Scorecard

Loughton Kwik Cricket Festival v Gidea Park & Romford Cricket Club Under 11's on Sun 04 Jul 2010 at 10:00
Gidea Park & Romford Cricket Club Won as a great time was had by all!

Match report Loughton Howzat Day – Under 11 Kwik Cricket Festival - Sunday 4th July

By Paul Ross (GP&R Cougars) & Dave McNulty (GP&R Panthers)

Sunday saw GP&R U11s field 2 teams comprising a total of 18 players in Loughton’s Kwik Cricket Festival.

The draw for the round robin group stage kept the two GP&R sides, the Cougars and the Panthers, apart and it was the Cougars who were first into action in Group ‘B’ playing against (eventual winners) Woodford Wells. Despite bowling/ fielding pretty well the team just could not seem to adjust to the ‘tennis ball bounce’ of the plastic ball and never really threatened the Wells total. It didn’t get any easier in game 2 vs. (eventual runners-up) Old Parkonians when after a fantastic bowling/ fielding performance and some signs of improvement with the bat we had lost again but this time by the narrowest of margins. By the third and final game of the group stage everything had started to ‘click’ and Walthamstow were on the end of a bit of a hiding as the Cougars batting piled up a massive score which proved way out of their opponents reach.

So having played 3, lost 2 and won 1 the Cougars were out of main competition but in the hunt for some silverware in the ‘Plate’ competition. The draw had not been kind to them, with the 2 sides which they had lost to going on to compete in the overall final, and for some reason the players had taken a while to adjust to the Kwik Cricket format and were only now fully ‘warmed-up’ and ‘looking the part’. Things were therefore looking ominous for the other teams in the ‘Plate’…..

Meanwhile over on pitch ‘A’ the Panthers had been drawn against Roding Valley, Loughton Eagles and Upminster. The Panthers got off to a great start with a convincing 20 run win over Roding Valley. Ably led by Alex Gough-Cooper who set the tone with his bowling and fielding the Panthers fielded well, with a couple of stand-out ‘match winning’ catches from Matthew Dye. In the Panthers innings Sam Hall and Zak Plumb had put in some entertaining batting with a flurry of boundaries. The Panthers came unstuck in their second game against an impressive Loughton Eagles side, losing by 40 runs, this setting up a qualification showdown vs. Upminster. In the group decider the Panthers batted first but after a good opening partnership between Alex and George Seager the runs started to dry up. However wickets were remaining intact and a final flurry with the bat from Zak Plumb saw the Panthers post a total of 252 (+52). The Upminster innings also started well but with the Panthers slowing their progress by taking wickets regularly Upminster reached the last 2 overs with 17 runs still required to win. With George S. taking a wicket and keeping it tight the Panthers were really putting the squeeze on Upminster’s last pair and when Alex took the ball for the last over Upminster still needed 14 to win. Despite the pressure Alex turned in a fine display of straight bowling and a wicket at the death saw the Panthers home by 12 runs. Throughout the group stage George Tewkesbury had put in some consistent performances behind the stumps with a couple of catches neatly taken.

So having played 3, won 2 and lost 1 the Panthers had out-qualified their more experienced team mates in the Cougars and had made it through to the quarter finals of the main competition.

When the quarter finals came around the Panthers were up first vs. Woodford Wells (the eventual winners and conquerors of the Cougars in the group stage). Continuing on from the previous match the Panthers put in a fine performance in the field restricting a very strong Woodford Wells team to 253 (+53) runs. From our previous performances with the bat this looked to be a very achievable target. However with early wickets tumbling the Panthers were soon in trouble and falling well behind the required scoring rate and although the innings started to recover not even Zak could manage to score the 30 runs required to win off of the final over.

Despite their relative inexperience of competitive cricket the entire Panthers team - Elliot Brown, Alex Gough-Cooper, Matthew Dye, Sam & Rory Fitzroy, Sam Hall, Eoin McNulty, Zak Plumb, George Seager and George Tewkesbury - displayed, and played with, great maturity throughout. Winning their first game had got them off to a great start and you could see the confidence in their ability growing game by game.

The decision for the Panthers player of the day was a tough one, very tight between a number of the players, with Zak picking up the award for his entertaining displays with the bat.

Next up was the Cougars ‘Plate’ quarter-final vs. Upminster where the Cougars’ improved form continued with another big win, this time by over 60 runs, and a place in the semis. The semi final saw the Cougars paired with a young but talented South Woodford side (probably their U9s) whose players looked good technically but were simply blown away by the power and pace of the resurgent Cougars who ran away with the game to win by more than 70 runs.

So a spot in the ‘Plate’ final, fittingly vs. the hosts Loughton Eagles, and what a nail-biter it turned out to be. The Eagles batted first and got off to a steady start before an amazing half a dozen overs saw the Cougars serve up some real filth (cricket speak for poor bowling) only for the Loughton players’ eyes to light up and for them to try to hit the cover off of the ball and promptly hole out, over and over again. The Cougars catching was fantastic with catch after catch after catch held in the deep and the Loughton score was stuck in fast re-wind. After a bizarre 8 overs Loughton had scored about 100 runs but only had a score of 223 (+23) on the board to show for their efforts as they had lost so many wickets along the way. In reply the Cougars’ innings got off to a flyer and they were soon well ahead of the target and looking comfortable. However as the nerves set in, the wickets started to tumble and the scores were getting far too close for comfort. Going in to the last couple of overs the Cougars simply had to bat out for a win, while Loughton needed to take just 2 more wickets. Nails were bitten and beers quickly drunk as the tension rose in the crowd as the two teams fortunes see-sawed right through to the end, with the Cougars eventually running out winners by 9 runs. Cue big celebrations and much pizza eating!

It’s hard to remember the fine detail of every game on a day like this, when the games are short and sweet but fast and furious and come around so quickly, so I won’t try to pick out individual performances. Safe to say that the whole Cougars team - Noor Ahmad, Patrick Dalton, George Earle, Charlie Haddon, Charlie Herold, Colm McNulty, Elliot Ross, and Jack Wager - all played their part in what was a fantastic team effort. Over the course of 8 hours, playing in sweltering conditions, the team had really come together and once they ‘hit their stride’ in the later part of the day they simply blew their opponents away, winning games by 60, 70 and 80 runs which in 8 over games are massive margins.

The Cougars player of the day, as voted for by his fellow players, was George Earle. Well done George, thoroughly deserved (he would have got the Manager’s vote too), not for a stand out performance in any particular game but for being a model of consistency throughout the day, making a positive contribution in every game with bat and ball while ‘keeping’ very tidily throughout.

Owing to a technical hitch (Loughton had lost the trophies!) the awards presentation had to be cancelled but Loughton have promised to get the Cougars’ awards to us in the next week or so and we’ll arrange something at one of our Friday night coaching sessions instead.

Despite the excellent team and individual performances the most pleasing thing that I took from the day was a compliment from Loughton’s Junior Co-ordinator, Tony Barritt. Tony, who had run most of the cricket related activity on the day, made a point of searching me out in the evening to compliment me on the way our teams had conducted themselves throughout the day. As Tony put it “your guys played with a smile on their faces all day long and got great feedback from our umpires for playing the game in the right spirit, whether they were winning or losing”. That’s really what cricket is all about and is a great example of the values GP&R is trying to instil in all of its players.

For the Under 11s to be able to field 18 players over such a long day was fantastic, so a big thank you to all of the parents who gave up their Sunday to come along. The support which both teams received from just beyond the ropes was excellent throughout the day.

Finally, we all owe a massive thank you to the guys at Loughton for hosting such a great event. The attention to detail in what they laid on, both on and off the pitch, was amazing. I thought that last year was good but this year just about topped it and the whole day was a fantastic advertisement for colts’ cricket.

Gidea Park & Romford Cricket Club Under 11's Batting
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Loughton Kwik Cricket Festival Bowling

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Gidea Park & Romford Cricket Club Under 11's Bowling

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