Having had their semi-final against Barnstaple & Pilton Under 15's rained off on Friday, a slightly re-jigged team (through non-availability) made the treck up the link-road and through the Barnstaple traffic for the semi-final of the ECB National U15's Cup.
This was the winners of the East v the winners of the North, and our boys arrived confident on a bright and breezy evening. With Jamie Telford missing, having broken a finger 'keeping for Devon on Sunday, Jake Reddick deputised as Captain and proved to be as good at winning a toss as his brother Sam, and his Dad, who make habit of losing the toss on a Saturday!
Never mind, the wicket was hard and dry and looked like a good track to bat on. Jake opened with Ben Green and 'Greener' wasted no time in putting the variable bowling to the sword. 3 overs gone and 30 without loss. 4 overs gone - 43 without loss. A great start which the boys continued until the inclusion of young Jack Moore into the attack. Playing several years above his age group, he bowled with control and accuracy, conceding only 17 runs from his four overs - a good return considering the carnage that was going on around him.
Ben's Bash finally came to an end with him on 45 and the opening partnership had yielded 90 runs in 11 overs. A great start - Jake played more agressively, despite a heavy cold, and retired on 50, leaving the stage clear for Tom Williamson and Dom Gaywood (11no) to indulge in some late hitting. Tom finished 24 not out as we completed our innings on a challenging 160 for 3.
Bowling resources were a little inexperienced at this level, and with wide's and no-ball's counting for 2 runs, we would need to be disciplined. Harry (Wild Man) Molins opened the bowling from the River End and started well conceding only 4 runs with a tight field set. Dom steamed in from the Pavilion end and struggled with the swing as he conceded the dreaded wides. As the pair continued, theextras mounted and were enought to keep Barnstaple interested in a run chase that should be beyonf them. The impressive Jack Moore made a disciplined 24 before being caught by Harry Molins off of the bowling of Tom (The Snake) Murphy. With extras threatening to cost us, Jake bought himself on to bowl and tightened things up, despite Jack Totterdale batting aggressively for an excellent 54 (retired).
Barnstaple had little left to offer after Totterdale's retirement, and Seb Lewis (2 for 12), Tom Murphy (1 for 22) and George Hunt (0 for 31) gained valuable experience playing and bowling against good oposition. Barnstaple finished on a respectable 133 for 7 with Extras second top score on 36!
We now play a strong Paignton side at home, the date as yet to be confirmed. Success will take us one step closer to the Regional Finals at Weston-Super-Mare, and - if we get there - we will be two wins away from the National Finals.
My thanks to all those that helped with transport and scoring - it's always great to do well, but some of these long distance games can be a challenge!