2012 Village Cup champions Reed took on Oxfordshire outfit Aston Rowant in a relatively low scoring tie with Reed emerging victorious.
Batting first, home side Reed, captained by Tom Greaves, found it difficult to score quickly on a pitch that enticed Aston Rowant’s bowlers to find the outside edge of the Reed batsmen. Will Heslam, brother of former captain James Heslam, was out cheaply for 6 to A-R opening bowler Whatman and Rob Lankester fell soon after, leaving Reed floundering on 13-2. Rebuilding up until drinks, Reed were 65-3 with most of those coming off the bat of Richard Wharton who exuded a sense of calm whilst at the crease, scoring elegantly both sides of the wicket. When left arm spinner Alexander Barras dismissed Wharton, who fell two short of his half-century, with another of his well-directed darts, the score lay at 87-4. Becoming increasingly aware that the game may be slipping away from them, the middle order came out all guns blazing, especially the Tidey brothers and captain Greaves. By the time Greaves departed on 48, he had notched five sixes and taken Reed’s score to 164, a much-needed captain’s innings. With late runs coming courtesy of Karl Ward and Jack Tidey, both scoring 11 quickly accumulated runs, Reed finished on 179-9. Despite at times struggling with Reed’s sloping pitch, Aston Rowant restricted Reed to a potentially below par score.
With swathes of fans watching on, Aston Rowant openers Tim Morgan (their captain) and Alex Jewell walked to the middle after tea with the clouds rolling in. With a spring in their step after a fine end to their innings, Reed’s bowlers found their rhythm almost immediately. Toby Fynn and Jack Tidey each bowled their eight overs straight through, finishing with figures of 1-10 and 2-23 respectively. Slow scoring was the story of the day with both teams struggling to score runs in the early part of their innings. Aston Rowant were 20 runs behind Reed at the halfway stage but the game was far from over. Greaves soon brought himself on, alongside medium-pacer Mitchell Cooper in an attempt to restrict the visitors even further. Boundaries soon became hard to come by as wickets fell at a steady rate. Greaves claimed 3 for 33 and Cooper 3 for 38 and were ably assisted by some tigerish fielding. Nudging and nurdling both bowlers, A-R had fallen well-behind the required run rate. Similarly to the Reed innings, the tailenders had to stem the flow of wickets and score quickly. Unfortunately, A-R’s lower batsmen only managed single figure scores, so when Sean Tidey took the last wicket with his first delivery, Aston Rowant had fallen for 105 all-out leaving Reed winners by 74 runs.
Reed’s tight bowling won them the game with the visiting batsmen unable to hit boundaries without getting bogged down. Both sides however fielded excellently and the semi–final was played in superb spirit in front of a large, enthusiastic crowd. Reed will now play Yorkshire side Sessay in the Final at Lord’s on 17th September.
Report submitted by Toby Emes.