new clubhouse built which was officially opened in 2006 by former British Prime Minister David Cameron recently of the Brexit fame.

Skipper Paul Stenhouse again won the toss and batted in a 45 over game with agreed recycle at 45 runs and 12 playing with a designated batter. Our team today was Paul Stenhouse Capt; Noel Raymond; Geoff Doyle; Gordon McGurk; Warwick Hayes; Mal Coleman; Tim Pellen ;Tim Sargent; Greg Briggs; Peter Judd; Steve Moore and Fabian Heaton Wk. Several were playing their first game for their country.