Junior Martlets 203 all out
Junior BB 204-4. Won by 6 wickets.
Designed as a triangular day with Sussex and Hampshire, but ended up being a really enjoyable all day game just against the Martlets. We were able to play an old style 'declaration game' which produced a genuine result and some terrific cricket. Well done to all the boys.
This was a real team performance, with everybody contributing in some way. Even James Pollington, who was unfortunately due in next, took a vital catch at deep mid wicket to make the initial breakthrough when they have made a really good start at 49-0.
Captain Hugo Pettman lost the toss and they elected to bat. The new ball bowling of Luke Berry (5.3-0-26-1) and Ellis Winsper (6-0-24-0) was a little wayward, and we were guilty of not bowling to our off side field as much as we would like. Tom Pollington (3-1-12-0) also tried some seam bowling before Hugo turned to his spin quartet.
First up was Tom Nicholls and Felix Fleming. Felix bowled a great economical spell (6-0-11-0) and was extremely unlucky with two or three chances missed in the field (including one of his own bowling). He was brave enough to pitch the ball up and did not get his just rewards and will have luckier days.
Tom (15-0-55-4) got the initial wicket of Ed Fairfax (27) well caught by James Pollington, and then proceeded to take regular wickets, including the dangerous no 3 Harry Moorat bowled off an edge. This was an excellent spell of bowling and he could not quite get his 5-for.
Isaac (5-1-30-3) replaced Felix with his left arm bowling, and benefited from some wonderful catching for two of his wickets. Hugo plucked a stinger out of the sky for a brilliant grab at short mid wicket, and Jonathan Shepherdson dived to his right at extra cover for a cracking catch.
Hugo (8-1-31-2) himself bowled ether side of lunch and importantly removed the young and highly talented Toby Shepperson (54) immediately after lunch, well caught above his head by Luke Berry.
So 9 consecutive wickets for the spinners, and at 167-9, we were well and truly in the driving seat. However a spirited last wicket stand of 36 with some strong hitting tipped the balance more to an even game. Luke finally removed their no 11 Harry Drew for a fine 21, and they were all out for 203. We had been really quick in the field and bowled 50 overs in just over 2 1/2 hours - good to see and meant that we would get enough overs to chase the target.
We opened up with Tom Pollington (25) and Nico Bryan (57), who got off to an excellent start. Tom hit some lovely boundaries, especially on the legside, whilst Nico played second fiddle in their partnership of 39.
After Tom got a top edge to square leg, Jonathan Shepherdson joined Nico up to tea. He played really well, solid in defence and producing a glorious cover drive which had the veterans in the pavilion purring. They put on 40 together before Jonathan was out soon after tea for 17.
Young Ollie Streets joined Nico, having kept well again in their innings, and showed a really good technique in defence, as well as some lovely attacking shot too. He was unfortunate to be stumped off the leg spinner for 10, however his innings was important as we did not lose quick wickets.
All this time, Nico had progressed serenely to his well earned 50, with 10 fours and some fabulous on drives. When he was out after 27 overs, we still needed 90 to win and left 2 new batsmen at the crease in Hugo P and Ellis W. The game was in the balance.
However the school friends showed great composure and maturity to play themselves in steadily - at one stage they scored just 4 runs in 5 overs - but once they broke the shackles they batted beautifully together.
Hugo (44*) was especially severe on the leg side, whilst Ellis (37*) played shots all round the ground. They also ran really well between the wickets to put pressure on the fielders.
They put on 90* together and saw us over the line with about 7 overs to spare. Terrific batting and a splendid result to win by 6 wickets.
Champagne moment - that is probably a tie between the catches of Hugo and Jonathan off Isaac's bowling.
Man of the match - a number of excellent individual performances from Tom, Isaac, Hugo, Ellis and Nico, this was really a great team win so I would like to share it between everyone.
We move on to Belmont and the final game of the (rain affected) 2017 Junior BB season against the adults. Thanks as always to the boys, and those who came to support and drive them. It is much appreciated.