The younger among us may wonder how it is that we are supposed to bowl 20 overs in the last hour when the norm is nowadays about 14 or 15, even in schools cricket. This is ridiculous. When I played in the 1960s and we had only three bowlers in our side, I usually bowled 30 overs on both Saturday and Sunday 2.15?5.15 then 5.30?8.30 (Ireland in April and May). Thus effectively a 60-over (though declaration) match played over six hours. And I was an opening bowler. Bowl the ball, start walking back and then bowl again. The trouble is that we see so much faffing about on the TV, with young lads rushing onto the pitch with refreshments or whatever at every pause, that schools cricketers have begun to think that dawdling is the norm.
Rain interrupted several matches at the weekend. After a late start at The Manchester Grammar School, Shrewsbury were inserted on a wicket which was dry but conditions rather bleak. Oliver Westbury batted well for his 100 with support from Harry Adair (58) and George Lewis (31 not out). 207 for three, even in the reduced total of 40 overs, seemed slightly under par. Manchester kept up well with the rate, leaving 13 to score from the last 10 balls and only two wickets down. However, some tight bowling and kamikaze running led to four run-outs in that period and left the home side one short at the close.
Though Winchester were in the ascendancy for much of their match with Eton, the latter just managed to sneak home after some brave performances. Perhaps unwisely choosing to bat first in overcast conditions, Eton were soon 61 for six. After some quality batting by Nico MacDonagh with 82, Eton managed 202 for eight in their 50 overs, Angus Woodman taking four for 34; not really a competitive score these days. In reply Winchester were led by a fine performance from Daniel Escott with an excellent 101 not out, his third century of the season. With good support from Henry Portman, this meant that only 26 were needed from the last five overs. However, tight bowling by Will Whipple, and keeping the dangerous Escott at the non-striker?s end increased the rate to eight from the final over, and only six were achieved. Escott is believed to be the only Wykehamist to have played all his games at the school for the 1st XI.
Another cliffhanger was at Bryanston where two Upper Sixth formers played their final game for the school and both made a mark. The captain Paddy Oakshott made 106 while Hugh Mackay scored 51. The total of 179 for three (in 35 overs) wasn?t really enough on a good wicket but some useful bowling kept wickets falling at regular intervals. Clayesmore nevertheless kept up with the required rate. When the ninth wicket fell in the 30th over on a score of 152 Bryanston seemed to have broken the Clayesmore resistance. However the game swung back Clayesmore?s way again as their number 10 batsman Luke Askew hit two fours and started to dominate the bowling. Reaching the last over, with four balls left and Clayesmore just two runs away from a hard-earned victory Aidan Guinness clung on to a catch running round at backward square leg off the bowling of Alex Forge to seal an exciting win for Bryanston.
On a glorious day, the Free Foresters batted first against St Edward?s Oxford. Gus Kennedy put in an accomplished innings and finished on 125 not out when the Foresters declared on 254 for four from 54 overs. The St Edward?s opening pair Calvin Dickinson and Will Bull started the reply in impressive fashion simply by playing straight and picking off the bad balls. They accumulated an opening partnership of 239, before Dickinson fell for 138 in the 43rd over. Bull went on to reach his century, and was left not out on 111 when St Edward?s knocked off the runs for the loss of only one wicket. Their opening partnership was the highest in the school?s history, and came hot on the heels of Dickinson?s record breaking 181 at The Oratory.
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*Eton 202-8 (50 overs), Winchester 200-6 (D Escott 101 not out)
Shrewsbury 207-3 (40 overs) (O Westbury 100), *Manchester GS 206-6
*Reigate GS 166-3 (35 overs), Sevenoaks 148 (O Simms 5-31)
Bede’s 302-9 (50 overs), Brighton 153-9
MCC 196-6 dec, *Oakham 149-9
*Eastbourne 243-3 (30 overs) (J Smith 109 not out), Sevenoaks 121-6
MCC 261-1 dec;*Glasgow Academy 112-6
*Felsted 199, Oakham 73
Bryanston 101, *Milton Abbey 90-8
*Clayesmore 209-6 (40 overs), King’s Bruton 163-5
Harrow 220-7 (35 overs), *Radley 90
MCC 234-9 dec, *Stowe 211-8
*Oratory 202-5 (25 overs), Shiplake 148-6
*Eastbourne 232-9, Bede’s 220
*Reed?s 190, Merchant Taylors’, Northwood 192-8 (A Thomas 115 not out)
Eastbourne 316-6 (50 overs) (J Smith 144), Trinity Croydon 243-7
*Bryanston 179-3 (35 overs)(P Oakshott 106), Clayesmore 177
MCC 301-1 dec (A Hyslop 114 not out, A Baum 125 not out), *High School of Glasgow 24
*George Watson?s 252-6 (30 overs), High School of Glasgow 145-7
*St. Paul?s 237-7 (50 overs), Reed?s 238-7
Taunton 102 (C Harrison 5-18), *King?s Taunton 103-1
Gloucestershire CCC Under-17s 98 (C Harrison 5-9), *King?s Taunton 99-4
National Twenty20 competiton latest results
North East section final
*Woodhouse Grove 122, St Peter?s York 72
Woodhouse Grove now play Sedbergh for a place on finals day
West Midlands and Wales section semi-final
*Monmouth 109. Wrekin 110-3
Wrekin now play Malvern in the section final
South London section final
Reed’s 164-7, Whitgift 143
Reed?s now play St Albans in the London section finals
South West section semi-final
Millfield 169-7, King’s Taunton 109
Millfield now play SGS (Filton) in the section final