The Under 14’s exhibited a flawless performance during the final match against Cuckfield at the picturesque Buxted Park Cricket Club under sunny skies. The lingering disappointment from last year’s final loss proved beneficial for us this year. The boys were well-acquainted with the emotions, pressure, and strategies required for 40-over win/lose cricket, a slightly different format from festival cricket where the objective is to bowl teams out. My role was to facilitate their enjoyment on the field and help them tap into their potential, and without a doubt, every member of the team delivered from the very first ball to the final one.
Captain Adam Ibrahim partnered with Charlie Davies for the opening, setting a solid foundation on a slow pitch with an even slower outfield. They both demonstrated composure and patience, forging a strong 108-run partnership for the first wicket. Charlie’s contribution was a commendable 44. Following this, Will joined forces with Adam. Adam’s batting gained momentum as he reached his half-century at a good pace, eventually departing for a well-caught 66. Despite Tate Hector’s brave participation with a damaged finger, it was Will Davis who took charge, scoring an unbeaten 32 off just 35 balls. Their well-timed efforts propelled the team to a total of 182-3 at the end of their 40 overs.
The question arose whether this total would suffice against the physically imposing Cuckfield batting lineup. Our strategy revolved around creating scoreboard pressure by maintaining accurate bowling lines, minimising wides, and exhibiting tight fielding. The tone was set in the very first over when Will Dale executed a swift pickup and throw, causing Cuckfield to rethink quick singles.
Huey Pitcher (2-18) and George Sowerby (0-8) showcased tight bowling, establishing a strong foundation, followed by Charlie (0-14) and Ted Hutchinson (0-14) who sustained the pressure with their disciplined approach. Remarkably, the team only conceded six wides throughout the innings, which was the best display of bowling accuracy for the entire season. Backed by Adam’s astute field placements, the pressure was palpable. Will Davies (2-16) and Adam (1-14) took over with their effective and precise spin bowling, each contributing six overs. This masterful display helped us gain an advantageous position, as key Cuckfield batsmen Willson and Thorpe (both Sussex County Players) were dismissed, and the required run rate climbed above 7.
The mounting pressure led Cuckfield into attempting aggressive shots, a challenge on the given pitch. A pivotal catch by Will Dale and the introduction of the player of the match, Ronnie Packham, as the bowler added to our momentum. Ronnie’s exceptional 6-over spell concluded with a wicket on the final ball, resulting in figures of 5-19. This instrumental performance led to Cuckfield’s dismissal for 115 in the 35th over.
The collective display showcased the team’s strong unity and camaraderie. The team spirit holds immense value, and I am firm in my belief that it was this spirit that carried us through the challenges on Friday and allowed us to dominate the final match.
Under 14 Coach