Ben and Joe, had their first game of the season this morning at home at Mopsies. It was another inter-club affair with a combination of the U13's and the U11's playing each other in a 20 overs game. The rules being that when you're out you're out and if you score 25 you have to retire, which if you read on has its problems.
So this season see's Ben move up to the U13's with a couple of his contempories and Joe despite only being 9, but physically bigger than most of the U11's being kind of one of the senior players in his age group due to his time at the club now, his bowling prowess and the size thing as mentioned. There is talk of Joe playing in the odd match with the U13's because he does spin the ball and the U13's haven't got a spin option. The plan being that maybe when they play on grass wickets and they're short on players Joe may get the call up?
So arriving at Mopsies on a bright and very dry morning with a stiff breeze, it was good to see the turn out with more than enough lads to get a game going. Dave Ayres, Neil and Mike Blerkom got the teams sorted and allocated captains. It was quite unusual I thought that no-one in Ben's team wanted to be the captain and that included Ben. When Ben has been told by his Grandad that if he gets the captaincy of his School team he'll get £20, so I thought this may have been a chance for Ben to give it a go? In the end Harrison got the job and allocated the fielding positions and threw the ball to Ben to bowl the opening over. Ben with all the practice he puts in is possibly the fastest and most accurate of the bowlers in the U11's and U13's and if the wicket keeper doesn't manage to stop the ball it will end up over the boundary for 4 byes, so I was quite surprised when Harrison put two of the smaller lads from the U11's behind the wicket keeper to gather the ball if he didn't manage it and this cost 4 byes during one of Ben's overs at least. But, it's not an easy task being the captain at this age and it's certainly not something I'd have been up for at their age, so I'm not going to grumble that much and being the captain from the other side of the boundary is far easier than doing it on the field in front of your peers. Ben's opening over included a potentially easy bowled and caught that came straight back to him and caught him unawares and it went to hand and he fumbled it.
Harrison despite the pressures of captaincy bowled very well averaging 2.6 runs an over off 3 overs and taking 2 wickets. Ben took no wickets bowled a couple of wides and averaged 3.6.
Joe was on the opposing team batting at No12, whether that's a fair reflection of Joe's batting I'm not sure, but he's happy to live with that if he gets his 3 overs, which is one more than the rest of the boys that possibly don't bowl so efficiently. But generally I think Joe's batting has improved. In the middle of first teams batting one or two of the boys seemed to settle into Test Cricket mode leaving and blocking the ball, playing very cautiously through several overs and the runs dried up completely. Moreover this meant that the rest of the boys queueing up to bat, didn't get to bat including Joe obviously stuck at No12.
Joe as you can see bowled very economically with a ball dropped off his bowling which was a shame. Joe came out equal top on average with Harry Davy with a run an over, although Harry only bowled 2 overs. But Harry by a mile was the best bowler of the day with three wickets off of only 2 overs.
Harry Davy; 2-1-2-3
It was interesting to see right at the start Mike and Dave asked for all the batsmen to stand to one side and out of 23 boys only 4 stood aside to be counted as batsmen. Whereas when the 'Bowlers' were asked to stand aside almost without exception all of them did so. But looking at the Bowling stats, the bowling does look promising, but then that's off-set by the admittance of virtaully all the boys that they are not batsmen. By all accounts this was the situation last year with the U13's and they were beaten in every single match. But we were missing Frank today and hopefully Frank will be back soon and I think Frank can bat.
A similar story with Ben's batting, he was at No.10 and didn't get to because a couple of boys settled in the middle order and dried up the runs with 3 runs being made off of 7 or 8 overs, so it ended up Joe's team won. I'd have put a picture up of the team here, but because of the child protection issues which I personally think are over the top I can't. But you can see most of them at the club website!!!
Later that day we had a family do over at Epping Forest and late in the day Ben faced 3 spinners of differing styles, speeds and flight and Ben smacked all 3 of us for 4's straight along the ground between mid off and on past the bowlers again and again coming down the wicket. 2 of us were adults and the other was Joe. Whether what happened at Epping with a plastic training ball can be converted to a real ball is another matter and maybe tomorrow we need to get in the paddock and see if he can repeat it?