12 June 2018

Following some strong performances in the midweek fixtures against Bloxham, St Birinus and Lord Williams's, Portsmouth Grammar School were this weekend's block fixture – a school with strong cricketing pedigree, particularly in the T20 format in recent years.

The senior's fixture presented an excellent opportunity for some of the younger cricketers to perform in a longer format of the game, with 5 boys from the U15 and U14 sides in the squad. Winning the toss, PGS chose to bat first on a small ground with a quick outfield. Their opening batsmen set themselves to capitalise on the first power play and got their innings off to a flying start. Some accurate spin bowling curbed the flow for a while, with Tom Southgate bowling his leg spin with good control and great excitement when the first wicket fell. An excellent century from the PGS opener set a strong platform, although some accurate bowling from Freddy Selby-Lowndes, Thomas Owen and Karum Sangha meant that wickets fell at a steady rate before the innings closed on 272.

Faced with a challenging target, the innings got off to a steady start, before losing a couple of wickets in quick succession. Jamie Lawson, captain on the day, fell to a great close catch when he looked well set in the 40s and despite some promising contributions with the bat from the middle and lower order, the innings closed on 178 all out. Despite the margin of defeat, this was a good challenge for many of our younger cricketers and they all made good cases for further inclusion in the senior sides later in the season.

On the adjacent pitch, the U14A side made short work of their counterparts, bowling their opponents out for 49. With wickets shared amongst all of the bowlers, their target was achieved in a hurry for the loss of just 3 wickets. The U14B game was also a slightly one-sided game. Again, bowling first, PGS were restricted to 76 all out before the Abingdon side chased down the total for the loss of just 1 wicket. Nathan May top scoring with 41 not out.

The U15A side, depleted by injury and call-ups to the senior side were always up against it, facing a strong PGS XI. Batting first on War Memorial, a lack of partnerships meant the innings stumbled to 90 all out – a difficult total to defend. The top order for PGS bated sensibly in reply and never allowed Abingdon back into the game, reaching the target for the loss of just 2 wickets.

The U15B side continued their fine run of form at Cox's Field, making a strong 140 all out. Jamie Calver leading the way with 33. In reply, some fine bowling by left-armer Archie Malcolm (5 for 16) put pay to any challenge to the score, with PGS being bowled out for 88. The U15C team fielded first in their match and restricted PGS to a competitive 126 with 3rd year Ben Lisemore taking 3 for 17 and Henry Fitzpatrick 3 for 11. Unfortunately, the regular fall of wickets in their response led to them making 54 all out in reply.

In the Lower School, there were two matches played. The U13 side batted first and made 109 all out. Some good fielding and intensity on the field put pressure on the opposition batsmen, but unfortunately, they were a little short with the bat and the PGS side managed to reach their target for the loss of 6 wickets, but an encouraging performance in the field for the Abingdon boys.

The U12s were set a big target in chasing down 167. Tim Fowler made a fine 35 in response, but in trying to maintain such a high required run rate, the wickets continued to fall and the innings eventually closed on 112 all out.

Next weekend we face local rivals MCS in a full block fixture.

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