Harrow St Mary's take MCC U13 crown
Harrow St Mary’s from Middlesex took the MCC Spirit of Cricket U13 National Club Championships title for 2006 after leaving finals week at Oakham School with a 100 per cent record.
The finals week was held at Oakham School from August 8-11, with eight teams left from an initial entry of 1698 clubs. Over the four days the teams played each other in a round-robin.
The eight sides had first progressed through their County Cup and then a preliminary round to reach the eight Regional Finals.
All matches are played over 20 overs a side with an additional rule requiring batsmen to retire once they have reached the score of 30 runs. Batsmen are not able to return but if the last pair are at the wicket then the batsman upon reaching 30 does not retire.
The eight teams who qualified for Oakham this year had a mixed record in previous years’ competitions. South Northumberland and Porthill Park (Staffordshire) were returning for a second consecutive year whilst this was Harrow St Mary’s third year on the trot at Oakham.
Worcester Nomads have also appeared at the National Finals four times in the last eight years. Wanstead & Snaresbrook (Essex), two clubs who had merged over the winter, followed on from previous success in years gone by in both U13 and U15 competitions by Wanstead. Guiseley (Yorkshire), Paignton (Devon) and Countesthorpe (Leicestershire) were all making their first appearance at this stage of the competition.
With mounting excitement the draw was made on Monday evening by the team managers for the order of matches in the coming days. Tuesday morning saw a large crowd of parents and supporters of each team thronging the boundaries of the four pitches in eager anticipation of the competition to come.
The first set of matches that were played on Tuesday morning saw some excellent cricket and it was immediately obvious that the standard was higher than in 2005. The closest match in the first round involved Guiseley, who scored 109 for three, and only just managed to edge out Paignton by four runs as the latter’s innings closed on 105 for six.
The highest total in this first round was South Northumberland’s 128 against Worcester Nomads. Five batsmen reached 30 in this set of matches and C Best of Guiseley returned the best bowling figures taking 3-23 in a vital spell in the match against Paignton. The successful teams in the first round of matches were Guiseley, Harrow St Mary’s, Wanstead & Snaresbrook and South Northumberland.
In the afternoon Guiseley again set the pace against Worcester Nomads, who batted first and scored 107 for nine - but Guiseley breezed past this winning by nine wickets, which was to prove the biggest winning margin in the whole week.
This round of matches saw bat dominating over ball with no less than 12 players scoring 30 or more. Guiseley were joined on two wins by South Northumberland and Harrow St Mary’s whilst Porthill Park recorded their first win.
Wednesday morning saw a high-scoring game between Porthill Park and Harrow St Mary’s where the former’s total of 120 for five was beaten in a close finish by three wickets. Harrow chased down the score through good scoring throughout their batting order.
Worcester Nomads recorded their first win by only three runs restricting Paignton to 109 for eight in reply to their total of 112 for eight thanks to innings of note from Tom Mills and Andrew Curtis (his proud father, the ex-Worcestershire player, was able to watch from the vantage point of the scorebox).
Guiseley continued on their winning ways against South Northumberland whilst Wanstead & Snaresbrook having scored 123 against Countesthorpe rushed to victory when Rahman returned the best bowling figures of the week by taking 5-1 in only two overs dismissing their opponents for only 69.
Wednesday afternoon saw an upturn in the fortunes of Countesthorpe, who after three defeats recorded their first victory when they beat Paignton (the only other team without a win at this stage) by 12 runs. The highest total of the week was posted by Harrow St Mary’s in their match against Guiseley when they reached 167 for three – Guiseley only managing 101 in reply.
In the same set of matches Wanstead & Snaresbrook recorded the second highest total of the week when they scored 150 for four against Worcester Nomads – the interesting thing here was that not a single batsman reached 30 in this innings! Porthill Park continued the high scoring theme by posting 131 for five against South Northumberland who subsided to 65 all out due in so small part to C Tatton’s 3-0.
Thursday morning saw clear leaders for the first time with Harrow St Mary’s protecting a 100 per cent record – which they did successfully against Worcester Nomads. Guiseley kept up the pressure by beating Wanstead & Snaresbrook by the narrowest margin of the week – only three runs.
Porthill Park temporarily stopped the Countesthorpe revival while Paignton recorded their first win by passing South Northumberland’s 91 for seven for the loss of only four wickets, led by Chris Kelmere’s 30.
The funniest moment of the week was in the closing over of Countesthorpe’s run chase against Porthill Park. Needing seven to win off the last two balls the batsman threw everything at the ball – missing by a mile – but the force of his rotation was such that the bat flew out of his hands straight at the square-leg umpire who took evasive action. Needless to say that as the umpire was concentrating on avoiding the flying missile he was unable to uphold the appeal made for a stumping off this ball. Best of all this incident was captured by the film crew present that morning making a documentary film for the ECB!
The sixth round of matches saw the biggest upset so far with Guiseley falling well short of Countesthorpe’s 130 for seven closing at 83 for nine. Wanstead & Snaresbrook and Porthill Park increased the pressure on Guiseley for second place by beating South Northumberland and Worcester respectively.
Harrow St Mary’s continued on their winning ways with the biggest winning margin of the week as they scored 135 for seven against Paignton and then blew away their opposition for only 44 to win by 91 runs. This meant that Harrow could not be caught at the top of the table, but three teams were now tied on points for second place.
Friday morning saw the last set of matches with two of the second-place teams playing on the main pitch as this was the game with most hanging on its outcome. Guiseley batted first and posted what was thought to be a disappointing 73 for nine, but as they quickly reduced Porthill Park to seven for five wickets it looked as if the match would end before the others.
The Porthill Park lower order had different ideas and set about rebuilding the innings as there were still 17 overs left. A gripping finish led to Porthill squeezing home with three wickets in hand and then sweating on the result from the Wanstead & Snaresbrook match against Paignton.
In the end the low scoring in the Porthill v Guiseley match meant that a decent score by Wanstead and a victory would give them second place on run rate. Wanstead’s 129 runs therefore proving decisive in the end. Countesthorpe went on to record their third win out of their last four matches as they passed Worcester Nomads’ challenging total of 143 for eight and Harrrow St Mary’s completed the week unbeaten as they eased past South Northumberland’s 65 for seven.
In total there were 59 scores of 30 from 34 different batsmen. Durkin of Guiseley with five scores of 30 (and another of 29) led the way along with Countesthorpe’s Thakor (5) and Mir (4).
The key to Harrow’s success was in the overall strength of the team that was reflected in the fact that their nine scores of 30 were shared between no less than eight players. There were 17 instances of three wickets or more being taken and Harrow also managed four of these instances (shared between three bowlers).
The best bowling figures of the week were Wanstead’s Soyfar Rahman (5-1 – he also managed 3-16 in another match), and Gilani 4-13 (also of Wanstead) and three other players took 4-15 (Stean of Countesthorpe and Anthony and Vithlani, both of Harrow).
Trophies were presented by Roger Knight, Chief Executive and Club Secretary of the MCC, and the Ken Barrington Cup was presented by Mrs Ann Barrington - a duty that she has undertaken now for the last 26 years.
Harrow SM 125-5 (Hurst 33), Countesthorpe 94-5 (Thakor 30)
Wanstead & S 79-9, Porthill Park 38
Guiseley 109-3 (H Dirkin 30, B Mountain 30), Paignton 105-6 (R Ashworth 30, C Best 3-23)
South Northumberland 128, Worcester N 80
Worcester N 107-9, Guiseley 108-1 (H Durkin 30, J Reed 30)
Countesthorpe 117-3 (Thakor 30, Terry 31), South North 118-6 (Banerjee 31)
Wanstead & S 112-7 (H Gayle 33, S Waqar 30), Harrow SM 114-2 (W Ray 33, M Evans 31)
Porthill Pk 129-2 (S Graham 31, M Spencer 32), Paignton 85-5 (R Ashworth 30, C Tatton 3-29)
Harrow SM 123-7, Porthill Park 120-5 (J Smith 33, S Johnson 30)
Worcester Nomads 112-8 (Tom Mills 33, Andrew Curtis 30), Paignton 109-8
South Northumberland 99-8 (M Banerjee 30), Guiseley 100-6 (Durkin 31)
Wanstead & S 123 (Phillips 30, Waqar 31), Countesthorpe 69 (Rahman 5-1)
Wanstead & S 150-4, Worcester Nomads 107-5 (Alex Williams 32)
Harrow SM 167-3 (R Suosay 30, M Evans 30), Guiseley 101 (C Best 30)
Countesthorpe 129-7 (Mir 30, Parmar 32), Paignton 117-8 (Plackett 30)
Porthill Park 131-5 (S Johnson 30, G Bailey 33), South North 65 (M Banerjee 32, C Tatton 3-0)
South Northumberland 91-7, Paignton 92-4 (Kelmere 30)
Worcester Nomads 83-8, Harrow SM 84-4
Porthill Park 130-5 (Bailey 30), Countesthorpe 125-8 (Thakor 33, Mir 30, Richardson 30)
Guiseley 108-8, Wanstead &S 105-8 (Rahman 31)
Countesthorpe 120-7 (Thakor 30, Mir 33, Kelly 3-23), Guiseley 83-9 (Durkin 30)
South North 89-9 (Gilani 4-13, Rahman 3-16), Wanstead &S 90-4 (H Gayle 32)
Porthill Park 102-9 (S Graham 31, T Wilkinson 3-22), Worcester Nomads 87
Harrow SM 135-7 (Anthony 30, Panchartan 30), Paignton (Sujaru 3-8)
Worcester N (A Curtis 30, A Williams 31, Stean 4-15), Countesthorpe 144-4 (Richardson 33, Thakor 33, Mir 30)
South Northumberland 65-7 (L Anthony 4-15), Harrow SM 69-4
Wanstead &S 129-7 (A Singh 31, S Waqar 33), Paignton 90-7 (Plackett 32)
Guiseley 73-9 (H Durkin 30), Porthill Park 74-7 (J Kelly 3-9)
Harrow St Mary's
Wanstead & S