Wednesday, 04 August 2021

Peploe’s wickets help side secure championship win

CHRIS PEPLOE came off the pitch, threw himself on to the sofa in Henley’s Brakspear

CHRIS PEPLOE came off the pitch, threw himself on to the sofa in Henley’s Brakspear Ground pavilion and said: “I’m knackered.”

The 34-year-old spinner had certainly produced a remarkable two-and-a-bit days of outstanding bowling to help BERKSHIRE defeat OXFORDSHIRE this week.

Peploe took 12 wickets — six in each innings — as Berkshire defeated Oxfordshire by 40 runs to record their first win in the Unicorns Counties Championship for two seasons, having failed to win a single three-day game last year.

In the two innings he got through 59 overs. “That’s what knackered me, as I have been only bowling 10 overs in the one-day games,” added the former Middlesex player.

The game did not start well for Berkshire on Sunday after they had elected to bat first, as they were dismissed for just 119 in their first innings.

But they hit back in fine style with Peploe taking 6-49 to help shoot out Oxon for 210 by close of play on the opening day.

It got even better on Monday when an opening stand of 137 by Simon Macey (66 off 86 balls) and Waqas Hussain (74 off 89) saw Berkshire wipe out their 91-run deficit in less than 15 overs.

They went on to build up a decent lead despite seeing eight of their 10 batsmen all dismissed to leg before wicket decisions on a pitch that produced variable bounce and turn.

Five of them were to spinner Will Beer, who usually plays for Sussex.

With the other two batsmen caught by wicket-keeper Jon Cater off the bowling of Richard Kaufman. Berkshire were all out for 286, leaving Oxon 196 to win the match.

But hopes of an away win never got off the ground, as Berkshire took three wickets with the Oxon total stuck on eight.

Peploe took two of them and the left-arm spinner went on to take four more, finishing with 6-61 as Oxon were dismissed for 155 just before midday on Tuesday. This gave him outstanding match figures of 12-110 — and he was the main difference between the two sides. Umpires Robert Eagleton and Paul Sparshott gave a total of 15 lbw decisions during the game. Berks skipper James Morris said: “Obviously, it was a very pleasing win. Not many people would have put money on us after our first innings, but it shows we have the talent in the side to dig ourselves out of a hole.

“The way Waqas and Simon batted on Monday really changed the moment of the game and the rest of us were able to keep the momentum going, and obviously Chris Peploe’s bowling was enough to get us there. He was superb, while the others also bowled well to back him up.”

Henley opening batsman Michael Roberts and allrounder Euan Brock, who both missed the Oxfordshire game, return to the Berkshire squad for their Unicorns Counties Trophy quarter-final tie against Cornwall at Truro on Sunday. The Berkshire squad is as follows: Roberts, Hussain, Stephens, Richard Morris, James Morris, Andersson, Davison, Peploe, Brock, Nugent, Singh, Gregory.

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