Following the 'Battle in the Black' at Heathcoats last week, our Under 15's team visited Thorverton in the second round of the ECB Cup. On a cloudy night, light would become a problem if the two sides didn't hurry through their overs.
Having lost the toss, we were asked to field and we started just after 6.15pm. Captain Jamie Telford opened with Big Dom Gaywood (3-0-21-2) and he obliged with his very first ball, uprooting the off stump of Sam Talbot - great start! On a fast outfield with short boundaries, if we could restrict Thorvy to no more than a run a ball we would be in with a great chance. To beat the light, wides and no-balls again counted 2 runs with no extra ball (apart from the last over), so we would need to be disciplined to avoid too many extras.
Dom's opening partner from the Pavilion end was August Aalto and after a 'loosener' of a first over he bowled accurately without reward. Thorvy kept things going at around a run a ball, helped by the odd wide from us. After the opening salvo from Dom & Augy, the under 14's pair of George Hunt and Harry Molins got in on the act. Again, both bowled in good areas, but Jack Thomas punished any width - he showed good temperament and a cool head as he built his innings well. He had found an able partner in Ben Phillips, and these two kept up a good strike rate for Thorverton, before JT turned to Jake Reddick and Seb Lewis to tighten things up.
George, Ben Howkins and Harry had all gone for around a run a ball, and Ben Phillips took a liking to Fergus as he suffered a 16 run thumping in one over. Time to put the breaks on. A slightly loose (for Jake) first three balls belied what was to come. After having two chances dropped, Jake had the dangerous Ben Phillips stumped by JT and two more stumpings followed as Jake (with Jamie's help) claimed 3 for 13 in four overs. Meanwhile, at the river end, Seb 'on me head' Lewis (now fully recovered from the blow recived last week) was bowling very well and removed the excellent Jack Thomas for a fine 47 thanks to a diving catch from Paddy in the covers. He claimed Pieter Keenan LBW in the same over, and Seb finished with 2 for 3 as Thorverton finished on 122 for 7.
We rattled through our overs and there was a good chance we actually might be able to see the ball by the end of the game, but only just. JT and Jake opened the batting and the pair worked diligently to construct a solid base for the run chase. Jamie swept well, picking up regular fours and Jake was happy to take the singles to give Jamie the strike. As the overs ticked by, we stayed bang on the required rate with wickets in hand. Jamie eventually fell for a well crafted 40, including 7 fours, and the pair had added 70 for the first wicket. Jake took over from here - hitting 13 in one Ben Phillips over before being stumped by Talbot for 34. Paddy Poustie and Will Bentley looked to keep ahead of the rate, but in the failing light the pair struggled to get going. Will was caught having a go, and Paddy (16no) eventually 'tuned in' his eyes and started playing with confidence. He was joined by the ever lively Seb Lewis (11no) and the pair took us home with four balls to spare for a 7 wicket win, closing on 124 for 3.
A good win and game played in a good spirit with both teams getting through the overs to ensure the game could finish, albeit at 8.40pm in very 'dimpsy' light.
We now have two league games coming up next week, hopefully we can continue our good start to the season. Thanks as always to Brian Gaywood for scoring for me, and thanks to all the parents for putting up with my constant texts and emails!