U15s win indoor title

  • March 11, 2020
  • David Swan

With a question mark hanging over this year's cricket season, Merstham had to take every opportunity they were offered and for the U15s, who got off to a flying start with victory in their Friendly Indoor Cricket competition on Sunday March 8.

Merstham's opposition in the final was South Nutfield CC U16s. Charlotte Gouldsborough, who captains the ladies' Maverchics at South Nutfield CC put the whole tournament together. It was played at Hawthorns School in Bletchingley. Dave Hooper from Ardingly College who controlled and umpired all of the matches, added much to the boys' fun for the 12 qualifying matches over the course of 14 weeks.

The modern indoor cricket format was devised in Australia (Perth, as it happens) back in the late 70s as a winter training programme for the local Test and First-Class players. Its popularity has spread enormously and is now played at an international level.

In the off-season, it enhances sharp fielding and concentration levels. Rules vary slightly depending on the agreed format and we were playing six-a-side with one innings of eight, eight ball overs. The batsmen play in pairs for two overs, losing five runs for wickets lost.

Each player bowls at least one over. It is a fast, thrilling and highly competitive, team-building game. And it's all over in 60 gruelling minutes of adrenaline fuelled action.

On Grand Final day, the rivalry was tense from the outset, with more than a bit of "banter" at the toss of the coin. In this format of cricket it is a definite advantage to be fielding first, which is what SNCC chose to do when captain Kyle Campbell won the toss.

In such a short game, each over is crucial and can be a "game-changer". Merstham's first pair of Alvin Sathya and Oliver Barkwith were kept to a modest nine runs after some very tight bowling from Robin Paulett and Kieran Edwards. The pressure was on Merstham's second pair of Charlie Parkes and Adam Swan.

Parkes made a snappy 16 runs without relinquishing strike which put Swan on strike for the next eight ball over against his nemesis Kyle Campbellā€¦..four sixes, two singles, not of itself a match-winning stand but 42 runs off Jack Lugton and Kyle Campbell certainly swung the pendulum back to Merstham's favour.

Next, Ben Jones and Matthew Evans faced some tight bowling from William Jones and Loic Woodhead, but the batting pair nonetheless, managed a positive score. Parkes returning for the final pair, took up the cudgel with a fine performance including three sixes and together with Swan, batting for the second time, took the final score for Merstham to 78.

SNCC into bat and 22 runs from the first pair of Campbell and Woodhead against our seamers showed that they were up to the challenge. But then a steady line and length (always gets wickets) from Barkwith sent SNCC's second pair of Edwards and Lugton off with a negative score. A very strong partnership of 25 from SNCC's next pair of Jones and Paulett left SNCC within reach of victory. Final over for SNCC, 19 runs to win it. Calm under "Finals" pressure, Sathya bowls the last over and the glory belongs to Merstham, dismissing South Nutfield for a credible 57.