Away to Byfield "A"
The first game of the season and a trip to the ever-special Byfield. The ground (and, indeed, the village) is always a picture and we usually have a great game. As it turns out this year was a little more one-sided than usual.
There were rumours of Byfield missing lots of players (following relegation last year). This was still not enough to give us initial confidence.
The toss was lost and Norton were inserted on a lovely sunny and (relatively) warm April day, with Bristow and Baker opening up. This started well with the solid Baker and the fluent Bristow taking to the wayward Byfield bowling. The partnership lasted 22 overs and ended with the rather unsurprising run out of Baker for 32. This took the first wicket score to 119 (close to our best, if not quite a record).
Bristow continued for the rest of the innings for a magnificent 143 n o. With the help of the returning Steve Jones (33) and the ever present Bod, he took the score to 241 off the 40 overs. This was a great score but, perhaps, could have been more had the wicket been as fast and flat as it often is and had Mike Bristow been able to hit balls on the leg side.
After a great tea the rather overfed Norton fielders took to the park with expectations of a few quick wickets. These were quickly replaced by the reality of a few quick runs. The Byfield openers, Scott (38) and Andrews (34), took to the Norton opening bowling and took 60 off the first 10 overs. Bowling changes were most definitely needed.
Bod came in with his usual assortment (what can you mean, Ed?) and at the end of his second over a typical leg side strangle brought the first wicket. Pete Allen came on at the other end and, at the ground he loves so much, took two wickets in the first 2 balls and dropped a return catch off the fourth ball. This heralded the start of a collapse of Norton-like proportions. From 75 for none Byfield collapsed to 97 all out. Allen finished with 5-14 and Bodily with 5-19.
A great start to the season.
Well done Norton.
Away to Silverstone
Saturday was local derby time with a trip to Silverstone. This is usually a closely fought encounter - often with some needle. Whatever else, the Silverstone game always brings out some spirit.
The toss was won on the day that the rain came for the first time for months. The dry, hard wicket was covered with an inch of very damp clay. This suggested that bowling first would be the plan and Silverstone were duly inserted.
Tight bowling early on from Bowmer and Jenkin restricted the Silverstone openers to 23 off the first 8 overs and the pressure began to mount. Overs 9 and 10 brought the demise of Williams (10) and Heath (14) and an early bowling change.
New batsmen Lindsay (15) and Roberts (19) increased the run rate but both eventually succumbed to the (lack of) pace of Taylor (3-21). This brought in Henn and a change of approach.
Henn attacked everything and hit about 50% - some for six - and Norton were under pressure. Then an inspired bowling change brought back Bowmer who cleaned him out and then dealt with the tail, taking 5-23. Silverstone were all out for an inadequate 109.
Bristow and Baker opened up before tea taking Norton to 37-0 after 8 overs. All the players had an excellent tea, including lots of cake, and were left feeling a bit too comfortable.
The loss of both Bristow (33) and Baker (4) immediately after tea put some pressure on the Norton reply and Jones (4) succumbed to it. This brought together Taylor and Horley who both played very restrained, measured innings with the odd excellent boundary. They brought Norton home with no more problems. Horley looked really good for his 43 no.
Norton reached the target
after 24 overs and another easy win. Well done boys!
Home to Preston Bissett
Three games into the new season saw Greens Norton host Preston Bissett in a top of the table clash, both sides being unbeaten. Norton lost the toss on a day during which mixed weather was expected and were asked to bat.
Another good start to the batting saw Bristow (45) and Horley (35) put on 73 and raise all our hopes. Unfortunately, the middle order slumped this week after barely having been needed so far this season and the hopes for a good score subsided at 97-6. Rescue came in the form of Allen (29) and Robinson (45no). We mustered 30 off the last 3 overs to take Norton to a pretty strong 190-8 off the 40 overs.
The cold wind was biting across Greens Norton playing fields after tea as Norton took to the field. The early overs saw slow scoring as Jenkin (2-29) and Bowmer (0-17) kept the runs down. At 29-1 after 10 overs the pressure was really on and this started to tell as Fleming (2-23) and Wilson (2-9) took quick wickets. Only Watson (21) was able to hang on but once he went wickets continued to fall.
With Preston Bissett having
reached 78-6 whilst still being well behind the run rate an enormous cloud appeared
and sent everyone running for cover. At this stage Preston B were well behind
on run rate. So, as soon as the sun returned, the players came out with it,
returning to the soaked square. Norton were confident of victory. Bodily (3-5)
and Taylor (1-5) cleaned up the rabbits and were able to round off the Bissett
innings at 92 all out and herald a comfortable win.
Home to MK Air
This week saw a top of the table clash with MK Air at Greens Norton. It was warmer than last week and there had been no rain this week. There was no expectation that the wicket would be improved from last week. MK Air had no idea about the wicket but still elected to bowl on winning the toss. Another plan bites the dust!
This week Norton's innings got off to a bad start with the early loss of two openers. The visitors made immediate inroads with Bristow falling to a brilliant catch by the accurate Ganesh (3-50) leaving the Norton batting feeling a little light. We were reduced to 26-3 and this felt like a problem. Only a good 32 from Jones (after being dropped) and 20 from Bodily took the score to beyond 50. A couple of lusty blows from Gardner rolling back the years with his 15 pushed Norton up to a wholly inadequate 110 all out.
Unusually, with so few overs having been bowled, MK Air had to bat 10 overs before tea. This offered the visitors a good chance to get most of the way to the target. Greens Norton, however, had other ideas and a really fired-up bowling attack took to the field.
The first over saw Bowmer get an LBW (given by a league umpire who was, unusually, in attendance in a Division 2 match). The next over saw a run out (Bowmer again). The third, fourth and fifth overs all saw wickets and MK Air were reeling. Contrary to what might have been, tea at the Butchers Arms produced an oasis of calm at for the Norton side with the visitors reduced to 33-6.
After tea MK Air tried to push on with some runs but Wilson (2-26) and Bowmer were able to beat the bat regularly and wickets fell with very few runs being scored. The home side eventually finished off the tail with Bowmer producing his best return for Greens Norton with figures of 7-18. MK Air were all out for 52. It was a magnificent result to keep GNCC still unbeaten and on top of the division.
Next week we are away at Evenley where, as regulars will know, the teams play on the somewhat eccentrically-shaped village green. This is a lovely place to play cricket (and your correspondent is away - d'oh).
Please have a look at these great pictures taken by Alison Goacher. Silly comments and astute observations are the editor's.
Away to Evenley "A"
On what was a damp day, with no-one expecting to play, we turned up at Evenley and were presented with a damp track, and duly lost the toss. After being inserted (oo er missus), we got to 20 overs with 70 odd (I think) on the scoreboard, for the loss of just 1 wicket falling just before the drinks break. After this we felt that a decent score would be had. We were wrong! We struggled to 140 all out, with Sinbad and Mert Baker both getting 30odd, and no-one else really troubling the scorer apart for Wils giving it the big heave ho at the end, nearly putting his back out on several occasions. An average tea was taken in the pub, before coming out to a very different climate to field. Batting was done in cold and windy conditions, fielding, much warmer and less blustery.
Wils and Luke applied pressure from early on, and the wickets started to fall with some great fielding performances Top catch from Jonesey in the slips, along with great catches from Mert at Square Leg, and Bod at Point. We eventually ran out winners when getting the last wicket when Evenley were on 92??? This lead to a mass evacuation of Evenley with all and sundry dispersing to Balls and to Pubs to watch the Champions League Final. Never before has Greens Norton seen 2 people leave a dressing room wearing DJ and Bow Ties You both looked very smart Wils and Jonesey!
Home to Crown
Greens Norton met bottom of the table Crown this week. Top vs bottom does not always go to form so Norton were on their guard on a day that started warm but windy. Norton lost the toss and Crown elected to bat following a great win midweek.
The Crown openers began with a barrage. The dangerous Aggerwal had scored 103 in 11 overs on Thursday and it showed, his first ball from Bowmer (returning after holiday) was dispatched for 6. Several more followed in his rapid 38 as he rode his luck. Two dropped catches didn't help the Norton cause but, finally, a thin edge was well taken by Robinson. The pace then slowed with only 54 from 13 overs, Jenkin (2-25) bowling tightly.
Rob Horspool (39) held the middle order together but the return of Bowmer to the attack saw the end of the innings as the tail fell quickly. Recent ex-holidaymaker, Bowmer, celebrated his return to action with another 7 wicket return of 7-51!
Norton started their reply before tea losing the dangerous Bristow for 9. At 13-1 the match was well poised.
Greens Norton, marshalled by the obdurate Baker (47no), made slow but steady progress towards their 3-an-over target. At 75 -1 from 25 overs we were decently placed. Unfortuunately, at this point, an all-too-familiar Norton collapse threatened with Taylor's departure for 34. three quick wickets went down and some tight overs from the Crown attack saw Norton needing 21 off 6 overs. The Greens Norton team are, fortunately, made of sterner stuff than previously.
Crown continued to bowl a tight line with Clark taking 3-35 from his spell. It was only the late impetus from Robinson (9no) that brought Norton to the winning target with 9 balls to spare.
So another win - but not necessarily a comfortable one. There is clearly more work to do for Norton to remain at the top of the Division despite an unbeaten start. There are tricky games ahead and weakened summer holiday teams may well be expected.
Away to Wroxton
Home to Sibford
Away to Hanslope
Home to Byfield