The final away day of a very long U13 season took us to Pyrford near Woking. The sun was struggling to come through and the wicket was emerald green and the boundary large but fast. With neither side able to win the play off, having already lost to Esher, there was an element of a friendly about the fixture.
Ali lost the toss and Pyrford who were a couple light decided to bat. Scott, who had stepped in for Seb after a nasty incident with a wasp, opened the bowling and started well against the Surrey opening batter. Lewes played the first over on its merits but took a distinct liking to Guy’s first over hitting 3 ferocious boundaries as Guy dropped a little short.
Scott though cleaned him up with the first ball of his next over and when the two openers combined to cause a run out off the next ball Pyrford were 21-2 in no time. George and Harry bowled two tidy overs, both settling in to a good rhythm but it was U13 debutant Henry who took the next wicket, Harrower well caught by Tyler for 15. Ali W then claimed a rare wicket thanks to a good catch by Hayden with Guy breathing down his neck. Ali’s second over was punished by Arif who was by now moving through the gears.
Ben and Ali R were the next pair to bowl and both had a good first over, both however were punished in their next overs. Ben decided to remark his run up out for his final ball and then bowled a beauty to bowl Gadd for 14. Ali also took a wicket with his penultimate ball, thanks to a tidy catch from Ben.
Tyler was next into the attack and he had a different plan. The old dambuster. Hargreaves deceived by the 2nd bounce Yorker and was bowled to the sound of apologetic fielders. Arif took Hayden for a Huge 6 to take him to 34 and retirement which meant the 10 men of Pyrford had 1 wicket left. Hayden did the honours in the last over and Grayshott had bowled out Pyrford for 128.
They had now bowled out both other divisional winners. Both had not previously been bowled out all season!
In reply Grayshott’s order was decided by the fate of the hat. Tyler and George picked out numbers 1 & 2 and off they duly went. Pyrford were also giving everyone a bowl so the game would be close.
George went for it from the first ball and when Tyler flicked a four off his hip Grayshott had got a good start. George hit a beautiful lofted cover drive for four and another back over the bowler’s head before trying one more big shot, falling stumped to Hargreaves.
Billy had pulled out number 3 and strode confidently to the wicket. He and Tyler had added a further 19 before Tyler went for a big shot and was bowled by Kerr. The first of his three wickets as Ali R and Ben soon followed to the same bowler. This brought Ali W in at 6 to join his regular opening partner. The pair took the score along nicely at the required 6 and over with Billy opening up. Billy played a glorious punch through mid-on for four followed by a few more boundaries and some well-run twos before retiring.
This brought debutant Henry to the crease. The Pyrford bowlers were getting slightly more accurate and had slowed the run rate down. Henry was struggling early on to get the ball away and Ali was struggling to get on strike. So 38 to win off 4 overs. Not normally Grayshott’s best thing chasing and Ali is not renowned for his big hitting.
But cometh the hour cometh the man and he and Henry did not disappoint. Henry sliced a four over third man and ran like his life depending on it. Ali flicked and drove through midwicket and hit a glorious lofted drive over the bowler for four.
24 off two and the pressure was palpable. 4, 1, dot, 4, dot, dot and now to the final over. 14 would be enough assuming no more wickets were lost. Ali facing.
First ball and huge swing and a miss. The coach asked for calm heads. The next ball was whipped over mid-wicket for four but then a single and Henry on strike. 9 off 3 balls. A waist high full toss that was run through for a single. So 7 off 3 balls, a wide and suddenly the pressure was on the bowler.
Six to win off 3 balls. Ali swung hard and lofted the ball out to the mid-wicket boundary, the crowd gasped and the ball fell just sort of the line and skip over the boundary. 2 required off two balls and Ali on 29, close to retirement. The crowd hushed and bowler galloped in. A firm push through the covers and the fielder gets a hand on it. A loud shout of 2 from Ali and Henry sprinted down the track.
Grayshott had levelled the scores and Ali had to retire on 31. Job done and an excellent skippers knock. Perhaps payback to the team for his knock on Tuesday. Hayden and Henry ran a wide off the last ball to cross the I’s and dot the t’s and the U13 season had finished on a high.
An excellent season with two league titles, a good cup run and a decent showing in the play offs.
Congratulations to all the boys who played, thanks to all the parents for their help, taxi driving, scoring and refreshments and we look forward to doing it all again next year.