Preston Nomads U15s took a strong side to play in the inaugural Bradfield College Schools Festival. The cricket weather gods weren’t kind so it was a miracle we managed any cricket during the 3 days.
First up a T20 in a delayed start game against Invicta Academy, Kent. We lost the toss and were put in. Our opening pair of Adam Ibrahim and Rudy Northcott batted magnificently and we totalled 133-1 in our 20. Considering you needed to hit the ball hard to get it off the square this was a formidable total. Invicta stated positively until Zan Coplestone, one of three pathway boys who joined the tour, took control with his leg spin, getting a wicket with his first Nomads ball. Huey Pitcher was the pick of the bowlers and man of the match with 3 wickets and Invicta fell short at 93-9. Weather intervened with our much anticipated fixture v Harrow School. We lost a 60 ball ‘slap’ on a hockey pitch Astro – I think we’ll discount that as a full cricket fixture!
Day 2 and a T30 game against an aptly name Matador side from Slough – bold, brash and thrill seeking to the point of recklessness, especially when it came to running between the wickets! What they lacked in finesse they made up for with enthusiasm and bravado. They managed to very noisily reach 150 from 80 odd for 7 with some late lusty blows as their squad danced and cheered on the boundary. They then struck early and the noise levels went up another notch, but really that was the end of the drama as Dom Ortlepp-Atkins and Will Hutchinson steadied the ship, before Zan joined Dom (who retired at drinks for 60 odd) and they quickly accumulated runs.
Sam Musto and Charlie Davies got the last few with no fuss. Another chilly one but we got the game completed before the inevitable deluge. Great craic with those bullfighters!
The boys woke up tired on Day 3 with heavy rain overnight making the beautiful Bradfield First Team pitch ‘The Pit’ unplayable. Back to the hockey Astro for a T20 against Magdalen School, Oxford. A quick pep talk to the boys to say now that we are committed to play let’s play hard and we bowled first and really well. Magdalen were bowled out for 89 after underestimating our club side. Will Hutch skippered and manoeuvred his bowlers well and gained momentum with a direct throw run out. We had boys playing in jackets and gloves in a ferocious gale but they stuck to task and enjoyed it. Adam and Charlie scored quickly and easily so we retired them at 30, then quick wickets tumbled, batsmen were retrieving bags to get kit on, 2 of our best batsmen Rudy and Zan went for ducks. It was getting tight until Sam Musto steadied the ship with an imperious 32 with sumptuous cover drivers.
The tour was a real success despite the weather. Always good to get cricket rhythm early season and forge a team spirit for the summer ahead. Proud Nomads coaches. Onwards 🏏