The summer half term brought the U13s there first two games of the Essex 40 over district competition. The coaches were optimistic we could have a good season, a talented age group had made squad selection very difficult and some excellent players had to be left out..
Unusually for this time of year we were set for good weather for both games.

Game 1 vs North

Our first match was at home, Rankins CC kindly allowed us to use their ground and special thanks must go to Brian Pettit and Gary Toomey.

Matt Mohan won the toss and decided to bat on a warm day. Last minute instructions were given to the team, emphasis was made that it is a long game and that there was no need to play an expansive game. However, the game moved along very quickly, the run rate was high but wickets were falling frequently. Fortunately Tommy Pinkerton, showed his experience and skill and put together an accomplished 51 from 85 balls, there was also a crucial 35 partnership with Suhail Haji for the 8th wicket, Suhail eventually scoring 14.

We finished on 150 all out, unfortunately we only used 33.5 of the 40 overs. Extras were the second highest score with 36.

At tea, we thought we were 20 to 30 runs short, the outfield at Rankins was very quick and we knew this was going to be a difficult total to defend.

The North started there innings very well, their batsman had a strategy, it was clear they were aware of the required run rate and were determined to play a low risk game, very few balls were hit in the air and we did not look like we had the ability to cause their batsmen problems. At this point in the game Neil and I thought our our bowling was a little erratic and our lengths were too full, our fielding though was excellent, we missed one or two difficult chances but we were sticking to our task. Eventually there was a mix up from the North with there running between the wickets, a good throw by Matt Mohan and take by wicket keeper Brad Spencer brought us our first wicket. North were 29 for 1 off 7 overs.

Our bowling remained steady, but fielding was of a high standard, we did not take our next over until the 24th over and North were 109 for 2. At this stage we thought we had an outside chance of winning but knew the odds were heavily stacked against. The game changed though with a spell from Tom Redman, taking two wickets, one with a fantastic slower ball, finishing with 19 for 2.
This was the trigger for our other bowlers to click into gear, Jess Walker taking 2 wickets in an over and finishing with 23 for 3 and Tommy Pinkerton taking 20 for 2.

These figures though don’t tell the full story of the game, if you consider with 7 overs remaining and 6 wickets in hand North needed only 12 runs to win. The game went to the very last ball, North requiring 3 to win. We succeeded with a run out to win by 2 runs.

The performance was obviously incredibly satisfying, but to be honest, whilst I thought our bowling could have been better earlier in the game, what impressed me most was the way the boys gelled together and kept going in the field, both Neil and I were pleased for the boys with the final outcome, something that I am sure they will always reflect on with satisfaction.

The boys were energised and looking forward to the next game.