One of the more tiresome features of the T20 or “100” format is the assumption that cricket is all about the batsman, preferably hitting endless sixes. This may be good for the professional box office, and particularly for those in the crowd who hate cricket; but it is not cricket. Catches win matches, but so do bowlers.
There was a fine illustration of this when Kirkham Grammar School, at their local club Kirkham and Wesham CC, were going nicely in their National Schools T20 and were well placed at 74 for three from 11 overs, chasing Rossall’s 157 for four; the latter had been 77 for three at the same point.
In the 13th over, Joseph (Joey) Warwick – Rossall’s fifth bowler – entered the attack with his accurate medium pace. He took three wickets in his first over (caught behind, caught and bowled, and bowled); in his second took a further wicket, well caught in the outfield off a top edge; and in his third he bowled both a wide and a perfect yorker to take his fifth wicket, thus sealing the game. At the other end in the same spell Tim Woodman also took two wickets while conceding 12 runs. Thus Joey Warwick finished with the astonishing figures of five wickets for two runs (one a wide) from three overs. And earned a place for Rossall in the North West semi-finals as the best runner-up.
It is sometimes wondered why the National Schools T20 Net Run Rate differs from the professional game. The answer is partly to be found in my first paragraph. If your aim is simply to get as many spectators as possible into the ground, that is one thing. But to a cricketer, the real thrill of hitting sixes is when you are taking a serious risk that you may lose your valuable wicket in the process; that is, where wickets really matter, in a much longer game. If when batting it doesn’t matter too much whether you are out or not, then that is far less exciting; anybody can just slog. In a competition for schoolboys, one wants to discourage the throwaway culture. Not only that, but it is also intended to encourage the taking of wickets (rather than bowling defensively), which is anyway the best method for curtailing the run rate. Our NRR (like Duckworth Lewis) takes wickets into account and normally has no effect on the result of a match; but it may affect progress in the competition when points are otherwise equal. Surely Team A scoring 140 for 0 has done better as a team than Team B which scores a more rapid 141 for 9? Team B wins and gets more points, but Team A gets some possible competition credit because of their bowlers. If you don’t think so, then you must suppose that the performance of batsmen is the only currency worth considering. We don’t agree.
Schools cricket hit a first last week when Bryanston and Canford played a match under the “100” format, that is, 10 x 10-ball overs. History does not record whether the new proposed language of cricket was used. If so, then Canford won by eight outs. There may well be more such matches which will cause chaos for statisticians everywhere, not least at Wisden. It’s our old friend comparing oranges and lemons; in this case matching up balls bowled if any comparisons are to be made. I’m not convinced of the purpose of this format elsewhere than in the professional game (or even there!). It seems to save only a few minutes.
The ball was very much in the ascendant (maybe allied to some rusty batting skills and a slow wicket) when Wellington (Berkshire) entertained Marlborough. The home side were going strongly at 60 for 0 but then slumped to 123 for 9 before a 10th wickets recovery to reach a modest 157 all out. In reverse, Marlborough started disastrously at 19 for three but then recovered to 105 for 5 and then a tense 147 for eight. The last 11 runs for victory proved elusive as Marlborough lost their last two wickets for four runs with still two and a half overs left. Ben Higton did the damage for Marlborough (five for 18 and 56 runs) while captain Harry Petrie (3 for 22) and Oz Henry (4 for 36) were the pick of the Wellington attack.
Results (see below for National T20):
*Bryanston 86-9 (10 overs*), Canford 87-2
Surrey U18 245-6 dec & 135-7 dec, *Whitgift 151-4 dec & 87
*Downside 126, Queen Elizabeth’s Hospital, Bristol 131-2
MCC 227-7 dec, *Marlborough 228-8 (boys)
*Marlborough 99-6 (20 overs), Clifton 96-8 (girls)
*Harrow 185-6 (45 overs), Malvern 187-8
*Tonbridge 208-7 (35 overs), Bede’s 153
*Clifton 271-6 (40 overs) (B Kellaway 107 not out), SGSC (Filton) 191-9
*Clifton 299-5 (30 overs) (J Phillips 110), Queen’s, Taunton 77
Clayesmore 101-8 (10 overs*), *Bryanston 103-8
*Shrewsbury 182-4 (40 overs), Repton 185-4
Malvern 146-4 (45 overs), *Clifton 150-4
Merchant Taylor’s, Northwood 264-7 dec, *Stowe 247-7
*Wellington, Berks 157 (50 overs) (B Higton 5-18), Marlborough 151
Wellington School 196 (50 overs), *Millfield 197-3
Gloucestershire CCC Academy 158 (50 overs), *Millfield 62
*Haileybury 241-8 dec (D Khalid 121), Haberdashers’ Aske’s 209-9
Oakham 249-5 (50 overs), *Oundle 157
Bradfield (girls) 124-5 (20 overs), *Lord Wandsworth 83-8
St Edward’s 216-5 (50 overs), *Bradfield (boys) 218-4
Myerscough Manchester 224-4 (45 overs), *Sedbergh 138
Cheadle Hulme 70, *Sedbergh 72-3
*Sedbergh 186-5 (35 overs), MCC 190-3
St John’s Leatherhead 165 (40 overs), Trinity 166-5
*”100” format = 10 balls per over