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U10s / U11s – weeks 3 & 4 – match summaries

23 May 2024

Monday 13th May 2024: Hyde 228 (76/12 off 20) lost to Heaton Mersey Phoenix 353 (169/4 off 20) by 125 runs – Cheshire league pairs (Scorecard)

A Monday evening Cheshire league trip took us to Werneth Low to play Hyde, where the season regressed as we climbed up to the ground: the air was fresh and drizzle hung in the air.  Stan, as captain, won the toss and chose to bat on an artificial strip.  Hyde’s team comprised U9s and U10s, plus one 7-year-old, so were always going to be up against it, and so it proved.  Their coaches were adamant that wides and no-balls were 2 runs each, which didn’t ultimately help them as well as causing me some grief on the Play Cricket app.

Isaac and George opened the batting: Isaac smashed four fours while George played straight, knocking singles and running well.  Both kept their wicket intact playing sensible cricket and putting on a partnership of 25 runs.  A very solid start.  Arjo and Emmet came next, with Arjo initially struggling with some excellent full-pitched bowling but recovering strongly to hit some of the most sweetly-timed fours you could ever see.  Emmet didn’t face much of the strike but played sensibly, ran well and didn’t get out.  Whilst Arjo did get out, they put on an impressive partnership of 41 runs.  That put us on a net score of 262.

Next up, Stan and Tom R, carried on much of went before, with the highlight being an exquisite straight drive by Stan back past the bowler and splicing mid off and mid on perfectly.  Their running between the wickets was excellent and they matched the previous pair with 41-1.  The fourth pair was Gregory and Will, and they gelled together.  Gregory recovered from being bowled to hit two lovely fours, and both rotated the strike during their partnership, which was worth 27-1, and the net score marched on to 322.  It already looked a challenging target.

Some of Hyde’s fielding was excellent, with some of the boys really attacking the ball and they stopped several boundaries.  One brave lad got in the way of a strongly hit shot in the penultimate over, taking it on the shin, and he hobbled off for the last few balls.  That saved him from facing any more of Adam’s onslaught, who took one ball to have a look at the bowler and then calmly hoisted the next ball over long off for the first six of the game.  Later, he hit a four and then hooked a full toss (more of a beamer) for another six.  Whilst Adam was run out going for a second, Zayaan did not get out and kept the scoreboard ticking over.  In the end, Heaton Mersey set Hyde an extremely challenging target of 353 (gross score was 169-4 off the 20 overs).

Then came our battery of pace bowlers, hurling the ball down with venom.  Will opened the bowling and seemed to be quicker than I had seen him recently, Emmet bowled with accuracy, George hustled through the crease and Arjo used his flight and guile well.  Express pace was provided by Stan and Zayaan, while Gregory adapted well to a left/right-handed combination, bowling the left-hander twice without conceding any runs off the bat.

With the game easily won, Adam bowled mostly spin and Isaac with his usual pace.  At one point, one of the Hyde batsman was struck on the chest, the sound audible from the boundary, and it was clear that it had hurt.  But he bravely soldiered on, even taking the strike when he didn’t need to (he had faced the last ball of the over).  Other than Gregory’s brace, the wickets were spread across the team pretty evenly, with Emmet, George, Arjo, Stan, Zayeen and Adam all picking up a wicket apiece, mostly bowled, with one caught behind.

Added to that, there were two excellent run-outs courtesy of dead-eye Will, prowling in the covers (almost literally at one point as the covers were blown onto the pitch), pinging down the stumps the first time and throwing accurately to the bowler the second.  There were two other run-outs, one from Isaac stopping more or less everything at backstop.

That brings us finally to Tom Rubie, keeper for the entire game.  With regularity, the balls thudded into his gloves, despite them coming through with some considerable carry.  Crouched low, this often involved moving his head calmly out of the way and putting his glove there instead.  It was a superb performance.

In the end, as was probably to be expected, the score was too much for Hyde.  Until the last partnership, they were struggling to get above 200, but some brave batting throughout got them to a credible score of 76, with the 12 wickets lost costing them.  Their net score was 228, a margin of 125 runs, and Heaton Mersey Phoenix have three wins out of three (one through a concession).

       

Friday 17th May 2024: Heaton Mersey Phoenix 241 (69/7 off 16( beat Cheadle Hulme TWO 235 (63/7 off 16) – High Peak league pairs (Scorecard)

A low scoring game on a flat and at times lifeless pitch produced a narrow win for the hosts.  A steady batting display was punctuated by the loss of regular wickets as Phoenix struggled to cope with the slow pace of both the pitch and the opposition bowling.  Boundaries were hard to come by with only Joseph, Miles and Younas finding the rope once each.  It was a night for patience, rather than the big hitters.  Most of the seven wickets lost were due to batsmen trying to hit expansive shots when the ball was not quite there to hit.  Phoenix knew they would have to bowl and field well.

Joseph and Harry opened the bowling, dovetailing beautifully to concede just 3 runs in 4 overs.  The experienced Joseph led the way and Harry showed he is learning quickly the art of hard ball bowling.  Harvey and Olly then continued to apply pressure with some tight bowling. Harvey taking his first wicket of the High Peak season and Cheadle were on 210 at the halfway stage.

The visitors needed to up the pace but were unable to cope with Eli’s accuracy, which saw him take 3 wickets in his 2 overs, ably supported by Miles and the hosts looked on course for a comfortable win. The last pair required 30 to win on a pitch, which had not looked like conceding anywhere near that many runs, in 4 overs.

However, credit to the final Cheadle pairing.  The first 3 balls of Max’s over were all smote to the boundary rope and suddenly the game was on again.  Max steeled himself to finish with 3 dot balls. Up stepped Younas, who with his extra height and pace, managed to find the bounce which had previously looked unthinkable.  A wicket calmed the Phoenix nerves and left Cheadle needing 16 from 2 overs.

Back came Cheadle with a massive 4 from Max’s penultimate ball, leaving them on 235 going in to the last over.  Younas bowled a dot and a singe to start the over.  Cheadle then attempted a quick single.  Their batsman declined and sent back the non-striker, who turned only to see Younas pick up and whip the ball on to the stumps all in one movement.  A magnificent run-out off his own bowling.  Cheadle heads sank and the game was done.  Another tight game and a great experience for all involved. The boys had a relatively low total to defend and did it magnificently.

    

Sunday 19th May 2024: Didsbury 91/4 (20.0) beat Heaton Mersey Phoenix 88/5 (20) by 3 runs – South Manchester league T20 (Scorecard)

An absolute classic today at Didsbury CC between 2 of the best teams at U11 level.  Didsbury won the toss and elected to bat; we wanted to bat too.  The boys were outstanding with the new ball as Stan, Felix and Adam stopped Didsbury’s Lancashire players getting anything off the square.  Arjo got a key breakthrough and we continued to maintain our vice like grip on the innings.

At the halfway point, we were firmly in control but with wickets in hand they were always going to come hard at us.  The bowling remained tight but the fielding became sloppy, which ultimately cost us the game, though Sam W had a solid first 10 overs behind the stumps for us.

Sam H, with 2 excellent wickets including a fabulous caught and bowled, and Felix with a wicket meant that Didsbury got a big, but realistic target.  Felix and Younus got us off to a solid start but as so often one brought two then three wickets after a couple of lovely fours.

Sam W and Sam H then rebuilt the innings with Sam H completely dominant against their bowlers and Sam W reaching a well-made 13.  Sam H retired and then, with the game starting to slip away, Stan came in and smashed 18 and put us right back in it with 7 needed off the last over.

Unfortunately, it wasn't to be but, after Didsbury won by 150 runs last week, there was no shame in losing by one scoring shot.  Pushing singles, looking for twos and ground fielding are the areas to work on.  A really good effort though and hopefully the start of a good week.

    

Sunday 19th May 2024: Marple 260 (79/4 off 16) lost to Heaton Mersey Phoenix 272 (92/5 off 16) by 12 runs – High Peak league pairs (Scorecard)

What a pleasure to coach the team today.  My first outing umpiring hardball!  Apart from Harvey & Isaac who have played many competitive hardball matches and Finn who has played just one, this was the first hardball match for the majority of our players.

We batted well facing a couple of cracking bowlers and some well…. let’s just say there were a few grumbles from our players who had nothing to hit!!  In no particular order, Leo confidently hit a couple of fours and Adam defended his wicket well to some excellent bowlers.  Harvey & Isaac were confident with their batting and calling, Finn & Matty kept it tight and Jake & Joey pinged off some lovely shots, taking us to 272.

I felt quite confident that we had them knowing how good this lot are at bowling but my goodness: they may have struggled with the bowling but could they ever bat!  One kid for whom this was only his second cricket match EVER knocked fours all over the place, taking our lads by surprise.  After 8 overs, it was level pegging and too close for comfort, but in true Mersey bowling style we came back fighting with some lovely bowling!

There were some much needed wickets including a caught behind from Leo and Jake’s wicket in his last over of the game was a GAME changer - knocking their confidence and allowing us to pounce!  Massive shout out to all the players; Finn developing some kind of psychic link the ball and getting himself in some beautiful fielding positions, Joey’s body blocking dive to stop a 4, Jake’s sprinting in the field, Harvey’s boundary saving multiple times, Adam’s filthy knees from stopping countless balls and Isaac’s ability to cover two fielding positions at once was outstanding - he has earned an afternoon nap!!  Phoenix took it back and kept Marple down to 260.

We will be working on backing up the keeper as I know Isaac and Leo would have got more run outs as keeper if there was better backing up and for batters grounding their bat when running into the crease!  However, it was great cricket and a great win!  Well done team!!

    

Monday 20th May 2024: Heaton Mersey Phoenix 172 (20.0) beat Lindow Green 10 all out (10.1) by 162 runs – South Manchester league T20 (Scorecard)

A resounding victory for Mersey in this evening’s game at the Mersey Village ground on Harwood Road.  Mersey won the toss and decided to bat on a cool, calm spring evening.  From the first over, when Isaac G hit three fours, Mersey batted with a ruthlessness underlining their strong line-up.  The runs flowed like the Orinoco during the monsoon season with five batters retiring on at least 25 (not out).

Top scorer was Monty with a career best of 28*, along with Isaac G (25*), Harrison (25*), Felix (25*) and George with a maiden 25*.  Harvey and Stan then batted out the last few balls reaching 2* and 3* respectively to achieve a score of 172 with the loss of no wickets.

The opposition never stood a chance and their inexperience showed as Mersey demolished their callow batting line-up with a ruthless display in the field.  Two wickets for Joseph during a fiery opening spell, followed by two wickets for Stan, three for Sam and two for James (in his first hard ball game); Gregory also pulled off a fantastic run out to deflate the opposition.

A comprehensive victory for Mersey against a very inexperienced Lindow team.  The game was played in the right manner and both teams enjoyed it.  Thanks to Jeffers for umpiring sensibly and to all who turned up to support the teams.

       

Tuesday 21st May 2024: Heaton Mersey Phoenix 299 (107/2 off 20) beat Romiley Tempest 212 (64/13 off 20) by 87 runs – Cheshire league pairs (Scorecard)

We headed down to Heaton Mersey Village once more, on a mild, dry evening.  Romiley won the toss and elected to bat (which we would probably have done).  Harrison and Isaac opened the bowling and were on the money from the start – it was Isaac who managed to slip a couple through the defences of the batsmen, hitting the stumps both times, but Harrison has some close misses.

This was a theme: Gregory, bowling in the second pair, fizzed at least two deliveries marginally over the top of the stumps.  This indicated the bounce in the pitch, which the team were great at extracting, not least Harley who, partnered with Gregory, got one to get big on the batsman, who slashed to the keeper, with Sam taking an excellent sharp chance which came quickly to him.

The tight bowling continued, with Joseph bowling two maidens, including a wicket in the first, and Dylan conceding just two runs in his two overs.  Romiley could just not get it away, and the fielding kept things tight.  The highlight was Gregory diving to stop what seemed a certain four, keeping it to just the single, plus Felix getting a run-out.

Felix joined on the action, claiming a wicket with just his second ball, before James secured a technical hat-trick.  Having taken a wicket with the last ball of his previous match the night before, his first delivery of this match was full, swung away slightly and took out the stumps, whilst his second was given a hefty blow by the batsman but found Joseph in the deep and he made no mistake.

Felix then took umbrage at being hit for four, skittling the batsman two balls later, to a roar of delight from the bowler.  Then James became leading wicket-taker for the match outright as another batsman took him on, and again fell to an outstanding catch in the deep, this time from Sam.  Romiley were going backwards quickly.

Their best batsman were the last pair, but once more the bowlers kept to their lines and lengths.  Having been hit for two boundaries in the over, Will pitched one up and was rewarded with a wicket.  Sensing the need to pick up the pace, Sam was attacked but fell to a good catch, before a delivery in his next over ricocheted off around before dribbling onto the stumps.  They all count!  Sam nearly claimed a third as a quicker delivery on leg stump was smashed to square leg, which Dylan almost pouched and ultimately stopped a boundary.

In the face of relentless bowling, Romiley limped to 212, a very much chaseable target.  That became evident with the positive batting and running of Harrison and Isaac.  They got us well ahead of the target and we didn’t look back.   Most pleasing was the way in which they protected their wickets against a variety of bowling styles – we only lost two wickets the whole innings, compared to Romiley’s 13.

None of the U10 players lost a wicket, and walked off with beaming smiles as a result.  Felix (partnered with James) and Sam (partnered with Will) added a satisfactory gloss to the scoreline with some late order hitting, the latter smashing the only six of the game and taking a no-ball beamer off his eyebrows for another four.  Romiley did drop some catches, highlighting just how good we had been in the field.

A special mention to Romiley’s keeper, who threw down the stumps perhaps over 20 times (evidently a ten-pin bowling enthusiast), optimistically appealing for a stumping on pretty much all of them, despite the batsmen not leaving the crease (and he missed the one stumping chance that was available).  And the Mersey go marching on.

U10s / U11s – weeks 3 & 4 – match summaries