Thunderbolts and lightening were forecast, weather-warnings issued and flood gates raised as the u11 Cavaliers took on Newbury U11s last night in the town’s hotly anticipated local derby.
Astonishingly the big match went ahead after some great work from the Newbury ground staff, a lucky break with the weather and a real positive attitude about playing cricket from the Newbury coach. Both sets of players were ecstatic, with one so pleased he took off his wellington boots and put his spikes on. The large group of spectators that had amassed were cold and damp but thrilled at the opportunity to see their heroes take to the field once again.
The Cavaliers won the toss and chose to bowl first; a brave decision to give Newbury the first use of a pitch that was only going to deteriorate with all that moisture in the air – would they be able to capitalise?
Generally coming in off shortened runs, the Cavalier bowlers were straight into their stride with some good length and accurate bowling. With some classic watchful opening batsmanship, Newbury kept their wickets safe until the forth over when an attempted expansive drive led to the opener’s off stump being knocked back. With some excellent energy in the field (generally to keep warm), and some good catching, the Cavaliers managed to restrict Newbury to 185 for 11 at the change of innings.
And then the highlight of the season for the poor old umpire/coach – a warming cup of tea was presented from the fabulous Newbury CC catering team. His champagne moment of the season for sure.
Assessing the conditions excellently, the Cavaliers openers paid plenty of respect to the accurate Newbury bowlers, playing straight when required and putting the ball away when any width was on offer. However, the now stodgy conditions were playing havoc, with the ball gripping, turning and sticking to the pitch. Wickets started to fall and a change of approach was needed. Full of confidence in their running, after practicing hard the night before at training, the batsman took the approach of knocking the ball into the gaps in the field and decisively running. The scoreboard started to tick over again, and would have accelerated if it wasn’t for some excellent work by the Newbury wicketkeeper keeping the byes and over throws down to almost zero. The Cavaliers finished on 292-6, and can rightly claim to reign in the Newbury town derby.
So the Cavaliers can be full of confidence as they move into a busy period of league and one-off matches, but must continue to train hard. Keep those fingers crossed that the weather returns something more summer-like!
Man of the Match: Tom ‘the big man’
Champagne moment: A warming cuppa (plus Raymundo's glorious cover drive for 4)