Once again this U12 team took us on a roller-coaster journey on Tuesday. It was cold again, very cold. It felt like Winter was coming. West Herts opened the batting and Henry and Arno bowled well with Aaran hitting one up in the air for Sam to catch. Monty bowled full (it was very much the full Monty) and he got Amun bowled and then Josh also got his first wicket of the season with a bowled as well. 45/4 and Ricky had a chance of getting West Herts out cheaply.
However just like Chorleywood the next pair were the strongest and Salman (22) and Aamar (30) batted well and put on 50 for the next wicket. Ricky still fielded well, but perhaps served up a few too many short balls. And a few too many wides (10 in total). But then the 18th over was one to remember bowled by young Rohith. First ball 4. 2nd ball, full and into the pads and up went the umpires finger. Next ball, also full and this time crashed into the stumps. 2 in 2. The next player came in and tried a big drive at the next full ball and he was also castled. Amazingly a hatrick. Much celebration amongst the crowd. Less so from the boys who were not sure what had happened we think. West Herts were now 109/7, but they recovered to post 122/7. A good score.
Ricky's first two batting performances this season had been 'forgettable' but not this time. Aled went for 7, trying to hit over the top, but he and Alec had already put on 29 for the first wicket in good time. Alec in particular has developed into quite a talent at the top of the order, much like his older brother, and some of his cover and extra-cover drives were a beauty to behold. Sam was unlucky to be out lbw, perhaps in retaliation for the earlier lbw decision. Colts games can be like that!. But this just brought Arno to the wicket. Arno is a year younger than the other boys, but an inch or two taller and he has always looked classical in the nets but without the power. However, what a transformation over the winter! Suddenly he was pulling and driving with power AND style. A lethal combination.
West Herts only used 9 bowlers and their two best boys bowled 4 overs each, which showed the desperation they were feeling. With 4 overs to go Ricky needed 33 runs to win, but Alec had to retire on 32. His highest score for Ricky and he came off to a deserved standing ovation. Then Arno had to retire on 31. Again his best for Ricky and no doubt the first of many records he might set. 24 needed off 3 overs. Henry was at the wicket and he tried his best scoring 17 not out but the run rate just climbed too high and Ricky had to finish on 117/3 with Joe 2 not out.
One more over and Ricky would have won the game. But it was not to be. How many times this young team have almost pulled off amazing wins in the last few years, against sometimes stronger County and Area boys, is beyond counting. Their luck will change. But in the meantime, the enjoyment is there for all to see and everyone continues to play their part. Their enthusiasm was enough to dispell the cold for a while at least.
We go again next week.