Match Reports :: Ultras .v. Cholsey .v. Compton – RG8 T20, 29 MAY 2011

Sunday saw the much anticipated launch of the Ultras – GCC’s very own T20 side. Not only was there unprecedented excitement at the prospect of the RG8 T20 3-team tournament but the plan had come together perfectly with the luminous pink shirts arriving just in time from the sub-continent.

A whole host of unknown’s were to be revealed over the course of the day:

  • How would Russell fare on his GCC captaincy debut?
  • Would Dave Roberts return with a bang?
  • Was Ollie Carrier going to fit into an uber small Ultras shirt?
  • Would Toby the Chef poison half of South Oxfordshire?
  • What does Tuborg lager taste like?

On the subject of the Chairman, the day started as any Sunday should, with expertly griddled bacon sarnies and coffee to give everyone a kick-start. The Compton lads (who on arrival claimed to be West Ilsley / Earley before remembering they were Compton) gratefully tucked in and we looked on rather pitifully at the 3 Cholsey players who had decided it was worth turning up on time.

Fear not, the Cholsey team began to flood on to the Ultras Bowl [?] and play started a mere 15 minutes late at 10.45.

Game 1 – Cholsey vs Compton

Compton flew out of the blocks (the benefit of Bacon Sarnies) with their Premier League ringer destroying Cholsey’s top order. With the score at 4-4 after 3 overs, myself and Ferry were greatly concerned that we would not even get to officiate for the agreed 10 overs. Thankfully, Cholsey dug deep, the ringer was tamed and the middle order took Cholsey to a respectable score of 125-7 off their allotted 20 overs.

Compton also started slowly in their innings, but always looked to have just enough, eventually winning with 7 balls and 5 wickets to spare. The key innings was that of the captain, Rik, who finished on 47 not out. The innings however was shrouded with controversy as he was caught in the deep by the Cholsey captain who at the time was shepherding an illegal fielder off the playing surface. After much deliberation and hot air a dead ball was closed.

So Compton ran out victorious and we tucked in to Toby’s delicious Ploughman’s lunch, featuring rolled ham slices.

Game 2Ultras vs Cholsey

Russell wanted to make an immediate impact as Captain so on winning the toss he sent in the big hitters Ross and James to cause some havoc. And that is exactly what they did as they plundered the ball all round the Ultras Bowl (and on more than one occasion into the middle of a civilised came of crown green bowls) to take the Ultras to a staggering 100-0 off the first 9 overs. The hooter sounded so many times for 6 that we are fully expecting an eviction notice from the Bowls club by the end of the week.

With James finally departing and Ross retiring not out after reaching 50, Chris Lewis and Russell strode to the wicket with the intention of making this a very large score. That is where it started to go wrong as both went cheaply after opening up with expansive boundaries. All of a sudden 100-0 was 110-3 – would the Ultras begin to wobble??

Well want happened next can only be described as bizarre and /or grossly incompetent. A series of the most stunning umpiring decisions occurred and GCC were victims – Roberts going caught behind having missed it by a foot, Ankerson shocked by an unannounced change of action and Deeks given out leg before despite an edge on to the pad that could be heard in Dumfries and Galloway. The natives were getting restless and this ‘friendly tournament’ was in danger of turning nasty.

Then who should enter the stage, but Dave Lewis, the man who had been stuck on 99 runs for the club for the last 3 seasons. It took a while, but once the 100th run was scored something quite incredible happened – Dave transformed into SuperDave the Ultras Destroyer – some quite glorious and vigorous stroke play fired Dave to 23 and the Ultra’s finished on an impressive 180. Not bad for the team’s first ever effort!!

Cholsey were never going to chase down that score, but it was of vital importance for the Ultras to make a statement that would reverberate around the Gap. They certainly achieved this with a high octane bowling and fielding performance where the stars of the show were Tom Ferry and Donny Norman. Fezza may have taken a career best 4-9, but he had some help from The Don, with 2 incredible catches at deep mid-wicket.

With the back of Cholsey broken, specialist T20 bowlers Ankerson and Russell took over and claimed a couple of wickets each. Matty Norman deserves an honourable mention for agreeing to make up the numbers for Cholsey and then showing them how it’s done to be the oppos top scorer.

Returning hero Dave Roberts then wrapped the innings up on 63, with the Ultras winning by 117 runs in their first ever outing.

Game 3Ultras vs Compton – THE DECIDER

Winner takes all, with no room for sentiment. Russell had shuffled his pack and out stepped another highly impressive group of tight pink shirted athletes.

Compton were nervous about the prospect of facing the Ultras and sensing blood the Ultras took the game by the scruff of the neck to rip apart the top order of Compton. Barton’s opening spell of 3 overs, 2 wickets for 0 runs was immense and well supported by the Maestro Slade.

With Compton on 33-8, Russell took the opportunity to give all his team a bowl with the longer T20 season in mind. Wincott voiced his disgust at this easing off, wanting the Ultras to go for the jugular and it can be argued that he had a point as Compton’s tail wagged to achieve a score of 94 that never looked possible at one stage.

The Ultras line up was full of excellent batsmen, so 94 should never have been a problem. However a stream of wickets fell in quick succession (less dubious umpiring this time around) and on 37-5 the game was in the balance. Thankfully the cool heads of Alex Crawford (back for the day, but we all know this is the club where he should lay his hat) and Matt Norman steered us through the mini crisis and the Ultras eased home with 4 wickets and 4 overs to spare.

GCC ULTRAS win the first inaugural RG8 T20 tournament.

A fabulous day with superb catering by Tobes via CostCo and it was great to see so many faces. It was also a clean sweep on awards for the Ultras with Ross and Ferry winning Batsmen and Bowler of the Tournament and The Don the undisputed winner of the Babycham Moment for his super-salmon leap and one handed pluck out of the air – that is what dreams are made of.

The jubilant Ultras now move on to our first away fixture at Aldworth this Thursday. The Bell-boys are a seasoned T20 team so will prove a real challenge, but a challenge we will thrive on!!


– Jonny Russell, Victorious Ultras Skip


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