Overton Win Pendulum Swinging Derby!

Posted on June 11, 2023

A sultry Saturday afternoon with the thermometer reaching 30c meant a tough day of local cricket in the B3400 derby. It was always going to be a day of ifs buts and maybes at Oakley Park and it turned out just that.

Overton Bat First

Overton won an important toss with intent of piling on the runs and making the Oaks toil in the oppressive heat. During the first ten overs they did just that and in an out of character fielding display, Oakley were all over the place. Perhaps it was the heat but a series of misfields, overthrows and a dropped catch had a feel of the Keystone Cops about it. Stef Kaltner was simmering towards boiling point. 

However, what makes cricket intriguing is how things change, and quickly. Drinks were taken at 69-0 then, enter 15 year old talent, Harry Tucknott. Bingo, a breakthrough, triggering a top order collapse. As a measure of Harry’s development, he was the man (well boy) clawing The Oaks right back into contention.

Oaks on Top

Suddenly, Oakley were all over Overton. The bowling had tightened up, the fielding had renewed buzz and Overton were deep in the mire. They looked like they would post no more than 120. Then another twist. The Overton wicket keeper, Steve Kent, went hard at anything loose and found partners with a bit of resilience. The tail was wagging.

99-7 went to 166 all-out. It felt a little if not a lot, like the Oakley foot had not pressed hard enough on the Overton throat. A tail end post 67-3 shouldn’t happen. Regardless, 166 was still a paltry total on a decent pitch. Or so it seemed.

Low Score Psychology

Anyone who has watched sport for a long time, knows how these sort of games play out. Hubris sets in without anyone even wanting it to. It’s like a disease without a cure that even elite sportsman can suffer with, let alone Saturday amateurs who pay to play.  Dealing with it is why sports psychologists earn a fortune.

Overton have a group of players who have been around a long time and at the tea break they looked at their situation. Oakley had a good batting line-up who should cruise to victory, so the only way to win was to talk them out. Bowl well, sew seeds of doubt and take advantage of a deteriorating pitch.

All Calm then a Big Minute

It appeared to be method that wouldn’t work as the Oaks moved to 29 without loss. When Dan Jones and Matt Burrell went in quick succession it was game on for Overton. However, with resolute looking skipper, James Bayliss, and Josh Carpenter at the crease, surely no need to go all Captain Mainwaring. 

Then, a big minute in a game that can last six hours. Josh Carpenter and Brad Compton-Bearne went in successive balls and Overton were bouncing. The pendulum had well and truly swung. Brad can change a game in 15 minutes so a first baller was a devastating blow, and Overton knew it.

Overton Take Control

When Bayliss eventually went for a battling 31, and Will Cheyney followed him back the next ball, it felt like it was all but job done for Overton. Graeme Ridler battled hard for 19 but when Ian Bennett hit thin air for a massive six, and got clean bowled, it appeared The Oaks had lost any batting discipline. 

However, Alex Brundle and Stef Kaltner blocked out the white noise and kept the hopes alive, knowing a win would easily come via singles and extras. The balcony kept hoping. Sadly, when Stef walked after a thin edge, AB was running out of options and it was too much to ask young Harry Tucknott to get the Oaks home.

Battling Brundle

You had to feel for Alex. He is not a technical genius but he has a lots of guts and the ability to block out the noise around him as just a load of nonsense. He carried the look of someone Overton would never get out but he simply ran out of partners. Shame for him and the team.

Credit to Overton. They got their unsettling tactics spot on. They bowled well, chirped a lot and took full advantage of bowling second on a deteriorating pitch. As for Oakley, well, it was a lesson to learn from. Chasing a small total comes with hubris, then a fear of messing it all up as the opposition swarm all over you. Dealing with the psychological aspect of sport is as critical as anything else.

Psychological Lessons

So, an Overton win and a deserved one. It was then back into the clubhouse for beers and a friendly chat amongst the same people who had been having little digs at each other all afternoon. Proof that sledging is all part of the mind games and nothing to do with friendships off it. 

Two good clubs, two good teams, the winner the one who showed a bit more cricketing nous and experience on the day. 

Learn and travel onwards would be my best summary.

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