Of the five fixtures the U13s have had, three have been played, one cancelled due to rain and one because of the opposition, Blundeston, unfortunately pulling out of the league.
The first game, versus a strong Bungay at home, saw us lose the toss and put in the field. After taking two early wickets from bowlers Archie Wells and Dylan Harvey, Bungay’s two Norfolk players batted well and both retired after scoring 30 runs. Thomas then took the next wicket, captain Ezra Fuller taking the catch at slip, after a good spell of spin bowling. Some generally loose fielding in this first game contributed to help Bungay achieve 122 runs, including 23 extras, from their 16 overs.
Having to score 7.5 runs an over, our openers Ezra and Alfie Woodcraft struggled to keep up with the rate. Alfie’s wicket fell after nine overs with the score on 58 before Dylan then went unluckily, missing a pea-roller. Will Gladwell came in and batted freely, timing the ball well to retire on 30 along with Ezra. Archie succumbed to county bowling and although Thomas hit a few we finished on 98, losing by 24 runs. Lots to learn from this first game.
Our second game saw the arrival of Hales/Loddon to the common. Ezra won the toss and we went into bat with a revised batting order. With Ezra opening with Will, the runs flowed and both retired. Enter Dylan who showed good composure in defending the good balls and dispatching the bad, scoring 22 not out. Partnering him was Jack Simmons who played with his usual abandon, scoring a good 18 not out. Total, with plenty of extras, 150 runs.
It was always going to be tough for Hales as all bowled reasonably well. We have been concentrating on bowling full and straight to get wickets and to prevent scoring opportunities. Archie Wells did just that and finished with figures of 3-1-2-6. It was good to see our fielding improving (another discipline we are working on), and how important this is to win games. Apart from their opening bat, Hales struggled to get runs, finishing on 80 for two. A well deserved first win for the U13s. Hurrah!
Against Brooke in our third game, Ezra won the toss and saw him open the batting with Dylan. After a slow start the innings picked up momentum. Ezra, after fending off some pacy bowling, scored steadily whilst Dylan hit two lovely timed drives, one over the bowler and a better one through the covers before being bowled by a good ball. Thomas came in gagging for a chance to show his skills, which he duly did. Anything short or legside was dispatched to the boundary and he had to retire along with Ezra. Jack played with his usual no fear for 13* as Southwold closed on 130.
With runs on the board the pressure was on, but Brooke’s opening bat was very strong and bludgeoned our opening bowling attack. The strong winds were making it difficult and a change in tactics was needed as Ezra rang the changes to bring on spin. This slowed the runs a bit, and Brooke’s opener retiring quickly helped also. The rest of Brooke’s batsmen were less attacking and with a combination of consistent bowling from Alfie (3/10), and Ezra bowling his spin (3/5), Southwold held them to a total of 111. A good win with all showing great determination in the field.
Lastly, I must mention Anton, who has impressed me with the gloves, conceding just 16 buys in three games. With the numbers of wides and tough deliveries to keep to this is very good. Also, commendations to Henry whose speed and agility in the field is good to see. Well done to both.
Next two games are away to Topcroft and Lowestoft. Please note Beccles at home rearranged for June 25th. Hopefully we can set up a friendly re-match with big rivals Bungay towards the end of the season. If we continue to improve like we are, we can beat them!