Glorious sunshine greeted the visiting EMWCC U9 team for their opening fixture of the 2021 campaign. E&MWCC U9 took on IBM Hursley CC U9 side in front of a good sized crowd.
EMWCC, under the captaincy of Eddie Clegg, lost the toss and were put into bat. Rory and Archie opened the E&MW CC batting. They started carefully but kept the run rate turning over with 7 off the first couple of overs. Having got the measure of the IBM Hursley attack, they began playing some more aggressive shots. Archie, in particular, playing some lovely strokes both straight and square of the wicket for four. The pair guided E&MW CC to an excellent 222 off the first 4 overs. Wilf and Zac followed to the crease. Some wayward bowling made it difficult for the pair to get into their stride but some good calling and excellent running between the wickets kept the scoreboard ticking over. A couple of late wickets, one an excellently taken caught and bowled, limited the final runs; E&MWCC reaching 223 off 8 overs.
Next up, the skipper (Eddie) and Jake. Both initially struggled to get on top of the Hursley attack but played some classic defensive strokes. Both then took on a more aggressive approach with Eddie, in particular, hitting a couple of fabulous boundaries. A fantastic run out (a direct hit from the deep mid wicket fielder) and a late wicket (Eddie playing around an uneven bounce) limited their return but EMWCC reached 230. Xavi and Raf were the last pair in. Courtesy of some unpredictable and inaccurate bowling (10 extras) neither were allowed to fully express their talents. However, a late flourish from Xavi and some excellent running between the wickets gave EMWCC a very defendable total of 244.
IBM Hursley came into bat with Rory and Archie bowling the opening spell for EMWCC. Despite a strong early bowling performance (and a well deserved wicket for Archie), a number of well taken singles and some overenthusiastic fielding kept the home side in the chase; 213 off the first 4 overs.
Wilf and Zac followed. Wilf struggled with his line and length but with a shortened run up and slower action was rewarded with a wicket (the batsman paying on from an excellent delivery). Zac held his end well but faced a talented middle order batsman. IBM Hursley raced to 232 off 8 overs. 13 runs needed to win off 8 overs.
Eddie and Jake took on the new batting pair. With the pressure on to limit the run rate, both bowlers put in a great performance. Jake, arguably the pick of the EMWCC attack, with a mixture of accuracy and turn repeatedly beat the bat. His figures of 2 for 2 (net -8) gave EMWCC a real chance of a win. IBM Hursley 234 off 12 overs.
11 runs off 24 balls required and the tension both in the crowd and coaching staff was palpable. Xavi and Raf were given the ball and the task. Under immense pressure, Xavi struggled with his line and length. The home side capitalised with good running on the extras; 3 runs to win off 18 balls. Raf, on his EMWCC debut, responded perfectly. A wicket on the first and last ball of his debut over. The crowd (and his dad) cheering on the EMWCC boys enthusiastically. IBM Hursley were left needing 8 off 12 balls. Xavi, concentrating on his accuracy and taking a leaf out of Raf’s book, proved the perfect foil. A wicket then a series of dot balls. 11 needed off the final over. Raf kept his nerve but a wide on his last ball had to be rebowled (wides are only rebowled in the final over). IBM Hursley needed 4 to win. In a dramatic finale, Raf’s final delivery was dispatched over the boundary and to the shock and amazement of all (especially the EMWCC coaching staff) IBM Hursley were victorious.
It was a thrilling match played in great spirit. EMWCC U9s can and should be proud of their excellent performance.
IBM Hursley CC U9s beat EMWCC U9s by 1 run
E&MWCC Man of the Match: Archie (16 runs, bowling figures: 2,0,8,1)
Special mention to Jake (bowling figures: 2,0,2,2) and Raf for his excellent debut (bowling figures: 2,0,12,2)