Hitchin hammer Ricky U15's in Quarter Final
No repeat of 2013 for the boys
In beating Chorleywood, Boxmoor, Hemel Hempstead and Northchurch, Rickmansworth's U15 team had already achieved amazing things in reaching the County Cup Quarter Finals. However this was a stern test for Ricky as only 5 of the Rickmansworth boys were actually U15 (the rest being U14 and U12) whilst the Hitchin team were effectively the 1st XI from Hitchin Grammar School. Coached and nurtured from an early age. However Rickmansworth had a hope as everyone does before a ball is bowled. And so the game begun.
The first ball from Harvey induced an edge from County hopeful Guest, but it flew through a vacant 1st slip to the boundary. And so began a long evening for Ricky. Harvey and Tahir kept the opening batsman in some check, but both went on to make fluid 40's before retiring. With 3 players in the County ranks in the top 4, the Cricket was exquisite to watch and sometimes brutal, as the Ricky U13 bowlers were put to the sword on a flat track and lightening outfield. Callum bowled very well with his leg breaks and got Guinmett for 21, but the innings continued and Tahir's last over was treated to some spectacular tap conceding an amazing 22. Was 196 going to be enough? Ricky would have to bat like never before.
Unfortunately, the Hitchin bowlers were also accurate and Bilal hesitated too long before pushing forwards and was bowled through the gate. Yash was hitting the bad balls well, but Tahir was just getting going when he chipped one straight to mid-off for 7. Yash then edged one to County Captain Gibb for 18 and then harvey came down the wicket and yorked himself for an easy stumping chance. The remaining players were a procession of wickets although Tom with 9 and Rahim with 13 both swung hard at anything loose and garnered some valuable runs. But this was a Hitchin side that were unbeaten in qualifying and were not letting go of this game. Ricky were soundly beaten.
Looking at the other semi-finalists - Old Albanians (St Albans School); Berkhamsted (Berkhamsted School); Hertford (Richard Hale Grammar) & Hitchin, the common denominator is that each have a strong Cricketing School on their doorstep with a pool of 100+ boys to choose from. So the achievement of Rickmansworth, both now and in the past, is extraordinary considering that most of our boys are at schools without a cricket wicket, let alone any teachers that are good at the game.
So maybe we look back fondly to 5 years ago, when Rickmansworth last made the semi-finals and beat Boxmoor to then beat Watford Town (who had earlier defeated Hitchin) in the Final to be County Champions. Half of that team played last night. Happy memories.