Chief’s XI 274-7 dec, Junior BB 212-5.
Once again, we played the highlight of the Junior BB season at the Nevill Ground in Tunbridge Wells, and it looked splendid in the sunshine. Tom Nicholls, Junior BB captain won the toss and elected to field, which was perhaps a wise decision as the strength of the younger side was perhaps more with the ball.
Rufus Pullen took the new ball from the far end and bowled with pace and aggression. His reward came when he produced a cracker to bowl Tom Page for 7 – a good start at 19-1. At the other end, Tom Nicholls bowled his leg spin in a tactic that he also used to good effect the previous day at the Armadillos. Both ended up with remarkable similar figures (Rufus 9-0-48-2, Tom 9-1-46-0), with the odd stray ball being punished by the more experienced batsmen.
Arthur Butt came on as 1st change with Harry Sherwin bowling his leg breaks to replace Tom. Arthur (0-44) has had a fine first Junior BB season and has 3 more years to play (with any luck) and is a fine prospect. Harry took 3-11 against the Armadillos and also did well against the adults with 2-41 off his 7 overs. It was good to see him not afraid to pitch the ball up, despite some aggressive hitting.
For the BB, Brough Cooper punished anything short and leg side in his 51, before he was well caught by Ollie Streets for the first of his 3 catches. Nico Bryan (18) played some eye catching off drives before he succumbed to the lethal ‘first ball after drinks’ when Sam Holden-Craufurd pitched one up and beat his off drive. This made it 81-3, and when BB captain Mike Churchill was caught by his opposite number Tom off Harry Sherwin for 5, the BB were 91-4. The rebuilding came thanks to a sensible partnership of 57 between Alex Norwood-Hill (43) and Tom Pollington (47).
Ben Falcon bowled with real vigour and energy without reward, while Isaac was by his own admission not bowling as he had in previous games, however he picked up the vital wicket of Alex N-H, smartly caught at short extra cover by Ollie Streets again. Will Pollington had a good spell after lunch trying to remove his elder brother, but the impetus at the end of the innings came from Finn Hulbert (84*) and Tom P in their excellent partnership of 122 for the 6th wicket. It was left to the returning Rufus to finish the innings when he bowled Sam Huggett.
A competitive total of 274-7 was achieved off 43 overs, which left plenty of time to bat. If there was something to improve for the Junior BB bowlers, it would be to try and achieve a more consistent line & length. We only managed to bowl 1 maiden over in the innings, and too many balls were too short and wide, something that the older batsmen relished.
The Junior BB opened up with Ed Dix-Perkin and Ollie Streets, who batted beautifully and reached tea undefeated after 18 overs. It was a great demonstration of sensible shot selection and patience in repelling the canny seam and spin combo of Alex Cornwallis (0-18) and Sam Huggett (0-49). They continued after tea to reach an opening partnership of exactly 100 before Ed was LBW to the eclectic bowling of Tom Page (2-22) for a fine 52. Inigo Pullen came in, hit his first ball cleanly for 6 and then perished to the good old full toss and was caught second ball at mid off for 6. Tom Nicholls (captain) joined Ollie and they accumulated nicely to take the score to 139 when Tom was yorked by his leg spin comrade from last year, Hugo Pettman for 13.
In an effort to winkle out the Junior BB batsmen, skipper Mike Churchill turned to the veteran wizard Alex Norwood-Hill (1-18), who deceived Rupert Plumptre (3) and set off on an Imran Tahir style celebration with arms wheeling. Rufus Pullen played some aggressive shots to push the score towards 200 but was snared by Churchill (1-12) for 13, caught by Finn Hulbert.
All this time, Ollie Streets, had continued on his technically excellent and fluent way to a magnificent unbeaten 100. Centuries are rare beasts in the Chief’s match and in Junior BB cricket generally, but this was a virtually chanceless innings by a 16 year old player who has a highly promising future. He couldn’t play in the games the previous week as he was selected to play in a 3 day game for Kent U17, and his ability shone through. I hope Ollie will want to play much more Junior & adult BB cricket. He finished on 116* and deserved the applause as he left the field as the game ended in a draw.
It was especially pleasing to see the excellent team spirit and camaraderie amongst the youngsters, which was the result of i) the strong captaincy and leadership of Tom Nicholls, and ii) playing the games in a short time window, so that the boys get to know each other so well. I hope the lads enjoyed the games, as that is most important thing.
So the end of the 2019 Junior BB games, which had 3 wins, 1 draw and 2 losses (both to the Junior Sussex Martlets). At tea, the Chief introduced the new Nicholas Heroys Memorial Awards with the presentation of a BB cap to 2 Junior BB who had performed well during the games. These were awarded to Rufus Pullen and Ollie Streets for 2019, and Tom Nicholls & James Pollington for 2018. We were especially pleased to have Sue Heroys (Nick’s widow) on hand to make the presentation.
A major vote of thanks to all the parents of the Juniors for their magnificent support and commitment to get the boys to the matches, and also to the Chief and the Club for supporting the Juniors with this wonderful game played at a special venue.