Boys' Cricket: 1st XI v St. Mary's, Melrose
It was a glorious day for cricket down in the wild badlands of the Borders on Wednesday as the 1st XI ventured forth to play St. Mary’s. On driving in to the school, the boys immediately noted evidence of ex-Belhaven teacher, Mr. Rawson with every tree festooned with bird-boxes.
Winning the toss, Tommy elected to bowl first on a pitch that traditionally keeps rather low. James opened the bowling with Harry, Tommy deciding that a left-right-hand, fast and accurate combination would do the trick. It certainly seemed to as James bowled with his usual consistency, while Harry made a breakthrough in his second over, bowling one of their openers which brought their best batsman to the crease.
Tommy and Rory (another left-right combination took over the bowling. Tommy started brilliantly with a maiden over but then lost his rhythm a bit while Rory was quite consistent and collected a wicket in his third over. Rory was also smashed for a six as their number three began to show what a class act he was as he began and their run-rate began creeping up over the next few overs and at 45 for 1, they were looking threatening.
Then Rory got a wicket and the bowlers changed with Constantin and Hugo having a go. Constantin bowls slightly looping balls that, given the right conditions, swing in prodigiously. With the wind in his favour, some humidity in the air and a pitch sloping from left to right, everything was in his favour and his second ball started a yard outside off stump and hooped its way back onto middle, bypassing their no. 3’s bat and smashing into the stumps. A brilliant ball, a fantastic celebration and a pivotal moment in the game.
His next over was even better! It began with a run-out as James threw down the stumps from the fine-leg boundary and was followed by two wickets in a row as no-one seemed to be able to cope with Constantin’s swing. A team hat-trick! And then, to round off an already remarkable over, Constantin bowled a third wicket.
With 8 wickets down, our debutant, Archie J. was brought on to bowl and made his mark with a maiden over. (After a short break, he then picked up a wicket when he bowled his second over. Brilliant. Walter, George and Theo all had a bowl with George taking one before Archie claimed the final wicket to end St. Mary’s innings on 93.
After a quick refuel and break, it was Belhaven’s turn to bat and they were reminded to get on the front foot at every opportunity – this wasn’t a pitch for back-foot shots.
Charles and Theo continued to prove their value as an opening duo with Theo playing some very positive shots – he smashed the first ball of our innings for a four, thus laying down the gauntlet – and running very aggressively while Charles supported him from the other end. Their partnership was worth 26 and set us up nicely.
Tommy was next in and he just seemed to get going when he played across the line, got a top edge and was caught. Hugo played some lovely shots before also being caught behind (remember, if you know you hit it and you know it’s been caught, you walk) and James struggled with the low bounce before being bowled.
So, we were 5 down for 50 and the game was delicately poised. Enter Harry.
Harry is a big, strong lad and when he hits a ball, it tends to stay well hit. He has been working hard on his batting and one of his strongest shots is swinging through a pitched-up, low-bouncing ball – perfect for this wicket. He opened his account with a sweetly struck six. Then four balls later, another, even bigger, this one very nearly clearing the school wall.
The St. Mary’s Headmaster is an old colleague and friend of mine, and his house looks over their 1st XI pitch. Harry needs cricket spikes; so, I offered to purchase him a pair if he managed to hit a ball through the window of the Headmaster’s house… he didn’t quite manage it but he came close as two more sixes soared over the boundary.
Ably supported by Rory at the other end, the two ensured that our score raced to, and beyond, the required 93 thus winning us the match by 7 wickets with 5 overs to spare.
|Harry: 31 not out off 13 balls (1x4, 4x6)||Constantin: 2o 0m 6r 4w|
|Theo: 20 off 21 balls (2x4)||Archie: 1.43o 1m 2r 1w|
|George: 2o 1m 2r 1w|
Result: Match won by 7 wickets.
MOTM: Constantin whose breakthrough was crucial and whose three wickets in one over is impressive.