Tuesday June 2nd
There was very little schools cricket played last week because of half-term ? by Sod?s Law, Saturday was a glorious afternoon for cricket in most parts ? but it gives me the opportuntiy to highlight other parts of the schools game.
Prep schools receive no press coverage, despite being the cradle of a surprisingly large proportion of first-class and Test cricketers. Even Under-19 teams receive (now) no coverage at all in any national newspaper. Wisden retains its support of schools cricket with its traditional publication of senior schools? statistics, though somewhat reduced from earlier years (for further details, see this website). Therefore, the relatively recently introduced Preparatory Schools Almanac, now in its fifth year, is particularly welcome in filling the gap.
This year the almanac has persuaded Sir John Major, not a prep school product, to contribute an engaging foreword. More alarmingly, the editor castigates some prep schools for following their elders in the business of ?making more noise? or even sledging. On this website, you will find (under Laws of the Game) HMC guidelines trying to curb this ? frankly ? breach of the Laws. The heart of the book is a double-page spread about the performance of each school in detail, but it is interspersed with interesting short articles: an intriguing comparison between cricket and fishing, an enlightening portrait of Geoffrey Bolton, long-time schoolmaster at Summer Fields and President of the Sussex Martlets, and ? new for this season ? lists of leading performers in the manner of Wisden. All this plus several other interesting short articles illustrated with some fine photographs, it is recommended highly. Copies may be ordered via [email protected]
Following on from last week?s regret that there was only one schools two-day game still being played, I am reprimanded by Durham who played such a fixture against the town. Result below.
The lack of schools cricket results to comment on also gives me room to highlight a remarkable state school in Somerset. I wrote this piece in 2004, but The Times couldn?t find space to publish it. It has been sitting in our results archive for three weeks, but I now re-publish it with some pictures I took at the time. I am hoping to re-visit this remarkable school and Headmistress in the next few weeks and shall report again on progress.
STATE SCHOOL CRICKET BOOMING
Marie Getheridge is a comprehensive Headmistress who
is quite certain that cricket should be firmly on the
curriculum. At Writhlington School in Somerset, she
has raised ?3.5 million in the last four years from
private sources, including considerable support from
Somerset CCC. Her school is one of four centres of
cricket excellence in the county.
Her persuasive ways have already produced a most
impressive sports hall, with superb facilities for
cricket including four nets (with space for more) and
a video-analysis system. That was merely stage one of
her plans to make her school outstandingly
well-equipped for sport: four brand-new tennis courts
(with assistance from the LTA), two of them coverable
in winter with a ?balloon?, sit alongside the new
sports hall. Next year sees the development of the
cricket square and outdoor nets.
Mrs Getheridge is not some sports nut; indeed she
herself has no background in sport. She sees the
development of sport (and cricket in particular) as
the best way of improving standards overall, and
already it seems to be working: from a modest 20%
gaining 5 or more A-C GCSEs five years ago, her pupils
now achieve 60%, and she expects more. ?Cricket is a
civilising influence?, she says. ?Pupils learn to
co-operate through team games, and they can achieve
real excellence. In doing so, they gain in self-esteem
and it rubs off in other areas, especially the
classroom. I can?t stand the idea that comprehensives
produce mass mediocrity?.
Even better than famous cricket schools, every
year-group from Under 12 to Under 19 has its own
cricket team. Already, the local community are using
the new sports facilities and it is quite difficult to
book space of an evening; Mrs Getheridge envisages a
dynamic partnership between the school and the
surrounding area, with courses and coaching available
for young and old alike. She even wants to found a new
local cricket club once the square is improved, to
compete in the thriving North Somerset cricket scene.
Who said that sport in state schools was dead?
Results (*denotes the home side)
(any corrections may be sent to [email protected])
XL Club 162-6 dec, *Monkton Combe 151-9
Gordonstoun 311-4 (50 overs), *Merchiston 233
MCC 181-6 dec (M D Hays 100), *High School of Glasgow 63
*High School of Glasgow 152-8 (30 overs), Hutchesons? GS 97
Durham City 241 & 220, Durham School 250 (S Hardy 107 not out) & 156
*Merchant Taylors?, Northwood 240-7 dec (W Magie 108 not out), H C Latchman?s XI 220-8
Old Uppinghamians 174-8 dec, *Uppingham 175-6