U14s win ESCL Cup Final with win over Priory ESCL Cup final

  • June 28, 2019
  • David Swan
David Swan provides the latest of his Coach's Blogs, reflecting on last night's U14 ESCL Cup victory over Reigate Priory at Reigate Pilgrims' ground in Betchworth.
It's been a long time between drinks.....from a silver CUP.
Greenest wicket we've ever played, so when Reigate Priory won the toss and chose to bat, we had a head start.
Initially, some time was lost with a change needed to the under-sized stumps.
Merstham's U14s
Matt Evans, back on form, bowled very well, unlucky not to have a wicket in his first over. But un-nerved, he went on to bowl two maiden overs in his opening stint.
Ben Jones had more luck, with a wicket in his first over, per favore a very good catch by Alvin Sathya which boosted everyone's confidence. Merstham kept Reigate to a very low run-rate with the opening bowlers followed up by Daniel Botma and Zohaib Faisal....only 11 runs from the first five overs before Zohaib struck in the sixth with what was the catch of the match.....Alvin (again) at short mid-off (diving head-long forwards).
With the third wicket, in Zohaib's second over (c&b). Priory were reeling at 22-3 after eight overs. Never to be under-estimated, Priory took the upper hand and were starting to take the initiative.
Still only three down for 61 after 13 overs....and looking a little bit dangerous. A much-needed wicket, clean bowled, from Oliver Barkwith and the tide turned again in favour of Merstham. 
Joe Stapleton struck in the 16th over and then one of those unimaginable direct hits by Charlie Parkes, who had removed his wicketkeeper glove, chased the ball down, turned for a blind throw, and, with the batsman caught well short (well, short enough, anyway), claimed a great run-out wicket.
RP's innings finished at 102-7 (20 overs). For a CUP final, definitely defendable, but also beatable.
Merstham's batsmen were warned, the pitch was still seaming and very variable. It had helped us, but it was going to help them too!
However, a somewhat uneasy, and certainly not chanceless, opening partnership of 60 was surely setting Merstham up for a win.
Then Alvin went for a big shot and missed. Bowled for 31 by a short and unpredictably very low bouncing ball (it was the right shot for another pitch and another day!). Jasper Parsons came in and was struggling against the conditions, with six swings and six misses in one over, but he was still there, while Adam Swan at the other end was trying for a more exciting finish by putting another shot down the throat of the same fielder who had previously dropped Alvin and was still gracious enough to give Adam another chance too.
To their absolute credit, Adam (40 not out) and Jasper (9 not out) stood their ground, played the next balls on their merits and had us coasting to a well-deserved victory in the 18th over!   
Where we won it: In the field with good fielding, good bowling, and a well thought out field placement.
MOTM: A toughie, Adam's unbeaten 40, but in the end I have to go with Alvin's fielding and opening partnership.
Congratulations to all the squad, and for those players who were unavailable, or rested, it was MCC's U14 win. Thank you for the support on the night, and Jane for the scoring, and John for the congratulatory beer.  I knew that this season was going to bring some joy.
David Swan