Middleton and Russell Watts Power the Outlaws to the Quarter Finals
Four wins from four 'Slam' outings for the Outlaws
Once again the OCG saw cricket right out of the top drawer in the latest game of the Surrey Slam T20 trophy.
Needing to win to be sure of going to the knockout phase as league winners the Outlaws pipped the Mavericks by three wickets with 2 balls to spare.
Skipper Matt Norman uncharacteristically lost the toss and for the first time the Outlaws were going to have to chase a total.
The Mavericks opened their innings with a powerful display of batting from their top four. Runs came at better than a run a ball with their skipper Jack Bellars hitting a 34 ball 51. Once again the Colts led the bowling attack and despite the rapid scoring took wickets at regular intervals. Lucas Evans was particularly effective taking two wickets for nine runs in his three overs. Michael Stephen took two tremendous catches on the long on boundary at the Dog End to remove the opener Walker and dangerous number three Fayyaz.
Once Bellars retired not out, the Outlaws slowed the scoring. Two run outs (Russell Watts and Ben Cleaver) further checked the runs. The Mavericks closed on 172-6. A good score, but maybe under par on the small Outwood ground.
The Outlaws run chase started inauspiciously with Michael Stephen uncharacteristically holing out to a catch on the long on boundary off the first ball he faced. 7-1.
Middleton and Russell Watts were in sublime form with both racing to 50 not out from 31 balls. Both retired in quick succession with the Outlaws well ahead of the required run rate. However, after Mawer and Malley fell in short order the Outlaws innings began to lose steam. 121-1 became 131-5 as four wickets fell in 21 balls. Cleaver (the Younger) and Tunstall steadied the innings.
Going in to the 20th over Outwood needed 11 runs.
Cleaver was run out off the first ball, both batsmen guilty of poor calling. Lucas Evans took guard and smashed his first ball to the cover boundary where a Maverick fielder was placed to take the catch on the fence. The ball slipped through his grasp - 6!
Five needed from four balls. Lucas drove his next ball to the long on boundary where he was unlucky to pick out a fielder and was caught on the fence. Five needed from three, 167-7
The batsmen had crossed so Dru took the fourth ball. Four! Scores tied.
Two needed from two balls - Umpire Norman signaled a wide. Outlaws win by three wickets with two balls remaining.
Why go to the Oval when the 'Wood can serve up such an intoxicating mix of location and cricket and atmosphere?
Next up the knockout stage and we should get a home fixture against the runners up in the SE4 group.
Big thanks to the lads for doing the bizzo once again, and thanks to the support team who make these matches such a pleasure to watch; Zoe, Simon and Dave on the BBQ, Andrew in the bar and Jason on the music.
Behind every great team there is a great team and at Outwood we have two of the best.