U10 NEC fielding performance too much for Dulwich
By Ben Abel
Blackborough's hat-trick one of many highlights
Early news wasn't promising with a wet pitch after Saturday's heavy rain and an injury on the morning of the match depriving us of the services of Hugo dVH.
The Hemingways came to the rescue with Eddie's younger brother Hugo turning out for the U10s and Adam racing to Grub street to borrow the 'super' soaker to mop up the wicket. With the sun beating down on a wet but drying wicket, the game got underway 15 minutes late to allow the ground time to dry out further.
In Hugo's absence George captained the team, but could do nothing when the Dulwich captain called tails, won the toss and unsurpisingly inserted Oxted.
A quick team talk reiterated the state of the pitch, likely variable pace and bounce, the need to keep battling and not let heads go down if wickets fell and what would be a good target to set. We decided as a team that 250 would give us something to defend.
Initially batting was a struggle, Jack and William opened up and after defending one straight ball Jack went for a heave across the line at the next and was bowled. Scoring was difficult as it was hard to get the ball away with a tight field. William was unlucky to be caught out by a well taken catch at square leg that would otherwise have gone to the boundary. Then from nowhere Jack hit one of the last balls of the pair over mid wicket for 6! Parity restored at 202 - 2 after the first pair.
Next in were the Hemingway brothers. Eddie took the senior role to protect his younger brother but came up against an excellent girl from the Surrey performance programme and another bowler who on a wet pitch bowled accurately and with movement off the seam to pick up 3 wickets all bowled between them. Some good calling of singles and byes plus a couple of boundaries off the last over of the pair kept us in the game - just (or so it seemed at the time!) on 206 - 5.
Next in Leo Bines and Will Gildersleeve listened to the advice of the preceding pair to play straight and despite announcing that he was really nervous facing up to a Surrey bowler, Leo played really well getting bat on ball, playing straight and picking up singles and a boundary without losing a wicket.
Will did his bit as well, hitting one lovely flick off his legs for 4 behind square. He was unlucky to be given out LBW to a ball that from my position at square leg he looked to have got a good stride forward to! A partnership of 18 moved us onto 224 - 6 after 12 overs.
Harry Ejje and George Abel were next in and called and ran a bye, 9 singles and a 2. Three boundaries and no wickets produced a fantastic partnership of 24 runs without any help from wides or no balls. Very impressive game management saw us onto 248 - 6 and within site of our pre innings target of 250.
Last pair Luke Hague and Frazer Adams-Leach started well hitting 8 off the first over. Frazer was then unlucky to be run out as he slipped trying to get back into his crease on the wet ground. In the next over Luke skied one and was out caught and bowled as we slipped back below 250. The last over was not without controversy as having previously twice warned Dulwich not to talk after the bowler had started running in, the umpire (me) no balled the bowler on a ball that bowled Frazer but during which their umpire/coach and 2 players were still shouting advice and encouragement as the bowler ran in. With a boundary hit by Luke in addition to the no ball and singles we had our 5th positive partnership as we rallied to 257 - 8 off our 20 overs on a really difficult wicket to bat on.
At half-time we made the point to the boys that if they bowled straight they would take wickets on that pitch. As a team we bowled and fielded superbly - probably the best performance we have seen in the field from the boys. The bowlers bowled accurately and built pressure, fielders made superb stops, chased balls to the boundary and cut them off before they got there, threw accurately but also sensibly, often to the keepers end and I can only think of one overthrow that we conceded on a run out chance.
In the face of this incessant pressure, Dulwich simply wilted under the strain losing 16 wickets in total, not including an LBW and a run out that I probably should have given out but didn't.
We caught all but one of our chances with catches by Jack Kearns and Eddie Hemingway both being particularly memorable, diving forward having run in to take the catch from near the boundary. Will Gildersleeve had a direct hit fielding at fine leg and there were 4 other run outs, to go with the 3 catches, an LBW (not by me!) and 7 wickets bowled.
Dulwich were only ahead of their 200 starting total at one point during their innings. At the end of the 13th over they were on 202-6 and still in with a sniff if their last 2 pairs could score at 7 an over. In his second over Luke bowled the Dulwich batsman and then next ball George took a catch at mid off to follow up his 4 catches against Banstead last week. The hat-trick ball was skied towards gully, Jack charged in from cover but couldn't quite get there in time. Still, a double wicket maiden!
William Blackborough was rewarded for his best bowling performance with a third over. Starting with 3 dot balls, a wicket bowled, was followed by a superb catch by Jack running in from cover and diving forward to take it one handed. Good to see he has been watching the World Cup! Hat-trick ball again! Will ran in and struck the batsman on the pad, the whole team went up with Will doing his best Jimmy Anderson impression running backwards down the pitch with both arms aloft beseeching the Dulwich umpire. After a short pause the finger went up and the hat-trick celebrations were underway. A triple wicket maiden!
The last pair lost the plot trying to chase victory and lost one wicket to a good catch by Eddie in the deep and three more to run outs!
A special mention for Harry Ejje who is turning into an excellent wicketkeeper. Only conceding 3 byes on that pitch and no overthrows was a superb effort. Harry also had a hand in several of the run outs.
Thanks to all the parents who helped with pitch set up and warming up the boys. Thank you to Pip for scoring and Sophie for volunteering to do match teas.
A real pleasure to watch the boys produce such an outstanding performance.