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Tough going in ODI series

Posted in England U19s

Olly Stone

Things have not gone to plan in the first three ODIs against South Africa Under-19s

With our warm-up game washed out due to torrential rain conditions many of us haven't seen even at home, we were forced to train inside for two days.

Turning up to training many were sceptical of the conditions we would face. However, the indoor nets were a pleasant surprise, even if they were inhabited by pigeons. The lads were able to do whatever skills were required to help them perform.

On Monday evening we decided to go for a team meal at the Spur restaurant to celebrate the 18th birthday of Finchy (Harry Finch). This included speeches from Stoney (Olly Stone), Kishen (Velani) and a very interesting one from Rebecca in which she was asked to discuss the pros and cons of dating a strength and conditioning coach or sports psychologist.

Another training day outside was followed by the first match and, with the timely arrival of Jamie Overton from the fast bowlers group in Potchefstroom, we were very confident that a series win could be achieved.

However, things did not go to plan. After losing yet another toss on a green wicket we were asked to bat and we were left reeling at 22 for three. Ducky (Ben Duckett) and Finchy then added a partnership of 60 before the latter snicked off for 30.

Ducky was then joined by Tatts (Jonny Tattersall) and another good partnership led us to 129 for five, with Duckett scoring 51 and Tatts 41. We were then in a bit of trouble at 173 for seven before Jamie Overton scored 38 not out and got us up to 221 off our 50 overs.

The bowling didn't get off to a great start; the South African openers put on 74 before Tom Shrewsbury got our first wicket.

The bowlers kept plugging away on a very flat and slow pitch, before Tatts came on and got two wickets for 36 from his 10 overs.

The second ODI was quickly upon us and the venue was Western Province Cricket Club.

After finally winning a toss (fourth game lucky!) we decided to bowl first. They had a slow start but reached 241 for nine from 50 overs. It was a good collective bowling effort with everyone picking up wickets, but there was still room for improvement.

“We then set about chasing down the 242-run target and it was a similar story to the first game as we lost early wickets and found ourselves 122 for six.

Jamie Overton yet again played a cameo, getting 48, and Ed Barnard partnered him well with 33 but unfortunately we fell 12 runs short. It was a disappointing way to end the game.

The third ODI was played the following day and we had the added pressure of knowing the series would be out of our reach if we lost.

We started pretty well, reducing South Africa to 48 for three, and then at 134 for five the game was in the balance.

However, the game then began to get away with us as we allowed them to score freely and 97 came from the final 10 overs, helping them to a decent score of 270 on the flattest wicket we have seen here.

Josh Shaw was the pick of the bowlers with 3-45 off eight overs, but the reply once again started poorly as we slumped to 37 for three.

At 81 for five the game seemed over to all intents and purposes, but Jonny Tattersall played a sublime knock of 83 from just 76 balls and received support from fellow Yorkshiremen Ryan Gibson, who made 24, and Josh Shaw, with 52 off 46. That left us agonisingly short by 10 runs, but it was another magnificent effort from the lower middle order.

The next day we embarked on one of the most important days of the tour, a community project at St Joseph's hospice supported by the charity 'Reach for a Dream'.

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