Charlbury Women 198 (Edwards 40, Oxton 39) beat Sileby Town Ladies 181 (Rossiter 49, Oxton 5-36) by 17 runs
Lottie Oxton, a 13-year-old allrounder with an attacking mindset with bat and ball, starred for the visitors Charlbury on a sun-baked day of Women’s Midlands League cricket, as Sileby ran out of steam in pursuit of 199.
On a memorable day at Sileby Town CC, which included a visit from England Women’s legends Charlotte Edwards and Jenny Gunn as ESPNcricinfo laid on its full match-day experience in conjunction with NatWest’s Cricket Has No Boundaries campaign, the hosts slipped for 92 for 0 at the halfway mark of their chase to 181 all out in 38 overs, with Oxton’s well-flighted legspin breaking their resolve with figures of 5 for 36.
Coupled with her earlier innings of 39 from 47 balls, Oxton was the unanimous Player of the Match, and fittingly she sealed Charlbury’s victory with the final ball of her spell, as Chloe Yates aimed a mow across the line to be bowled for 10.
It had been a fighting performance from Charlbury throughout the day. After winning the toss and choosing to bat, they suffered an early setback when Bethan Crook was pinned lbw, a touch contentiously, by Issy Barnes, a 14-year-old on Leicestershire’s radar, whose control of her outswinger would prove to be the outstanding feature of Sileby’s attack.
At the other end, however, Yvonne Jackson leaned on all of her experience as a former Oxfordshire captain, diligently getting forward to everything full and straight, and latching hard onto everything else in her arc. On 29, however, her innings was ended by a notable family affair, Patsy-Anne Hubard clinging on behind the stumps as her daughter Polly found Jackson’s outside edge.
Nicola Scull made 15 from 35 balls before Heather Beattie beat her in flight, but the meat of Charlbury’s innings was provided by the middle-order teenagers, Miranda Edwards and Oxton, whose contrasting approaches resulted in a 75-run stand for the fourth wicket.
Oxton, aka the Ox, lived up to her rampaging nickname with a belligerent knock of 39 from 47 balls, with four of her six fours coming in a 12-ball mid-innings surge. Edwards was more content to work the gaps and manipulate the strike, but having survived a flick to midwicket on 38, she was sent on her way two runs later, as she lined up a sweep and was pinned lbw by the deserving Barnes.
At 172 for 4 with six overs remaining, Charlbury seemed well placed to press on to a score well in advance of 200. However, Oxton’s innings ended when she attempted to cart Sarah Parker out of the ground, to be bowled for 39, and that became two wickets in the over when Emily Fothergill was carelessly stumped for a duck – straying out of her crease just as the keeper had gathered the ball.
Parker made it three wickets in as many overs when she dropped a fierce straight drive from Lucy Blacker straight onto the non-striker’s stumps to run out the luckless Issy Riley for 6. And when the experienced Beattie returned to bowl both Farideh Fletcher and Blacker in the penultimate over of the innings, Sileby’s fightback in the field was complete.
In response, however, Sileby’s openers rode their luck, but earned it at the same time, in compiling a fine opening stand of 92 in the first 20 overs. Molly Rossiter was the sheet anchor of the innings, stretching forward with a diligence learned in men’s cricket to present a straight bat at all costs, while Jo Welford – nominally a stonewaller herself – produced a sparky knock of 38 from 62 balls, replete with lots of bottom-handed biffs into the covers and over midwicket, to keep the scoreboard ticking.
Both players survived chances in the covers, both on 18 coincidentally, but it was after the 20-over drinks break that the tone of the innings truly changed. Welford survived one more chance, a tough caught-and-bowled to Megan Lovick, before missing a drive against the same bowler two balls later, and when Sarah Parker was bowled through the gate by Oxton for 4, Sileby had slipped to 100 for 2.
Charlbury recognised the chance to push for further openings, and recalled their new-ball bowlers, Miranda Edwards and Emily Fothergill, who duly drove home the opportunity. Polly Huband was bowled by the second ball of Fothergill’s new spell, a fine off-stump delivery that burst through her defences for 2, but the key scalp was that of Rossiter, three overs later, for 49.
With overs running out, Rossiter had started to expand her remit, sweeping Edwards for a fine boundary behind square to step up the tempo. However, Edwards held her nerve – and her line – to beat Rossiter’s loose drive with another ideal off-stump delivery.
With ten overs remaining, Fothergill was retained to bowl the final over of her spell, and the gamble was rewarded when Issy Barnes missed a loose slog straight after the drinks break to be bowled for 3. And though Phoebe Shelton gave it some humpty in an entertainingly cross-batted cameo, her top-edge to the keeper gave Oxton a well-deserved breakthrough.
At 141 for 6 with nine overs remaining, Georgia Carpenter and Heather Beattie threw caution to the wind in a flurry of boundaries, but Oxton’s flight and guile put paid to their hopes of a late fightback. Carpenter missed a sweep to be bowled for a nine-ball 15, and Oxton repeated the trick one ball later as Patsy-Anne Huband was bowled for a duck. Riley then trimmed Beth Allcock’s bails to make it three wickets in four balls, and though the tail wagged for a while in adding a further 18 runs for the tenth wicket, the Ox would not be denied.