A fantastic county cup final that had absolutely everything was played on a lovely summer's evening and proved to be a triumph of Richmond skill, resilience and sportsmanship over the uncompromising and belligerent approach of Stoke Newington. The significant logistical challenge of getting our 11 players across Central London from 7 different schools during the afternoon traffic was accomplished by a 5 vehicle cavalcade delivering the troops successfully over the River Lea and on to the renowned Hackney Marshes in time for a prompt 6.00 pm start.
Richmond won the toss and invited Stoke to bat who immediately launched into a pre-meditated flurry of attacking shots, riding their luck and getting off to a flyer with the score at 61 for 2 from 7 overs. At this stage the prospect of a further 13 overs still to come may have appeared a little daunting. However, good tight bowling and consistent wicket taking from Dru Shori, Toby Dowding (skilfully accounting for both their opener and captain in successive deliveries), Kartik Jain, Anosh Malik and Viv Raman meant that the opposition finished their innings prematurely on 139 all out off 18.2 overs. Our bowlers were supported by critical catches (Rory Flack and Tanmay Thanawalla), run-outs (Zack McGuire and Viv) and general all-round effort in the field (Guy Murphy and Lucien Ashworth).
Needing precisely 7 runs an over to win, we did not get off to the best start, losing one of our leading batsmen in the first over to a skilfully delivered away-swinging ball, the wicket being accompanied by the frutiest of Stoke send-offs ! Faced with tight stump-to-stump bowling and many a colourful expletive from the opposition, Dru Shori and Tanmay put on an excellent 2nd wicket partnership of 63 runs in testing conditions that moved the run chase to 68-2 after 12 overs. With Tanmay being unluckily run out, Dru led the way with a captain's innings that saw him unbeaten and retire on 51 from 53 balls. We now needed 51 runs off 34 balls to win with Stoke continuing to play with hostility. But cometh the hour……cometh the men, David Doughty and Kartik Jain, displaying an unflappable temperament, proceeded to strike the ball beautifully and had composed a formidable 3rd wicket partnership which meant that we needed 12 off the final with 8 wickets in hand. With every Stoke player bar the bowler and wicket-keeper patrolling the boundary, the boys hit 2-4-2-2-1 with Kartik finishing things with a glorious four straight out of the screws to win the game. It was an exciting and memorable final in which Stoke Newington played their part. After a hard fought match, the boys shook hands and were awarded their medals. Richmond were crowned the Middlesex County U15 champions and go through as the county's representatives in the ECB U15 National Competition which starts in July and will no doubt present new opportunities and challenges.
Pictured: Back: G. Murphy, V. Raman, K. Jain, R. Flack, D. Doughty
Updated 13:26 - 14 Aug 2018 by Richard Zotov
Front: T. Dowding, Z. McGuire, T. Thanawalla, D. Shori, L. Ashworth and A.Malik