BCC U9s Thunder vs Gerrards Cross Bears Saturday 30th June
By Viki Sullivan
Another baking hot morning at the crease
Another boiling hot morning on pitch 3 at BCC (who knew the English cricket season could be quite so warm!) and another game for Thunder, this time against local rivals Gerrards Cross. We’ve reached the stage of the season where there are so many competing demands on the boys’ time; sports days, camps, school fairs, that it’s a real challenge to get a team out, so the manager harassed anyone who wasn’t down as unavailable on pitchero, and had to borrow from the U8s, again. Hopefully next season our two teams matches won’t be quite so far apart so we’ll have a bigger pool of available players. John kindly agreed to umpire the game, and Steve to have a second crack at scoring, leaving the manager to watch the game and deal with match tea.
As Gerrards Cross were waiting for a late player to arrive, and we had one who needed to leave early, we agreed to let them bat first. Saul and Rory were first in to bowl, and were somewhat bemused to find themselves bowling to an 11 year old county girl, who proceeded to give a masterclass in perfect calling; “waiting… No!” and “yes, one run,’ and so on. The manager had high hopes that this might rub off on our team, and with only 1 run out in this game, perhaps it did! Anyway, back to the bowling. Saul and Rory quickly discovered that this girl was good. Anything accurate was punished, wides were sensibly left, and a good number of balls were despatched to the boundary. The relatively economical overs went for 6, whereas others were into double figures. The boys’ enthusiasm for bowling was rather dented when they finished their spell with the score on 237.
Next to bowl were Lukasz and Ryan. One of the batters had his knee in a brace so had asked for a runner. We had some concerns that this might be confusing, but the batters mostly decided to smack as many balls as possible to the boundary, rendering the runner largely redundant. The boys remained positive, but it was an expensive spell. Gerrards Cross were on an alarming 282 after 8 overs. Milun and Liam went in looking for wickets, but unfortunately were denied them due to some missed catching opportunities and wayward throws. Not sure how the professionals manage a day in the field – our boys were noticeably flagging after 40 minutes. Score 306 after 12 overs. Josh and George knew they had to get wickets or the GX score would be eye-wateringly high. Josh was denied a wicket on his first ball due to a dropped catch, but he held his nerve to clean bowl the batter with his third ball. George bowled a tight first over restricting the batters to 3 runs. Josh started to have fun on his second over, bowling out one batter with his 4th ball and the other with his final ball. Suddenly the field started to perk up – the GX score was finally going down. Having warmed up on his first over, George was on fire on his second, bowling the batter on his first ball, and then having the same batter caught by Thomas with his third. The boys celebrated while the disgruntled batter kicked his bat down the crease towards his unimpressed umpire father. George continued to tempt the batters to hit the ball up, and got a third wicket with his penultimate ball, due to a stunning diving catch by Ben. Gerrards Cross were on 281 after 16 overs. Our final bowlers, Thomas and Ben were confident they could continue to pick up wickets, but found themselves bowling to confident batters who were determined to whack some boundaries to increase the score. A great throw at the stumps led to a run out on Thomas’s first over, and Ben clean bowled the batter with the first ball of his second over. Gerrards Cross ended their innings on 297, having succeeded only in reducing their score during the last 8 overs.
The thirsty Thunder boys stopped briefly to consume litres of squash, and to boost their energy with jaffa cakes and jammy dodgers, before the first pair, Lukasz and Ryan headed to the crease, knowing 297 was quite a tough score to reach. They were immediately up against fast accurate bowling, which they tried hard to defend, but were unlucky to lose 3 quick wickets. A few wides and singles had the score back to 196 when they left the crease. Next in were Saul and Rory facing some inconsistent bowling. Rory had very little of the strike, so was especially unlucky to find himself bowled and caught out. However, Saul managed to find the boundary, and the boys ran what they could and added 10 to the score in their innings. Milun and Liam defended well and punished the less accurate balls, Liam hitting three 4s in his innings, was well supported by Milun hitting singles and rotating the strike. Score after 12 overs 232, and the boys were starting to acknowledge that there was still a lot of work to do. Josh and George, after taking 6 wickets in their overs, thought they might face some tough bowling when they picked up their bats, and this proved to be the case. Josh was incorrectly given out first ball (the ball was well above head height) and having survived that, subsequently faced a barrage of fast and high balls. Instead of the boundaries they needed, he and George found themselves defending and running singles for the early overs, before starting to bat more freely, and expensively, towards the end, A wicket each reduced the score slightly, but they finished on 249. Ben and Thomas are confident chaps, but even they were not entirely convinced they could put on the required 49 runs in their 4 overs. With no time for a Boycott innings, the boys decided to ‘go big or go home.’ Some good running and a couple of boundaries from Ben got us to 259 after the first over. Unfortunately, Gerrards Cross could see they meant business so quickly adjusted the field to stop the boundaries. Thomas was unlucky to be run out, so we added only 2 in the second over. Feeling the pressure slightly, the boys unleashed the boundaries, and ran their socks off, taking us to 275 at the end of the penultimate over. Sadly, the 24 required from the final over, with the Gerrards Cross field set so tight, and the loss of a couple of wickets, proved to be just out of reach, and Thunder finished their innings on 267, feeling proud of their efforts and surprised to find the scores weren’t closer.
Great cricket boys, especially continuing to play to win right to the final ball. It didn’t work on this occasion, but that positive attitude will definitely win matches for us in the future. Thanks to John for umpiring in the hot sun, and to Steve for scoring (hope it was easier this time). And thanks to parents for spending another sunny day roasting at the side of a cricket pitch whilst cheering your boys on.