Welcome to the Ambush

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

Wednesday, 28 May 2014


Tonight's rain means yet another delay to the start of the SpecialEffect Tigers season. So, while our 2014 season is yet to get underway, lets carry on and pay homage to those Tigers who joined the Ambush for the 2013 season.

Chef, poet and top man ... Pete Bartlett

Tonight we pay tribute to Tigers paceman, chef, poet and top man ... Pete Bartlett.

Pete played in three of our six West Oxfordshire Midweek League games in the 2013 season. A self-confessed, traditional tailender he didn't get to bat. But he can certainly bowl. Oh yes, he can bowl alright.

The West Oxon Midweek 20/20 limited overs format means that tight bowling is as important, if not more important, than taking wickets. So, in a season where the standard of batting amongst our opposition meant that the overall Tigers league economy rate was 7.83, Pete's return of 5.08 runs an over was priceless. 

Yes, Pete was unlucky not to take the wickets he so thoroughly deserved but we were all grateful as his consistent line, length and speed of delivery tied down our opposition batsmen and kept runs to a minimum.

Pete (far left) with Tiger team mates Hass Olympia and Mark Westaby 

With even more league games to play in the 2014 season, we're hoping to see Pete a lot more in the summer to come. Pete, I hope the coming few months brings you the same mean run rate as a starter and wickets galore for main course and dessert mate. You deserve it.

Tiger, we salute you!

Our chef Pete is thankfully more generous with his food than his bowling


Monday, 19 May 2014


Tiger in the Spotlight: Steve Dobson

The 2014 season is now upon us, so its going to be a rush to get the spotlight through the last few Tigers who appeared in the Ambush 3 three times or more last year. 

Tonight we pay tribute to another of our young Combe CC stars, Steve 'Dobbo' Dobson.

Steve in action behind the stumps against London Badgers

Steve, the 53rd Tiger to pull on the orange and green, made his debut in the rain-affected drawn friendly against London Badgers at the start of the 2013 season. And he made his presence well and truly felt as he crashed 3 sixes and 2 fours in an unbeaten 32.

Steve goes for the boundary as he heads to 41 against Uffington

So it came as no surprise when he joined forces with Tim Lowe to open the batting against Uffington and crashed another 41, matching his partners run total for the day exactly and helping the Tigers to a home victory against the men of the White Horse Hill.

But that wasn't Steve's only contribution to that particular victory. He also chipped in with a mean bowling spell of 8 from 2.4 overs and took a couple of wickets in the process. 

Steve's other league appearance of the 2013 season saw him knock up a quick 13 before getting caught off Swinbrook skipper Nigel White in the charge to keep up with the required run rate. Still, he grabbed a catch in that game too to prove that he's a safe pair of hands in the event of Tigers' regular wicket keeper, Huw Neyroud, being unavailable.

Tiger ... we salute you

Steve's a star off the field too. A huge fan of SpecialEffect and a tremendous support to Tigers' club captain, Baz Floyd the young man is always willing to roll his sleeves up and muck in with the administrative side of things too.

Steve's Tigers' batting record for the 2013 season 

And here's how he did with the ball and in the field

Steve, you're a great cricketer, a top bloke and yet another Tiger who we're proud to play alongside.

Tiger, we salute you.

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!