Mid-Surrey Cup Game: Richmond U11A vs Esher U11A
Richmond 84 for 3 off 20 overs lost to Esher 86 for 4 off 17 overs
Venue: Old Paulines Ground, Thames Ditton
Whilst the Old Paulines Ground is a perfectly good venue for cricket, the wicket that was prepared for this match was very poor. In fairness to the groundsman, the rain over the previous two days probably didn't help much, but the slow, low and uneven bounce made fluent batting and keeping very difficult throughout the game.
Esher won the toss, and elected to field. The Richmond opening pair, Ollie and Ani, made a solid start, although good bowling and the difficult pitch meant that the top order batsmen were not able to keep the momentum going as we struggled, reaching just 33 for 2 off 10. Neil P and Finlay W looked to speed things up as the overs passed, with Finlay hitting a towering straight six and a glorious drive for 4, whilst later Findlay B came in and injected a degree of urgency with some very sneaky shots and sharply run singles. Over the 20 overs, for all our huffing and puffing, 84 for 3 was all we could manage against a very well drilled and capable Esher side.
Whilst 84 for 3 was considered sub-par, we also knew the wicket would be tough for the Esher batsmen as well. Even so, only a Herculean effort in the field was going to check Esher. The boys went out determined to give it their best. Arjun and Finn C opened the bowling with some miserly overs (Arjun 4 overs, 1 wicket for 8; Finn C 3 overs, 1 wicket for 10). Chris and Ollie followed up well, with both chipping in with a wicket. However, slowly but surely, Esher ground towards their target, and in the 17th over scored the final run needed for victory.
Whilst the Richmond boys were up against it in the field, they never stopped supporting each other and trying their best. Sam C and Findlay B were like prowling tigers in the field, turning in energetic and faultless displays. Oscar Y was solid behind the stumps, despite the fact that he had no idea when the next bobbling peashooter was coming his way. On the day, a strong Esher side just had a fraction more, and whilst we may have lost the game, we found our teamwork and spirit.
We're coming up against some excellent sides in the Sunday Mid Surrey League, and whilst we have had some close games, so far we are coming off second best. We're not far off, but if we are to beat these top teams, there are a few areas that we need to improve on, as follows:
1. We're just not scoring enough runs at a fast enough pace. 100 after 20 is the minimum required, with 120 plus being the stretch goal.
2. We have to cut the extras down. Wides and no balls count for 2 in this format, so they can wrack up a big total if the bowlers don't find their mark.
Man of the Match: Findlay W, for an excellent innings, and those two thumping shots.
Special mention: Arjun for another display of top drawer bowling, and Sam C, for a first class fielding display and an unrelentingly positive attitude.