After much thought and deliberation following the Guildford loss and learning from other successful club teams I consulted James and a new batting order was born. Essentially a change in team Roles was needed to make our batting stronger so that the right players came in at the right time whilst sharing team roles more equally. For the first time our natural ball strikers (hitters) were promoted and alternated with our stroke players.
Last week Pyford visited Reigate were put into bat by home side and only made 113 which Reigate were able to get easily. That told me that Reigate had no faith in their own pitch so James and I decided that we would put them in if we won the toss and chase. They won the toss and batted! Could we chase their total?
MJ bowled magnificently down the hill taking a wicket with the last ball of his spell and although he and Tom who bowled with pace up the hill kept beating the bat we looked threatening albeit giving away too many easy singles in the first 10 overs. MJ would bat down the order today as opening the bowling is a major role in the side. Robbie then gave us control in the middle overs with a very accurate spell of bowling, Tom taking a knee trembler of a catch at cover, Tim a top edge at slip and Ollie finally getting the stumping he deserved (brilliantly quick as usual) to bring us back into the game RP had 92-6 from 18 overs. Frankie lacked the control of previous games and he and Joe struggled a bit with the slope as bowling down the hill with spin is a lot harder as the action tends to collapse on release. Robbie caught a good catch and we did not get another wicket until the last ball of the game bowled by Jack who used the hill well bowling at the death. We gave 20 extras and overall that was not too bad as I thought generally the bowling was good today. RP 142-7 from 25 overs
Our left right opening partnership between Ollie and Lucien looked really good, it kept the opposition honest with their field placings and the boys were able to work the ball into Gaps (that is what we did on Wednesday night training and its nice to be able to talk to them about Gapping now that they know the word. Gapping is just rotating the strike as we used to call it) and take plenty of singles. Interestingly both batsmen were out caught trying to force the pace of our innings. Tim and James consolidated after both openers where back on the picnic table by the sight screen which is where our boys chose to sit. They were offered the away changing room and the balcony with chairs but stayed as a group by the picnic table, I liked that and the opposition manager commented that his boys could not group together in the same way.....
Short pitched bowling was punished and good length was hit away too, James smashed a very hard hit pull to mid wicket and played some lovely deft dabs and deflection shots early in his innings and it was a shame when he chipped to mid wicket when on 35. We then had a mini collapse, Danny ( coming in at no 5 as a hitter) got the ball of the day lifting and catching the edge from their captain Sam Parker (who opened and got 37), Robbie and Frankie both tried to force the pace rather than just 'gapping' and where bowled in the same fashion, but it was Jack who stole the show. Coming in at 7 as a hitter that is exactly what he did and he showed everyone that he could bat and he surprised himself a little which I will come back to later. He and MJ nearly took us home, they were helped by some indisciplined bowling and several free hits which helped Jack get going nicely. MJ won the game for us in the 22nd over when he smashed up and over on four occasions giving us 10 runs from it in his little cameo of 15 from 8 balls to get us up to their total before holing out on the boundary and being caught amazingly well by Beau Detheridge. Nerves were then seen on both sides with 4 runs wanted and Joe's running between the wickets putting pressure on the fielding team causing them to lose their rag a little. Entering the 23rd over we needed just 4 to win then it happened. The opposition wanted to win so much they decided to Mankad. Their left arm fast bowler had warned Tim earlier in the innings and I had given Tim an official warning that the bowler was within his rights to take the bails off in his delivery stride if he left his ground and he would be out. That was my interpretation and set the precedent for what happened in the final over. Their umpire gave Joe out after the bowler took the bails off with Joe none the wiser as he was unaware of the rule so he just stood and looked dumfounded. I told the other umpire that each batsman must have a warning and he recinded his decision. So what next? I have written to the league organiser for a ruling ...... I will then train the boys accordingly for this leagues interpretation. The MCC have made this a new law but it is up to each individual league to determine how the law is applied in their own playing conditions...
The only person left with a clear head was Jack, he hit a two and then a four to win the game and he could not believe he had done it as he stood there in shock! Well done I said, you can be happy now and celebrate which he then did I believe.
Congratulations to the boys and their parents for going to a top Premier league club and coming away with a win. What a lovely place to play cricket and how well we were looked after by our hosts on the day. I will post some pictures including one of a batsman who is hitting to the boundary. If he extends his left arm he will clear the ropes next time he plays this shot and I cannot wait to see it fly over for six!
What a beautiful book Caroline, many thanks for your coloured pens and accuracy. I left a box with a couple of miniature cricket bats at the ground did anyone pick it up?
Delia, many thanks for organising and apologies to all parents about the Pitchero communication break down it was my fault entirely for not knowing how to work it properly. An 'A' team U14 mustangs Whatsapp group has been formed just for this team as it is a better platform for pre and post game concerns.
The opposition commented on our 'look' They really liked our clothing and funnily enough they are still waiting for theirs!! We are not the only ones then. I have some spare trousers I'll bring to the next game and perhaps we could have a team photo?
Please encourage the boys to ask me questions about batting order or reasons for decisions being made in the group. I communicate with James and Delia before the match our tactics and James as Captain then communicates it with the group. I spoke to as many as I could individually yesterday and gave reasons for the changes that were made and I felt that it went well, I like to be told when I am wrong as it makes life easier for everyone and we can only learn if we acknowledge our failings and move on from there.
We have Old Whitgiftians next Sunday at home I hope the sun shines and we get the boys practicing their skills before the start!