Report by John Bettridge
Hampshire Hoggets u16 (223 for eight in 40 overs) lost to Junior Martlets (224 for six in 38.1 overs; H Moorat 53) by four wickets
If pride comes before a fall then so be it, but I felt great pride in the performance of the Junior Martlets to win this game. Ash Kumar, captain for the day, won the toss and inserted the Hoggets. The opening bowlers, Rafe Liebers and James Brahaut bowled steadily, beating the bat on a number of occasions but without much luck. Brahaut did demolish the castle of one of the openers after which the runs began to flow.
After 20 overs the score stood at 113 for one but it was not until then that spin entered the equation. The double leg-break attack of Will Collard and Toby Shepperson turned the complexion of the game. Their guile and skill was a pleasure to watch. They immediately cut the scoring rate and induced many false shots. Collard made the initial breakthrough. Shepperson then bowled their top scorer before performing what seems to be becoming a habit of taking two wickets in one over. Krishan Nayee introduced some off-spin into the game. A late-innings flurry of runs helped, perhaps, by some “elderly” Martlets fielding took the score to 223.
I felt this was quite a mountain to climb for a young under-16 side, most of them being under-14s or under-15s. What impressed from the outset was that they clearly didn’t share my concerns and batted with confidence and maturity and this despite losing Kumar in the second over with the score on two.
Mason Robinson and Harry Moorat proceeded to build a firm foundation, playing with increasing freedom and real style. They put on 99 together before Robinson mistimed one to be caught for 41. Moorat skied one to be taken by the ever-safe Hogget hands after making 53 with the score on 119. Josh Gander then showed huge patience to act as the sheet anchor for the remainder of the innings. Collard looked to score well until he was trapped leg-before. Brahaut was the hero of what followed hitting seven boundaries in his 42 to bring us up to the required rate.
One hit too far brought Shepperson to the wicket for the final scene. Both he and quiet man Gander at the other end unleashed some fine boundary shots to take us to victory with almost two overs to spare. Perhaps I might be excused for my sin of pride!
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