U14s claim emphatic win
By Dave Brown
Impressive team performance makes coach proud
As a coach it nice to be proud of individual performances, but it is even nicer to be proud of a team performance, especially one which was full of enthusiasm, effort and skill. Last night was one of those occasions as the U14s completed a 44 run victory at Chesham.
Skipper, Alex Walker, won the toss and elected to bat first. Louis Ertl got the innings off to a flying start with some characteristicly powerful stroke play, but just as he was really getting going, he managed to pick out a fielder with an off drive and had to depart for 13 (19-1). Meanwhile Ethan Baggott had established himself at the crease and he was joined by Tom Labbett. Together they took the score on to 72 before Tom (11) played inside a delivery that nipped back to remove his off bail (72-2). Max McKenzie strolled out and stroked his first ball for 4 through the covers. Ethan upped his scoring rate but within sight of his 50 he popped a catch up and had to depart for an excellent 44 in the 12th over(88-3). The skipper came to the crease and together with Max added 60 unbeaten runs in the remaining 8 overs to take the total to 148-3. Max made 14* and Alex amassed 39* including a towering 6 over the square leg boundary.
We had a big score on the board, but the coach's message at the interval was that it was a fast outfield and a good pitch so we would have to field well and bowl tightly to defend it. Skipper took the unorthodox decision to open with spin and it paid off. Ethan induced the Chesham opener into a loose drive in the first over and Alex pouched the catch (0-1). At the other end Shan Patel bowled an excellent line, but the extra pace on the deliveries was to the liking of the Chesham no.s 2 and 3 and they ticked the board over with a few boundaries and singles. Max McKenzie came on to bowl and this produced immediate dividends as he claimed 2 wickets in 2 balls, the first an excellent reaction catch behind the stumps by Louis Ertl, and the 2nd a perfect full Yorker to the new batsman (22-3). The 4th wicket partnership took the score on to 49 before Luke Marsden produced a perfect ball that nipped between bat and pad to peg back the Chesham chase just as momentum began to swing their way. This momentum would have been much stronger in Chesham's favour had we not collectively fielded superbly. The skipper made sure that bodies were in the right places and each and every one of those bodies did their job, often diving on the ball to save boundaries. With the wind taken out of the Chesham sails, we continued to take regular wickets with Harry Ince (1-2), George Davey (1-15) and Harvey Lewis (1-15) claiming wickets and Luke (2-9) bagged his 2nd. Louis claimed 3 catches behind the stumps, Alex 2 in the field and Max also caught one. Chesham finished on 104-8.
From a coach's perspective it was great to see the boys' join up all the practice and learning into this performance, but it was also rewarding to see their passion and enthusiasm for the game rewarded at last with this result.