Tuesday May 28th 2019

I am much inclined to agree with my son, a good cricketer and astute observer Thus have proper declaration game or 20-over one. The 50-over format has had its day and was always intended just to liven up a game if captains made poor declarations. I read the other day that Ted Dexter, as Sussex captain, was the first to realise (successfully) that overs cricket was essentially a defensive game. Bowlers shouldn’t bother to take wickets; their business was to restrict scoring. Field-settings (and offspinners firing the ball to leg-stump with a packed legside field) showed it until the authorities cleverly introduced power-plays so that you couldn’t just plonk six players on the boundary for much of the innings and bowl five medium-pacers-back-of-a length. Cue endless and extremely tedious pushing of singles for overs 15-40. It was amazingly only fairly recently, maybe with the introduction of “Twenty20”, that captains came to realise that if you want to slow the scoring rate then it’s (good) spinners who will do it. They may even have realised that getting a good player out early is the best way to stop him (or her) scoring.

On the final Friday of the first half of term Ipswich entertained Gresham’s in the National Schools T20 Competition, both having won their respective groups. Gresham’s got off to a flyer with Hudson de Lucchi (62) and Sakhu Ndlela (40) scoring 112 for the opening partnership. The innings slowed towards the end with fine bowling from Andrew Whitehead taking four wickets. Gresham’s closed on 156 for six. Likewise Ipswich got off to a flyer with Guy Haynes and Joe MacGregor scoring 42 each. A hat-trick by left-arm quick bowler Finlay Wilcox put a brake on the innings. A cat and mouse game ensued in the final six overs. Needing 11 off the final over Ipswich lost a wicket but edged towards needing six from the final ball. This was indeed dispatched to the very short boundary on the leg side for victory. A very high-quality schoolboy match which either team might deservedly have won.

In glorious weather St Peter’s York, alma mater of Jonny Bairstow, became the first section winners of this year’s National Schools Twenty20 competition to take the North East crown. They will now meet the North West winners for a place on regional Finals Day at Arundel (Sunday June 30th). In the semi-final against Birkdale Matthew Roberts unleashed an almost chanceless 108 not out in only 46 balls to reach a demanding 219 for one. However, at the end of the six-over powerplay, Birkdale were going well at 66 for one but fell away once the spinners took control. Things were tighter in the final against Worksop. Some fine bowling in the middle overs restricted St Peter’s to 160 for seven. In reply Worksop raced away with 57 for two in the powerplay but once again the spinners took control and in a tight, finely-contested match Worksop failed to squeeze home, losing by only 13 runs.

With half-term came very few results from Saturday and probably very few next Saturday except possibly from Scotland where half-term tends to be only a few days.

Results:

*Norwich 198-5 (40 overs), Perse 153 (J Hardy 6-16)
Wells Cathedral School 88, *Clayesmore 89-4
Sherborne 2nd XI 122-7, *Clayesmore 118-6
*Bede’s 195-7 (20 overs), Christ’s Hospital 68 (Langdale Cup semi-final)
Bede’s 159-7 (20 over),*Brighton 122-6 (Langdae Cup final)
St Edward’s 270-6 (50 overs)(B Charlesworth 115),*Radley 275-4 (F Horler 125 not out)
Yorkshire Gentlemen 156,*St Peter’s York 157-5
MCC 199-8 dec,*Haileybury 203-4
*Clifton 174-3 (20 overs) (O Meadows 100 not out), Old Cliftonians 102
*Durham 138-9 (20 overs), Old Dunelmians 139-0