It seems somewhat ridiculous to me that the school cricket season ends in high summer these days. Last week saw the season end for most schools around the country as the results reported to me dry up. While the end of season Wisden averages and reports have started to be emailed to me for editing for the 2023 edition that will appear sometime next April.
I recently found my letter of appointment from when I moved from teaching in a state sixth form college to the independent sector in the mid 1980s. On that letter, it sated my first day of teaching would be Monday 14th September – not an unusual occurrence in those days. I also recall seeing a school calendar (or Fasti as they were known) for Shrewsbury from the late 1950’s, when Speech Day, held on the last day of term was on the 25th of July!
These days with ever earlier exams, most schools in the independent sector have broken up by the first weekend of July, though some day schools may continue for a week longer, making most school seasons now ten weeks or even shorter. Many schools extend the season, with pre-season festivals or tours – never ideal because of the fickle April weather on the UK. Post season festivals are also growing in popularity too.
Some schools do play some cricket in September, but these are never included in the Wisden averages due to editorial deadlines. This has largely happened in southern schools where September weather is a little kinder and in schools where competing demands from rugby or football has not prevented it. The initiative from the ECB attempted to emulate the Southern Hemisphere where summers are longer and the season take place either side of the long summer breakover Christmas and the New Year holiday.
Now that foreign travel is back on the agenda, many schools are reporting that they are touring once again and Australia, South Africa, the Caribbean, and the UAE all seeming to be popular destinations again this winter. Sri Lanka sadly, seems to be largely avoided for several reasons.
As I have reported, the largely fine weather this season has resulted in conditions where the bat has dominated and so far, schools have reported on a number of batters scoring over a thousand runs including Oli Cox and Tom Boorman at Malvern who both scored four hundreds, while James Cake of St George’s, Weybridge and Rhys Lewis (Shrewsbury) also reached the milestone of a thousand runs, and both scored five centuries each. Harry Gallian, of Felsted had a top score of 249*, in making the milestone with three tons, though his teammate, Walter Forsey, narrowly missed out on a thousand runs but reached three figures on four occasions. It is interesting to note that no bowler has taken more than 42 wickets in the school averages reported so far.
And so the 2022 school season has drawn to a close and this column will resume on Tuesday 11th April 2023.
Trinity 131-7 (20 overs), Stamford 132-7
St Paul’s 290-2, *Monkton Combe 59
MCC 173, *St Paul’s 175-6
RGS Worcester 155 (50 overs), RGS Guildford 165-5
Bristol GS 207 (40 overs), Exeter 188
Trinity 208 (40 overs), Nottingham HS 96
RGS Festival (50 overs)
RGS Worcester 155, RGS Guildford 156-5
RGS Guildford 220-9, RGS High Wycombe 163
RGS Worcester 222, RGS Newcastle 224-6
A report and photos of the National Schools T20 Finals Day will appear later this week.