Our u15's were in the Havering cup final and excitement was in the air, our chairman Gareth Broad was over at the ground early preparing a wicket fit for the final and John Crane was putting the final touches together off the field, all ready to go, now over to the boys to produce.
The toss was won, a good start and we chose to bat, all going well so far. Ponting and Taylor were hoping for a good start but looking for an early quick single Taylor failed to make his ground, 1-1 and not a great start as Taylor can get us off to a flyer . The ever reliable Little came to the crease with plenty of time to recover. An over later, Little had a rare failure falling for 0, now 3-2 but still plenty of batting so no panic yet. Shortly after though Ponting was out in the unluckiest fashion imaginable as he edged a cut shot behind only for the wicket keeper to drop it but it lodged in the keepers pads and stuck there, now 3-3 and safe to say not the start we had hoped for. N. Duke and Parr were at the crease with a rebuilding job on there hands, they managed to advance the score to 23 which seemed a lot in the context of the game, with a boundary found at last and we were hopeful this was the turning point but then N.Duke was bowled a little unfortunately as a ball heading down the leg side hit his pads and rolled on to the stumps. Hitchings now came to the crease and looked good but lost Parr at the other end to one that bowled him through the gate. The score now at 33-5 Phillips came in and decided to try a different approach of a few lusty blows to see if he could brake the shackles but he played across a straight one. When B.Duke came and went, Hitchings looked to score a few quick runs but became the fourth batsman to be bowled. The score now at 54-8 and the game looking beyond us, we really needed to scratch out a few more runs to have any sort of chance. Rehman came to the crease and decided he would bat through to the end and with great maturity he grafted and valued his wicket but yet still dispatched the bad ball to the boundary. The young Ayush bravely hung around for a while and Alex did a tremendous job at the end to support Rehman who top scored with a valuable 18. Alex fell at the end but somehow the final three wickets had managed to edge us up to 92, still a long way short of where we wanted to be but something to have a bowl at.
After filling themselves with crisps and biscuits the boys took the field looking for early wickets to put the pressure back on the opposition which would be the key. Duke and Parr opened the bowling and although bowling with pace their initial spells contained the odd short ball which the Goresbrook openers pounced on immediately. A change of pace was tried as Omar was introduced to bowl some spin but it was tough as the batsmen were in full flow and proved untroubled. Phillips was bowling with control and kept the scoring in check, however the total was now on 45-0, halfway there and the game seemingly gone. N. Duke decided to have one last throw of the dice and brought himself back on. With the fourth ball of the over the batsman was hit on the pads and the finger went up as the ball would have been knocking leg stump out of the ground, finally a breakthrough and a small ray of light. After another tight Phillips over N. Duke bowled the final of his spell. With the pace really up it proved to be match turning. Firstly, the second ball of the over was hit back over the bowlers head, but high up in the air, Hitchings steadied himself and safely clung on to take an excellent catch, a chance now for Athletic? This small chanced improved further with the fourth ball of the over when the stumps were uprooted with the batsman beaten for pace and with the last ball of a fantastic spell the fourth Goresbrook wicket fell with the stumps again knocked out of the ground before the batsman had a chance to react, a tremendous spell of fast bowling and we were now in with a real shout. Hitchings replaced Duke and got of to the most perfect of starts, with flight and guile he picked up wickets with the first and second balls of his opening over, bowling both through the gate. Incredibly Goresbrook had collapsed from 45-0 to 58-6 and the game had now swung dramatically towards Athletic. In his second over Hitchings struck again with an LBW that would have missed off and Leg but knocked out middle. Phillips joined the party in his next over with a ball that tailed back in to the batsman and he lost his leg stump. B Duke ramped up the pressure in the next over with a maiden from and with the run rate now really climbing, a suicidal run was taken by Goresbrooks final pair and incredibly the game was done with the opposition losing all their wickets for just 15 to go from 45-0 to 60 all out and a win for Athletic by an amazing 32 runs. No one saw it coming and the team celebrated together in special scenes which were a joy to behold. Well done lads, the coaching staff and parents were so proud as you brought the cup home.