U13 Finals Festival starts in Glorious Sunshine
The Finals Festival for this year's MCC Spirit of Cricket U13 National Club Championship started at Oakham School in glorious sunshine, with the four teams that had reached the Final from the initial record entry of 1803 clubs all able to play in the first round of matches.
North Cotswold (Oxfordshire) played Washington (Durham) on the main school pitch in Doncaster Close whilst the teams from Cambridge NCI and Wolverhampton (Staffordshire) met on the adjacent pitch beside the Oakham-Grantham canal.
North Cotswold batted first and a good partnership between Jack Groves (27) and Robert Curtis (20) was insturmental in their side reaching 97 for nine by the close of the innings after 20 overs. Pick of the Washington bowlers were skipper James Thompson (4-6) and Niall Cutter (3-9).
In reply Washington lost wickets at regular intervals as the North Cotswold attack all chipped in with wickets. The last Washington wicket fell on the last ball of the 20th over as the Durham side was dismissed for 81.
Wolverhampton batted first in the other match and some scintillating stroke-play was matched by some very keen fielding throughout this match. Ramanjot Jaswal lost his wicket early on in the innings but after that all the batsmen mastered the conditions and enjoyed the superb batting wicket available to them.
With batsmen retiring after they had reached the score of 30 the only departures from the crease for the rest of the match were when six different players retired. Wolverhampton's 136 for one was due in no small part to contributions from Damanpreet Singh (30 not out), Shoaib Malik (31 not out), Amritpal Singh (31 not out) and Jack Lewis (20 not out).
Cambridge NCI then followed suit and won the match with nine balls to spare as Alex Scully (33 not out), Chris Pepper (30 not out) and Jack Harvey (33 not out) all batted well; Cambridge NCI winning by 10 wickets.
After the luncheon interval North Cotswolds batted first on the main ground against Wolverhampton and were restricted to 86 for five with Jack Groves retiring with a score of 32. In reply Wolverhampton knocked off the runs in 16.4 overs with Amritpal Singh scoring 30 in this game to add to his good knock in the morning. This leaves both sides with one win each.
On the smaller pitch behind the main ground Washington batted first and scored 100. James Thompson (30 not out) and Jordan Matthews (30 not out) started their innings in fine style but once Darren Geeringh (20) was out the rest of the team offered little resistance as five players were out for ducks.
Cambridge NCI recorded their second win of the Festival as Chris Pepper scored 31 before retiring. Cambridge NCI won by seven wickets with three balls to spare.
The final round of matches take place on Friday morning with three or the four teams still in with a chance of winning the Ken Barrington Cup.