Belhaven Hill School

Co-ed Boarding & Day School for ages 5-13

Boys' Cricket: 1st XI v Merchiston

Boys' Cricket: 1st XI v Merchiston

26th June 2019 was the last time that the Belhaven Hill 1st XI took to the field for a competitive match. Fittingly, perhaps, that was also against Merchiston, albeit it a scratch game against their U14A team which ended with the scores tied on 130.

681 days  - it has been a long wait and, I have to be honest, 5 overs in, with the rain lancing down and temperatures of around 7 degrees in the wind, I couldn’t help feeling that it wasn’t worth the wait.

After a short break during the worst of the rain, we decided to press on, assuming that we wouldn’t complete the match but aiming to give as many Belhaven bowlers a chance to bowl and a few Merchi boys the chance to bat. And then, about ten overs in, the rain stopped and suddenly a completed match seemed an option so we reduced it to 15 overs each and the Merchi openers, who had batted brilliantly and already been going along at a good clip, went on the charge.

We, meanwhile, rotated through as many bowlers as we could and I was glad that we did as almost every one of the 8 boys who got a chance to bowl made the most of their opportunity. Though no-one managed to claim a wicket, Harry bowled some corkers that the batsmen did well to dig out, as did Rory, while Tommy was the most economical of all. I thought Charles B. bowled two accurate overs, as did James T. and Walter C’s second over was good while all the others’ control was impressive considering just how slippery the ground was and the fact that the ball was like a bar of soap.

But the Merchi lads batted well, one of them reached his half century and they managed to score 123 runs in their 15 overs, which is just over 8 an over and so set quite an impressive target.

Enter our skipper, Tommy, and his opening partner, Theo. Tommy showed his intent right from the start, smashing the first ball for two runs and scoring a further six off the over and he didn’t look back from there. Partnerships are crucial in any innings and Tommy and Theo combined perfectly with Tommy striking shot after shot sweetly and powerfully while Theo supported him by backing up strongly, running at every opportunity and holding up his end when required. All the while the runs kept coming at above the required rate.

After 6 overs, and with Tommy having just passed the half century mark with another sweetly struck 4, the score was 57 and we seemed on track to win the match and then disaster struck. A high no-ball skied upwards off Tommy’s bat, he set off for a run, Theo sent him back, he slipped, as did the fielder who, from the ground, flipped the ball towards and onto the stumps, knocking the bails off when a diving Tommy was still a foot short of the crease. Out.

We still had a chance at this but we needed at least one other batsman to take the bull by the horns. Theo batted on gamely for another couple of overs, striking a couple of fours before being caught behind and Walter was bowled shortly thereafter. Harry smashed a brilliant four before being bowled and, with his dismissal, the last of our big hitters was gone and, in all likelihood, the match. Nevertheless, James batted steadily before being bowled for 12 and Hugo, George and Josh all gave it their best shot.

In the end, however we ran out of balls and found ourselves on 107 after 15 overs - 16 runs shy of Merchi’s total.

So, despite a miserable start, it turned into an exciting, hard-fought game of cricket where everyone was involved and contributed, with an exciting atmosphere throughout the second innings and some brilliant play on display.

Well done boys from both teams on playing so positively and giving it a go.

I was wrong: the cricket season is underway and it was definitely worth the wait!

Result: Match lost by 16 runs.

MOTM: Tommy. A maiden half century for the 1st XI in his first match and an innings that was faultless until the run-out and his performance gave us a chance of winning the match.

Batting Bowling
Tommy: 52 off 27 balls (10 x 4) Tommy: 2o 0m 9r 0w
Theo: 17 off 25 balls (3 x 4) Charles: 2o 0m 14r 0w
James: 12 off 14 balls (1 x 4) Hugo: 1o 0m 4r 0w