Tuesday May 23rd 2017

As exclusively predicted in this column last week, the long dry spell came to an end with a bang (sometimes literally). At the same time, the tentacles of the exam-fever cancer seem to be ever-spreading. One distinguished cricket school was without six of its usual players last Saturday and had lost five of them the previous week too. SMTs – mostly not senior at all nowadays but young thrusting types aiming for headships – are forever wielding their pernicious influence (or just bossing people about) by laying down the law in their schools about how many fixtures should be played in the term and what length they should be. Such schools should remove all references to a well-rounded education and describe themselves as exam factories, otherwise they could be prosecuted under the Trades Description Act.

Prescribed reading from a few weeks ago – “The Psychology of Study” by Professor C. A. Mace – might persuade them (and parents) that endlessly poring over “revision” – which is probably what a lot of “vital” “unmissable” lessons are too – until your eyeballs go round in circles is no way to prepare for exams and is actually counter-productive.

It is very obvious from the results that rain hit England in particular in a big way on Saturday, with a large number of games rained off mid-afternoon or abandoned altogether. However, it gives me space to comment on some other cricket which I don’t usually cover.

One such is an MCC game. I don’t normally cover these because they are not fair contests (they are literally men against boys. and men are not subject to ECB restrictions) even if nowadays it is by no means uncommon for school sides to defeat that august club. They work well usually only when the MCC captain engineers a close finish, though MCC teams never like to lose. Oakham won the toss, inserted the opposition (as is, alas, traditional) and after 61.3 overs had MCC at 142-9, only for opening bowler Alex Wyatt to join wicket-keeper Fabian Taylor (both Old Boys) who pushed the score, with the help of several dropped catches, to 174-9 declared after 68 overs. Ex-Leicestershire Wyatt’s fast bowling removed the School’s top order, but a stand of 115 between the captain Lyndon James and Head Boy Hamish Merriman took the score to 136 after 40 overs with victory a strong possibility, with six of the last 20 overs to be bowled in the gathering gloom. But Wyatt returned, removed James for 91 and Merriman for 41, and a rejected LBW appeal off the last ball of the match salvaged a draw at 156 for nine. My correspondent has seen many an MCC XI against schools, but this was the youngest and fittest he had seen, saving many a run through good ground fielding and taking all chances offered bar one. The MCC XI was captained by another Old Oakhamian, Will Edwards, and match managed by a fourth, Billy Wright (injured and unable to play).

Another week, another riveting declaration game (like the one above). Other schools really should try it, even if it is felt necessary to put an upper limit on declarations (eg maximum 55 overs). It’s only since about 2003 that often tedious overs-games have become so fashionable. Framlingham made slow progress against disciplined bowling at St Joseph’s Ipswich and found themselves precariously placed at 116-6. The lower middle order rallied however, to allow a declaration at 206-9, Harvey Finbow top scoring with 38. Wickets were shared around with Oliver Stace proving particularly economical with 2-17. St Joseph’s responded positively, reaching 120-3 before an interruption for rain allowed Framlingham to re-group. When Harry Hawley fell for a patient 32 the outcome appeared to rest in the hands of Suffolk all-rounder Josh Cantrell, who continued to score at more than a run a ball in pursuit of victory. When he became one of six victims for Framlingham’s Freddie Heldreich (6-45) the momentum swung back to the fielding side and with one ball remaining Harry Bureau took the final wicket to complete a 16 run victory for the visitors.

King’s Taunton have for some years been extremely strong, and that seems set to continue with some striking performances by boys in their prep school King’s Hall. In the first two rounds of the Bunbury Under-13 Cup their two openers, James Rew and George Thomas, both scored centuries in each match and won convincingly. In addition, their opening bowler, Charlie Sharland, in the second round took eight wickets for two runs in his allotted four overs.

Meanwhile, the Under-12s at Haberdashers’ Aske’s – a promising side who had won their first two Saturday fixtures by over 100 runs – came a cropper in a bizarre way when, in the Herts Schools County Cup competition, they faced Beechwood Park. They were bowled out for 100 in 20 overs, but then defended this total well for 18 of the 20 overs in reply. Requiring 28 to win off the last two overs, Beechwood Park managed to reduce the target to nine off the last ball and, somewhat spectacularly, won the game, even without overthrows. The Habs bowler chose this moment to bowl a no-ball which was hit for a single, followed by another no-ball which went for six.

Results:

*Wycliffe 177-6 (30 overs)(W Naish 105),Bristol GS 179-2
Eastbourne 150 (50 overs),*Trinity Croydon 134
*St Edward’s 230-3 (B Charlesworth 101 not out),Winchester 0-0 (rain)
Blundell’s 143,*Clifton 144-1
GSAL (Leeds) 184-7,*St Peter’s,York 0-0 (rain)
*Wellingborough 219-4 (35 overs),Bloxham 42
*Seaford 125-8 (25 overs) ,City of London Freemen’s 126-4 (Martin Berrill Sports League)
Christ’s Hospital 184-8 (40 overs),*Caterham 171 (Martin Berrill Sports League)
Framlingham 206-9 dec,*St Joseph’s 190 (F Heldreich 6-45)
Wellington 138,*Cranleigh 141-2
*Bryanston 168-7 (30 overs), Clayesmore 100
Pocklington 176-6 (35 overs),*Hymers 42-1
Watford 69-5 v *Haberdashers’ Aske’s (rain)
Oundle 137-5 (45 overs),*Stowe 0-0 (rain)
MCC 174-9 dec,*Oakham 156-9 (A Wyatt 3-16)
Oratory 98,*Stowe 101-3
*Wellingborough 168-9 (35 overs),XL Club 151
Epsom 146-7,*St John’s Leatherhead 72
Brighton 200 (J Simpson 5-42),*Dulwich 201-2 (J Scarisbrick 103 not out)
*Monkton 127-8 (20 overs), Beechen Cliff 71 (Bath Schools’ T20)
*Monkton 224-9 (40 overs), Beechen Cliff 193 (Monkhouse Intersport League)
*Wycliffe 163-5 (20 overs), Pate’s GS 131-6
Marlborough 221,*Radley 40-0 (rain)
Woodhouse Grove 111,*Durham 113-1
*Oakham 179-8 (40 overs),Stamford 74-5 (rain)
Bede’s 177,*Brighton 61

National Schools Twenty20 competition (cumulative)
Click to see the current state of the National T20.

North East section group 1
*Silcoates 61-8, Worksop 62-0
Birkdale 108-9, *QEGS 112-4
*Silcoates 126-7, Birkdale 131-2
Worksop 152-6,*QEGS 146-6
Worksop win the group

North East section group 2
Pocklington 166-6, *Hymers 123-9
Woodhouse Grove 114, Pocklington 114-8
(Pocklington win by losing fewer wickets)
Woodhouse Grove 125-7, Hymers 70
Pocklington win the group

North East section group 3
Ashville 145-6, *Bradford GS 150-1
St Peter’s York 185-5, Ashville 67
St Peter’s York 179-5, *Bradford GS 71
St Peter’s School York win the group

North East section group 4
Barnard Castle 90, RGS Newcastle 91-6
Durham 138-7, RGs 141-5
RGS Newcastle now play St Peter’s York

North West play-offs
Birkenhead 158-5, Manchester GS 151-6
Birkenhead 136, King’s Chester 135-7
Birkenhead now play Sedbergh or Bolton

North West section group 1
Merchant Taylors’ (Crosby) 140-7, King’s Chester 142-3
King’s Macclesfield 173-8, Grange 88
Grange 143-6, Merchant Taylors’ 148-0
Kng’s, Chester 120-8, King’s, Macclesfield 104-7
King’s, Chester win the group

North West section group 2
Birkenhead School 290-2, Wilmslow HS 48
Birkenhead School 237-2, Liverpool 50
Birkenhead win the group

North West section group 3
Bolton 203-1, *AKS Lytham 121-8
*AKS Lytham 244 -4, Kirkham 220 – 6
Altrincham GS 91, Bolton 95-1
Bolton win the group

North West section group 4
Manchester GS 185-4, Stockport GS 111-5
Audenshaw 72, Cheadle Hulme 73-0
Audenshaw 160-7, Stockport 129-8
Cheadle Hulme 84, Manchester GS 86-5
Manchester GS win the group

North West section group 5
Sedbergh 235-3, Myerscough 114-9
Sedbergh 195-5, Lancaster RGS 97
Sedbergh win the group

East section group1
*Trent 186-3, Nottingham HS 107-8
Trent 197-4 Repton 87
Trent win the group

East section group 2
Oakham 99-9, *Oundle 95
Stamford 101, Oakham 105-3
Oakham win the group

East section group 3
Stowe 146-8, Rugby 150-1
Stowe 131-6, Leicester GS 134-2
Rugby 168-7, Leicester GS 120
Rugby win the group

East section group 4
*Kimbolton 125-6, Wellingborough 129-2
*Bedford 174-4, Wellingborough 106-7
Bedford win the group

East section group 5
The Perse 92, *The Leys 95-1
Felsted 160-4, The Perse 154-8
*The Leys 188-5, Felsted 141
The Leys win the group

East section group 6
Gresham’s 69-8, Norwich 70-4
Gresham’s 138-3, Framlingham 141-2
Norwich 175-5, Framlingham 152-7
Norwich win the group

East section group 7
Shenfield 174-6, 113-6
Ipswich 171-8  Brentwood 123-8
Shenfield 100-2, Ipswich 96-8
Shenfield win the group

West Midlands and Wales section group 1
Wyclffe 37, Dean Close 38-0
Monmouth 155, Llandaff Cathedral 133-6
Dean Close 113-5, Monmouth 114-4
Monmouth win the group
Dean Close runners-up

West Midlands and Wales section group 2
Malvern 149-5, RGS Worcester 150-4
Bablake 94-6, RGS Worcester 98-2
Malvern 188-4, Bablake 75
RGS Worcester win the group
Malvern runners-up

West Midlands and Wales section group 3
Wolverhampton GS 126-6, Wrekin 114-8
Bromsgrove 166-4, Wolverhampton GS 133-4
Wrekin 107, Bromsgrove 109-1
Bromsgrove win the group
Wolverhampton GS runners-up

West Midlands and Wales section group 4
Shrewsbury 176-3, Oswestry 67-6
Ellesmere 109 (Owens 5-12), Newcastle Under Lyme 113-1
Shrewsbury 157-7, Newcastle Under Lyme 55-8
Shrewsbury win the group
Newcastle Under Lyme runners-up

West Midlands quarter-finals
*Shrewsbury 145-6 (20 overs), Woverhampton GS 87-9
*Bromsgrove 149-6 (20 overs), Newcastle Under Lyme 142-7
*Monmouth 108-2 (15 overs), Malvern 109-5
RGS Worcester v Dean Close rained off and to be played later

South East section group 1
Bede’s 126, *Eastbourne 127-3
*Eastbourne 140-6, Brighton 102
Bede’s 115-7, Aldridge Cricket Academy 94-8
Eastbourne 127-3, Bede’s 126
Eastbourne win the group

South East section group 2
Cranleigh 175-6, *Reigate GS 90
Cranleigh 207-2, St Lawrence 62
Reigate GS 166-3, St Lawrence 125-9
Cranleigh win the group

South East section group 3
Claremont 107-3, Ashford 91-8
*Hurstpierpoint 161-4, Claremont 137-2
Hurstpierpoint win the group

South East section group 4
Tonbridge 242-6, Kent College 52
*Tonbridge 235-4 (J O’Riordan 121), Simon Langton 100
Tonbridge win the group

South East section semi-finals
*Tonbridge 163-8, Eastbourne 119-7
Hurstpierpoint 118-9, Cranleigh 121-3

South East section final
*Tonbridge 128-7, Cranleigh 123-6
Tonbridge now play the winners of the London section for a place on finals day at Arundel

North London section group 1
UCS Hampstead 95,*Merchant Taylors’ 98-1
Aldenham 141-7, Forest 144-6
*Merchant Taylors’ 214-2, Forest 118
Merchant Taylors’ win the group

North London section group 2
*St Albans 183-2, Bancroft’s 163-7
St Albans win the group

North London section final
*Merchant Taylors’ 150-6, St Albans 132-7
Merchant Taylors’ win the North London section and now play the winners of South London

South London section group 1
St Benedict’s 82-8, Whitgift 85-1
Whitgift 192-5, Reed’s 163-6
Whitgift win the group

South London section group 2
Dulwich 178-8, Caterham 131-6
Caterham 142 -6, Eltham 135- 8
Eltham 130-6, Dulwich 134-2
Dulwich win the group

South London section group 3
Epsom 124-7 Hampton 125-5
Trinity 179-5 Langley Park 126-8
Trinity 156-6 Hampton 103
Langley Park 105-5, Epsom 106-2
Trinity win the group

South London section group 4
*Wilson’s 73-7, KCS Wimbledon 74-3
*KCS Wimbledon 167-5, Kingston GS 142-7
John Fishers withdrew
KCS Wimbledon win the group

South London section semi-final
Whitgift 173-0, Dulwich 151-7
Whitgift now play Trinity Croydon or KCS Wimbledon

South West section group 1
Clifton 156-8, *Downside 74
Colstons 104-8, *Clifton 105-1
Clifton win the group
Colston’s runners-up

South West section group 2
Bristol GS 108, SGS (Filton) 109-4
Bristol GS 112-9, Taunton 116-5
*SGS (Filton) 140-7, Taunton 136 (M Omar 5-17)
SGS (Filton) win the group
Taunton runners-up

South West section group 3
Mount Kelly 148-3,*Clayesmore 95
Mount Kelly 178-5, Blundell’s 182-5
Blundell’s 84-9, King’s Taunton 85-1
King’s Taunton win the group
Blundell’s runners-up

South West section group 4
South Dartmoor 81-9, Sherborne 83-2
*Sherborne 149-6 (20 overs), Millfield 150-7
Millfield win the group
Sherborne runners-up

South Central section group 1
*Oratory 133-6, RGS High Wycombe 137-5
Radley 160-4, RGS High Wycombe 161-3 (E Casterton 109 not out)
Radley 179-4, Elizabeth Guernsey150-6
RGS High Wycombe win the group

South Central section group 2
St Edward’s 154-4, Abingdon 107-9
Magdalen College School 211-5, Reading Blue Coat 70
*St Edward’s 128-5, Magdalen College School 106
St Edward’s win the group

South Central section group 3
Wellington (Berks) 198-6, Dauntsey’s 93
Wellington (Berks) 93, Bradfield 94-1
Lord Wandsworth 91-9,*Bradfield 92-4
Dauntsey’s 153-6, Lord Wandsworth 130-8
Bradfield win the group

South Central section group 4
Portsmouth GS, 174-5,*Winchester 130-8
Portsmouth GS 153-6, Marlborough 145-7
Marlborough 147-3,*Winchester 111-5
Portsmouth GS win the group

South Central section semi-finals
*St Edward’s 177-7, Portsmouth GS 111
RGS High Wycombe 103-4 (20 overs), *Bradfield 106-4