Tuesday April 29th

Several schools responded to the challenge of the much shorter term (because of the late Easter) by running pre-season fixtures. In fact, this may be a good idea for the future, whatever the term dates: the most useful tour I ran as a Master i/c was a wonderful two weeks in Bermuda at Easter which set up the season for us. Other responses in recent years have been cricket weeks after exams and indeed the revival of post-term festivals which flourished in the Seventies ? the latter made more difficult by the demands of academies.

In the pre-season flourish, St Edward?s Oxford made a flying start with five wins and one rained off just prior to a sixth. This against some demanding oppostion, not least the current Oxford University side. The highlight was an opening stand of 233 against Marlborough by Joe Barrett (109) and Feroz Baig (106). Marlborough gained some satisfaction shortly after, with a tight victory over Eton at home. Marlborough?s 182 for seven in 40 overs, led by Alex Combe?s 80 not out, found Eton needing 14 from the last over, and they fell just six short.

The season?s first tie was recorded on Saturday. In a match reduced to 20 overs because of heavy rain just as play was due to begin (typical!) Bromsgrove put together a total of 99 (for seven) which didn?t really seem enough. The outfield was still wet and extremely slow so boundaries were hard to reach except by the aerial route. Clifton seemed well on target, especially when Joel Barber, batting with fluency, hoisted a six in the penultimate over but then a misjudged run at the end of that over left Barber stranded at the non-striker?s end, only to be run out two balls later desperately trying to farm the bowling. The new batsmen could scamper only a single off the final ball to reach the tied score.

Another first for the season was the hat-trick by off-spinner Will Proctor of Durham whose four wickets for one run in a 20-over fixture ended Merchiston?s hopes of a win, finishing at 94 for eight, just two short of the home side?s 96 for seven. Merchiston were doing well until Proctor took his first wicket from the last ball of the 17th over but then his hat-trick in the 19th (all bowled) left the visitors needing a six from the last ball to tie the scores. Angus Hinton (40 not out) hoisted it high but to the longest boundary and scored a one-bounce four, leaving Merchiston two short.

Millfield gained a narrow victory with three balls to spare over hosts Shrewsbury in the latter’s pre-season festival. England Under-19 all-rounder Ed Barnard made a fine 129, but his inability to bowl because of injury hampered an already somewhat depleted Shrewsbury attack.

In a classic early season encounter, Hymers must have been delighted to dismiss Ashville for only 68 in what was supposed to be an all-day match. However, they reckoned without the gentle but accurate medium pace of Ashville?s Harry Lister who returned the remarkable figures of six for nine to dismiss Hymers in turn for a very modest 45.

Having been put into bat, Sedbergh got off to a good start through captain Dan Gomersall and Jack Hardy who took the score to 70-0 in the 14th over. However, tight bowling in the middle of the innings saw five wickets fall in the next 15 overs for the addition of only 22 runs. However, the Sedbergh tail rallied and were able to add 73 in the final 11 overs to post a competitive, albeit slightly below par, total of 161-8. Myerscough chased steadily and were up with the rate throughout but Sedbergh chipped away and picked up wickets at regular intervals to keep them in the game. Things seemed to swing Myerscough?s way with 12 coming off the 38th over, leaving them needing 11 to win off the final two overs and then six from the last. However, Will Parker came on to bowl an excellent final over restricting Myerscough to two singles off the first five balls leaving four required off the final ball from which only a final single was managed.

The National Schools Twenty20 schools managed to get under way despite fairly appalling weather in many parts. In fact, it was surprising that so many ? the vast majority of cricket-playing schools, both independent and state ? had agreed to take part at all, given the further difficulties yielded by circumstances beyond the usual hurdles (exams mainly): the very late Easter and the extreme imminence of public exams in particular. The competition is organised so that there are considerable regional variations and so the following comments apply only to those who actually played on Sunday.

Most of those who won through to the next round were not great surprises: Oakham, Bromsgrove, Denstone, Malvern, Tonbridge, Bede?s, St Albans, Merchant Taylors? (Northwood) and Hampton. However, it was good to see the success of the Duke of York?s Royal Military School and Ipswich, the latter of whom overcame the mighty Felsted in their section.

The Northern schools mostly play on Wednesdays and the competition spreadsheet will therefore be updated twice-weekly. To see the present state of play click here

?Results:

?Shrewsbury festival

*Shrewsbury 167-10 (50 overs), Worksop 151
*Shrewsbury 268-8 (50 overs) (E Barnard 129), Millfield? 269-8
Worcestershire CCC XI 280-5 (50 overs) (T Fell 140), *Shrewsbury 88 (M Patel 5-20)
Millfield 87 ,Worcestershire CCC XI 89-1
Worksop 222 (50 overs) (D Freeman 106), Millfield 223-4
Worcestershire CCC XI 341- 5 (50 overs), Worksop 158-7

*St Edward’s, Oxford 240-7 (55 overs) (J Barrett 112), OxonYouth 138
*St Edward’s, Oxford 239-7 (50 overs), RGS Guildford 177
*St Edward’s, Oxford 209-7 (40 overs), Uppingham 56-9 (rain – drawn)
*St Edward’s,?Oxford 208-2 (40 overs), Oxford University Blues 188
St Edward’s,?Oxford 270-6 (50 overs) (J Barrett 106, F Baig 109), *Marlborough 120
Wellington (Berks) 256-5 (50 overs) (A Dewes 113 not out), *Malvern 118
*Loughborough University CC 181-8 (45 overs), Wellington (Berks) 182-8
*Durham 96-7 (20 overs), Merchiston Castle 94-8 (W Proctor 4-1 including hat trick)
Merchiston Castle 80 (20 overs), *Durham 84-2
*Cheltenham 234-5 (50 overs), Winchester 110 (rain-adjusted target)
Clifton 267-6 (40 overs), *Oratory 115-8
*Abingdon 156 (40 overs)(T Probert 5-9), Clifton 153
*Clifton 134-7 (35 overs), South Gloucestershire and Stroud College 121
Denstone 171-5 (30 overs), *King?s Macclesfield 100
Haberdashers’ Aske’s 169-9 (40 overs), *Queen Elizabeth’s, Barnet 145-9
MCC 208-8 dec, *Hampton 86-5
Hampton 237-8 (45 overs), *Worth 138-6
Marlborough 182-7 (40 overs), *Eton 176-6
I Zingari 201-9 dec (E Fenwick 5-27), *Eton 203-1 (J Watt 103 not out)
*Tonbridge 154-8 (35 overs), Haileybury 80-9
Ashville 68 (50 overs), *Hymers 45 (H Lister 6-9)
*St John’s, Leatherhead 170-6 (35 overs), Reigate GS 173-4
*Denstone 175-8 (40 overs), Nottingham HS 85
*Repton 180-7 (40 overs), Oakham 153-8
St Edward’s,?Oxford 182-6 dec, *Rugby 95-7 (rain interrupted)
*Berkhamsted 113-9 (30 overs), Haberdashers’ Aske’s 98
*Taunton 189 (40 overs), XL Club 140-6
*Taunton 86, Blundell?s 87-1
Worth 153-7 (20 overs), *Christ?s Hospital 157-4 (Langdale cup)
*Eastbourne 140-6 (20 overs), Seaford 126-5 (Langdale cup)
Durham 287-3 dec. ( Jacob Bushnell 128 not out) *RGS Newcastle 148-5
Tamworth CC 147-8, Rugby 147-5
St Albans 168-7, Dr Challoners 142
*Sedbergh 161-8 (40 overs), Myerscough College 159-8
*Sedbergh 239-2 (45 overs) (A Simpson 116 not out, J Hardy 100), Merchant Taylors? Crosby 109-6
MCC 235-6, *Rugby 180-8
St Edward?s, Oxford 181-6, Rugby 95-7
*Shrewsbury 177-7 (40 overs), Shropshire CCC Under-21 178-5
MCC 150, *Shrewsbury 62-4 (rain)
*St Peter’s, York 184-7 (40 overs), The Retiring Captain?s XI 166-9
*Cheltenham 242-9 (50 overs), St Peter’s, York 240
*St Peter’s, York 171 (40 overs), Cheltenham 178-2
Yorkshire Gents 174-8 dec, *St Peter’s, York 175-3
*The Leys 127 (35 overs), Wellingborough 128-1
*Repton 180-7 (40 overs), Oakham 153-8
*Woodhouse Grove 237-1 (40 overs)(P Dixon 107 not out), St Aidan?s 156-9
Bromsgrove 99-7 (20 overs ? reduced for rain), *Clifton 99-4
*King?s, Worcester 222-8 (50 overs), Bristol GS 224-6
*Royal Hospital 109-9 (28 overs), Gresham’s 85-9
Stamford 236, *Bedford Modern 74
Berkshire Under-17 136 (50 overs), *Bradfield 138-0
Bradfield 182-5 (40 overs), *Oratory 93-5 (Bradfield win under D/L)
Worth 110-6 (30 overs), *Sevenoaks 113-3
*Abingdon 217-5 (40 overs), Felsted 192

National Twenty20 competition ? first round

Eastern section A group 1
Nottingham HS 71, *Trent 74-1
Repton 131-9, Oakham 132-6
*Trent 81-9, Oakham 82-5
Oakham win the group

Eastern section B group 5
Framlingham 105-9, The Leys 106-2
Gresham’s 207-3 (M Barker 120), Norwich 193-5
Gresham’s 147-6, The Leys 131-9
Gresham?s win the group

Eastern section B group 6
St Joseph’s 100-6, Ipswich 101-0
Ipswich 142-6, *Felsted 134-6
Shenfield 130-7, Ipswich 134-2
Ipswich win the group

West Midlands section group 3
Wolverhampton GS 84-9, *Bromsgrove 89-1
*Bromsgrove 182-4, Wrekin 67-6 (rain – D/L win for Bromsgrove)
Wrekin 156-4, Wolverhampton GS 112-6
Bromsgrove win the group

West Midlands section group 4
Adams GS 53-8, *Denstone 54-1
Adams GS 134-7? Ellesmere 94 – 5
Ellesmere 57-8, *Denstone 61-2
Denstone win the group?

West Midlands section group 6
*Bloxham 99-4, Bablake 98-6
Bablake 84-6, Malvern 85-0
*Bloxham 92-7, Malvern 93-2
Malvern win the group

South East section group 1
Dover 71, *Duke of York?s 72-0
Ashford 125-7, St Edmund?s? 126 -4
*Duke of York?s 114-6 (18 overs), St Edmund?s 0-0 (rain)
Ashford 129-8, Dover College 0-0 (rain)
Duke of York?s win the group

South East section group 2
*Tonbridge 143-5, Sevenoaks 92-5
Skinners? 98-8, Sutton Valence 99-3
*Tonbridge 160-6, Sutton Valence 137-5
Skinners? 170-3 (D May 112 not out), Sevenoaks 134-4
Tonbridge win the group

South East section group 3
Brighton 72-9, *Bede’s 73-2
Cranbrook 134-5, Lancing 49
*Bede’s 150-7, Cranbrook 131-7
Bede?s win the group

North London section group 1
*St Albans 167-5, Aldenham 97
Haileybury 137-6, Langley Park 141-5
*St Albans 142-9, Langley Park 97-8
St Albans win the Group

North London section group 2
Latymer 75-4, *Merchant Taylors? 79-2
Forest 121-7, Berkhamsted 119-7
Berkhamsted 180-5, Latymer 117-7
Forest 99-7, *Merchant Taylors? 100-2
Merchant Taylors?, Northwood win the group

South London section group 1
*Dulwich 172-5, John Fisher 99
Hampton 122-7, Eltham 121-7
Eltham 136-6, *Dulwich 125-7
Hampton 180-4, John Fisher 117-7
*Dulwich 139-9, Hampton 139-7
Eltham v John Fisher to be played Wed 30th April
Hampton win the group with 1 result still to be declared

South West section group 2
Prior Park 81-6, *Kingswood 83-2
Other games still to be played