A bumper crowd was in place for the Cooks U11s final match of the season at Compton Park against Northampton Saints.
Team news saw a debut for Mikey Smith replacing George Thompson who had been called up into Sam Allardyce’s first England squad. Saints won the toss and decided to have a bat on the cracking wicket.
League Supremo Mick Allen and Charlie took charge as Prashil Chauhan and Aidan Garratt opened the bowling. After four overs, Saints decision to bat first looked well-founded as the opening pair had reached 30-0, and a big score was looking likely.
As is often the case in cricket, sometimes a sharp piece of fielding can change the momentum of a game and this is what transpired. Having bowled his two overs, Prashil proceeded to take three catches off the bowling of Mikey Smith [for his first ever wicket!], Mohit Hellan and Liam Morrissey and the Saints score was being pegged back. Prashil’s catches were all impressive, but the final one running backwards and over his shoulder was incredible. Even the Saints parents commented on how good it was and how well he played generally.
The Morrissey brothers then picked up another three wickets [all bowled] between them and Saints had reached 90-6 [net 60], which was a fantastic comeback. It still meant we would have to bat much better than in recent weeks, but we still had a chance.
Each pair then contributed to a really good chase. Liam and Aidan got us to 12-1, Jacob Reeve [11no] then hit his top score for us, as he and Anya ran well and got us onto 27-2 [net 17] at the halfway point. Anya’s confidence in the last two or three weeks has improved beyond measure, to the point that it’s a pity the season has ended now. Jacob has also been a great find for us, as this has been his first season of hard ball cricket.
New-boy Mikey and Mohit were able to keep the score ticking over, mainly through good defence and some wayward bowling, as we reached 46-4 [net 26] with one pair left, needing another 35 to win.
Jake and Prashil did us proud and ran extremely well as Jake managed to bludgeon three 4s and Prashil rotated the strike well, as we ended 7 runs shy of our target on 73-4 [net 53]. Another game had gone down to the last over with all three results a possibility, and yet another example of how well the team have played this season.
Given that we are generally fielding four or five players each week that are genuine U9 players, this is a really good achievement from all of them and bodes well for the future if we can continue to provide competitive cricket.
Overall, they have won 4 games [one through Bugbrooke conceding], lost 6 with one abandonment. Of the six games lost, four have been by 2, 3, 7 and 8 runs so all very close, a wicket here, a couple less wides there the difference – fine margins as we tell them. For the first time we beat one of the ‘big’ teams in Overstone Park, and only really got outplayed twice by ONs A and West Haddon & Guilsborough.
There will be a fuller write-up for the Presentation Evening Programme in November, but I’d just like to thank all of the players for their efforts this season, both at training and on match days, their parents for responding to all of my texts and for getting them to the right place at the right time, for Syd, Ben and Bec for scoring throughout the season and to Charlie for preparing the pitches and umpiring with patience and for offering support during the games.
I’d also like to thank Ben, Ryan, Nick, Mukesh, DP, Jason and Gareth, plus some of the parents who help on Friday evenings; it has been so much easier this year with all of your support.
Finally thanks to Mark Bird, the website administrator who gets all of the match reports, photos etc. up on the site so promptly (even when they get me into trouble!!).