*** Chris Poil, Blackheath Head Coach and Under 11 Squad Manager, reports ***
I think it is fair to say the boys have made a very decent start to the season in some difficult wet and windy conditions.
The team that has played mainly on Sundays has played three league fixtures and won them all and is currently top of the league. They were extremely unlikely to lose in the County Cup to a very strong Maori Oxshott when a slip up in the field allowed the opposition to get the 2 runs they required off the last ball. A link to the league table is below
The team that has played midweek have faced some tough opponents but lies third in their league trailing first and second currently by 1 point. Link to the league table is below.
The big difference this year is that the weekend team are playing “out when you are out” cricket and the mid-week team are playing pairs cricket. More of this later.
We started the season with the weekend team taking on Normandy and produced a very mature display to win in the end by 78 runs. Ben Wales and Idris Iqbal, Blackheath captain both made a very good 30 runs before retiring against some tough bowling. Dexter Rich chipped in with a very useful 19 runs using his trademark shot on a number of occasions. Nat Kingscott took two very good wickets to break the home sides batting resistance and Ethan Logue took a good wicket as well.
The midweek team travelled to Fernhurst to take on a very strong home team. We put up a creditable performance with special mention to George Gossage, Theo Clayton and Rollo Godwin-Austen for their accurate bowling. Benjamin Reed batted very well.
We used a break in the fixture programme to have a squad match at Grafham, where the highlight was Hector Ward taking 6 wickets!
The midweek team then entertained Chiddingfold at Blackheath. Chiddingfold batted first and made steady progress to 275 for 5 wickets. Billy Hoodless, Alex Lewis, Tate Anderson, Tom Hoodless (late replacement and playing two years up) and Eithan Logue all took a wicket each. George Gossage, Blackheath captain bowled very well and was unlucky not to get several wickets. When Blackheath batted Ethan and Alex Lewis made a solid start but we then had a period of losing quite a few wickets as batsmen struggled to defend good balls, mainly caused by not moving their feet. There was late rally in the batting with Tom Hoodless and George Gossage leading the charge. Alex Pactat joined in with the lusty blows but we fell 18 runs short on 257 for 8 wickets. The difference between the sides was the wicket we lost. Some valuable lessons hopefully learnt.
The Cup game against Maori Oxshott produced a very creditable performance against tough opposition. Benjamin Reed did a great job holding our batting line up together. Our bowling was excellent with Freddie Park and Ben Wales doing particularly well. There were two exceptional pieces of fielding with Thomas Wilmott taking an excellent catch (at the third attempt) on the boundary and Alex Davison taking an amazing reflex catch at wicket keeper to an edge that was travelling at a rapid rate. One of the best wicket keeper catches this correspondent has ever seen at this level. Ultimately however, fielding was the difference between to two sides.
Playing “out when you are out” is different to pairs cricket but the fundamentals are the same. We have bee very keen to keep the tactic simple to ensure buy in from the boys.
Defend the good balls
Attack the bad balls
Run hard between the wickets
The midweek side then travelled to Elstead. Elstead batted first but struggled to score freely in the face of some really good bowling from Billie Hoodless, George Gossage and Austin Schnauffer. Alex Pactat and Joe Elliott (playing his first game) also got good wickets. Elstead had a late rally making a score of 240 runs for 7 wickets. Blackheath’s top order batsmen played well and seemed to be determined to defend the good balls. Austin Schnauffer and Lev Onischenko (also playing his first game) accelerated the scoring before Joe and Sam Elliott (another playing his first match) then saw the innings home to finish on 312 runs for 4 wickets. A very good win by 72 runs, particularly given we had so many players playing their first game.
The weekend side then took on a very decent Merrow team on a horrible wet and windy Sunday morning at Grafham. On a day when scoring runs was very difficult, given the wet pitch and outfield, Blackheath posted a useful 115 runs with Benjamin Reed and Idris Iqbal making 30 runs each before retiring. Much credit should go to Tom Baker who opened the batting a determinedly saw off Merrow strong opening bowlers to allow the middle order to score more freely. Idris Iqbal and Nat Kingscott took some early wickets to put Merrow under pressure and then Ben Wales and Tom Baker helped “mop up” the tail to secure a 64 run victory. The difference between the two teams was our ability to defend the good balls.
A group photo after a recent squad match.
We have also been very keen to keep the bowling and fielding tactic simple to ensure buy in from the boys.
Bowling and fielding
Bowl full and straight
In/out field setting, with fielders either stopping singles or boundary riders to stop boundaries.
Lots of backing up with bowler and wicket keeper getting to the stumps as quickly as possible.
The weekend team travelled to Grayshott last Sunday. In dark and overcast conditions Blackheath Captain Tom Baker won the toss and elected to field. Playing on an artificial wicket where the ball tended to keep low, Freddie Park produced a devastating piece of opening bowling to record figures of 2 overs, 6 runs and 4 wickets. Despite losing so many early wickets Grayshott fought back and aided by some over exuberant Blackheath fielding managed to post a score of 72 runs. Billie Hoodless also bowled solidly and took a good wicket. When we started batting it was important not to lose early wickets and see the opposition’s good bowlers off. This is exactly what the Blackheath openers Ben Wales and Tom Baker did. Both scoring 15 hard fought for runs. This enabled Benjamin Reed and Nat Kingscott to finish the run chase with 6 overs to spare. Another very solid and mature performance.
A brief word on “out when you are out” cricket. It is not always possible to ensure all the players both bat and bowl. However, we will always do our best to ensure that everyone at least either bats or bowls. Each game though, everyone fields, and in tight games it is the quality of the fielding that will determine the result.
We have just started extra nets practise for the U11s. This will be every Monday night 6-7pm unless we advise otherwise. We hope to get the bowling machine out. This could be a valuable opportunity for the boys to improve their batting and bowling skills. You can sign up to come along on Teamtamer each week.
There are some tough fixtures to come but both our teams are well placed in their respective leagues. Hopefully the boys are learning some important lessons and enjoying their cricket. Due to the poor weather and commitments to other sports some boys have had limited game time so far. We will endeavour to give all the boys as much game time as possible as the season progresses.
Thank you for all your support and fingers crossed for some better weather!!
BCC U11 Coaching Team.