Surprisingly few results this week, given the pretty good weather on Saturday. Can it be that many schools were on exeat on one of the few Saturdays when play has been possible? I?m afraid that is quite likely.
An admittedly tongue-in-cheek observation by Giles Coren in The Times on Saturday [?Don?t go to the cricket. Cricket is over. The roundheads have taken over?] and one or two other chance encounters and observations set me thinking. Would the great England cricketers of my youth and even later have been playing even countyand therefore Test cricket under modern selection procedures? The spectacular development of gym-work ? and its importance in selecting young professional cricketers – has improved fitness levels immeasurably (well, probably measurably). Yes, fielding has improved at professional level, but it has always been quite easy to drill any school team ? usually pretty fit young men anyway – quite quickly into a brilliant fielding outfit. However, one cannot but observe that the fast bowlers nowadays are paradoxically breaking down and suffering injuries with all the gym stuff more often than in the old days when they actually bowled far more overs.
Part of me wonders whether our modern selection and training methods are unconsciously aimed at producing a brilliant fielding side rather than batsmen or bowlers. Would Colin Cowdrey, Tom Graveney, Peter May, Harold Gimblett, Mike Gatting, Tom Cartwright or even Fred Trueman, not to mention Colin Milburn or David Shepherd, survive the scrutiny of gym tests and BMI measurements? Ted Dexter and David Gower (not to mention Garry Sobers et al) would probably be filtered out for their cavalier persuasion.
An impassioned letter from a former distinguished Master i/c laments the decline in over rates which has now reached even schools cricket. I sat at Lord?s on Thursday wondering how on earth a side of medium-pacers with short runs and a fair amount of spin could manage only about 12 overs per hour. It may not be obvious to younger players that the ?20 overs in the last hour? law came about because of chicanery (time-wasting) but the rate set was then the norm in all forms of the game. In the professional game there is nowadays an absurd amount of faffing about (young lads rushing on with towels, drinks, changes of gloves, smelling salts, built-in refreshment intervals whether needed or not etc etc etc etc) but there is none of this nonsense in schools cricket. He proposes a campaign to insist on at least 18 overs per hour ? with a penalty, as happens in Twenty20 cricket – in all school overs matches and that declaration matches should be what is known as a ?100-over? game (preferably 110), whereby the first side has a limit on how late it can declare. See our guide to Various formats of school games. I looked at this HMC schools recommendation myself today – for the first time in five years – and was surprised to find that a minimum of 18 overs per hour was assumed, and that 55 overs games are recommended and 110-overs for declaration games. And quite right too.
There was a fine all-round performance by Cameron Rule for Ipswich against The Perse, Cambridge. First he batted for 52 overs on a difficult pitch to score an unbeaten 113 in a total of 200 for eight declared, and followed by taking six for 27 with his off-spin to bowl out the hosts for his own score, 113, ably assisted by the leg-spin of Patrick Young (four for 44)..
The National Twenty20 nears its final stages. After severe disruption because of weather (and exams) we are now promised a good spell of dry weather. In the North East Woodhouse Grove won their area final against Durham and now play Bolton, winners of the North West, for a place on finals day at Arundel on July 4th (10am start). Batting first, the Grove achieved a challenging 153 for three in their twenty overs, by dint of an opening blast of 57 from Patrick Dixon with three sixes and seven fours, and then supported by captain Dylan Budge with 54. Durham lost early wickets in reply but briefly threatened through Matthew Whaley who made 41 before being well caught on the boundary, but they fell short by 27 runs.
In the South Central section there was a thrilling area final when Bradfield met St Edward?s Oxford on the neutral ground of The Oratory. St Edward?s found runs hard to come by against the impressive bowling and fielding, with Oliver Smithson taking three for 13 and Tom Edwards two for 16. Scoring only 30 for four from the first five, they were falling behind but were rallied somewhat by Alexander Woodland and William Cornish. However, 98 all out was hardly a forbidding total. In reply, the game?s fortunes immediately swung with Haider Bhatti?s four for three from four overs, leaving Bradfield perilously on 11 for four. Harry Crane?s 33 not out kept Bradfield in the hunt but wickets fell round him and they were bowled out for 87 in the final over, 11 runs short.
Worth 103-8 (20 overs), *Bede’s 106-2 (Langdale cup semi-final)
Rugby CC 197, Rugby 198-3 (M Taylor 112 not out)
MCC 205-9 dec, *Oakham 157-8
George Watson?s 173-9 (35 overs), *High School of Glasgow 92
*Taunton 200-9 (50 overs), King’s Taunton 204-1 (N Brand 119 not out)
*Shrewsbury 205-8 (50 overs), Manchester GS 101 (H Blofield 5-29)
*QEGS Wakefield 259-3 (50 overs) (T Booth 154 not out), Hymers 70-9
Brighton 158-9 (50 overs), *Bede’s 159-4
*King’s Bruton 111, Clayesmore 116-7 (D Clutterbuck 5-24)
*Wellington 240-8 (55 overs), Tonbridge 167
Churcher’s 176 (50 overs), *King Edward VI, Southampton 118
*King Edward’s Bath 134 (40 overs), Prior Park 136-7
*Bishop Vesey 122, Denstone 123-3
Ipswich 200-8 dec (C Rule 113 not out), *The Perse 113 (C Rule 6-27)
*Haberdashers’ Aske’s 204-8 (42 overs, reduced from 50), Bedford Modern 97
Felsted 198-9 dec, *Oakham 131-4
City of London Freemans 158 (R Powell 5-32), *Caterham 159-5
Cranleigh 215-5 (50 overs), *Eastbourne 106
*Woodhouse Grove 241-6 (50 overs), St Peter?s York 175-7
Clifton 221-9 (50 overs), *Blundell?s 225-7
Monkton Combe 162-9 (40 overs), *Dauntsey?s 163-3 (Peak Sports League)
Aylesbury 168-6, *St Albans 171-6
*Stowe 258 (G Jackman 138), Bedford 209-7
MCC 236-6 dec, *Stowe 208-7
MCC 197 (H Came 5-28), *Bradfield 173-8
Bradfield 221-8 (50 overs), *Whitgift 101 (O Smithson 5-15)
Malvern 302-3 (50 overs)(A Milton 128, F Martin 115 not out), *Millfield 303-5 (O Ebsworth-Burland 139)
Bristol GS 159 (40 overs), *Colston?s 163-7
*Uppingham 97, Rugby 98-3
National Schools Twenty20 competition
North-East section second seni-final and final
GSAL 72, Durham 73-0
Woodhouse Grove 153-3, Durham 126-9
Woodhouse Grove win the North East and now play Bolton (North West winners)
Eastern section A final
*Bedford 180-9, Stamford 58
Bedford now play the winners of the West Midlands (Denstone or Malvern) for a place on finals day
South Central section final
*St Edward’s Oxford 98, Bradfield 87
St Edward?s now play the winners of the South West (Millfield) for a place on finals day