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Tuesday, 25 June 2019

Boys' 1st XI cricket matches v St John's, Clifton and Warwick

Ist XI Boys’ cricket. Three matches:

v St John’s-on-the-Hill (A) Won by 100 runs

Abberley 150-7 (20 0vers: Will R 41) St John's 50 (Will R 3-19, Rory 3-14)

v Clifton Prep (A) Lost by 10 runs

Clifton 167-8 (30 overs; Harry T 4-43, Algy 3-22

Abberley 157 (Ed P 49)

v Warwick Prep (H) Drawn

Warwick 174 (Harry T 3-20) Clifton 59-9

There's a breathless hush in the Close to-night—
Ten to make and the match to win—
A bumping pitch and a blinding light,
An hour to play and the last man in.

(From Vitai Lampada by Henry Newbolt)

So, if we are to be scrupulously honest, neither of the tantalisingly close matches that we enjoyed at the end of last week actually took place on the Close about which Henry Newbolt was writing. Perhaps we should gloss over the fact that a couple of our players had to be shooed away from that, very ‘bumping’, cricket pitch described by Newbolt. (It looked pretty flat to me…) However, the breathless hush at the end of the Warwick match was palpable and the Clifton match really did come down to the last pair needing to score 10 more to win.

St John’s-on-the-Hill proved generous hosts in every sense. As had been the case in every match until then, they gave us more extras than any of our batsmen could muster, although Will made an entertaining 41 in our total of 150-7. Ed and Rory both took early wickets and St John’s folded. However, Mr Warwick had seen to it that we wold not leave hungry. A hearty lunch before the game was followed by a trencherman tea afterwards so we departed, loosening our belts, for the delights of a Premier Inn: burgers, chips, chocolate sundaes etc, etc, for those who were still feeling peckish…which was most.

The evening meal was followed by an awards presentation and the team’s achievements this season in a range of areas were marked:

Eoin Morgan Award – Will T

Topsy Turvey Award – Will H

Top score so far this season – Will R

More-Bats-Than-You-Can-Shake-A-Stick-At Award – Harry B-V

Racing Commentator Award – Harry T

Inzamam-ul-Boycott Award – Algy O

Usain Bolt Award – Miles H

Andy Murray Award – Lysander M-E

Mo Farrar Award – Ed R-D

The Boston Strangler Award – Rory D

Incredible Hulk Award – Ed P

French cricket on The Downs and a net session on the Close at Clifton College preceded another hefty lunch. (Any parent concerned about the additional expense associated with this overnight trip can rest assured at the value for money of the fodder alone.) We waddled off to Beggar’s Bush and encountered as strong an opening partnership as we have seen this season. At 90 for no wicket, Clifton looked well placed for a huge total, but Abberley responded extremely well, limiting our hosts to 167, a formidable total for any prep school side to chase in 30 overs. The highlight of their innings was Harry’s hat-trick. He has bowled with great consistency this term and this was a richly-deserved thrill for him. Miles and Lysander got our innings off to a good start and this was built upon by Ed, who hit the ball with excellent timing. However, it was Algy who showed the common sense and calm mind to manage the latter stages of our chase. With his partners chipping in around him, Algy ran cleverly, placed his shots skilfully and hit straight to good effect. As the tension mounted, Will our last man, strode out. The pair of them took total to 157 before Will was agonisingly run out. The match had been lost, but the boys’ response, having been under so much pressure during Clifton’s innings, had been fabulous.

The third match on consecutive days saw us reduce a very strong Warwick Prep to 6-3. Their strength in depth saw their numbers 7, 8 and 9 score more runs in one innings than the various Abberley occupants of those positions have scored in all our matches this season combined. Curiously, in view of the strength of their bowling, Warwick decided to continue batting after tea, a decision which was to be influential in the final denouement of the match. Miles and Ed were blasted out in the first over of our innings by as hostile an opening bowler as they are likely to encounter for a while. Our pursuit of 165 to win was clearly over. When Ed was out stumped it appeared to be a question of how long our demise would take. To their enormous credit, Will, Will, Harry, Luca and Harry (Anyone else thinking of Trumpton?) showed guts and character, refusing to keel over. Even when the hostile opening bowler retuned, all whirling arms and tennis-player’s grunts, our boys held strong and, ironically, it was the hitherto imposing Warwick bowlers who wilted. The final over featured several balls speared harmlessly down the leg side and several Abberley supporters counting down the balls. Finally, the breathless hush erupted into celebrations of the fact that the labrador pup had managed to frustrate the rottweiler.

Mr Keeble

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