Another glorious summer’s afternoon over in Musselburgh today and playing on the beautiful 1stXI square, we really did hit our straps today and put in very nearly the complete performance to convincingly beat a good Loretto side by 82 runs. A very strong batting display meant we are able to rotate the bowling quite a lot and this allowed us to look a little bit towards next year as Max, Edward and Quin all bowled good spells taking wickets at regular intervals and run scoring was very difficult. The boys played some really impressive cricket today and once again, we showed real strength in depth in all areas of the game.
Harry won the toss again and elected to bat first, and I was keen to see how we would bounce back after a poor batting performance last week against Fettes (despite winning the game easily after a superb bowling performance). Jack and Harry opened and Loretto, once again, bowled tightly as they had done two weeks ago when we played them in the rain; we were 16-0 off five overs, playing each ball on its merit and running well too. Then Jack succumbed to a straight one and played across the line which brought Sebastian to the crease. He has worked really hard in the nets and I felt it important to give him the opportunity to bat high in the order against good bowling to see if he could build an innings; together, they put on 63 in exactly ten overs, upping the run rate and batting well together.
I always say how crucial it is that batters bat together, encourage each other, speak to each other and keep each other mentally strong, and the skipper certainly kept Sebastian on his toes with plenty of quick singles taken too! After a slightly hesitant start, Seb got his feet moving much better, and he hit the two shots of the match with consecutive textbook cover drives hit very hard along the ground to the boundary; a terrific knock of 24 off 32 balls, but ended slightly farcically as he jogged through for a single and was run out failing to ground his bat. A disappointing end to a super innings, but one he will hopefully learn from – total focus and concentration is required and not to throw it away having got in!
Harry went on and on, reaching his 50 off 56 balls and then accelerated at just the right time, scoring 23 off just 13 as we pushed on in the final few overs, reaching 151-4 off our 25 overs. It was Harry’s best innings of the season, full of technically correct shots, playing each ball on its merit, and quick to capitalise on scoring opportunities be that taking singles when the field was pushed back, or else playing forcing shots through the gaps. A joy to watch; well batted. A very good score given the quality of the bowling, and I was really pleased with how we bounced back from last week.
In reply, Vinjero and Harry bowled miserly three over spells, each giving nothing away and Harry picking up the key wicket, bowling their captain for just 3. The pair of them bowl in really good areas, forcing the batsmen to play and backed up by excellent fielding, cutting off run scoring opportunities which then forces the batsmen to play false shots. Edward and Will were the change bowlers and again both bowled very well indeed with Will picking up two wickets for just 5 runs in his 4 overs; he continues to work hard and his left arm bowling is going to be a real handful in the next few years. Our top four bowlers produce the goods time and time again and are very hard to score off. So 35-4 off 14 overs, game done and dusted.
However, this was the perfect opportunity to rotate the bowling round and Max and Quin bowled extended spells this afternoon which bodes well for next year. Max bowled a fantastic spell of 5 overs, 1 maiden, taking 4 wickets for just 8 runs; he bowled very straight if truth be told which is half the battle, but Todd once again snaffled a couple of excellent catches behind the stumps and there was also a fantastic run out from Jack who had an excellent afternoon in the field. Impressive and really encouraging, and although we could have wrapped things up much earlier, it was important to give others a go and perform under pressure out in the middle. It is always different from bowling in the nets, and today was the ideal situation to try things out. So Loretto ended 69-9 and a comfortable and convincing win.
They have been our strongest opposition this term so far, and it was good to lock horns with Peter again, once of this parish, who was very complimentary about the quality of cricket we played today. It has been an outstanding first half of term and this group of boys have played some really good cricket over the past 4 weeks. Now, the focus is on exams and F8 camp, but after that we have the Merchiston Super 8s, and matches against SMC, Carlton CC and Ardvreck still to come so there is a lot of cricket still to play once Common Entrance is out of the way!
Very well played today, boys. Another impressive team effort, and your Lucas ice cream afterwards was well deserved!