27 April 2021
Under the ECB’s Covid-19 guidelines, inter-school cricket matches resumed this week, having missed the whole of the 2020 season. The full block of fixtures saw Abingdon play Berkhamsted with teams from all age groups taking part. There were some outstanding performances, with two 100s, a number of 50s and the incredibly rare feat of six 6s in an over to start the season!
Playing on War Memorial Field, an Abingdon U18 XI took on the Berkhamsted 1st XI. A steady start by the visitors led to some more expansive play in the middle part of the innings, and they looked set to post a strong total at the lunch interval, 30 overs into the innings. The first delivery after the break gave the Abingdon side some much needed momentum, with a runout from wicketkeeper Ludo Wilson, throwing down the stumps at the bowler’s end as the batsmen attempted a risky single. A couple more solid partnerships against some tight bowling saw Berkhamsted reach 223 for 7 from their 50 overs. The run chase got off to a difficult start, with Abingdon soon finding themselves reduced to 27 for 2. Liam Hilditch, however, kept the innings alive and the run rate going, and his fine and chanceless innings of 133* ensured the home side’s victory for the loss of 8 wickets – a great game to start the season!
On Cox’s Field, the U14 sides and U12As hosted their Berkhamsted counterparts. The U12s battled hard against a strong Berkhamsted side, who ran well between the wickets and bowled very tightly, making scoring difficult for the Abingdon side in each of their 15 over innings. Freddie Galbraith (4 for 29) and Bertie Smith (3 for 19) were the home side’s leading wicket takers with Henry Golding and Max Sheriff making 26* and 21 respectively. It was a not too dissimilar story on Upper Field, where the U12Bs found it difficult to score at the same rate as their visitors in each of their 15-over innings.
The U14s produced some very strong performances in their first outings of the year. The As were impressive in amassing 206 for 6, batting first, with Connor Lamsdale making 52*. The wickets were then shared in a fine bowling performance, reducing Berkhamsted to 76 all out. The B team played a two-innings match, scoring much more freely than their opponents, particularly in their first innings, making 111-6. An overall victory by 54 runs was achieved, with notable performances from Finn Gregory (28), Roddy McVie (23) and Arlo Hyman (3 for 17). The final fixture on Cox’s saw the U14Cs bowling first against Berkhamsted. On first innings totals, the match looked very evenly balanced with Abingdon reaching 109 and Berkhamsted 111 from their 15 overs respectively. However, Berkhamsted’s second innings proved too strong for the Abingdon side who lost an even encounter despite the contributions of Jacob Wilkins (29), Alex Halson (21) and Liam Engall (22).
There were some equally fine performances in the away fixtures, where the U17s and U16s took on Berkhamsted’s 2nd and 3rd XIs. The U17 fixture saw Berkhamsted bat first, posting 145 for 3. Through the excellent batting of Casper Mannix (62*) and Rory King (48*), this total was reached for the loss of 2 wickets. Batting first on an adjacent pitch, Abingdon’s U16 XI set a huge total of 248 for the loss of just 4 wickets, with Jamie Firth finishing unbeaten on a destructive 130*. In response, Berkhamsted took their total to 178 before losing their final wicket, with Tom Sherwood (3 for 16) the pick of the bowlers.
The U15 sides enjoyed some very competitive games. The U15s scored 134 for 2 and 119 for 4 against Berkhamsted’s 116 for 3 and 93 for 6, to win by 44 runs overall, with Archie Williams making an excellent 37. However, there was one monumental over at the hands of Todd Stanmore, who in his innings of 54* (from 16 balls at a strike rate of 337.5), struck the penultimate over of the innings for 36 – a remarkable six 6s in an over!
The U15Bs had a very close game, just pipping their opponents by 2 runs; Abingdon scoring 94 for 6 and 107 for 2 (Archie Leishman 36, Jasper Furniss 33* and Harry Martin 49*) against Berkhamsted’s 101 for 4 and 98 for 7. The U15As batted first, posting 202 for 5, thanks largely to the innings of James Hewlett (64) and Tim Fowler (50). Berkhamsted got themselves very close to chasing this target down, but finally fell 5 runs short for the loss of 8 wickets. The U13As game ended in an overall loss by 41 runs across both innings, with some good performances from Charlie Sutton (61*) and Ethan Day (30*) with the bat in either innings, whilst the U13Bs couldn’t have been more even across the two innings, with the game finishing as a draw after both sides had batted twice.
Sunday saw the 1st XI compete in the 1st round of the T20 National Cup. Abingdon beat Dauntsey’s in the first game, scoring 138 for 3 (Oliver Deans 60* and Caspar Mannix 48*) to Dauntsey’s 84 for 7. Abingdon batted first in the second game against St Edward’s, posting 114, which despite Freddie Merrett’s 52* was a little under par due to a regular loss of wickets and some good bowling. In an excellent rearguard effort, pressure from the Abingdon bowlers in the middle overs of St Edward’s response led to the potential for a tight finish, before a late flurry of boundaries took St Edward’s over the line in the 19th over.
A sunny weekend full of outstanding performances – what a great way to start the season and resume competitive fixtures on the cricket field – well done to everyone who took part over the course of the weekend!