If you thought Sunday's World Cup was a cracker then you wouldn't have wanted to miss last night’s humdinger of a league match between the Falkland Cavaliers and the Falkland Hurricanes.
Both teams were out in full strength as were the hordes of fans (over 60 in number) who had come along to cheer on their heroes and heroines.
The main square was taking a well-earned drink so the match was moved to the nursery ground. With a lightning fast outfield and a short offside boundary, coupled with a hard and bouncy wicket, the Cavaliers chose to bat first looking to lay down a strong total for the Hurricanes to chase.
Having recently been taught a cricket lesson against the u13s girls team the boys knew they had to dig deep with their batting and pay full respect to the excellent Hurricanes bowling unit. The opening overs were hostile. The ball fast, straight and rearing up at the openers - flying past the outside edge on a number of occasions with gasps from the swelling (and more pickled) crowd. Running well between the wickets, the boys picked up whatever runs they could from the splendidly tight fielding, but most importantly, the Cavaliers kept their wickets intact.
The Hurricanes attack was relentless – if it wasn’t pace down the corridor of uncertainty it was leg-spin-wizardry pitching outside leg and fizzing past off stump. But still the boys kept their wickets safe.
After the excellent job of seeing off the new ball, the middle and lower order managed to break the shackles and found the boundary on a number of occasions, adding some excellent acceleration to the score. At the interval they had got to 287 – 4, a fine effort, but would it be enough?
The cavaliers opened their bowling with their speedster – First ball, spanked for 4. Second ball, spanked for 4. Forth ball, spanked for 4. We’d all be home early at this rate! What an innings from the Hurricane openers – they were in a rush to get these runs knocked off – the ball flew all round the park – 30 for 0 off the first four overs. The boys knew they had to improve. They came together for huddle and agreed to focus on line and not speed. The impact was immediate – two wickets fell in quick succession pegging the Hurricanes back.
As the overs ticked by, the match ebbed and flowed – A brace of boundaries followed by a wicket. Excellent calling and running from the girls, followed by a great catch from the boys. A maiden over, 14 scored from the next. Which way was the match going to go? With a handful of overs to go, a Hurricanes batsman got a leading edge sending the ball high into the evening sky. William came hurtling in from the boundary, steadied himself and snaffled the ball in his breadbasket. Were hands involved? Who knows, he was mobbed by his team mates, who needed a bit of magic to keep them going to the death.
More boundaries, more wickets – a smack to square leg, the fielder makes good ground to his right, but couldn’t quite gather it and the ball gets dropped for a one bounce four, turning the match back to the girls. This was getting tense.
One over to go, Hurricanes needed 7, with their long-serving skipper at the crease. Sunday’s world cup super over had nothing on this. Hang on to your hats everybody, this was going down to the wire!
The crowd fell silent as the Cavaliers bowler walked to the top of his mark for the final over. He set off, gathering speed as he approached the crease. The steely-eyed batsman set herself. The ball was fast and on a good length outside off stump and she prepared to mow it through the covers but in the late evening cool the ball swung in, taking the inside edge and crashing into the leg stump. First blow to the Cavaliers. Second ball was full and straight, this time swinging away. The batsman did well to fend it off, but it popped up – midwicket came thundering in, dived and took a splendid one handed catch. Was that the match? The Hurricanes skipper thought otherwise. She had been an fantastic figurehead for her team during the match, and throughout the season, and found it in herself to face up to the next ball. What an inspiration to us all. She focused, took one step down the wicket and launched the most splendid of straight drives right out of the ground. Shot of the season for sure!
But with the wickets falling early in the over the Hurricanes couldn’t quite get over the line and the Cavaliers closed the match out taking the spoils. What. A. Match.
Great is an overly used word in sport – but this was a Great match. Great U11s cricket on display. Great competition. Great spirit and passion shown from both teams. Most importantly, Great fun. Hurricanes and Cavaliers – take a bow!