WCB Under 11 County Cup Final
Under 11s come home with silverware
Report by Wayne Curran
WCB Under 11 County Cup Final
Date: Sunday September 13th 2015
Venue: Worcester County Ground, New Road
Teams: Ombersley CC v Barnt Green CC
The 2 teams arrived in good time, the Barnt Green coaches (Rob and Richard) decided the nets were the best place to contain any nerves. The New Road ground looked a picture, the modern test stadia are impressive, however, there is something about New Road that really mixes the traditional and the modern. Regardless of your views, this was the perfect back drop for these young lads to showcase their skills.
The Under 12s final came to an end and the 2 Captains were called to do the toss. Jack called correctly and decided to bat. Let’s get the total on the board, create some scoreboard pressure. Unfortunately Isaac was not feeling well and James suffered from a rogue fly in his eye. Not the perfect preparation but the coaches managed to patch them both up as neither wanted to miss this unique opportunity to play a cup final on a County Ground!!
Barnt Green Innings
Isaac and Archie strode to the middle; Isaac having taken some non-performance enhancing medication took his normal position facing the first ball. You could feel the anticipation and nerves more from the parents, grandparents, family members and friends than you could from our young charges.
At last week’s semi-final against Himley, Our Player of the Year Isaac, single-handedly took the game away from them with a brutal batting assault from ball 1. Isaac hit 2 huge sixes in an innings akin to something you’d see from Brendan McCullum or Chris Gayle or if we use an analogy of wicket-keeper batsmen, Adam Gilchrist . With us chasing a total of 50 runs, Isaacs knock was instrumental in getting us to this final. Isaac always plays in this aggressive manner and his style can take a game away from a team in just a few overs. Unfortunately on this occasion, Isaac got a good ball that came onto him, again, he is always up for the challenge, but took a top edge and the fielder at mid-on snaffled a good catch first ball up. 0/1
This brought our Captain, Jack to the crease. As the saying goes, cometh the hour, cometh the man. Jack played a real captain's knock from the outset, hitting the boundary rope on numerous occasions but also keeping the scoreboard ticking over with some excellent running between the wickets. At the other end Archie was again playing an excellent foil, at this stage we needed to regroup and Archie is perfect in these situations, however, in the 4th over he got a ball that kept low and just got under the bat, Archie couldn’t do a lot about it. 14/2
It was Luke’s turn to come to the crease after being promoted up the order. Luke was up for the challenge and as Archie had done previously Luke defended extremely well,Jack was in imperious form and was playing all around the square, some great shots that deserved more reward but for some excellent fielding from the Ombersley team. Jack was now gaining in confidence and was looking like it was only a matter of time before his retirement; however, on 22 he played a sweet shot but was met with an equally good catch, great knock, a Captains innings as they say. 29/3
Ben was sent in at 5 and again we needed his experience to continue where Jack left off and help get us to a competitive total for this wicket, it was still hard to tell but the general consensus was that somewhere between 90-100 was par. Both Ben and Luke steadied the ship and created a platform for us to push on. Luke got a good ball, again with some variable bounce that bowled him, occupying the crease for a period of time was required at that time so Luke’s was a vital knock in the scheme of things. 35/4
Joel and Ben were the new partnership; it was now the 12th over so the boys were aware that the scoring rate needed to be upped if we were to get anywhere near to the par score. In the 13th over Joel got an excellent ball that took his off stump, he could do nothing about it. 39/5
Next was to follow the crucial partnership, we needed to get some runs on the board for a competitive total, step forward Ben and Fred. Both made sure they played themselves in, which in turn gave them a platform to be more expansive in the later overs knowing they still had Tom, James, Louis and Oscar to come. Ben and Fred then put together a 42 run unbeaten partnership. They both played some exquisite shots; the pick for Ben was his elegant square leg maximum, a fantastic shot that careered into Row Z with minimum effort but maximum timing. Fred was not to be outdone and the one cover drive was straight out of the text book for 4 runs, his proud Dad was suitably impressed going as far as calling him Frederick as he was admiring the ball heading to the rope in double quick time. The 2 lads who are actually Under 10s played an innings of maturity and batted out the 20 overs giving us a total that did not look possible half an hour previous. Well done Ben and Fred, a crucial, game changing knock!!
Close of Innings: 82/5 off 20 overs.
So, with a quick turn around and some last minute advice from Rob and Richard the boys were good to go. The general feeling was that Ombersley are an excellent batting side whohave the ability to score runs quickly, most observers felt for us to have a chance, we would need to bowl them out.
Fortunately, our opening 2 bowlers are also the opening bowling attack for the Worcester County Under 10. We needed Jack and Ben to keep it tight and take wickets, not too much to ask for is it!! From the very first ball Jack was coming in with some ferocious pace and beat the bat on his first 3 deliveries, he was putting it in good areas and with his 5th ball caught the opener in his crease, there appeared to be 2 noises, however, the umpire was convinced it was plumb and the finger was raised. A great start, a wicket in the first over. 1/1
The second over of the innings from Ben followed a similar theme; quick, hostile bowling which again was beating the bat with only a single coming from it. Jack was into his second over and again the runs were hard to come by, this was also helped by some excellent fielding with the boys really on their toes in the field, in particular our very own Jonty Rhodes in the cover region Oscar, he must save so many runs in that cover region, an exceptional fielder. Jack again got one to nip back and hit the top of off, great spell of bowling from the Captain. 6/2. Game on
Ben and Jack were bowling well, pace and control and giving the batsmen very few scoring opportunities. It was Jack' third straight over and again just like the other two it produced a wicket, another one clean bowled, great spell of bowling with Jack having 3 of the top 4 back in the pavilion and also great wicket keeping from Isaac, Isaac does that good a job keeping wicket we sometimes forget how good he really is, he must have to receive arguably the fastest bowlers in this age group and does so conceding very few extras. 15/3
Tom now comes onto bowl as the first change with the opener playing a couple of excellent leg side shots getting the scoreboard moving. Jack decided to bowl out at the one end, he had such a good line and length it was felt best to continue with him, the decision was the right one as a rare boundary against was followed by a slower ball producing a clip off his legs from the batsmen. The ball travelled low towards James at mid-on, as mentioned at the start of the report, James was suffering with his eyes and many may have asked to come off, not James…he took an exceptional low catch equal to the 2 that Luke took last week at Himley, brilliant fielding and in the circumstances, an outstanding effort from James. 28/4
That concluded Jack's spell 4-0-11-4. Fantastic bowling figures from Jack, which followed on from his 22 with the bat. A brilliant all round performance from the Captain. Well done Jack!!
Tom's 2nd over again saw the opener put the first ball to the boundary off his legs, as he was a leftie Tom was bowling around the wicket to him, he decided to change his angle and go over the wicket, in 2 balls his decision had been vindicated as the same opener tried the same shot that had brought him success but this time the ball lifted and a leading edge popped the ball up to Ben at mid-on who took a high catch with great technique. 34/5
Advantage Barnt Green, however Ombersley have proved they can bat all of the way down so it was all still in the balance. Jack had now turned to spin with Archie giving the ball some flight and really giving the batsmen something to think about. Archie’s first over ended with an exquisite delivery that turned and hit middle. Great first over.47/6
Joel and Louis were sharing the duties at the old pavilion end. The batsmen now needed to score quickly as they only had 4 wickets in hand. Archie’s 2nd over had the same guile and trickery as his 1st and was rewarded again when he flighted the near perfect delivery to again knock down the stumps. Great bowling Archie. 66/7
The game was toing and froing but Ombersley’s No 8 had come out looking to win it on his own, every shot was a scoring shot and he couldn’t be contained until he went for one shot too many and Louis bowled a great delivery hitting the middle stump. Well bowled Louis 75/8
Jack was looking to see who and how he can permutate his bowlers, it was obvious now that Ombersley would get the runs required, and our only chance was to take the 2 wickets.
Jack tossed the ball to Tom which was a change of end from his previous spell; could he get some swing from that end?
1st ball: Ball pitched outside off and hit middle, great delivery. Bowled him. 75/9
1 wicket now required by Barnt Green, 8 runs to win by Ombersley. Ombersley have proved they bat all the way down so No 11 bat does not mean a thing.
2nd ball: Hits the pads, LBW shout, nothing given, the Ombersley lads run a leg bye. 76/9
3rd ball: Unbelievable. The Ombersley No 9 who has already hit the boundary rope, launches into a shot that he middles, time stood still as every eye in the ground followed the ball, a huge hit and in the circumstances a brilliant shot that sailed off the middle of the bat into the stands. The umpire signals a maximum.6 runs. Unbelievable Jeff……
Confusion for a while, the batsmen embrace, a few think that those are the winning runs, what a way to get them, however, a quick conflab with the scorers and the tally chart says…scores are tied.
Parents and supporters are now out of their seats, with 1 run required and the bowler dejected after conceding his first ever maximum, the result almost seemed inevitable. Scorers put pen lids on, parents prepared with tissues for the resulting disappointment. However, the boys were not convinced, they were instructed to all move in, all 9 outfielders were now saving the single. Jack went over and stood with Tom at his marker. Just a word of advice and support, very good captaincy.
“What do you think Tom”
“Slow ball Yorker”
“Good Luck mate”
A quick shine of the 14 over old ball and he commences his run up. Every eye transfixed on the middle. You could almost hear the hearts pounding and the nerves jangling. The ball is released, Tom can do no more, the batsmen comes, he attempts the previous shot, he gets there too early, the slow ball Yorker is delivered as per request, the ball passes the bat…………….into the stumps it goes. Bowled him……… 82 All Out. To quote Andy Gray…”Take a bow son, take a bow”
Tom is mobbed by his team mates; he disappears under a sea of the “green army”. Parents, family members, friends, neutrals embrace. What a game of cricket.
Hollywood scriptwriters would be paid a fortune to come up with such a story line and here we are actually living it, seeing it in the flesh. 22 x 10 and 11 year old boys playing out something that can only be described as pure theatre!!
So, scores are tied, the rule book comes out, tied game is a tied game, no wickets taken, no count back, the trophy is shared. At this particular time, it seemed like the fairest result, who could begrudge anybody who played in that game a winner’s medal. The biggest winner of the day..………the game of cricket itself, that is why we play it, watch it and let’s hope this bunch of boys continue to give us days like this for a long time to come.
I did mention Hollywood earlier, Rob has already signed over the rights and I believe Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt are now fighting over who can play Rob and who can play Richard!!!
We now move onto Droitwich where we take on Oldwinsford in the Under 11, 9-a-side County Final. Here’s hoping for some more of the same, that’s if our nerves can take it!!