Well. With hardly any cricket for this group over the past three weeks with half term, CE exams and camp, our batting was very fragile today; with the skipper injured, someone would have to score some runs but at 35-9 it was not looking altogether hopeful that this would happen! Carlton, with a lot of talented Ed Academy boys playing, were good; they had five proper cricketers with a couple of them in development programmes, so when they ripped through the top order and the middle order very quickly the end looked nigh.
Cometh the hour, cometh VJ and William. They had other ideas and put on a 55 run partnership playing very watchfully against some of the secondary bowlers but they hung around and both faced around 30 balls each, VJ in particular playing some outstanding shots through the covers and with one hand, William stayed with him and collected a few singles and ran the extras. It was a herculean effort and both boys deserve a real pat on the back for they way they dug in and played for the team. 96 was at least a target and given the quality of our bowling attack, we now had a chance.
We struck quickly. Vinjero bowled really well first up and took two quick wickets against boys who looked very talented batsmen; Harry also chipped in from the other end although one of their big talented boys took a fancy to a few of his balls which were right in his slot. Glen and Edward came on and kept things tight and wickets kept falling, but so did the runs required. 16 off four overs. We still had a chance.
Then Rory and Max bowled at the death and they both bowled quite superbly not allowing the lower order Carlton players to score and backed up by some outstanding fielding, run outs were effected and panic set in as balls began to run out. 9 off the final over but as cool as you like Max bowled with his usual metronomic accuracy and the game was ours. A win by just 6 runs. Wow!
Today taught us many lessons. We need to bat with greater belief and conviction against admittedly a quality Carlton attack. Feet didn’t move and we were caught too often in the crease. Also, the value of not giving your wicket away, and VJ and William showed the value of this as we were all out in the 19th over but were 9 wickets down in the 8th!
Without Harry, Todd led the side superbly today and his keeping was out of the top drawer; the fielding was brilliant on occasions and really kept Carlton up against the rate and some of the run outs were outstanding; but the team spirit was palpable in the field with everyone encouraging each other and supporting each other when a difficult chance went down, and quite rightly, the boys were delighted to get over the line and win again, by just 6 runs. We remain undefeated in normal fixtures and with two games remaining next week, this season could be remembered as a very special one indeed.
An addendum and an important one too. The preamble to the Laws of Cricket set down by the MCC talks about the ‘Spirit of Cricket’ and today we saw the supreme example of this. Harry D went to flick a ball down leg side and it was taken by their talented keeper standing up; their umpire gave a wide as we were playing ODI laws for wides. Harry, however, felt he had hit it and so walked off. An outstanding piece of sportsmanship which epitomises what the Spirit of Cricket is all about and is far more important than the result of the game.
Well played. But my nerves are shredded!