The u10 hard ball team travelled in the gloom and rain to Midhurst for the final league match of the season, it was brighter north of the downs, The Cowdrey Ruins field was awash with Rugby players, no doubt enjoying the lushness of the emerald-green turf.
What a glorious venue, enhanced by the smell of bacon wafting from the kitchen,( wafting reminds me of Ravi Bopara wafting at another ball outside the off stump, nicking off once more). I understand one or two beers washed the aforementioned delicacy away, as senior coach, this was of course foolishly declined!
The pitch cleared and Midhurst, winning the toss, asked the MCC boys to bat.
A wet outfield, a beautiful grass wicket, to bat or bowl in September, there is always much debate…remember the Gillette Cup Finals at Lords? Success for Sussex in those years, do you remember, Oakman, Suttle, Bates, Cooper, Snow, Lenham, Dexter, Parks et al, all true legends of Sussex cricket. One of our young players is related to one of the great cricketing families of Sussex, a prize for the first correct answer.
Midhurst bowled a good early spell, a bit of nip off the juicy wicket. The first pair manged 9. One wicket lost. Matthew Bellamy and Jay Cockaday. A tough start.
Luke Kearns, a late call up, and Sam Bell, played a wonderful partnership of 32 runs, delightful straight drives, wristy flicks combined with strong running.
The fielding was sharp and had to be.
Phoenix Ashworth and James Carter, two impish batsman, Alan Knott, springs to mind, 21 delightful runs, with elegant stroke play and some strong hits to leg.
The stage was set for captain Taylor and his young partner, Christian Bellamy, grins were wide as they entered, a plan had been hatched. A total of 39, with one wicket lost took us to 201. The plan worked.
There were drives, pulls, hooks and some superb tip and run. The grins were even wider. (You don’t always have to hit it harder..hit it better)!
The Midhurst players generously applauded an outstanding batting display, only 2 wickets lost both bowled to rather ugly wild hoiks across the line.( There was a demonstration from the coach, much enjoyed by the spectators, who have learnt much this year). At u10 level, to lose only 2 wickets in 16 overs is rare.
A break of drinks, biscuits and crisps, went down very well, again I declined the bacon and beer. A true professional?
Midhurst started well, Christopher and Kieran a partnership of 21 off 4 overs.
Ben Taylor rotated the bowlers, looking for breakthroughs, which came at regular intervals, or to be precise, like the rain this summer, never-ending, (as the clouds broke again). It was noted Mum’s were climbing into sleeping bags and golf brollies appearing. (Pimms sales down this year).
Midhurst never gave up, The MCC team displayed some outstanding bowling, taking 15 wickets, shared between all the bowlers , as Christian and Jay took on the Wicket Keeping, not wanting to miss out. All but 3 wickets were clean bowled, bails were smashed, such was the pace of the Middleton attack. With catches for Ben and Matthew, a run out by James and Christian was top class, this was a true team effort.
.The final over bowled by Matthew Bellamy, is one to remember, the final 3 balls registered a hat trick. All cleaned bowled. Elation !
Wickets shared, Matthew 4, Ben 1, Christian 1, Sam 1, James 1, Phoenix 2, Luke 2 and Jay ( The destroyer) 3.
Special mention to Luke, who this year has shown great improvement and has bowled brilliantly in every match.
MIdhurst were generous in defeat and played the game in great spirit, many of the boys mentioned how impressed they were with the MCC players, as did Adrian the Midhurst team manager, who is to be thanked for making sure the match went ahead.
A superb victory by 104 runs. a magnificent way to end the season as league champions, just reward for a great team effort.
Other players who have played hard ball cricket this year, are Holly Hefron, Murray Carter, Zac Cogger, Ele Pacey, Eve Boluos, Lewis Tetley and Aaron Tester, well done to everyone
Well played and thanks to all families for supporting this season.
Thanks to the many scorers, Casper, Iain, Debbie T and Jays brother who clearly would like to become a professional scorer, he finds it so easy, I have booked a course already.
We have a fantastic group of keen players, who clearly enjoy cricket and all that it brings. Skill development, excitement, decision-making, much fun and friendship. Cricket, also teaches us many things about life, success, disappointment, teamwork, accepting decisions and discipline are some that spring to mind.
As we finished, the Polo horses were galloping around the lawns, what a spectacle, we also had witnessed something special, from some very young cricketers.