Our U9s travelled to the Nevill Playing Fields on Sunday to play Brighton & Hove in the first game of the season. For 9 of the 10 boys this was their first game of cricket for the club, with 3 of the lads being U8s. Many had been up very early that morning as they were so excited to be playing their first match. As is the theme this season, a biting easterly wind blew across the playing fields making it extremely cold for players, spectators, umpires and scorers alike. Has anyone in our club ever been to the Nevill on a warm, sunny day, because I haven’t.

It was clear from the warm ups that the boys faced a daunting challenge against an older and more experienced team containing ‘4 Haydens’, as one of the parents observed. Our one lad with previous match experience, Max, was captain for the day and he was outstanding in explaining to his teammates their fielding positions and whose turn it was to bowl etc.

The lads batted first and scored 244 against a Brighton attack where their better bowlers bowled 3 overs each with one lad not wanting to bowl. By comparison all of our boys bowled 2 overs as they all wanted to bowl. Every BHCC run was greeted with loud applause from the enthusiastic parents with Noah and Oscar hitting boundaries and Jake and Joe contributing runs. There were several occasions where a good shot was played but the boys decided that admiring their shot was preferable to going for the run!! On other occasions a run was taken with the ball hit directly to a fielder a few yards away resulting in the inevitable run out. All things for them to build upon. Poor Lewis was hit on the thumb whilst batting, causing the nail to bleed, despite us using a soft ball. Recovery was soon complete after a few ginger nut biscuits and he was fit to open the bowling.

Although Brighton scored 299, the boys fielded and bowled with unbridled enthusiasm throughout, with wickets for Josiah and Seb (his very first ball), 2 maiden overs for Michael and a direct hit run out for Charlie being the highlights. There were several run out opportunities which with a little more experience the lads will take. The boys also hit the stumps twice without the bails being dislodged. It was our understanding that this was deemed out at this level but we weren’t prepared to argue the point. So the scores could have been a little closer.

Thanks to Brian for umpiring, Harvey for scoring and B&HCC for being great hosts and playing the game in the right spirit throughout. Next week the boys are on their travels again to Henfield.