Welcome to the Ambush

The collective noun for a group of tigers is an ambush or a streak

Friday, 28 March 2014


Stuart 'Analyse This' Duff

Tonight’s long awaited Tiger in the Spotlight is our very own Stuart Duff.

Stu made his debut in 2011 as the 40th Tiger to pull on the orange and green. And he's been a regular in the side ever since. He’s a real globe trotter so we don’t see him every game but we do love his company when he is playing.

Stu earns his living as a Psychologist which means he usually knows what the opposition is going to do before they know themselves. That also means he was able to predict his league bowling economy of 9.46 this season. 

If only he’d told the skipper that Swinbrook’s Ryan Hunt was thinking ‘Right, I‘m going to smash this bugger to the boundary’ … before pretty much every ball Stu bowled.

Stu raises his arms at bowling the hardest man at Witney RFC

Seriously though, along with many of our other bowlers, Stu took a bit of a battering at the hands of Swinbrook at West Witney and it really ruined some otherwise respectable bowling figures. On saying that he also averaged a wicket a game through the 2013 season which, in a season where wickets were scarce, isn’t bad at all.

But Stu’s not just about bowling. He’ll bat wherever he’s asked without hesitation or complaint. Being ex-Grammar school he can play a straight bat … sometimes he even plays it in line with the ball.

That's going down leg ...

Actually, his 2013 batting tally doesn’t do him justice. He came up against some pretty tidy bowling and was only out the once so he can protect his wicket.

And, of course, Stuart is brilliant for lifting morale. A great sense of humour and always ready with a smile, a laugh or a joke means that he’s brilliant to play alongside.

So lets analyse our Tiger Psychologist's 2013 performances ...

League bowling

Friendly bowling

 League batting

Friendly batting 

Now usually I wouldn’t shamelessly plug a sponsorship opportunity in Tiger in the Spotlight (only because I’ve never really ad a chance to) but Stuart is super-fit. And because he’s super-fit and loves SpecialEffect, he will be cycling from John O’ Groats to Land’s End to raise money for the charity between 12th May and 21st May. That means he’ll probably miss the first Tigers game of the season unless he can time his ride to reach West Oxfordshire for that particular Sunday afternoon.

Stuart’s fundraising page for his 1508 km ride is now up and running, so please do head over to it and sponsor him as generously as you can. I know money is a bit tight at the moment for many of us but even if you only sponsor him a fiver, he’d be made up. You can go to Stu’s JustGiving page by following the link below:

Stu’ thanks for your contribution last season mate and we hope to see more of you again the 2014 season. And thanks too for your amazing support of SpecialEffect through your mammoth cycle ride.

Tiger, we salute you …

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

West Oxon Midweek League Fixtures

Here they are Tigers. This season's midweek league fixtures ...

Wed 28 May      Bampton (H)
Wed 4 June       Swinbrook (H)
Wed 11 June     Aston (H)
Wed 18 June     Swinbrook (A)
Wed 2 July        Audley Ducks (H)
Thu 10 July       Bampton (A)
Wed 30 July      Aston (A)
Wed 13 August  Audley Ducks (A)

Put them in your diaries (or ICal's ... or whatever)

Friday, 7 March 2014


Tiger in the Spotlight: Mark Westaby

Tonight’s Tiger in the Spotlight is another young Combe CC regular. 

Mark ' Westa' Westaby made his Tigers debut on a drizzly June evening at Swinbrook and played in every league game from there on. Primarily a batsman, he’s proved himself a safe pair of hands in the field and he can turn his arm over when called upon too.

Like his mates Hass Mohsin and Huw Neyroud, Mark’s batting average suffers a bit from going into bat in the middle order in a 20/20 format game. He’s either doing his best to steady the ship or going for the big shots in search of runs.

Westa on his way to 18 against Audley Ducks

His natural batting game is probably cautious and steady. But Mark’s a big lad and, when he needs to, he’s got the power to find the boundary with little effort. His highest score of 18 for Tigers against Audley Ducks was typical of Mark in cautious and steady mode. No boundaries but a steadying hand as other went for the shots against an effective Ducks bowling line up in a low scoring game.

And that's him getting all agricultural over at Swinbrook

But as I said, Mark’s game is more than about his batting. In a season when catching opportunities were in fairly short supply, Westa snapped up 3 in four league games. And as if that wasn’t enough, a smart pick up and throw from Mark sent one of the Ducks’ dangermen, J-S Saleem, running for the pavilion as he lost the race against Westa’s throwing arm.

Westa and skip, Chris Grain, after a difficult batting shift

So, there we go dear reader. That’s a brief glimpse of Mark Westaby’s league season with the Tigers. Another excellent young cricketer and a smashing bloke too. 

Pals! Westa and Combe & Tigers mate, Hass Mohsin

Mark mate, you’re a credit to the Tigers and we hope to see you in the orange and green of SpecialEffect again in the coming season.

Tiger, we salute you! 

Westa's 2013 season league batting

And he turned his arm over

And is he the 2013 Bucket Hands???

Wednesday, 26 February 2014

The SpecialEffect Tigers Club 50+

No, it's not our take on an oldies Club 18-30 but the roll of honour for those Tigers who have clocked up a half century or more innings in the line of duty for the Ambush since we first took to the cricket fields of West Oxfordshire in 2009.

It all started in our first ever game on 31st May 2009 when AJ Smith knocked up an unbeaten 50 against our mates London Badgers. Since then, despite our relatively small number of games per season, the bat to acknowledge the half century applause has been raised another eleven times. Tim Lowe hit the last Tigers half century (well, 69 to be exact) in our midweek league game at home to Swinbrook on 17th July 2013.

So lets see the full roll of honour at this point in time of our proud history (I don't half spout some rubbish):

1. Ash Kolamkar    82 v Richard Denner XI at West Witney on 11th July 2010

2. Robbie Nicholson 73* v Southfield Superstars at Combe on 19th August 2012

3. Robbie Nicholson 70* v London Badgers at Charlbury on 22nd July 2012

4. Tim Lowe 69 v Swinbrook at West Witney on 17th July 2013

5. Chris Grain 66 v Richard Denner XI at West Witney on 11th July 2010

6. Robbie Nicholson 63* v Witney RFC at Charlbury on 17th June 2012

7. Dave Williams 56* v Heinemann at West Witney on 14th June 2009

8. Chris Grain 55 v Swinbrook at Swinbrook on 12th June 2013

9. Ash Kolamkar 51* v London Badgers at Witney Leys on 8th May 2010

10. AJ Smith 50* v London Badgers at Charlbury on 31st May 2009

11. James Ellwood 50* v Witney RFC at West Witney on 21st June 2013

12. Chris Grain 50 v Oxfam at Charlbury on 24th July 2012

Tigers 50+ Club ... we salute you!

Monday, 24 February 2014


Tiger in the Spotlight: Tim Lowe

This week’s Tiger in the Spotlight is another of our fine crop of youngsters. However, this one plays his cricket at Sandford-St-Martin, not Combe CC.

That’s right, it’s another of our batting supremos, Tim Lowe. 

After making his debut in the Ambush at the tail end of the 2012 season, Tim was a regular throughout 2013. And, as one of only three Tigers who scored more than 100 league runs last season, we very much hope he’ll be a regular again through 2014.

Tim has a sense of humour as dry as an Australian wicket but he’s always ready with a bit of banter out in the field and words of encouragement when they’re needed. 

Oooooh, nice shape Tim. Fetch that out of deep cover!

Despite a very respectable overall average of 29.60, Tim fell foul of a couple of dodgy decisions during the course of the 2013 season. Given leg before wicket in the away fixture at Uffington, Tim didn’t make a song and dance about it out on the square. A true Tiger, Tim upheld the Ambush’s excellent reputation of good sportsmanship with a simple tap to the inside edge of his bat as he left the crease. A quiet but clear indication to the umpire that the batsman felt he’d caught an inside edge before the ball struck his pad. You just can’t get a decent umpire these days Tim, can you?

No mate, look to the crease ... we've just said you're sharp in the field

But Tim’s season improved both with the bat and in the field. On a damp and murky Wednesday evening at Swinbrook, he snapped up a very smart catch in the slips to dismiss opener Shrive for a duck off the bowling of Hass Olympia. 

And his other smart catch of the season was taken at Swinbrook too as he took Stuffed Beavers dangerman Neil Morton at midwicket off the bowling of Ben McPherson. 

Oh yes, Tim’s a smart fielder alright. Even when the ball is played at ground level, opposing batsmen have to be quick on their feet. Uffington’s Taylor found that out as our Tim produced a sharp run out in our league victory over the men from White Horse Hill.    

But it is with the bat that other members of the bat look to Tim first and foremost. He exceeded a solid 41 against Uffington in the final league game of the season as he produced the highest individual league innings of any Tiger in the 2013 season. A classy and hard fought 69 against Swinbrook as he and Chris Grain struggled in vain to save the game against the league champions.

That's heading for the famous Swinbrook stream

Tim, you’re a smashing bloke, a fine cricketer and a true Tiger. We’re all proud to play alongside you in the Ambush mate.

Here's your stats for the 2013 season ...

League batting performances

Friendly batting

Overall batting

And he even bowls a bit ...

Tiger, we salute you!

Tuesday, 11 February 2014


Tiger in the Spotlight: Hassan Mohsin

As the spotlight continues to swing its way around The Ambush to highlight those Tigers who took to the field in the 2013 season, this week it rests upon Hassan Mohsin.

Another of the crop of young Combe players to join the Ambush, Hass made his Tigers debut at the start of the 2013 season. And he made an instant impact. Not just for his cricketing skills but because he's a great team player and an all round top bloke. Always cheerful, always encouraging and always constructive, Hass quickly established himself as a player's player. 

The 2013 Player's Player: Hass (centre) with Pete Bartlett (left) and Mark Westaby

That was reflected when he was voted Tigers Player of the 2013 Season.

So let's take first take a look at our swashbuckling all-rounder's batting performance. 

Hass in league action against Swinbrook at West Witney

For his parent club Hass is a top order batsman but, because he is always called upon for his bowling skills, he regularly drops down to number four or five in the Tigers batting order. In a couple of games in the 2013 league season, when we really needed the runs, he selflessly sacrificed his wicket going for big hits. Yes, he could have played for his average but that's just not Hass' style.

That one is powered away as Hass thumps his way to 41 against Uffington

His highest score of the season came in our first away game of the West Oxfordshire Midweek League game when he piled on 41 to establish a 62 partnership with skipper Chris Grain against Uffington. 

He bowls a bit too ...

But, as I said, Hass bowls too. Mainly spin but he can put the ball down like a quickie too when he feels like it. In a season where league wickets were spread thinly amongst the Tigers' bowlers, Hass topped our wicket takers in the league with four from five games including a 2-22 against Audley Ducks back in June 2013.

Hass quickens up the pace at home to Swinbrook

And fielding? Yes, as you'd expect and typical of all our Combe CC lads, Hass is as sharp as a tack in field. Not just for his three catches in league games, including a very sharp caught and bowled to dismiss Uffington danger man Taylor, but for the number of runs he stops too.

Hass, you're a top bloke, a great cricketer and a pleasure to play alongside. Your Tigers Player of the 2013 Season was hard fought with Chris Grain but I know the skipper thought it was well deserved.

Hass' 2013 league batting figures

And here's how he did with the ball

Tiger, we salute you!  

Friday, 31 January 2014


Tiger in the Spotlight: Huw Neyroud

As the spotlight swings slowly around the Ambush to light up the regulars through the 2013 season, today it falls on Tigers' wicket keeper/batsman Huw Neyroud.

After making his debut in the Ambush in 2012 as the 45th Tiger to pull on the orange and green shirt, Huw demonstrated in 2013 that he is not a friendly player. By that, I don't mean he's unfriendly. It's just that he played in every West Oxfordshire Midweek League match but no friendlies at all. He's a serious cricketer is our Huw. And a top bloke as well.

Huw on his way to his Tigers 2013 top score of 21 v Audley Ducks

Apart from being a safe pair of hands, Huw brings a steadying influence into the Tigers batting line up. Another of our young Tigers from Combe CC's 2013 Telegraph Cup finalists, he's naturally cautious but never afraid of throwing bat at ball if we need the runs. It's a selflessness that has cost him a better average for the 2013 season. Believe me, he's a better batsman than his 2013 top score of 21 (v Audley Ducks) and average of 9.00 suggests. That's just the format of midweek cricket and your place in the batting order I'm afraid Huw.

In action at Uffington

And Huw's wicket-keeping record through the 2013 league season? Well, not spectacular in catches and stumpings. But if the chances aren't there, that's not the keeper's problem. The important fact is that Huw didn't miss any easy catches or stumpings ... if at all. And take a look at Huw's record in stopping byes and leg-byes and you really see is value as a wicket keeper to The Ambush. Just six byes and eight leg-byes in six league games demonstrates what an asset Huw is to the Tigers.

Friendlier days in the 2012 season

We're proud of our Huw. He's a top Tiger, representing both our charity and our cricket team superbly and showing a maturity and selflessness beyond his years. Thanks for your contribution last season mate ... Tiger, we salute you!

Huw's 2013 season league batting record

And his 2013 season keeping record