BCC U10s Lightning vs High Wycombe U10s presented us with our toughest challenge yet in terms of getting a team together, something that has been a struggle throughout this tricky 11+ year. Rescheduled at short notice, after the early June monsoon, the manager assumed 8-a-side wouldn’t be too difficult, would it? Actually yes, nigh on impossible, so we found ourselves in West Wycombe on a cool and windy, but mercifully dry evening, with a total of 3 U10s. The addition of 2 U9s and 1 girl bringing us up to a mammoth 6 players! The opposition kindly allowed us to make up the missing overs with players batting/bowling again, and they lent us two fielders. Josh’s dad, Raj agreed to umpire, and I took on the scoring duties.
Max was heading up our rather depleted troops for the evening. Beaconsfield Lightning lost the toss and were put in to bat. First up were Josh and James who spent a couple of overs hitting big shots for the loss of 1 wicket, before deciding to jog comfortable singles for the second two overs. They finished on a respectable 217-1. Next in were Matilda and Josh facing probably the fastest bowler in HW’s team, as well as a rather slower bowler. There were 4s-a-plenty off the slower bowling, whereas the fast bowling yielded 3 wickets. However, they kept on scoring, and left the crease with the score on 236-4.
Third pair Hector and James had some less accurate bowling to contend with, but they set out to punish what they could, and ran energetically to get the score up without losing a wicket. Lightning were on 280-4 after 12 overs. Final pair Max and Harry showed their usual determination to score, but found themselves up against it with the bowling. The earlier fast bowler had come back for a third over, and found another quick to bowl alongside him. There were some lovely boundaries, and a lot of quickly taken singles. An unlucky catch, and a final ball run-out, undid a lot of their hard work, but they ended their innings with the score a solid 292-6.
A quick break for biscuits, crisps and juice, and Lightning were out in the field. Our borrowed fielders assured us they would be impartial, so were trusted with important fielding positions, though were warned this would be reviewed if they didn’t give it their all. Excellent miserly bowling from the first pair, James with 2 maidens, and Hector with a cracking delivery that blitzed the stumps, coupled with great keeping from Josh and sweeping from Matilda, meant High Wycombe’s first batters finished on 202-1. Next bowlers Max and Harry used great variations to keep the batters guessing, Harry getting a wicket with the final ball of his first over. A few balls went to the boundary, and one of the borrowed fielders had to be moved after flamboyantly failing to cut off a couple. In spite of this, HW were on 222-2 after 8 overs, and the Lightning boys (and girl) were feeling quite confident.
Keeper Josh wanted a bowl, so Hector took over behind the stumps, taking an aggressive approach of standing close and repeatedly appealing for stumpings, making it very hard for the batters to take risks. Josh bowled economically and the batter was stumped off his third ball, and Matilda varied her length to stop the batters getting settled and the third pair finished on 235-3. High Wycombe’s final pair included their biggest hitter, so Lightning’s efforts turned to trying to get him off strike. James, Harry and Max, who had earlier been very economical, found themselves going for more than 10 an over, and Hector only managed a maiden by keeping the other batter on strike for the whole over. However, captain Max didn’t panic, and made sensible adjustments to the field, knowing they probably had just about enough runs in hand to stay on top. High Wycombe ended their innings on 270-3. A relieved Beaconsfield Lightning had won by 22 runs.
A well-played match that rewarded Lightning’s determination, and resourcefulness. Thanks to U9s Josh and James for giving us a hand, as well as Matilda, to Raj for umpiring, and to parents/grandparents for spending their evening in a cold field in West Wycombe. Thanks also to the volunteer fielders from High Wycombe without whom there would have been many more gaps in the field.