Tuesday May 24th 2011

The public exam system is completely out of control. It has long been the case that no proper teaching in Year 13 has happened in the summer term, and much the same applies to Year 11. Since 2001 Year 12 has also had public exams and now even Year 10 is taking modules. Where will it all end? No teaching at all; just exams. It?s a wonder that any cricket is played, and Masters i/c and coaches must be highly commended for what they achieve with so many obstacles placed in their way. Every week produces some excellent cricket.

In a game where the boffins at Wisden may have to search their records, a most remarkable feat of bowling took place at Lord Wandsworth when they played The Oratory. Following the home side?s 201 for six in their 35 overs, The Oratory were somewhat struggling at 97 for five, Ben Read having taken three for 20. What followed was amazing: in his next over, the same bowler took five wickets, finishing with eight for 20, seven of them bowled. More remarkable is that he is a bowler rarely seen these days: very gentle slow-medium pace, with slight away-swing. Older readers may be reminded of Basil D?Oliveira. The commentators nowadays call it ?taking the pace off the ball?.

St George?s, Weybridge have some formidable batsmen. Their captain, Will Grant, has already scored four unbeaten centuries after keeping wicket for 50 overs, and has scored over 600 runs in eight innings. However. in their recent game against Caterham he was dismissed for only two. It was left to Rory Snowball, scoring his maiden century (101 not out) and Tim Ming to score the runs, which amounted to a partnership of 212 for the second wicket. Alas, while Snowball reached three figures, Ming was stranded on 97 not out when their 30 overs ran out.

16-year-old Jack Mynott scored 117, in his third century of the season for Dauntsey?s, against MCC and thus earned himself a trip to Lord?s as a guest of MCC. However, his side fell two short of MCC?s total of 250 for four declared. Sounds like some expert captaincy from the MCC. He has scored 548 runs in the season, excluding Twenty20 games.

Stowe have some very good batsmen this season, which may explain why George Jackman and James Hill both find themselves still playing for the Under-15s. Against Oundle, Jackman scored 178 not out in a total of 218 for one in 35 overs. He earlier scored 134 not out in a 20 over match against Ousedale. Then James Hill scored 164 against Rugby in a 35 over game. Meanwhile, the 1st XI progressed in the National Twenty20 competition by beating a strong Bradfield side in the section play-offs. The latter beat both Harrow and Radley last week in the longer form of the game.

In a very exciting finish, Hymers just lost to Pocklington. Pocklington made a solid start and seemed on course for a big total. But the Hymers bowlers Matthew Fitzpatrick and Greg Lound pulled things back to restrict Pocklington to 197 all out. Hymers too started well but Jack Sowersby and Jack Mickland-Cooper reduced them to 84 for six. After a rally led by Matthew Fitzpatrick and Tom Haytack they reached 169 for seven until Fitzpatrick was out leaving Haytack with little support and they fell short by two runs.

Another cliff-hanger was at Sevenoaks, entertaining Haileybury. Sevenoaks were inserted on a good but green wicket. Lively seam bowling from Sam Boothby and Joshua Alibhai, supported by some excellent slip catching, reduced Sevenoaks to 11 for 3. 48 from Jack Hulston and a last wicket stand of 35 between Will Gill and Matt Hitchens helped to post a total of 141 all out. Joe Satt with 36 and Henry Hughes-D?Aeth with 27 took the Haileybury score to 82-1 with little drama. Then five wickets fell for just nine runs, leaving the match well poised, Jack Hulston taking three for 12 in a seven over spell. A well struck 25 from Ryan Toms took the visitors to within 20 runs of victory, which was finally achieved with a last wicket stand of 14, including the match-winning six from Joshua Alibhai. What would his coach have said if he had got himself out with such a daring stroke?

The highest-scoring match was at Bancroft?s where the two sides rattled up 619 in 90 overs, which included 27 sixes and 10 balls lost somewhere in Epping Forest. Bancroft?s made 330 for five in their 45 overs led by their captain, Nigel Jacob, with his second successive century (148), well supportd by Daniel Willoughby with 72 not out. Brentwood replied in equally positive style, keeping up with the run-rate required for 35 overs, but the target was finally too much and they finished at 289 for four.

Cranleigh overcame Dulwich thanks to centuries by two brothers Jack (104) and Bradley Scriven (102). Both were reprimanded by their coach for getting out to loose shots having just reached the milestone! In Edinburgh, Harry Edwards for Fettes is averaging 150, having scored 600 runs in seven innings, three of them not out. This includes three centuries and three fifties.

Norwich are enjoying a fine season where they have won every match except one: against Wymondham, they fell short by six runs, having lost their last four wickets for 12 runs. Sam Plater has been the driving force with three hundreds.

Clifton are also enjoying an excellent season in the strong West Country circuit, having won every match, including their National Twenty20 ones. The only blemish was a loss in a pre-season warm-up with Filton Academy, whom they play on Thursday in the clincher for the Twenty20 Bristol group. On Saturday, they won a thrilling game by seven runs against Monmouth, 249 for six in their 50 overs playing 242 all out. Last week they beat Cheltenham who had earlier beaten Radley who in turn had beaten Wellington (Berks), who had beaten Bradfield, who had beaten Winchester. Wellington also beat Eton last week.

Three King?s College Taunton boys from the last two years played for Somerset 1st XI against Sussex at Hove last week: Jos Buttler (the Young Wisden Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year 2009), Alex Barrow and Craig Meschede. Down the road at Taunton School, Thomas Abell’s 186 not out was the highest ever individual score for the school, breaking a record that has stood for 125 years. He also scored 141 not out at Colston’s last Saturday.

As the National Twenty20 competition reaches its later stages, there are only a few schools left battling it out for a place at Lord?s (Nursery ground) on July 8th. Sedbergh play King?s Macclesfield in the North-West section final and they will play Durham who won the North-East section final on Sunday. In the West Country, Blundell?s play Queen?s Taunton today (Tuesday 24th) and Clifton play Filton Academy on Thursday to determine the Taunton and Bristol group winners respectively. Millfield, with a bye, defeated Plymouth who had won the first group round against Canford, Sherborne and Bryanston. In the South London section, St Joseph?s (from Ipswich ? long story) play Colfe?s and the winner will play Hampton who overcame Dulwich last week. To see the current state of play click here.

Results:

*Bloxham 79 (35 overs), Stowe 84-5

*St George?s, Weybridge 221-1 (30 overs) (R Snowball 101 not out), Caterham 87

*Hurstpierpoint 212-7 (50 overs), St George?s, Weybridge 134

*St George?s, Weybridge 297-5 (35 overs) (W Grant 144 not out), St Benedict?s 72 (A Colville 6-20)

*Lord Wandsworth 197-7 (40 overs), St George?s, Weybridge 200-4 (W Grant 110 not out)

MCC 250-4 dec, *Dauntsey?s 248 (J Mynott 117)

Bristol Grammar School 114?9, Queen Elizabeth?s Hospital 115-4

Gentlemen of Suffolk 166, *Framlingham 168-2 (B Wright 124 not out)

Clayesmore 127-7 (20 overs), *Canford 131-3

*Lord Wandsworth College 201-6 (35 overs), Oratory 97 (B Read 8-20)

Ampleforth 67 (R McGlashan 5-17), *Durham 70-1

*Barnard Castle 54, Durham 55-1

*Merchiston Castle 191-5 (50 overs), Fettes 192-7

Pocklington 197 (50 overs), *Hymers 195

*Clayesmore 232-9 (35 overs), Wells Cathedral 98

*Denstone 265-2 (40 overs)(A Thomson 131 not out), King Henry VIII Coventry 95 (J Warren 5-33)

*Haberdashers’ Aske’s 290-5 (40 overs), St Albans 240

*Dauntsey’s 211-7 (40 overs), KES Bath 166 (Peak Sports League)

Winchester 174 (50 overs), *Charterhouse 175-5

Kirkham GS 173 (A Yates 7-59),*KEQMS, Lytham 88

Uppingham 271-8 (50 overs), *Repton 275-8

*Bancroft’s 330-5 (45 overs)(N Jacob 148). Brentwood 289-4

*Merchant Taylor’s, Crosby 258-3 dec (S Lucas 172 not out), Rossall 249-5

Wellington (Berks) 289-8 (55 overs) (W Leith 103), *Eton 273-9

Cranleigh 300-5 (50 overs) (J Scriven 104, B Scriven 102), *Dulwich 276

*Sevenoaks 141, Haileybury 143-9

*King’s Canterbury 240-5 dec, Felsted 137-6

*Loughborough GS 106 (50 overs), RGS Worcester 107-2

*Harrow 243-7 (55 overs), Tonbridge 84

*Tonbridge 327-7 (T Harvey 156), Free Foresters 309

Cardiff University 233-8 (50 overs), *Millfield 234-7

*Woodhouse Grove 201-7dec, QEGS Wakefield 148

Kingston GS 159-6 (35 overs), *Christ?s Hospital 161-2

*Christ?s Hospital 131, Ardingly 135-3

*RGS Guildford 227-9 (50 overs), St George?s, Weybridge 228-2 (W Grant 130 not out)

Sussex Martlets 161, *St George?s, Weybridge 153 (M Barham 6-54)

Norwich 187-8 (40 overs), *Framlingham 157

MCC 294-5 (55 overs), *King’s Taunton 296-5

*Blundells 137, King?s Taunton 138-0

MCC 199-9 dec, *Fettes 172-8 (H Edwards 109 not out)

Strathallan 140, *Fettes 144-1

*Merchiston Castle 191-5 (50 overs), Fettes 192-7

*Harrow 188 (55 overs)(G Simpson 5-27), Bradfield 190-6

*Bradfield 281-9 (50 overs), Radley 226

Wymondham College 251, *Norwich 245 (S Plater 105)

*Norwich 219-5 (20 overs), University of East Anglia 150

Woodbridge 145-3 (35 overs), *Norwich 146-2 (S Plater 101 not out)

XL Club 227-8 dec, *Norwich 228-2 (S Plater 124)

Glenalmond 178-4 (25 overs), *High School of Glasgow 81-9

*Berkhamsted 182, Merchant Taylors’, Northwood 134

*Taunton 339-4 (50 overs)(T Abell 186 not out), King’s Bruton 138 (R Glover 5-30)

*Rugby 180, Stowe 169 (A Birkby 5-50)

Clifton 249-6 (50 overs), *Monmouth 242

Prior Park 103, *Monkton Combe 104-3

National Twenty20 competition

Stowe 151-4, Bradfield 138-8

Wellington 115-9, Abingdon 106

(Stowe play Wellington in the South Central section final)

Sedbergh 119-6, Bolton 111-5

King’s Macclesfield 176?6, King’s Chester 109

(Sedbergh play King?s Macclesfield in the North-West section final)

Barnard Castle 111-6, Durham 112-5

Leeds 163-3, Ashville 137-4

St Peters, York 112-9, Durham 113-6

Durham 200-5, Leeds 144-7

(Durham win the North-East section and play the winners of Sedbergh v King’s Macclesfield)

*Millfield 174-9, Plymouth 124-7

(Millfield win the group)

Wycliffe 87, *Clifton 88-1

(group round not yet complete)