St Peters u12s 82-6 beat Burgess Hill u12s 81-6 by 4 wickets

Taking on the second place team in the league was always going to be a challenge, however a terrific display from our bowlers nearly caused a major shock which would have warmed our travelling group on a bitterly cold evening at the Preston Park velodrome.

The hosts won the toss and asked us to bat. “So we can bowl them out quickly and watch the England game” was the criteria from their captain. Game on then, I guess!! Billy Fuller and Conor Ward opened up for us, and were solid in their efforts on a shocking pitch with low bounce and an undulating strip. It was tough to get runs away but Billy squeaked a couple of boundaries, one down to 3rd man, then a sumptuous pull. Conor was hitting beautifully down the ground but not reaching the boundary in the grassier end of the outfield, and eventually he succumbed trying to pull it square off a ball that leapt; top edging to mid wicket. Billy continued to 15, before falling a similar way, and Toby Spooner played with freedom for 10 before also finding a square fielder for 10. It was hard going as the ball contiued to keep low. Henry Cobham smack a lovely boundary before being bowled next ball for 4, and George Kaye fell without scoring, as did Radley Larder. Following on from his excellent performance last week, Hayden Wickwar started with greater confidence and being lower to ground definitely helped on this pitch! He nurdled runs well, and pushed his batting partner Benji Turner who had now arrived at the crease for quick singles, as well as latching onto a couple of looser balls for excellent boundaries. Benji’s solid batting in the beginning served us well as we stemmed the flow of wickets, but sadly for him he just couldn’t connect as we tried in vain to up the rate but he held his ground and we ended on 81-6. His 26 ball nought not out will leave a few of the lads chuckling for a while to come! 81 as it happened was an ok score on this pitch, however we should have scored 100+ to be really competitive.

After an entertaining interval where we saw Harry Kane score England’s first goal against Tunisia, we seemed to come out inspired.

Radley Larder was dangerous straight away and found an edge for four, however when Jack MacDonald bowled the second over, it all started to look likely for us. He bowled one batter for nought, and then the next one came in and sliced him high towards the deep point boundary, however somehow Conor sprinted from point to watch the ball through its flight and remarkably catch the ball as it sailed over his shoulder for the catch of the season so far. Radley was back and bowled another, to have them three down. Jack bowled another maiden, and then Jake McMahon came on and bowled with great accuracy and danger but was unlucky not to take a wicket. Louis Harcourt however did, having another batsmen well caught by Benji at square leg. “No fear, out best batsman is still to come” shrieked the St Peters lads at the side, and he came in, lasted 2 balls, and then Louis bowled him for the 4th duck of the innings; before coming back for his second over and bowling the fifth duck of the innings to leave St Peters 26-6 and facing defeat. It could have been 7 down next ball, however Billy couldn’t snaffle a sharp chance in the covers.

Thereafter the bowling changes that continued to happen seemed to take the edge off, and the next two batters played with excellent care and good timing, and our bowling somewhat lost its potency. A few wides started to creep in, and the odd loose ball got punished. Great credit to their batters Vidhay and Tommy as they, with the help of too many extras, saw the hosts home with a 46 run partnership and we were left to rue what might have been.

It was a performance that had moments of magic. The batting from Billy and Hayden were excellent, and the bowling from Radley (1-7 from 3), Jack (2-0 from 2.4) and Louis (3-9 from 2) were terrific; as well as Jake, albeit wicketless. If Conor had wanted, he could have gone for the kill and kept those fast bowlers on; but in the spirit of giving everyone a bowl, he spread the bowling around, but the change of pace didn’t work for us as it had in previous weeks. It’s the right thing to do, and credit to their 7th wicket partnership, they looked comfortable for most of those final 10 or so overs.

Another performance to be proud of, with areas to improve on too.