The rain threatened all afternoon but did the decent thing in the end (thanks to Mona for diverting it on the way in). Turned out to be a balmy summer evening, honest. Not sure what all the jumpers, coats and blankets were about. South Hampstead had gone very close in a 300-run game vs Shepherd's Bush so we had to be on top of it from ball one. Didn't quite expect what happened though.
We were delighted to be asked to bat first and Harjot and Raoul set off at a cracking rate of knots. Raoul was desperately unlucky to be given out lbw for 10 (37-1 off 3.1) and Jared, who announced his intentions with a sumptuous square drive perished a few balls later (49-2 off 4). The scoring carried on apace with Harjot and Oscar finding gaps almost at will until Oscar fell to make it 89-3 off 9.5. Ned walked in, in need of a confidence booster after a couple of low scores. After a nervous start, the Har-Ned show began. There are spokes all over this wagon wheel, from fine leg all the way round to third man (the long way round, before any of you smart alecs think about it). Most of the bad balls were sent, the calling was spot on and very aggressive, the running was committed. By the 16th over the burning question was simply about whether or not the boys would reach their respective landmarks. Two balls to go, Harjot on 99, Ned on 47. Cheeky single for Harjot allowing him to turn our first 50 into our first 100 (off 62 balls), then Ned drove one through the covers to end on 51 off 33. The crowd went wild, thanks also go to the U12/13 training group and coaches for lending their support from the other side of the field.
It's difficult to envy a side needing to chase at over 10 an over, but it's also a great opportunity to re-emphasise that no matter how good your score might be batting first, you still have a job to do with the ball and the manner in which you do that job is important. We needed to come down from that collective high as we went out to field. The instruction was simply to bowl at the stumps. Wickets fell regularly to William (2) to start with, then Jilal (2) and finally Ned, unable to stay out of it, taking four wickets in his one over. Good discipline shown with seven wickets being clean bowled.
A 152 run win is a huge effort and whilst there have been some obvious individual performances to highlight in this report it's worth stating that this whole group is developing a phenomenal sense of team. They work with and for each other every time they front up to training and to matches. We even spill blood for the cause, with Rishab copping one that bounced awkwardly in the face. The more they do this (the team ethic thing, not the spilling blood thing), the better it'll get. A top team performance by a top bunch of boys.
Ancient history now though. It's all about the next match.