The first match of the Under 11 SJCF was away to Pagham and the expectation was of a tough match, with Pagham having won their first match against Arundel on Monday. Their team consisted of 6 Western Warriors and on a lovely hot day with a fast outfield, Captain Rocco Gamblin, having prepared for the match by playing a few hours football beforehand, won the toss and elected to field.
The opening bowlers (Will and Dill) were well supported in the field by the team and restricted the Pagham openers to 2 runs per over during the first 6 overs and importantly kept the extras to a minimum. The fielders were becoming increasingly expectant and a few wickets brought some nervous Pagham batting and when Rocco turned to spin, the game started to turn in Middletons favour. Rocco initially dropped a few short that were pulled away for 4 but when he realised that flight was going to be key to success, he varied the speed and flight, and with great skill, his left arm off spin took 2 wickets in 2 overs. He then turned to leg spin, leg spinners Sam Green and Marcus Nelmes then took 2 wickets each in their 4 overs, during this time Toby Barton kept brilliantly and thoroughly deserved his 2 stumpings.
The Pagham innings came to an end with 113 scored in their 32 overs bowling highlights were Marcus 4 overs, 2 maidens, 2 for 6. Sam 4overs, 1 maidens, 2 for 9 and Rocco 3 overs, 1 maiden, 2 for 14
Middleton knew they would have to bat well to beat the Pagham score in their 30 overs. Marcus and Tom opened the batting but when Tom went without troubling the scorers, the score was on just 5 in 2 overs. The Pagham bowlers were bowling fast and accurate but Marcus was on top form and punished any waywardness, cutting and pulling everything to the boundary, 52 was brought up inside 10 overs and at this time Marcus was on 45. His concentration was superb and he treated every ball on its merits which was amazing for a 10 year old. After drinks Sam started to expand his stroke play and did some lovely straight drives to the boundary and Marcus continued his excellent form, taking Middleton to 105 at which time Marcus was retired (not out) for a career best 60. The partnership of 100 was a joy to watch and although Sam was out for 25 – trying to hit a six into The Lion, the two batsman has put the game in Middletons hands to win, this they duly did, with Will and Dill seeing us home by knocking off the last few runs.
The quick running and brilliant stroke play from Marcus and Sam, combined with a great performance in the field from the whole team were the main differences between the teams.
What a great start to the week – well done boys!
Pagham: 113-9 (32 overs)
Middleton: 114-2 (17.4 overs)
Middleton win by 8 wickets
Man of the Match: Marcus Nelmes 60no and 2-6