Fingernails were gnawed to the cuticles in several matches this week. Pride of place goes to the tie between Bloxham who in a declaration match against Wellingborough were bowled out for 144 having been inserted in favourable bowling conditions. This moderate target for Wellingborough began to seem trickier as wickets fell regularly and only 16-year-old Marc Bell with 78 showed any resistance. With nine down and nearly three overs remaining, 11 were still needed. With three balls left the scores were tied and remained so to the conclusion when the number ten chipped a leg-stump half-volley to midwicket. This is the third year in succession that the outcome of this fixture has been decided in the last over.
There was an improbable victory for Berkhamsted when they entertained Merchant Taylors? Northwood. In a typically exciting low-scoring match where batsmen seemed to have their minds on lower things like exams and the wicket seemed benign enough, Merchant Taylors? were dismissed for 129, Harvey Robertson taking four for 17. The home side were seriously struggling at 92 for nine and defeat seemed inevitable. Cometh the hour and all that. Josh Ryan at number 10 (32 not out), together with heroic number 11 Oliver Lansdowne holding the fort at the other end with five in 54 balls, put on 39 for the last wicket to win the match. Savraj Lotta for Merchant Taylors? took four for 20.
Clayesmore at home made an immediate impact against Poole Grammar School with an LBW first ball, but Poole rallied with a solid stand of 123 for the fourth wicket to set a demanding total of 207 for four, Ben Mogg reaching 67. Clayesmore started well but then lost wickets at regular intervals. With 70 needed and seven wickets down, the target seemed daunting, but the tail wagged, leaving Clayesmore to score five from seven balls with nine down. Alas for the home side, number 11 was dismssed four short of the target.
We still haven?t finished with fingernail-chewing.
City of London Freemen’s batted first on a slow wicket against John Fisher. After two wickets fell early, Marcus Dawes steadied the ship with 33 off 82 balls, but wickets tumbled, leaving City of London Freemen’s on 95 for seven off 37 overs. A lower order partnership of 47 from captain Alex Culhane and Ben Lumsden took City of London Freemen’s to 155 for nine from 47 overs where they declared. John Fisher started well, scoring 44 for one off 12 overs. Some tight bowling and great field placements limited John Fisher to 118 for five off 35 overs. A close finish was drawing in some excellent bowling from Marcus Dawes (five for 27 off 12) and ensured the John Fisher batsmen had little to score from. With seven runs required the final wicket fell in the 43rd over when Under-15 wicket-keeper Tom Abraham took a stumping and claimed the win for City of London Freemen’s.
Shrewsbury and Sedbergh, two of the strongest schools in the North West, if not the country, have played each other in recent years only since 2009. Their previous encounter was in 1913 when presumably travel (by train) took several hours.This is famous in the annals of Sedbergh cricket as they won the two-day game by eight wickets with H. E. Appleyard taking 14 wickets in the match, including 10-44 in the first innings.
Anyway, this week?s game was very much tighter altogether. It was transferred at a very late stage to Shrewsbury as Sedbergh had been deluged for days. Sedbergh started badly with ten for two and then 78 for four because of silly run-outs, in which they seem to specialise (see April 30th). However, skipper Charlie Parker rescued things (again) with an excellent 75 and with good support from Tom Carlyle and Miles Lloyd took the innings to 176 for seven at the close (50 overs). In reply, Shrewsbury were always up with the rate but the introduction of spinners Stephen Croft (four for 41) and Tom Carlyle (four for 34) saw wickets fall regularly. At 109 for seven Sedbergh seemed well on top but England Under-19 international Ed Barnard found a useful partner in Charlie Kidson and the pair took the score to 138 before Kidson was stumped off Carlyle. While Barnard remained Shrewsbury were in with a good chance but when he was bowled by Carlyle for 60 at the end of the 47th over the game swung back Sedbergh’s way. Eight were needed off the last over but tight bowling from Parker built the pressure and a run out on the fourth ball secured victory for the visitors.
Further reports on the Atherton syndrome, also in the nail-biting category. As I vaguely remember it, the former England captain several times lost his wicket in the late nineties. I reported two weeks ago that Richard O?Grady of Tonbridge lost his wicket on 99. Last week, against Eton, he managed only 98. And that was, in the same match, after Eton?s Justin Langen had gone for 96. Most startling dismissal on 99, however, goes to the Swedish player (future international?) Torsten Wrigley of St George?s Weybridge. He was not just dismissed on 99, but the ball which dismissed him was a complete miscue (as it were) from a seam bowler which bounced twice before bowling him. Shades of serious under-seven cricket on Weston-super-Mare sands.
Among other remarkable individual performances of the week, Luke Hansford?s innings was interesting in that it was a very hastily arranged (via Schools Cricket Online) last-minute fixture in the first place. Christ?s Hospital have a legendary 120-strong band who not only play every day in public, but every year at Lord?s. As it was a Saturday this year, their XI was quite seriously depleted and so an A XI played against Hampton 2nd XI who were at a loose end. Hampton bowled extremely well but Hansford struck six sixes and 14 fours in his 143 not out, the last 61 runs coming from 16 balls.
Rugby?s seam bowler Matthew Karslake is already making a name for himself though still only in Year 11. He reduced Oundle last week to 96 all out with figures of five for 18 and did still better this week with five for 10 to dismiss Stowe for a very modest 79.
Will Jacks, mentioned last week for his 221 not out, scored 166 not out this week for the St George?s Weybridge Under-14s against RGS Guildford off only 68 balls, his third century in four games. He has scored 614 runs in seven innings before half-term at an average of 153. Why isn?t he playing for the 1st XI, I wonder?
St George’s, Weybridge 248-7 (50 overs), *Lord Wandsworth 185
Poole GS 207-4 (30 overs), *Clayesmore 203
MCC 174, *RGS Guildford 175?4 (A Sweet 115)
KCS Wimbledon 228-5, *RGS Guildford 229?3
Gentlemen of Leicestershire CC 196-5 dec, *Oakham 173-4
*Dr Challoner?s GS 143-6 (25 overs), Aylesbury GS 125-7
*Dulwich 226-9 (50 overs), Cranleigh 230-7
Dean Close 128-7 (35 overs), *Malvern 132-1
Brighton 190-7 (50 overs) (B Broughton 5-44), *Cranleigh 192-2
*Eton 203, Tonbridge 206-3
Stowe 79 (M Karslake 5-10), *Rugby 81-5
Clayesmore 142-8 dec (D Baldwin 5-45), *King’s Bruton 144-3
Wells Cathedral 94-8 (30 overs), *Clayesmore 95-6
QEH Bristol 188-5 (40 overs), *Queen?s Taunton 175-7
*St Edward’s 233-8 dec (M Hammond 142 not out), Abingdon 126-6
*Harrow 239-8 (55 overs), Dulwich 240-8
*Blundell?s 180 (50 overs), King’s Taunton 182-2
*Denstone 159-7 (40 overs), Trent 59
*Haberdashers’ Aske’s 167-5 (40 overs), St Albans 112
King Edward’s Bath 118 (40 overs) (L Hannaford 5-19), *Dauntsey’s 119-2 (Peak Sports League)
Winchester 191-8 (50 overs), *Charterhouse 192-6
Felsted 254-5 dec, *King’s Canterbury 193-7 (J Foley 5-67 )
*Lancing 163-4 dec, Portsmouth GS 164-3
*Marlborough 156, Wellington (Berks) 160-7
*Warwick 289-5 (50 overs)(H Philpot 136), Oakham 259-7
*Denstone 225, Staffordshire Under-16s 86
*Bloxham 144, Wellingborough 144
Sedbergh 176-7 (50 overs), *Shrewsbury 171
City of London Freemen’s 155-9 (47 overs), *John Fisher 148 (M Dawes 5-27)
Epsom 192, *St John’s Leatherhead 195-4
Ipswich 181-4 (30 overs), *Bishop’s Stortford College 156-9
RGS Worcester 202-4 (50 overs), *Loughborough GS 131
*Christ?s Hospital ?A? 200-6 (35 overs) (L Hansford 143 not out), Hampton 2nd XI 141
Butterflies CC 81, *Bradfield 84-3
Radley 201-7 (50 overs), *Bradfield 204-4
St George’s, Weybridge 239-9 (50 overs), *RGS Guildford 209
Sussex Martlets 209-6, *St George?s, Weybridge 211-5 (Wrigley 99)
Merchant Taylors?, Northwood 129, *Berkhamsted 131-9
Ellesmere 239-7 dec (A Prakash 100 not out),*Wrekin 157-7
National Twenty20 competition
North East section play-offs
RGS Newcastle conceded to Durham
Durham now play in the North East finals with Woodhouse Grove, St Peter?s York and GSAL
North East section finals
The Grammar School at Leeds 109, *St Peter?s, York 110-2
Woodhouse Grove 120-5. Durham 121-5
*St Peter?s, York 144-6. Durham 120-7
St Peter?s York win the final and now play the North West finals winner
East section B play-offs
Bedford 113-8, Trent 94
Bedford win the section final and now play Felsted in the final of the East section. The winner than plays the West Midlands winner for a place on Nation Finals Day at Arundel
West Midlands group 3 (results reported earlier but not scores)
Wolverhampton GS 157, Solihull 155-5
Wolverhampton GS 125-4, Adams GS 115-9
Solihull 150-4 Adams GS 154-2
Wolverhampton GS win the group
South West section group 1
SGS (Filton) 92-5, Clifton 93-1
QEH 57, SGS (Filton) 58-0
BGS v QEH (No result ? rain)
Winners: Clifton; Runners-up: SGS (Filton)
Clifton now play Monkton Combe and SGS (Filton) play Kingswood