U12 Match report from AG

Middleton Colts U12 v West Chiltington U12.
For once the weather gods looked favourably upon us with bright sunshine and a warm but breezy Sunday morning at West Chiltington for this, the third match of the season for the Middleton Colts U12s.  It was a strong team that welcomed back Dill Howell for the first time this season and Kyan Jajua for his second outing with the U12s.
Charlie Manger stepped up to the captaincy slot this time, won the toss and chose to put West Chiltington into bat first.  Dill chose to open the bowling running up the hill and we were off.  The speed and accuracy of Dill’s bowling couldn’t be faulted but he met a force of nature in the form of Adam Trees, West Chilitington’s opening batsman, who very quickly got his retiring target of 20 within 3 overs and mostly at the expense of Dill’s bowling.  Adam and his batting partner Buddy Capel quickly got West Chilt to 36 for 0 after 3 overs.  Adam is a great batsman and although he was nearly caught on the boundary early on by Kyan it was good to witness an excellent batting display, but it was a worrying start from West Chilt, if they had the strength in depth throughout the order and could maintain the run rate, Middleton were in big trouble.
Step forward Tom Saunders, Dill’s bowling partner, to put a stop West Chilt’s ambition for a big, big score.  With Adam retired and gone and a new batsman at the crease Tom struck with the third ball of his second over and accounted for the wicket of Buddy Capel for 9 runs through a catch by Dill Howell.  Then finally Dill had some success bowling Adam’s replacement,  Dylan Trevelyan-Clarke who went for 6 runs scored with last ball of his 2 over spell.  Two wickets down, 1 retiree, 4 overs and a score of 42 had Rocco’s mental arithmetic skills working overtime wondering where could it could go from here.  The answer proved to be in the bowlers favour.  Although the run-rate stayed high the next 5 or 6 overs West Chilt stalled around 70 but 4 wickets fell to the bowling of Rocco Gamblin, Katie deLillis, Sam Green and Remi Briggs before they got there.  Rocco bowled straight and full to frustrate the batsmen and was unlucky until his penultimate ball tempted Thomas Davis-Crisp into a low sweep which he missed resulting in the ball hitting his pads and rolling up to his chest in line with the wickets and Rocco had him Leg Before.  Katie deLillis has DH batter Benji Jackson caught by Ozzy Rishman and Reni Briggs bowled and fielding an almost slow motion run out accounting for the wicket of Max Woodcock.  Sam Green next with some text book leg spin; very determined with plenty of spin to tempt the batsmen into some risky shots that unfortunately weren’t converted into catches.  Then, in his second over the ball popped up in front of Ben Skirrow who went for it with a cracking shot to try for his 3rd boundary of his innings.  I saw Ben hit the ball, I saw him hit it hard and I imagined it reaching the boundary, it was a cracking shot which sped of the bat. What  I didn’t see was Tom Saunders, I knew he was in the field but how he saw the ball speeding towards him to take one of the best reaction catches I’ve seen at this age group, I really didn’t see coming.  Well done Tom and suddenly Middleton were 80 for 6 with 14 overs gone.
Into the final 3 bowlers and next up Hugo Ormerod.  Hugo bowled well to record a maiden over but not before being the cause of a very confusing episode for the umpires.  On his way through to the crease Hugo caught the wickets accidentally to knock off the bales which then caused him to over step the line – a no ball on 2 counts.  Called by the umpire but unheard by the players, Wicket Keeper Charlie Manger missed the ball and the batsmen started to run for the byes.   In the confusion Charlie recovered the ball and hit the stumps for a run out and the batsman started the long walk back to the pavilion amid the celebrating Middleton players.  It took a while for the Umpires to restore normal order, recall the batsman, reset the wicket before we were under way again.  But by this time there was no doubt that West Chilt were rattled, their tail which seemed to start after Adam Trees retired, was refusing to wag.
Kyan Jajua picked up the ball next and proved that his performance at the first game of the season was no fluke, this player is turning into a very handy bowler and if it wasn’t for the fact that there are some excellent bowlers amongst the U12s, then he deserves a place higher up the order.  His bowling set up the run out of Andrew Cuthbert for only 1 run and we were looking forward to his next over after Cameron Kearns’ picked up the ball.  By now West Chilt had been restricted to 89 for 8 – could Cameron get the final wicket?  Emphatically the answer was yes.  Third ball of his first over and Woden Hacket lofted the ball to be caught and that was it, West Chilt were all out for 89 a realistically achievable target.
Taking nothing for granted the tea time talk concentrated on telling the players not to worry about scoring quick runs in the first few overs like West Chilt had done.  While West Chilt clearly had some good players, our bowling had meant that they were unable to prove themselves, plus I was confident that we had strength in depth, good batters all the way down the order, they just need to relax, settle in and survive what would surely be a concerted bowling onslaught in the first few overs.
Hugo Ormerod had stepped forward to face the opening balls along with Ozzy Rishman.  It has to be said that today Hugo was far better with the bat than he was with the ball today.  In the face of very determined and very accurate pace bowling from Ben Skirrow and Ray Mondes Hugo and Ozzy played very well, selecting their shots deliberately and thoughtfully to survive and move the score to 20 without loss after 4 overs.  The West Chilt fielding was very good yet Hugo and Ozzy found the boundary multiple times, even to the extent that on one occasion causing me to fall over backwards when umpiring from square leg when trying to avoid one of Hugo’s well struck boundaries.  Adam Trees was next, could he be as devastating with the ball as he was with the bat?  It looked ominous after he clean bowled Hugo for 16 with his third ball – Middleton had lost their first wicket and were 25 for 1 after 5 overs.  Rocco came to the crease to partner Ozzy Rishman and  he got away with a boundary and looked (and sounded) relieved.  Meanwhile Ozzy was busy plugging away with a solid and steady innings that included 4 boundaries to take him to the 20 not out retirement point for the second match in a row.  Sam Green joined Rocco at the crease and the game perceptebly came alive – something was going to happen.  Rocco changed into another gear and quickly reached his retirement point of 20 not out, an excellent innings after a nervy start.  Sam Green showed no such nerves, displaying an enormous amount of confidence at the crease.  First 2 balls faced, both big hits to the boundary.  Remi Briggs had joined him at the crease determined to improve on her duck last time out and she proved to be the perfect foil for Sam’s dominant style.  6 runs scored, including a well struck boundary for Remi proved that she is a player with style and composure.  It took a while to get the final runs of the match but they finally came from a 4 off Sam’s bat, an unconventional shot that he described as a scoop rather than a sweep shot (no? Me neither) and that was that, with 16 extras Middleton were over the line and had another win after with 7 overs to spare.
A fantastic performance all round by every member of the team.  They could have been disheartened by the quick fire nature of the first 4 overs of West Chilt’s innings but once they saw that all of the batters weren’t going to score as quickly as Adam Trees they set about their task with determination, skill and enthusiasm.  This is a great team, they have strength in depth – capable players with both bat and ball all the way through the order.  I’m sure that if early wickets had fallen other players of equal calibre would have stepped up to see Middleton over the line to victory.  My only disappointment was that we didn’t get to see more players batting; I’d moved Cameron and Katie up the order but couldn’t anticipate how well the opening batters would perform and they didn’t get the opportunity to bat.  We’ll sort that out next time out to ensure no one feels left out.
Final Score: West Chiltington 89 all out (including 1 retired not out) after 17.3 overs, Middleton 93 for 1 after 13 overs.
I have to choose the players of the match and this week they are as follows:
Batsman: Rocco Gamblin – an impressive performance to retire 20 not out.  A, slow start turned into a confident innings.
Bowler:  Well, it has to be Cameron Kearns – an unconventional style, a wicket and now probably the best bowling figures in the U12s, a 3 ball wicket maiden.
Player of the Match:  Sam Green.  Some determined and accurate bowling, very active in field and then a quick fire 16 not out, including some big boundaries to finish the match in style.

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