Hello guys. This is my first little write up, and I’m looking forward to this year in which I share my cricketing journey throughout the season. Now halfway through the season, it’s a great time to look back at what I’ve already achieved, learning opportunities and what’s coming up this summer.
My school season has been an exciting and fun 14 games. At the start of the season, we were not ready for the battles of the National cup, being knocked out in the second round, followed by a tight loss to Bromsgrove. However, a short time away from the u15s in the first team proved valuable experience playing with the school boys’ best of the best. The big derby against Abingdon arose, where we scored 240 in 30 overs with a 60 run win. My best innings so far this year appeared, scoring 126 in 23 overs making it my fourth and quickest hundred ever. To see the boys’ standing ovation, with the spectacle of playing on School Field is an innings I will never forget. A solid 60 against KES Birmingham in the MCS Hundred Ball Festival capped off an amazing 2 year journey with the boys, who I hope to see in years to come playing for the 1s, and hopefully we will all reunite in 3 years time. MCS u15s: played 14, won 11, lost 3.
School season aside, a more difficult and challenging section of the season lay ahead. After a successful season at Shipton Under Whychwood 2’s with 2 hundreds for the club and a near promotion, it was time for the opportunity to a higher standard of cricket. Oxford Downs has been pushing promotion with its 1’s and 2’s for the past 2 years, in Cherwell Div 2 and the Home Counties feeder league. Having only played two game in Div 2 before for Shipton 1’s, I knew it was going to be a learning curve, both with bat and ball. 8 games through and we are on an upward spiral, 4 narrow losses in 8 games, 2 draws, and last week our first win of the season have created a culture of fearlessness, determination and brotherhood that hopefully will last throughout the season. This year, in both Bunbury and the Cherwell have seen my batting take priority: less overs bowled, but more runs scored, with 2 40s, and a 25* in 4 games helping us to secure vital bonus points. All in all, I hope I can achieve my first Div 2 century and 5 wicket haul, before hopefully getting a game in the Home Counties.
Bunbury was one of my main goals this year. A prestigious programme of quality tradition, I was lucky enough to be invited to the first two trials down at Taunton Vale CC. For me, the pressure is so overhyped: it was all about a learning opportunity to play against the top 25 players in the South and West region, and go back to EPP and the Oxfordshire Pathway with valuable knowledge gained. Two late 20s, an unfortunate runout and a two baller left me in an unlikely position before the 4th trial. However, a great start to my u16 County season with 2 wins against Wales and Northants, with 5 wickets, a 50 and a 30 left me with a decent record in the 50 over format. My u18’s one day debut was also held in front of the region’s head coach in Taunton against Somerset: figures of 2 for 45 and 63 didn’t prove enough to chase down a score of 340, but thankfully it did prove enough to the coaches. After the last trial, scoring 22 and taking 2 catches on a difficult deck, I had made it into the squad, and officially declared myself as one of the 50 Bunbury lads selected for 2023. Tomorrow I have my bunbury two day game against London and East at the University Parks, and my week long festival begins on the 31st July.
I look forward to the opportunities in the second half of the season: many games to score bucket loads of runs, rattle some poles and be in the business of winning. It is going to be so much fun.
With 3 weeks till the end of the season, many reflections need to be made to finish the year on a high. 2 weeks after the Bunbury festival, with 3 mens league games left, an u16 finish in the group and 2 Sussex two day games, there is still a lot left to play for.
The Bunbury Festival is the biggest learning curve of the year. Although I didn’t perform the best I’d liked, averaging 26 over the course of the week and the two dayer, I share valuable experience playing with and against the best of the best. One of the highlights of the week was sharing a hundred partnership chasing 330 with the captain of the South and West, Thomas Rew, arguably the best batsman our age nationally. Although coming up 40 runs short, to see how he went about his business up close was hugely influential, having taken note of his tactics and shot selection to mould my game for the next season, as well as rotating the strike and being more expansive in the first powerplay. Bunbury stats are as shown here: https://ecbbunbury.play-cricket.com/Teams/153788.
Now the u16 county season has ended, it’s a great opportunity to look back on a learning season playing up. Finishing 3rd in the group behind Leicestershire and Notts, with scalps such as Worcestershire and Wales under our name, it has been a successful season for the team. Although I don’t think I’ve played my best cricket, I finish the season top run scorer, averaging 31, and leading wicket taker, averaging 15, in the team. To do this a year young is something I’m extremely proud of.
With 1 league game left, a change of clubs back to Bourton Vale for more bowling opportunities has led to a higher standard of cricket and more learning. Beating top of the league on Saturday away was certainly a highlight, bowling Tewkesbury out for 150 20 short of our total. Although I took no wickets, it was great to see how better batsmen manipulate the field and our own spinners looking to attack with consistent plans and differing fields. The vibe back at my old club from the ages of 7 is hugely welcoming, with a determined and cheerful atmosphere of old and new. I’m really looking forward to my last game for them this season, and possibly next year also.