U9s NEC softball - fielding masterclass secures victory against Banstead
By Ben Abel
Friday night practice session pays off
Whilst our erstwhile colleagues were handing Merstham their first defeat for two seasons in the ESCL cup semi final, the NEC team were off to Banstead to try and get back to winning ways after last weekend's defeat.
On another beautiful sunny day Captain Will Satterley won the toss and chose to field. A good call as we had spent our warm up time practicing our bowling and catching. Banstead were a couple of players short at the scheduled start time and asked if they could field first to allow two more players time to turn up. An odd request but one we accommodated.
After a couple of quick throw downs Huxley Maunder-Allan and Jovian Crozier opened the batting, but perhaps the lack of preparation time counted against us as Huxley popped the first ball of the match up into the offside where it was well caught! Not to worry though as Huxley went on to hit three boundaries and despite a late wicket in the pairing when Jovian was bowled, we finished the pair on 217 - 2.
James Roe and Sammy Adams were up next. Banstead were operating a very close in field, so scoring was difficult. Unless you could find the gaps, in which case the ball often went to the boundary, scoring was difficult and running a hazardous operation! Two wickets (one bowled, one run out) but a positive partnership with both boys hitting the boundary as we moved onto 229 - 4. One of my favourite moments of the match was seeing Sammy time a beautiful off drive through the covers for four - straight out of Friday night's batting drill!
Sam Bream and Henry McCall had to face four overs from Banstead's two best players bowling in tandem. The field was still in close and the bowing was accurate with neither bowler conceding any wides or no balls. Credit to the boys therefore that they played sensibly. Henry walked off a bit disappointed but there is nothing wrong with a dot ball against good bowling. Sam made up for being bowled once by managing to find a gap in the field to hit the only boundary of the pairing. Another positive partnership inched us onto 230 - 5 after 12 overs. With less sensible bating we could easily have found ourselves on a much lower score.
With the better bowlers being saved for one final burst at the end, William Satterley and Freddie Scutt were able to put on what we think is the highest partnership of the season - 55!! After Will hogged the first five balls of the first over, Freddie nonchalantly hit his one ball back past the bowler for four. When the ball wasn't a wide or a no ball it was regularly despatched to the boundary with both boys finishing in double figures and no wickets lost. 285 - 5 after 16 overs.
With the field now pushed back singles and byes were easier to come by for last pair Harry Ejje and Alex Bussenschutt. This also meant boundaries were harder to come by, but both boys still managed to find the fence and score double digits. The last 2 overs only saw 7 runs scored as the two best bowlers returned to bowl a third over each but we finished on 319 - 6 after one of the more unusual dismissals of the season when Alex was given out 'hit wicket'. A reminder for all the boys not to stand too deep in the crease or your bat can knock the bails off.
A well constructed innings by the team, taking advantage of the bad balls and treating the good balls with the respect they deserved.
Sam Bream opened the bowling for the Grasshoppers and bowled excellently, the only one of the team not to bowl any wides or no balls, finishing with figures of three wickets for nine runs off his two overs, including a wicket bowled off the first ball of the Banstead innings. A case of 'anything you can do, we can do better'!
Still the first Banstead pair recovered to not lose any more wickets, finishing on 221-1.
The next two pairs struggled against excellent fielding from our boys, losing six and two wickets respectively to leave Banstead on 224 - 9 after 12 overs. (At the same stage we were on 230 - 5).
A total of four run outs (two or possibly three from Sam Bream and one from Sammy Adams), a great diving catch by Will at mid off in Jovian's over, two wickets bowled by Huxley and Sam respectively and finally a great diving catch by Huxley behind the stumps of Sam's bowling wreaked havoc in the Banstead middle order.
Perhaps with focus lost slightly in what appeared to be an easy cruise to victory, the second half of the Banstead innings went to the batting side. Our second rotation of the same bowlers generally led to more wides and no balls than their first overs and we missed several opportunities for easy run outs. This helped Banstead rally to 249 - 10 after 16 overs and a final total of 284-10 gave the scoreline some respectability but still a solid win for the boys by 35 runs.