10 - good leave.
9 - SHOT! Okay, 20 ahead.
8 - Oops! We didn't need that. Hold it together boys
7 - Played. They still need three wickets
6 - Cheeky single. Good running
5 - Leg bye. We'll take that.
4 - Well left. Can we start believing?
3 - Yes we can. They need four wickets. Come on!
2 - We can't lose it from here can we? Can we?
1 - NO WE CAN'T!
BOYS, YOU JUST WON THE GUBBY ALLEN CUP AT LORD'S!!
And that's how 10 young boys won the Gubby Allen Cup at the home of cricket, under blue skies and in front of proud parents, grand-parents, aunts, uncles, brothers and sisters.
The journey began on a typically damp bank holiday in May at Teddington cricket club. Five matches. Eight-a-side. Two overs per pair. Lose a wicket and lose five runs. First placed team to progress to the next round. Four victories later and it was a winner takes all finale against unbeaten hosts Teddington. We batted first and put 56 on the board off 8 overs. Teddington came close but no cigar. Job done.
Then an interminable wait until July for a four way round robin with Lord's the prize at the end of the day. Bags packed. Ready to go. Water logged pitches, so off to watch England win the women's World Cup instead.
A quarter final hastily rearranged against Ealing. Four overs per pair this time but still 8-a-side. The boys were magnificent in the field keeping Ealing to a meagre 45. After four overs we were almost there, Jack and Smithy smashing 36. The boys kept their foot on the gas finishing on 120 without losing a wicket. The U10 wagon was gathering pace.
Two days later the same eight boys regrouped for a semi against Stoke Newington. They batted first but despite some big hitting only managed a measly 56.
Don't get overconfident boys. It's only half-time. Six balls into our reply and we'd already lost three wickets! That wasn't in the script. Three overs later we had 15 on the board as the boys regrouped. By the time the final pair came in we were ahead of the required score. Just their big quick to see off. No problem.
Boys, you're going to Lord's!!
So the big day arrives. It feels like Christmas. Bleary eyed parents woken early by wide eyed kids, excited about what the day might bring. Lord's a picture. Old Father Time gazing down from his perch. The red and yellow MCC flag fluttering in the morning breeze. Family and friends arriving, taking their places on bleached benches by the nursery ground as the sense of anticipation builds.
"Heads" call Eastcote. "Tails" replies the umpire. "We'll have a bowl" says Captain Hugo. And how the boys bowled! Jack Nelson starts and has their openers reaching for thin air with his disappearing leg spin. Now you see it, now you don't. Thomas T and Hugo up the pace and start to make in-roads into Eastcote. A couple of wickets. We're in the game. A maiden from Jack McPhilipps tightens the screw. Fraser and Josh baffle and bamboozle with their teasing spin. Archie and Thomas Stanton are on the money with their zipping in-swingers. The fielding's good. Keep it tight. You're doing great. The scoreboard starts to tick. Three overs to go. We could do with a wicket. Or two! A double wicket maiden from Nikhil! Last over. Hugo shoulders the responsibility and keeps it tidy. 65 on the board after 20. We'll take that.
Jack Nelson and Smithy get us underway. We lose a couple of wickets but still have 20 on the board after four overs. Great start boys. Fraser and Josh to the crease. Singles run, bad balls despatched to the boundary with disdain. Then Nikhil and Thomas S are on deck. Elegant drives mixed with well placed cuts and the finishing line comes in to sight. Jack McPhilipps and Archie pick up the baton. "Yes, no, shall we?" Oops! Stay calm boys. They settle in. Jack caresses one through the covers, Archie nudges and nurdles. Now we're ahead. A fist pump as the pairs pass. Captain Hugo and Thomas T stride out. Wise heads on young shoulders. They know what they need to do. Leave the wide ones, play the straight ones. Put away the bad balls. Start the countdown. 10.....
The ten boys that represented Richmond in the Gubby Allen final were:
Hugo Knowles (Captain)
Jack McPhilips (keeper 2)
William Smith (keeper 1)
And special mention to Alex Michael and Jay Guru-Murthy who played in the first round of matches at Teddington.