Michael Hall reports on the U12 Coloured Clothing Tournament in Leicester, England, where a contingent of Swiss juniors, supported by three players from Pune in India, participated as part of the City Cricket Academy Warriors team.
With morning rain predicted, it was a happy surprise to see lighter clouds for day 1 of the U12 Coloured Clothing Tournament. Ten U10 and U11 players plus three from a touring squad from Pune
made up the City Cricket Academy Warriors team. Sasha won the toss for the Warriors and elected to field with the overheads and a green track. The side bowled well with Sai finishing with figures
of 1-0 off two overs, and Katie taking two wickets in her two with the Rhinos finishing on 111-5.
The Warriors looked comfortable until the second over when spin was brought on, seeing a precession of wickets with 7 batsmen going for 0. Of the Swiss players Sasha top scored for 9 (getting stumped) and Nicky played sensibly against some quick bowling at the end for 5. The Warriors finished on 77 all out.
After lunch, the Warriors again fielded against the Cobras. Again they started well, with the Cobras going at under 3 an over by the half way stage. A wicket brought an over-age player in and he soon started to find the boundary before he was stunningly caught on the boundary by Sasha. The other players also started to hit hard and ended up finishing on 140-7, with Andreas picking up 2.
The Warriors started well, and despite the introduction of spin looked more assured although always behind the rate. Shankar was the pick going on to score 34*, which included sensible batting in the last over to ensure a batting bonus point was taken.
With three more days of round robin games, and a final we hope the Warriors can continue to learn and have fun at the fantastic Leicester Grammar School facility.
Day two started with a match against the fourth team, the Lions. Sasha lost the toss and was asked to field. The team fielded well although the extras were the highest scorer. Andreas was the
pick of the bowlers getting 3-14, including 2 in 2 (the second of which being Matthew Hoggard’s son!). The Lions were restricted to 114-10.
In reply, the Warriors always looked ahead of the rate, with Sasha looking in great touch. He carried his bat for 44*. The wind also affected the Lions’ accuracy and the Warriors eased to their first win with 7 balls to spare.
Taking full batting and bowling points, meant the Warriors moved to third in the league, and only 7 points behind the leader.
Feeling confident, Sasha elected to bat in their second match against the Rhinos, but ended up bowled in the first over. Spin again proved tricky, although the batsmen didn’t get out but found it difficult to score. With runs needed the wickets started to fall but the Warriors just batted out the twenty for 75-10.
With a low total to defend, the Warriors started well, with wickets falling regularly and a couple of maidens, but the total was too low to defend, and an 18 run final over off Sasha sealed the match.
Half way through the round-robin, the Warriors should feel they can win their games tomorrow and shake up the table!
Day three was back on pitch 1, with a quicker outfield which had seen a score of 164 the previous day. In their first match against the Cobras, the Warriors put on a fantastic effort in the
field, with Andreas in particular bowling well. He managed two-in-two and finished with figures of 2-5. With three overs to go, the Cobras were on 105 before a county player came in and took the
score to 141-9.
In reply Sasha got things off to a great start hitting a 4. No one else got into double figures, but all worked well with Sasha who accelerated to get his to his first 50 in any competitive cricket. As he walked off for retirement, the Cobra’s captain (the county player) asked the umpires to call him back. He brought himself back on, but switched from spin to pace. By now Sasha was seeing the ball like a beach ball and drove it back over his head for 4. While the Warrior’s worm was ahead, they didn’t have enough firepower to finish it off and finished 13 runs short, with Sasha finishing on 63*.
The team felt confident going into their afternoon match against the Lions, but tiredness set in. The quick bowlers found it difficult to be accurate with the strong wind and extras mounted. Andreas was again the pick with figures of 1-5, but the score ended up on a massive 167-4.
The scoring started quickly in reply, but Sasha couldn’t go on, holing out on 17. Shankar took up the baton and combined with some players that hadn’t had a bat to keep the required rate within reach. Sadly he fell for 20 and the match looked lost. The highlight were U9 Nicky and U10 Avneet both finding the boundary and batting bravely against some quick bowling. They just fell short of reaching the 130-run bonus point.
Heavy rain overnight and in the morning saw the first matches of day four washed out and replaced with a bowl out. Eleven players would bowl a ball and the side with the most wickets would be the
winner. If scores were level after the eleven, sudden death would apply.
With a biting wind, accuracy would be tricky, and so it proved with only one wicket from each team (Sasha for the Warriors). Sasha brought himself back on for the first sudden death ball, and again hit the stumps. The Rhinos bowler couldn’t follow suit and the Warriors took the points.
The afternoon saw another match up with the Cobras (today without their County player). Sasha won the toss and preferred to chase. The Warriors bowled excellently and at the end of the ninth over they had the Cobras at 28-4. From that point the game started to get away from them with some sloppy bowling choices and fielding and the Cobras posted 111-7.
The reply got going with Sasha hitting a 4 first ball but the performance of the day was from Sahil from Pune who hit 38 from 31 balls before being trapped in front. With the required rate heading below three, Shankar and Ryan saw the Warriors over the line.
The day’s results left the Warriors only five points adrift at the bottom of the table, with second place mathematically possible. More realistically a win against the Lions would put them third and into the 3/4th play off.
The final day saw the first match against the Lions to wrap up the league phase of the competition. Although lying in last place, the Warriors could reach second (and the final) if they won with
maximum bowling points (9 or more wickets) and batting points (130 or more runs or chasing the total) and the Rhinos losing with no bonus points. The Warriors were asked the field first, giving
best chance for getting the batting points.
Going all out to win the Warriors stuck to their best bowlers, and Sai was the pick - he took the opener in the first over, and picked up another at an economy of 3.50. The rest bowled well and with a much improved field restricted the Lions to 115-10.
Feeling confident, that Warriors started well with Sasha hitting four boundaries (including a hook), but he ended up run out (for 23) after the non-striker sent him back. Shankar looked in good touch but the other batsmen struggled to time the ball with the ball sticking slightly. Ved (on loan) got his strike rate up with a four and a six but it was too little too late and the run rate was too much for the incoming batmen and the Warriors finished 8 runs short.
On to the 3rd/4th play off and again it was against the Lions, this time on the lower scoring pitch 2. Again the Warriors fielded first and fielded even better than the morning game in some blustery conditions. Ryan had the dangerous Darius caught behind from a fine edge and no one else got into double figures, with the Lions finishing on 95-8.
The reply started well with hard running needed on the slow outfield. Sasha couldn’t go on and dragged a ball on, so responsibility fell to Shankar and Avneet who found it difficult to get the singles. The dots mounted and the pressure told with Avneet run out. A five from overthrows helped but it looked like being another close one. Shankar departed for 26 and a flurry of run outs ensued as Katie and Mushaar all pushed or one more. It fell to Ved to hit a cracking straight drive for 4 with two balls to spare!
For a young side missing a few of the national squad that toured Surrey in May, third place was a great result, especially as the side had beaten the winning side the day before. They improved a
huge amount over the week, almost doubling the yearly competitive cricket they play. Spin was no longer fearsome, and the quality of the fielding improved. Sasha led the side well, and his
batting was up with the best of the competition, finishing with 204 runs. He also contributed with ball, taking 9 wickets. Andreas was the pick of the bowlers, with his off-spin nettting 11
wickets, including three “two in two”. Most importantly it was a team effort with runs coming all the way down the order, wickets too.
Many thanks to the City Cricket Academy for a great week of cricket, we look forward to returning next year. Also thanks to Sahil, Ved and Sunvir who joined the team on heir tour from Pune. Finally thanks to Matthew Hoggard for putting up with the bat signing while he was trying to watch his son!
(Swiss players only)
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