Pixies v Elves IX-a-Side Cricket
The Wadestron Trophy Challenge, Charlton-on-Otmooor, Oxon
Saturday 27th June 2015
In early 2015, Wayne Llewellyn threw down the gauntlet to Alan Mistlin challenging him to “raise a team of Elves to compete in an annual 9 a-side cricket competition in Oxfordshire against a select team of Pixies”. They allegedly sealed the deal over a flagon of ale, drunk from silver tankards, which were then committed to the Pixie forge. The Strawbridge Wadestron Trophy was reputedly manufactured from the molten mass that resulted.
All was welcoming, as a quintessentially bucolic English scene greeted the Elves, assembled from across Middle Earth, to take on the might of the Oxfordshire Pixies in a game of cricket. A relaxed pre match drink in Pixie HQ was a fitting warm up. The Elves were put in to bat, with the opening pair of on- loan John Littlewood and Geraint. The former performed admirably, with a number of graceful cover drives. The latter's occupation of the crease was very shortlived indeed, thanks to a corking yorker from Jeremy. Wayne provided greater resistance, with Alan and Graham also keeping the score ticking along. Eventually, it was time for Wocca to take the crease. Originally a Geordie, he now hails from the Emerald Isle, and set about the bowling with purpose. A number of boundaries followed in quick succession. It took some canny bowling from Chris to eventually dislodge him for 35. The Elves were all out for 103.
The Pixies were up against it with tight bowling from Don and Charlie restricting their early scoring, and several fine catches in the field sending their top order back to the pavilion. We had not bargained with the injection of Pixie youth in the middle order, however. In the next 10 overs, Ieuan, Sam and Jake, combined ages of 55, took everything thrown at them and returned it with interest. Youth mocked Age, but they were very polite about it. They scored 60 runs, conceding only 1 wicket in the process. The Pixies therefore ran out worthy winners.
The cricket was immediately followed by an impromptu touch rugby match, where many of the Elves attempted to relive bygone years, when speed, agility and skill were all still present. Again, Youth mocked Age, again, very politely; but experience, tenacity, perseverence and, to be perfectly frank, a significant degree of gamesmanship, eventually resulted in a draw, 26 tries apiece.
Matters were finely balanced for the deciding challenge of Aunt Sally. Please be reassured that this refers to a legitimate game of skill involving inanimate objects. In short, a wooden object roughly consisting of a fusion of a sphere and a truncated square pyramid (the Aunt Sally) sits atop a metal pole (the Iron). Contestants then hurl cylinders of wood, similar to chair legs, from about 10 metres away in an attempt to dislodge Aunt Sally without making contact with the pole (contact constitutes 'iron' and therefore a foul). The game was nip and tuck from the off. The Pixies held the early advantage, being on home soil and Aunt Sally familiar, with Christine having particular success. The Elves, now fortified by quantities of Otmoor summer ale fought back however. Don got his eye in and at the halfway point the teams were level. The Judges who stood either side of the Iron were kept on their toes by the odd wayward shot but, at the end of 3 legs, with darkness falling, the Elves were declared the winners.
Everyone then retired for a magic raffle, social discourse and Ali's excellent banquet of chile, curry, salads, and mouthwatering desserts. Chris, as Pixiemeister, was awarded the Strawbridge Wadestron trophy. Monies raised will be used to support terminal care in hospices.
Another unique, fantastic, slightly arcane Penguin sports day. Much credit is due to the Team Captains for their organisation and a huge thank you to Ali and Wayne LLewellyn for their superb hospitality.
Next year's Wadestron Trophy "CRICKRUGALLY" challenge will be on July 9th 2016 in Charlton on Otmoor. Please come along and join in.
Elves: Alan, Charlie, John, Andy, Wayne, Don, Geraint, Graham, Wocca
Pixies: Chris, Jeremy, Tony, Jack, Ieaun, Sam, Jake, Mick, Alistair