Have O&LCC ever taken 5 wickets in 5 balls before?!
A near perfect all round team display secures a 20 overs pairs cricket win by 175 runs!
Whilst ten of our squad mates were up early and battling their way past Sanderstead to secure the U9s a semi final place in the ESCL cup in a thrilling finish, an U9 NEC softball team was having a simpler time of it up in Sutton.
On arrival the Sutton coach informed us that the groundsman had thought it was an U8 game so had only prepared a 15 yard strip. Same for both teams of course so we weren't bothered but it ended up suiting us well. With less effort required to bowl the ball down the strip we conceded our fewest number of wides and no balls of the season (only 12 deliveries out of the 120 bowled). Our quicker bowlers would also benefit from the extra 3 yards of pace the pitch gave them. Their coach also said that their side weren't as strong as the previous year so I let him know that our two quickest bowlers would bowl at the last pair. Can't say Sutton weren't forewarned of what was to come!
Having won the toss the Sutton captain elected to bat first and we were under way. Arthur Peachey and Jacob Green opened up the bowling for O&LCC and both started with a maiden. Fantastic start that set the scene for the rest of the innings. The batsmen batted sensibly though and a couple of boundaries late in the pair put Sutton on 214-0. Honours even.
More great bowling from Laurence Lewis and Jamie Harmer restricted Sutton to 217-1 after 8 overs. Laurence conceding just five runs from his two overs and Jamie going even better with a maiden over and a wicket for figures of one for three from his two overs.
It was noticeable that Sutton were struggling to get the ball away using wooden bats and wearing batting gloves. It's taken a year but all of our boys now recognise the benefit of a plastic bat when playing with the incrediball. Sutton only hit the boundary three times whereas we managed to hit the boundary fifteen times when we batted.
Our third pair of bowlers Jamie Walters and Alex Newland kept the pressure right on the batting side. Jamie bowling two overs for just two runs and Alex conceding only six runs from his two overs, which he got back in one go with a wicket (bowled). 220-2 after 12 overs. Not a bad score if Sutton could accelerate over the last eight overs.
Daniel Cawthorne and Freddie Scutt were having none of that though. Daniel picking up a wicket (bowled) with the first ball of his spell. As the headline said this was a near perfect all round team performance. Already bowling really well conceding very few wides and no balls, the fielders now got in on the act. In Freddie's first over the batsman hit a lusty blow out towards the deep mid wicket boundary where Alex Newland steadied himself and took a great catch. Thanks to Ian Barney for all those high balls he was hoisting up at training on Friday night! Then in Freddie's next over, Jamie Harmer fielding at mid on pulled off a great diving stop and, getting back to his feet as quick as a flash, threw down the stumps at the bowlers end. Three wickets in the pair and the score was now 219-5. Not too many wickets lost but not enough runs from Sutton.
There then followed the Jack Kearns and George Abel show with each wicketkeeping to the others pacy bowling. The rest of the fielders were mostly left to look on as only one single was scored in four overs. The other twenty three balls consisted of one no ball, thirteen dot balls and nine wickets all clean bowled.
Jack bowled very well but his fine figures of two overs, one maiden, two wickets for one run were soon overshadowed by George who had already picked up two wickets in his first over to leave Sutton really struggling on 198-9 after 19 overs. The 20th over brought something the like of which may never have been seen before in all the years of O&LCC cricket. Bowling fast yorkers George picked up wickets with his first two balls. The pressure of the hat-trick ball didn't unduly phase him, middle stump uprooted. Not content with a hat-trick, George picked up wickets with his 4th and 5th balls as well. Perhaps the pressure of the perfect over did get to him in the end as the last ball whistled past the off stump. It was lovely to see all the team sharing and enjoying such a rare cricketing feat and they all left the field to applause from both sets of parents as the Sutton innings closed on 168-14.
Laurence and Jacob got our innings off to a great start scoring thirty runs for the loss of no wickets. At this point I challenged each of the incoming pairs to see if they could score runs, but most importantly not lose a wicket. George and Daniel shared a thirty five run partnership without losing a wicket. Jamie H and Freddie put on thirty two runs without losing a wicket. Arthur and Jamie W scored thirty runs between them and lost just one wicket, an unlucky run out backing up too far and being stranded when the batsman hit the ball straight back to the bowler. With Jack and Alex finishing off with a partnership of twenty two, again without losing a wicket, our innings closed on 343-1. Amazing how many runs you can score when you don't have to keep taking off six runs for a wicket!
I was very proud of all the boys' efforts in all aspects of the game and it is very rewarding to see how much they are all improving from their time as U8s. Thanks to all the watching parents and grandparents for your support and to Gilbert Kearns for scoring.