1st XI v Belhaven

Wednesday 31st May
Belhaven won by 67 runs

Another glorious afternoon for cricket. In my opinion the St. Mary’s setting on such afternoons, is hard to beat. A good number of supporting parents from both teams also helped to build the atmosphere today, so all was set for a great afternoon of cricket.
Belhaven won the toss and elected to bat first; a good decision on a decent wicket with a relatively short boundary and very quick outfield. These factors helped the Belhaven openers who also took full advantage of some loose bowling and sloppy fielding. Seldom have I seen a team score so quickly from the opening few overs. They raced ahead but would have been halted if catches had stuck. A couple of the opportunities were very difficult but as the old adage says, ‘catches win matches!’ In the 7th over Will took a great catch behind the stumps to dismiss the Belhaven opener who had been responsible for the majority of the visitor’s runs, but with the score on 74 for 1, Belhaven were in the driving seat. Another good partnership began to unfold but the boys kept their heads in the field and did their best to keep the run rate down. However, we didn’t claim the second wicket until the 18 over with the score on 156. Hamish clung onto a decent pull shot off the bowling of Lachlan and this gave the boys just reward for some good fielding. Otto was responsible for the next two wickets, the first a good run out and the second a good over with the ball which saw Tommy hold onto a tricky catch. Harris was also rewarded with a wicket in his final over. So after a slow start with both the ball and in the field, I was pleased to see the boys turn the innings around. They bowled and fielded considerably better in the second half of the innings and did extremely well to keep Belhaven under 200. They ended up with 198 for 5.
A large total, yes but certainly not out of reach. The boys needed 8 an over which we agreed was very achievable but it was going to take a significant contribution from everyone if we were going to get there. Hamish and Will opened the batting and as with last week, just as Hamish was starting to look good, he didn’t quite latch onto a full toss and was caught in the second over. Harris and Will steadied the ship and for the next few overs kept the score board moving well, almost maintaining the 8 runs an over that we required. Having played what I later gave the shot of the day, Will (14) tried to cut a wide ball, got a nick and was well caught behind. Almost immediately afterwards, Harris tried to ease one off his pads but it caught a top edge and he was caught at backward square leg. That that brought Tommy and Lachlan to the crease and for the next few overs the two boys batted very well. They managed to increase the run rate and both looked in good form. Until that was an apparently premeditated single off the final ball of the 11th over that was never even remotely there. Tommy was facing and played a perfectly good forward defence. The ball remained fairly close to the batting crease but Lachlan had already set off, Tommy shouted ‘no’ but Lachlan was committed and was run out. So, at 46 for 4 we looked to be struggling. However, what please me more than anything today, was how sensibly the next few batsmen batted. Tommy was batting well and needed others to stay with him at the crease. Otto (3) did exactly that and although maybe didn’t score many runs, he kept the innings going and batted extremely sensibly in the process. Liam (2) did much the same and was only dismissed courtesy of an outstanding bit of fielding. Muaz (13 not out) played a little cameo role, hit some great shots and also supported Tommy admirably. By this time Tommy and his succession of partners had managed to get the score to 117 for 7, when Tommy was eventually caught on 37. Alex and Jamie, who was making his debut for the 1sts, came in with a couple of overs to spare, whereupon Alex proceeded to hit 12 off one over! Unfortunately, the required 8 an over proved too much and we ran out of time, but the boys had managed a very respectable 131 for 7 off 25 overs. At the end of the game Jamie and Joseph batted an extra couple of overs to give them some time at the crease. Joseph was eventually run out but not before scoring a couple and Jamie managed to hit a couple of boundaries and a single.
I was thrilled that the boys made a very respectable attempt at achieving a daunting target this afternoon. I was also pleased to see almost everyone make a positive contribution with the bat. Had we been a little tighter in the field at the start of the game and had we held onto a couple of key catches, then who knows what might have happened!
However, the Belhaven boys were charming and deserved the win. Well done to all the boys and particular congratulations to Jamie for making his first appearance in a Richard Wild cricket cap.
No game next week; Common Entrance instead!!
Mr P.

Jules Birdsall, 01/06/2017

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