Tuesday April 30th 2019

Mens sana in corpore sano” (a healthy mind in a healthy body). Juvenal’s finale to a very long satire (not in the modern sense) is usually misunderstood. It was the answer to the question he started by posing: if the gods could grant just one wish, what should you wish for? After a long list of bad ideas (wealth, power etc etc), this was his answer. It has always been taken to mean that if you have a healthy body it will lead to a healthy mind.

Never mind Juvenal, the misinterpretation is probably right, and very recent research which you can read here supports this; not to mention mental health problems among the young who are nowadays denied competitive – or maybe any – sporting activity in the vast majority of state schools and, alas, in many independent schools in the summer (cricket???) term. Big mistake. You can see a report on this research by The Daily Telegraph. I have written, by invitation, an article on this topic at much greater length in the May edition of The Cricketer magazine.

In short, cricket in schools is in crisis. Not just state schools; ALL schools. The culprit is the public exam system. Mr Corbyn, with a penchant for nationalisation, might be well advised to include this in his portfolio. At the moment it is answerable to nobody and it is certainly killing cricket in schools. Despite the fact that Universities are almost sending taxis for candidates who want to pay for the privilege of attending their institution (widespread unconditional offers), revision mania has swept the country in recent years, taking schools cricket with it like a tsunami.

In addition there is the widespread Magaluf syndrome (it used to be Rock in Cornwall). Under the guise of being stressed out by the pressure of exams, 18-year-old boys in particular claim the desperate need to have an officially sanctioned piss-up during term-time. As a former Housemaster, I am aware that schools do not want boys with nothing much to do hanging around with time on their hands. That is another consequence of the ever-earlier exams. You’ll need to read my article in The Cricketer magazine for the next instalment of this thriller. It will in due course be published here with permission from the publishers, like the entire archive of Wisden schools sections.

One final point: there is an old adage “if you want to get something done, ask a busy man (/woman) to do ii”. It seems paradoxical but life is like that. In cricket terms, busy folk like cricketers are likely to be better at revising than people who do nothing else. See also last week’s column with a large number of useful links on this and other topics.

With immaculate timing, Storm Hannah arrived bang on time for the first Saturday of the very short schools cricket season and wiped out a huge number of fixtures. Clifton had to abandon their match because not only had the wind blown over their sightscreens but it seemed too dangerous (not to mention extremely unpleasant). Thus, wind stopped play (it also happened at St Albans but caused only a brief stoppage). However, as we shall remember with fondness, until the first day of the schools cricket season it had seemed like endless balmy summer.

Marlborough launched their season in that lovely pre-term sunshine with a cracker of a game against Free Foresters. The latter declared after 50 overs on 268 for three, but Marlborough were equal to the task even in only 43 overs. With one ball of the match to go they needed four to win (sounds like good FF captaincy) but were able to scamper only two to long off. Thus, a thrilling draw, one short of the target.

Felsted also had an excellent club game; this time against MCC where once again it looks like fine adult captaincy. After declaring at an almost routine 258 for five, quite challenging in early season, Felsted found themselves needing 15 in the last over, largely due to a superb captain’s innings from Joe Burslem (145 not out) but with good support from the rest of the top order. However, with two needed from the last ball, it was Josh Bird who hit a boundary to win.

I shall refrain from naming the side, but one school elected to bowl on winning the toss and sent down no fewer than 70 wides. Early season indeed. It led to Brighton posting maybe their highest-ever score of 371 for four. Slightly more promising on the bowling front was Oliver Green who on debut for Sedbergh took seven for 24 from his allowed eight overs with his slow left arm.

In somewhat Arctic conditions at The Perse, Wellingborough also opted to field first in a game reduced because of Storm Hannah to 40 overs. The hosts were contained to 183 for seven, but in reply Wellingborough struggled to cope with spin in the middle overs. The match was still alive in the last over, albeit with Wellingborough still needing 15 runs and wickets in hand, but with three balls to go a maximum six was hit, meaning that Wellingborough needed eight to win from the remaining two balls. Some good slower-ball variations by the Perse seamer meant a seven-run win for the hosts and whilst not a high-scoring affair it was a keenly contested game for a season opener.

Sunday was the opening day of the National Schools Twenty20 competition and Storm Hannah had passed through. At St Albans, in the final against Haberdashers’ Aske’s, Hugh Craig scored a superb chanceless 72 off 48 balls including a six off the last ball when five were required (15 needed in the last over) to win the game and the group for St Albans.

A strange quirk at Cranleigh where in two out of three games there was a tie and recourse had to be made to the regulations, resulting in (first) a win for RGS Guildford over Cranleigh – former finalists in the competition – and then in the final for St John’s Leatherhead. Thus in this group Charterhouse, finalists in 2018, were knocked out in the first round. Former finalists Felsted were also knocked out in the first round by New Hall.


Magdalen College School 163-6 (20 overs),*Brighton 145-7
*Marlborough 161-8 (20 overs), Wiltshire Under-17 110-9
Free Foresters 268-3 dec,*Marlborough 267-8
*Haberdashers’ Aske’s 197-5 (40 overs), Aldenham 141
*Marlborough 212-9, Eton 104
*Dulwich 182, Incogniti 170
*Emanuel 166-4 (20 overs), Ibstock Place 91-7
*MCC 176-6 dec, Kirkham GS 115-8
Sedbergh 217 (40 overs)(G Hill 104), *Worksop 221-6
Myerscough Old Trafford 111 (40 overs)(O Green 7-24),*Sedbergh 115-3
XL Club 115 (R Bell 5-23),*Oakham 120-2
Cheltenham 134,*Clifton 137-6
Beechen Cliff 96 (40 overs),*Dauntsey’s 97-0 (Monkhouse Intersport League)
MCC 258-5 dec,*Felsted 261-4 (J Burslem 145 not out)
Tiffin 91,*Emanuel 94-5
*St Peter’s, York 223-6 (40 overs), Yorkshire Cricket College 224-6
York University 152,*St Peter’s, York 153-2
Worksop 221-6 (40 overs),*St Peter’s, York 99-1 (rain)
Bedford 174-9 (50 overs), *Oakham 177-4
Repton 154,*Malvern 157-1
*Christ’s Hospital 211-4 (40 overs) (G Freeman 102), Worth 124-9
Haberdashers’ Aske’s 212 (50 overs),*Magdalen College School 216-9
*Perse 183-7 (40 overs), Wellingborough 176-5
Eastbourne 266 (50 overs),*Whitgift 249
Uppingham 173 (S Young 5-38),*Felsted 175-2
*RGS Lancaster 133 (20 overs), Cheadle Hulme 118-9
Gresham’s 300-7 (50 overs)(B Wilcox 103),*Oundle 101
Royal Hospital School 144 (35 overs),*Gresham’s 147-1
*Hurstpierpoint 137-8 (20 overs), Brighton 126-6 (Langdale cup)
*Brighton 371-4 (50 overs), Epsom 111
*Bede’s 216 (50 overs), Cranleigh 220-8
*Marlborough 230 (50 overs) (B Spink 130), Sherborne 99
*Marlborough 212-9 (50 overs), Eton 104
*St Benedict’s Ealing 134-6 (20 overs), John Hampden GS 87
St Joseph’s 119-8 (20 overs), *Framlingham 121-5
*Cambridge University Crusaders 306-8 (50 overs). Framlingham 307-8
Ipswich 155. *Framlingham 156-9
Ipswich (girls) 133 (20 overs), *Framlingham 70
Latymer Upper 149, Alleyn’s 86
Bradfield 229-4 dec (J Nichols 101 not out),*Stowe 230-3
Worksop 234-8 (50 overs),*Shrewsbury 235-5
*Shrewsbury 241-7 (50 overs), Worcestershire CCC Academy 204-8
*Shrewsbury 314-5 (50 overs), Millfield 101
*Shrewsbury 186-2 (20 overs)(D Humes 70), Free Foresters 106-7
MCC 246-4 dec,*Rossall 178-4
RGS High Wycombe 98,*Merchant Taylors’, Northwood 99-0
*Bromsgrove 135-4 (20 overs), King Edward’s Birmingham 101-5

National Schools Twenty20 competition – round 1

East section group 2
*Uppingham 133-5, Loughborough GS 125-5
Stamford 156-7, Oakham 157-5
Oakham 176-4, *Uppingham 89-7
Oakham win the group

East section group 4
Perse 88, New Hall 92-5
Shenfield 148,*Felsted 150-2
*Felsted 126-4, New Hall 132-5
New Hall win the group

West Midlands and Wales section group 1
*Shrewsbury 174-3, Newcastle Under Lyme 103 -8
Newcastle Under Lyme 45, Ellesmere 46-2
*Shrewsbury 167-5, Ellesmere 58
Shrewsbury win the group

South East section group 2
*Cranleigh 129-9 , RGS Guildford 129-9 (match tied – RGS win on count back)
Charterhouse 130-9, St John’s Leatherhead 131-5
St John’s Leatherhead 143-8, RGS Guildford 143-8 (match tied – St John’s win on count back)
St John’s win the group

South East section group 3
Seaford 95-9,*Bede’s 96-0
Ashford 128, Eastbourne 132-2
Eastbourne 150-6,*Bede’s 153-4
Bede’s win the group

North London section group 1
*St Albans 148-7, Aldenham 107-6
Haileybury 119-8, Haberdashers’Aske’s 120-2
Haberdashers’ Aske’s 151-8, *St Albans 153-8
St Albans win the group

North London section group 2
*Merchant Taylors’ 132-6, Forest 93-8
Berkhamsted 164-9, UCS 114-6
*Merchant Taylors’ 171-9, Berkhamsted 103-9
Merchant Taylors’ win the group

South London section group 1
*Dulwich 216-2 (J Crowfoot 112 not out), Emanuel 140-4
Emanuel 140-8, KCS Wimbledon 142-5
*Dulwich 191-5, KCS Wimbledon 127
Tiffin withdrew
Dulwich win the group

South Central section group 4
*Bradfield 157-7, John Hampden 126-4
*Bradfield 107-6, Wellington 108-3
The Oratory withdrew
Wellington win the group

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