To call this an Under 18s match is a bit of a misnomer – apart from Tristan Reynolds most of the Ley Hill team are 15 or 16 years of age. However, they put up a good performance against a Holmer Green side where most of the players looked considerably more mature. Most of these young cricketers have been playing together this season in the Under 15 team as well, and they are beginning to gel well as a unit.
Ley Hill won the toss and elected to bat, but opener Tom Veall was unluckily bowled for 1 run, having taken the patience to play himself in by facing 22 balls. His opening partner – Ben Eckersley – scored 11 quite quickly, showing considerable improvement with the bat (compared to last year) in his first appearance of this season. A brief appearance by James Webster saw another 5 runs added to the score, then skipper Tristan arrived at the wicket. He has had considerable experience playing open age cricket over the past 3 years and it showed by his score of 23 runs from 38 balls. Then we had a very short innings from Henry Sussum (2 runs) followed by cousin Brian who managed to stay around longer and score 9. The innings ended with Charlie Middleton on 8 not out and Benji Ellis-Jones on 4 not out – 92 runs (including the 29 extras) for 6 wickets from 20 overs. Best of the Holmer Green bowlers was Cara Duggan who took 2 wickets for 10 runs from 3 overs.
The Holmer Green team – being a bit older than the Ley Hill boys – predictably responded by scoring competently and rapidly, but they didn’t have it all their own way. Henry bowled one of the openers when he had only faced 4 balls and Tristan had the number 3 batter caught (by Henry). Holmer Green opener Jack Patterden was not out with 39 runs and they got to 94 without any great difficulty in just 18 overs. Mention must be made of the magnificent wicket keeping of Ben Eckersley who did very well to keep the byes down to just 7.
Just a word about extras. Looking back in the scorebook over previous years, there seem to be far more wides bowled nowadays and all young cricketers need to watch their accuracy (or lack of it) when bowling. In this match, the Holmer Green bowlers bowled 8 wides – equivalent to an extra 1.2 overs, and the Ley Hill bowlers bowled 17 wides – equivalent to an extra 2.5 overs, at the opposition.
It was however a very enjoyable match to watch and score, enlivened by the appearance not once but twice of HGCC’s resident fox!