CRICKET: Beer festival as seamer's unlikely spell gives Oxford victory

Mark Beer

Mark Beer

First published in Sport

SUPERB seam bowling from Mark Beer inspired Oxford to an unlikely 33-run victory over Tring Park in Saturday’s low-scoring Division 1 clash.

Oxford seemed set for a heavy defeat after being dismissed for only 115.

But Beer then took 6-35 as the hosts’ strong batting line-up slumped to 82 all out.

After morning rainfall delayed the start by 40 minutes, Oxford were inserted on a moist pitch in humid conditions.

Tring’s bowlers made full use of the seamer-friendly environment and quickly removed both openers.

While every other batsman struggled to get to grips with the prodigious movement both through the air and off the pitch, Stewart Laudat appeared to be batting on a different, flat, wicket with an innings of 51 sublime runs off just 56 balls.

Laudat unfurled a series of brutal cover drives and one audacious flick of the wrists for six.

Thanks to Laudat's assault, Oxford reached lunch well placed on 91-4.

After the interval, however, things took a turn for the worse as a fine spell from Dominic Fraser (6-24) sent the visitors crashing to 115 all out from 37 overs and facing likely defeat.

In Tring’s reply, Freddie Simon struck early on to bowl Robin Pritchard, but then it became the Beer festival.

The man from Sutherland, on New Zealand’s South Island, had both Leigh Tomlinson and William Jones caught behind.

When he bowled new Bucks captain Michael Payne – attempting a wild slash – he had dragged Oxford back into the game.

Showing admirable fitness, Beer bowled 13 overs in a row at good pace and added three more wickets to his haul.

Shami Mendis bowled with typical accuracy from the other end, conceding a measly nine runs from 7.5 overs.

Courtesy of some sharp catching both by Jamie Perkin at slip and a flying, one-handed Simon at mid-on, Mendis claimed three wickets to complete a remarkable turnaround for the Roman Way outfit.

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