U15: Ricky turn loss into win thanks to 7th wicket pair
By Paul Blackwell
Kinushan shines in close shave
Before the game the maths was simple. Win all three remaining games and Ricky were through to the County Quarter Finals. Lose one game and it was all over. So the start Ricky got against Hemel Hempsted couldnt have been better with ex-County star Hodgins caught behind off Harvey for 4 and Tahir taking out Faryan's middle stump in the following over. Yusuf also struck in his first over, the precocious 11 year old once again bowling way above his age group, and Hemel were down and out on 16/3 after 6 overs. Worse was to come for the Town team as Yusuf took two further wickets in 2 balls to reduce their innings to tatters on 24/5 after 10 overs. Everyone watching was expecting an early tea.
However, as always playing the Ricky way and making a game of it, Harvey gave a couple of the lads a run out and it rather backfired as Will went for 14 and Kinushan 12 off their first 2 overs as hemel staged a mini-recovery. It was almost as if Ricky wanted something more to chase than 50. Will took a wicket in his next over, but HHTCC had the bit between their teeth and a decent unbroken stand of 41 by numbers 7 and 8 saw Hemel post a respectable 86/6. Surely though, this wouldnt cause the Ricky batting line-up any problems....
Bilal, on top form and averaging 30 with the bat, and Hitamsch, the "Hit Man", opened and after a decent boundary Hitamsch was adjudged LBW to Hodgins. and 3 balls later Bilal was back in the Hutch, bowled for 1. Ricky were 12/2. And then Hemel were in paradise as the feared Tahir was also bowled by Steven for 5. And Tom followed a couple of balls later for 0. 13/4 after 4 overs. Worse was to come as Harvey was also bowled for 5, and when Rahim was out, bowled as well, the cream of Ricky's batting was off the destroyed and just 26 runs were on the board. All dreams of a Quarter-Final were shattered and nags began to be packed. However 14 year old Lewis and big Kinushan decided that now was the time to attack. And much like Stokes and Buttler, they crashed and bashed their way to 30, 40 and 50. Though we only needed 4 an over, these lads knew how to play just one way. Kinushan in particular was in devastating form, hitting 2 huge 6's.
Hemel had an over left of their quicks and so Hodgins brought himself back and immediately got reward bowling Lewis Moxon first ball. 66/6. Ricky needed 21 to win and now Yusuf was in. He cleverly kept out the remaining 5 balls with stout defence and then appeared to be doing the same to Steven until he went for a big cover drive and was caught. 69/7. 18 still required to win. And just U14's Will and Callum to bat. However, quite cleverly, Yusuf had used up all the overs of the real quicks and it was just the ancillary bowlers to come.
Kinushan was still not going to play defensively though. If the ball was in his half he was going to go for it. He hit another 6 and now, with plenty of overs left Ricky were in site of victory. But, Kinushan would have to retire on 40 and he was now on 38 and 5 needed to win. He hit one to the boundary and now Will was on strike and 4 needed to win. But this was now Will's moment of glory. Spotting a full ball on leg stump on the last ball of the over he swept the ball to the leg side boundary where it crossed the ropes for a stunning victory.
Quite how Ricky had won the game from 26/6 nobody could quite believe. It was clear that the 39 not out by gentle giant Kinushan was the main factor, but it was also the 40 run partnership with Lewis Moxon and the 17 run partnership with brave Will Cloke. Or maybe it was the 9 balls out of 12 of the very quick Hemel openers that Yusuf faced, and kept out, that enabled the magic to happen.
Whatever it was, if Steven Spielberg had directed it as a film, they wouldnt have believed it. And still, hours later, it's hard to comprehend just what happened. It was terribly harde on the Hemel boys who will not bowl better all Summer. But this Ricky team - well maybe behind the hard hitting Tahir, the technically beautiful Harvey, the upright stroke play of Bilal, the power of Tom and the striking left-handers of Rahim and Hitamsch, there is an undercurrent of belief in this team. A team that will not just lie down and die. And maybe, just maybe, there is more to come on a bigger stage. The next game is next Wednesday.