A hugely busy week for both outfits culminated in Sussex ECB Championships for both our U13s and U15s at Blackstone last evening. This column is not a match report as such but of a diary of the week and how emotions of some intense cricket unfolded across the last seven days. It all starts with a game of Tetris for managers Jules, Tom and our fixture secretary Tony D. Guys, I hope I capture the vibe here.
As eluded to in our last Junior update our ECB Cups runs were at the hands of a persistent weather front moving through our region causing mayhem with the schedule. You wouldn’t believe the beehive of activity going on in the background trying to fit in games before the deadline final of 25th June 2021. Indeed more rain turned up last Monday as Roffey U15s turned up at the SCMG. With the south ground unplayable both teams went into a nerve shredding bowl off in the Sussex quarter final. Never a brilliant way to settle a tie but Nomads held their nerve and won it three hits to two from 10 deliveries each. There was very subdued celebrations from the boys and manager Jules was very humble in victory saying ‘an unsatisfactory way to settle this but the weather has won the day. Fair play to Roffey for travelling and I suppose a bowl out gives both sides and equal chance to progress. To be fair our boys bowled well’
The drama then moved on to Thursday 24th June when both teams were in action in the ECB Sussex semi final. Brilliant weather turned up for the occasion so the games progressed without a problem. U15s were at the tough surrounds of Horsham CC were perhaps the hosts were favs to run out victors. Huge thanks to roving reporter Jake Smith who kept us all right up to date with progress. He did a brilliant job and it would be lovely if he could think about doing some more perhaps on Saturday afternoons!. Anyway Horsham got out the blocks early with 29 with out loss. However slowly rescued the situation as wickets fell. 76 for 5 at 15 and then 100 for 9 off the 20. It was a great effort from the boys. With the bat a patient start from the Nomads 13 off 4 with out loss was rewarded later in the inns. Joe goes big in the final overs to secure a match winning half century as the Nomads cruise to victory.
Meanwhile the U13s vibe had to travel to deepest West Sussex to the wonderful setting of Fernhurst CC just two miles from both the Surrey and Hampshire borders. It was a mission but for me an opportunity to see part of our beautiful County that I had never seen before. Just for that I thank the team. That small enclave of our region is wonderfully picturesque and hope that we get another opportunity to visit Fernhurst again. Hosts won the toss and decided to bowl. On a green wicket and lush outfield it was never going to be a run fest but our boys had to be patient against an excellent and determined fielding effort. Sam Musto (21) and Max Edmunds (13) were the mainstays of 95 off the allotted. In response our hosts were right in the game, buoyed on by a large and noisy crowd on the balcony. Angus then bowled a wonder spell of 4 overs 4 for 6 which brought the game back to parity. Then a Champaign Moment from MOM Ted Hutchinson who nonchalantly plucked a rising one at backward square. A Game changer!
The wagon then rolled on to the Sussex Junior HQ Blackstone last evening for the Finals. It wasn’t with out drama as weather meant that the top square wasn’t playable. The format changed to two T10 games on the bottom pitch with U13s going first. Huge thanks to all connections at Blackstone for providing an excellent facility for finals day and also Matt Parsons for hosting the event.
Once again Nomads batted first and again had to be patient against St James M. 28 for 2 off 5 became 63 off the allotted. Perhaps at that stage St James might have thought they were in with a shout. However, our U13s are demonstrating a real passion in the field. Not for the 1st time in this run they stifled and good batting line up and then went on to win the game in style. Ted H was at it again which hopefully you saw in the whattapp clips last evening. I called to him to say the next ball was coming to him. The batsman hit it straight up and Ted strolled in to take a hanging catch. It was a stunning moment.
In the winning huddle I was given the honor of handing out the mom award which was a special moment in this journey. It was Will T for a very frugal spell. Team, if you are reading as eluded to last nite, ‘Having watched every step of this adventure so far I feel very much part of the squad and will be very proud to follow you to the next rounds‘
Middleton openers tore our opening U15s attack apart in a top batting display. The game turned into a run fest as they settled on 99 off the allotted. That’s 10 an over. However our U15s are made of stern stuff with Felix and Joe getting going with boundaries coming think and fast. 30 off the last three overs, NO PROBLEM!
It turned into a Nomads fest at Blackstone with both teams progressing to the Regional stages of this ultra important National Cup. Rewards will come early in July for both squads with games that we will bring to you. But for now I leave it with our proud Junior Cricket Director, Navin Patel to finish this report.
Nothing is achieved without hard work.
This philosophy couldn’t be more apt after what transpired on Friday evening at Blackstone.
The PNCC U13s & U15s implemented all the skills and plans that they had been working on all season and played tremendously as a team to come out as champions in their respective ECB Cup Sussex Area finals!
Sussex champions has a nice ring to it!
A remarkable achievement for these two sides and a very proud day for Preston Nomads as a club.
The junior section continues to grow from strength to strength and deliver success from all areas.
Very exciting times!!