Challow 2nd team opened their pre-season with a trip to Jordan Hill to face Oxford 2nds
On a glorious, sunny day with a belter of a batting wicket and short boundaries on either side, a lot of runs were anticipated. Oxford were team to demonstrate that first, starting strongly by punishing the rare bad ball by Marc Gregory at the top of the order, with Joe Durie at the other end struggling to find a rhythm early on. Durie struck first with an LBW of Mark Sheehan for 17. Just 5 overs in and Oxford raced to 31-1 with 6 boundaries already. Challow remained on
the back foot for the majority of the innings with runs coming thick and fast due to the 136 partnership of Sam Mendis and Mitch Riding for Oxford. With some loose bowling from Ross Gray(0-41), Blake Bint and Gareth Kent(0-28), Oxford scored freely despite dropped catches during the partnership. In the 24th over Bint finally managed to get Riding bowled for 70 from just 53 balls. At 163-2, Challow looked in trouble of chasing an unimaginable target. After using himself as the 7th bowler of the innings, captain Tom Pill(2-41) managed to get opener Sam Mendis for 79 after a juggle from Callum Betts at mid on. New batsman, Ross
Tomkins(31) with Louis Prestedge(47) kept the score ticking at a high rate taking a liking to the leg spin of Tom Hannaby(0-41) along with the part time off spin of Pill. It wasn't until the 36th over when Challow flipped the innings on its head with opening bowler, Gregory(2-41) returning to the game with 2 wickets in 2 balls, with the hatrick ball being turned down for an LBW after a huge appeal. Oxford kept the score ticking in the final few overs, with captain Muir(29) hitting a 22 ball
cameo before Bint took a further 2 wickets and Durie also taking 2 wickets in the final over of the inning returing with figures of 3-56 and 3-62 respectively. Oxford finishing on 314 all out from their 45 overs. Chasing 315, Challow quickly learnt how easy it was to score runs when Jay Mumtaz and Pat Bryan got off to a strong start with a 64 opening partnership, including an over of 17 runs struck by Mumtaz. The pace off bowling got the better of Bryan in the 11th however with a top edge off the bowling of Soady-Jackson, seeing him walk off with a run-a-ball 30. Runs continued to come easily when Callum Betts came to the crease. The loss of both Mumtaz(48) and Pill(9) within a few overs looked to worry Challow. At 119-3 from 23 overs, Challow needed to up the scoring rate. Callum Betts and Gareth Kent kept Challow in the game for much longer than expected when a partnership of 109 formed, scoring 23 boundaries between them. Betts eventually fell for a hard fought 80, but the role he played in getting Challow to 228-4 was remarkable. With 8 overs to play, Challow needed 87 to win. With Kent still at the crease, any result looked possible. Rooke(1) and Gregory(10)struggled to score at the required rate and Challow looked dead and buried for a second time. With 65 still needed from 4 overs, Joe Durie wasn't going down without a fight managing a 16 ball 31 not out including 2 sixes in one over. After overs of 18 and 17 in the 42nd and 44th over, a target of 22 with Kent and Durie both in for the last over didn't look a million miles away. Kent fell for 62 in the first ball in of the final over crushing Challow's remarkable comeback hope. With a young, inexperienced number 9 in Ross Gray walking in, his one boundary wasnt enough. With just 9 coming from the final over and the big wicket of Kent, Challow saw the scoreboard read 303-7 after their 45 overs.