On Friday 16 May, the Shiplake Wanderers staff cricket team took to the New Field for their first fixture of the season. In keeping with tradition, they lined up against Year 13 College House leavers. Having not won a game since June 2012, confidence was fragile in the staff ranks but new additions to the team including Geography teacher Mr Duncan and English teacher Mr Miller brought fresh energy and hope to the squad.
With many staff still accompanying pupils’ teams to away fixtures, the toss was abandoned as there was no choice other than to put the teachers in to bat
. The batting was opened by cricket stalwarts Mr Seccombe and Mr Howorth. Whilst the newly appointed Welsh Housemaster found scoring difficult, there were no such troubles for the CCF General Seccombe as he raced to 25 not out and volunteered to retire.
The 15, eight-ball over format required bowlers to rotate frequently, and this yielded some reward as Jamie Westbrook found excellent line and length to keep Year 13 in contention. Wickets fell rapidly thanks to some suicidal running from Mr Dix, but the Burr Housemaster made amends by also reaching 25 not out with the score on 96-6 from 8 elongated overs.
Mr Miller and Mr Morgan kept the scoreboard ticking over with numerous boundaries, and Mr Duncan registered a one-bounce 4 with the last ball of the innings to post an ominous total off 155 to win.
In reply, the pupils started brilliantly and at one stage looked favourites for victory. However, experienced bowling from the older team initiated a collapse from 71-1 to 89-6. Despite a late rally from Cameron Grossman who hit a huge 6, the pupils fell 35 runs short of the total to hand the staff a long-awaited win.