Great win for the District U11s

With the dark , cold, rainy days of winter and the hard hours put into training by the u11 squad, we all looked forward eagerly to our first match of the season against “the northerners !”.

Difficult team selection emails had been sent, umpires had been arranged, grounds begged for and the selection of sandwiches and cakes had gone to the eurovision jury.

One sensed trouble when the BBC Weather site for Rayleigh and Wickford recorded an unusable amount of hits from the Grant household. Had I only read about a British heat wave in the papers a little earlier, but no this weather was coming from Europe. Nigel Farage was warning us about the menace from Europe, similar to Mr Churchill all those years ago, maybe he was correct, lets face it Romania and Poland are not known for cricket and surely the Germans would have banned it if they succeeded in the 40s.

So remembering some vague long forgotten work strategy a backup plan was needed, could we play later in the week when the dark clouds of Europe would be replaced by “broad sunlight uplands”.

The “northerners” were confident, Wickford CC were willing to oblige, 2 new umpires were sorted, 387 texts later Tuesdays game was off, can you play Friday ? Unfortunately, Aravind has suspected chicken pox, Sam Good is trying to make a last minute bid for Rio by trying to catch Hodgson eye at the Peru game and Oliver Robinson is swapping the thrills, spills and bumps of wicket keeping for the thrills , spills and bumps of Thorpe Park…..never mind the south can muster able deputies.


The Match

Wickford is looking picturesque as normal, a little damp and green but the game is on. I speak to my Northern counterpart, he is quietly confident and hoping for an early finish (no doubt to rush back to Emmerdale country).They have already played a couple of practice matches so that may give them an advantage, a number of lads from their team go to prep schools who tend to start cricket a lot earlier.

After some fielding and bowling practice, Adam wins the toss and decides to bat.

The South management team pass a few comments on the opposition practice and we are confident that we will put up a good show (we lost by 5 wickets last year).

Henry and David open the batting and bat steadily, running well between the wickets and scoring at a reasonable rate against a steady attack.

Henry and then Josh get out and at 28 for 2 off 9 overs I felt the game was at a crucial point.

We just started to get things moving when David Jarrett was a little unfortunate to get caught for a battling 16 and once again the game was nicely poised at 42 for 3 off 13. The wicket was slow and a little low and the outfield was quite lush so we reckoned that anything above 130 would be a decent target.

In came Oliver Coker to join skipper Adam and they gave us a nice foundation to accelerate from by maintaining the current run rate but crucially by also not losing any more wickets. Oliver finally went for 14 leaving us at 91 for 4 with 9 overs remaining. Perhaps 10 to 20 below where we would have ideally liked to be but with some good strikers of the ball to come we still had hopes of setting a tough target.

Unfortunately we then suffered two run outs, the sort of incidents that happen late on in overs games. Adam Sullivan continued to bat very well before finally falling for a top score of 38. With two overs remaining we were on 121 and Jamie Fairweather and Micheal Pearn did really well scoring 11* and 12* respectively to get us to a competitive 141 for 7.

Clap the teams of and then a few words of wisdom in the changing room, oops yours truly so used to going into the visitors changing room at Wickford goes into the wrong room.

Tea time, and many thanks to all parents who provided such a lovely tea and especially to Mrs Humphrey, Mrs Thomas, Mrs Coker and also Andy Jarrett for scoring, much appreciated.

So come on boys, bowl nice and straight, yours truly gives captain Adam a post it note with some suggestions for bowling combinations and we open up with George and Michael. Decent opening but the opposition batsmen look fairly comfortable, 7 overs 19 for 0, Adam looks at my post it note for inspiration and fortunately mis-reads it or more likely knows better and ignores my advice. Ryan Humphrey clean bowls both openers then takes a decent caught and bowled and they are soon 34 for 3. Josh Faires joins the action and in between 2 wides bowls a great yorker, 36 for 4. wickets now fall at regular intervals with Morgan, Josh Clarke and Michael Pearn all getting wickets. We get a little sloppy in the field but captain Adam comes back to get the last wicket, caught by a Tom Daley backward roll Michael Pearn and the “northerners” are ao for 97, luvely jubbly.

Handshakes all around, into the dressing room…” WELL done”…oops sorry wrong dressing room again…”err well done boys good game” and quickly out and into our dressing room.

In all seriousness a very good win, good concentration batting and some good bowling which we now come to expect, our fielding was a little ragged at times and we need to concentrate for the full time in the field (not easy I know). But onwards and upwards. We have games in July and we have to re-arrange the games against the Dolphins and the Eagles (that is Metropolitan and not Miami and Philadelphia).

I promise if we lose match reports will be very much shorter !