Oxley stars with the bat as Copdock win at Great Witchingham
- Credit: Archant
A very youthful Copdock & Old Ipswichian side are enjoying a very good season in the Gibbs Denley East Anglian Premier League, as Saturday’s latest success at Great Witchingham again proved.
Despite having an average age of just 22, a very rare occurrence in this high level of cricket where most EAPL clubs have a number of experienced players in their ranks every week, Copdock have now chalked up six wins this summer, from 14 starts.
Teenager Alex Oxley starred with the bat on Saturday, just as fellow 17-year-old Fergus Atkins had been among the runs during the previous weekend’s defeat at the hands of leaders Sudbury.
Oxley made 82, sharing a superb stand of 137 for the third wicket with Jack Beaumont, who compiled a brisk 68. Having taken the score up to a commanding 177 for two, Copdock then lost their way a little, and were eventually bowled out for 235 off 60.3 overs.
However, spearheaded by overseas player Glenton Stuurman, who celebrated a five-wicket haul, the Suffolk visitors went on to enjoy a victory by 35 runs, with their hosts dismissed for 200 off 55.5 overs.
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The win sees Copdock well placed in seventh spot, and in fact a mere 25 points separate them from second-placed Swardeston, who could only draw against lowly Norwich over the weekend.
“We’re having a really good season, and personally I am delighted with the way that this young team has been performing,” enthused captain Chris Swallow.
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“They might not be winning every week, but they are now getting it right, more often than not, so a high mid-table position is still the target.
“The average age of the team on Saturday was just 22. I am the oldest, at 36, and in fact I was 10 years older than the next eldest, at 26. Last week we had Fergus (Atkins) making 81, and this week is was another 17-year-old, Alex Oxley, who made 80-odd.
“And with these two opening the batting, it means a combined age of just 34!” added Swallow.
Put into bat by home skipper, Sam Arthurton, Copdock lost a couple of early wickets to Andrew Hanby, who dismissed both Atkins (9) and Adam Ball (12) with just 40 on the board.
But Oxley and Beaumont then took charge, adding 137 for the third wicket. Beaumont struck eight fours in his knock of 68, off 91 balls, before he was caught by Tom Collishaw off Will Means.
Oxley followed almost immediately afterwards, with the total stuck on 177, again caught by Collishaw off Means for an excellent 82 off 145 deliveries, including a six and six fours.
Jack Mexome (1) was also soon back in the pavilion, as Copdock lost three wickets for the addition of just one run. The visitors never really recovered from that blip, and were all out for 235, opening bowler Hanby taking three for 48.
Much of Great Witchingham’s success is usually built around their prolific opening pair of James Spelman and Sam Arthurton, but the impressive Stuurman managed to dismiss them both for modest scores to guide Copdock towards victory.
Spelman was dismissed caught-and-bowled for 15, with Stuurman taking a superb one-handed catch, and he then had Arthurton (19) caught by rival skipper Swallow at wide mid-on, off a leading edge, to leave the Norfolk side on 35 for two.
And that swiftly became 52 for four, with Stuurman also taking the wicket of James Page (3), and Ball bowling Collishaw (9).
For a while, Michael Jones (67) and the dangerous Brett Stolworthy (46) threatened to turn the game around. They put on 90 for the fifth wicket, before spinner Beaumont broke the partnership by having Stolworthy caught by Jed Cawkwell.
Great Witchingham lost their last six wickets for 58 runs, with Stuurman, Beaumont and Swallow combining to good effect in this latest win.
South African all-rounder Sturrman returned figures of 16-4-41-5, while Swallow took two for 23 off nine overs and Beaumont had figures of 15.5-4-44-2.
Skipper Swallow explained: “We did well on Saturday. We played very well in patches, and not so well in other patches.
“Alex (Oxley) batted really well. He is never going to smash the attack about, but he can stay around for long periods and allow others to play their natural game. Jack (Beaumont) did his normal stuff, scoring in different areas, and its always useful to have that left-hander/right-hander combination.
“We lost our way a bit, later in the innings. I felt that 20 was par for the pitch, but we should probably have got to 280.
“But Glenton (Stuurman) bowled nicely. He has bowled a fraction short at times this season, but his length was spot on this time.
“We let them get 50-odd runs off five or six overs before tea, but I was never nervous of us losing the match,” added Swallow.