"Three years ago I was undereducated, underachieving and underestimated. The bursary at Bolton School meant that I had a chance at changing my life. It offered me new blueprints for the future, and I saw endless possibilities."

Niomi, Former Pupil

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Asons' Cricket Reports

 

 

 

Welcome to the 2016 Cricket Season!

North of England U15 Champions!

The North of England Finals day at Netherfield Cricket Club, Kendal, proved to be the icing on the cake for the Bolton School U15 team. Facing Durham School, who had earlier knocked out Sedbergh in the semi final, Bolton School's total of 128 for 7 was dominated by Bowers who hit eleven boundaries including five sixes, three in the last over. Two early wickets from Watson and Pindoria, both involving the talented Ball at wicket keeper, gave Bolton a positive start. However, the big hitting North from Durham fought back with 52 from 25 deliveries. Three excellent overs each from Pindoria and Salisbury helped reduce Durham’s total after McGivern and Larkin had been despatched expensively from the excellent North. The crucial wicket came in the eleventh over when Bowers took charge and the victory was sealed, a nail-biting finish giving Bolton School victory by seven runs.

The final against Richmond was played in difficult conditions following a very short lunch. Bowers, Ball, Jones and Phillips had all gone by the ninth over for a total of 52. Hemmady and Larkin stood firm and took Bolton to 109 for 5 from 15 overs; Hemmady with a very impressive 30 not out and Larkin with 22 from 12 deliveries providing much needed support. Having beaten Kings' Macclesfield in their semi final, Richmond’s batting attack, which included four Yorkshire players, felt confident of reaching the target set. Two wickets from Bowers, one from an exceptional catch from Mulla, and Watson in their opening overs were supported by Pindoria who slowed the run rate with 2 for 23 from his three overs, before he was quickly replaced by Hardy whose fielding skills were much needed by this point. After a short break due to the rain the teams reappeared when Watson took two further wickets to finish on 3 for 13 from his two overs. An exceptional caught and bowled from McGivern and two wickets from Pindoria, Salisbury and Larkin completed the victory with four overs to spare.

The U15s team will now compete in the national final at Arundel on Sunday 4 September. The last Bolton School team to play in a final at Arundel included Haseeb Hameed who has recently been enjoying success opening the batting for Lancashire.

Weekend 7: June 25

vs Cheadle Hulme School

won 3

Weather, if never world, weary BS cricketers awoke to another sunshine and showers forecast.

Cheadle Hulme found it necessary to call off their home matches after U12 and U14 had set off, so no final practice for these age groups before their county cup semis in the coming week.

Despite showers, actual and forecast, the home attitude was to play now we’re here. The age group teams agreed T20 to ensure completed matches.

With two men in the 1xi and spinner Pindoria unavailable, the U15s were able to confirm what we’ve known for four years. This is an astonishingly strong and deep squad. The B men Ball & Bowers opened and, as so often at their best, were in cruise control; 70 for the first wicket. Then we saw what your correspondent believes is a maiden school half century for Phillips and a whirlwind 41* for Larkin. The second half of the innings adding a further 95. Over 8 an over for 166-4 –no wonder this side were county champions in 2015 and are in Finals Day action on Tuesday! Cheadle Hulme’s openers tried to fight fire with fire adding 50 for the first wicket. Relishing his chance in true DIgglesque fashion, Diggle took 3-14 and there was even time for our guest from the world of Water Polo, Winstanley to take the tenth wicket with the last ball of their allocation – we’ll forgive him the 31 runs conceded just for that! 114 all out gave the U15s a 52 run win.

The Under 13s held back the top order to give everyone some crease time before this week’s semi – this proved worrying at first as a top score of 17 was all the youngsters could achieve. However, with Spencer-McDermott, Williams-Denton & Donohue around in the last 3 or 4 overs we saw some of the biggest hitting on Top Level by anyone of this age for many a year. Fencing proved irrelevant and following the thwack of leather on willow more than once we heard leather on metal! 119-9 set the perfect run a ball target. Again the less experienced bowlers were given their chance and so the cutting edge was a tad blunt. Longworth stepped in with a couple of momentum stopping wickets and CHS were 97-4 after their allocation – an U13 win by 22 runs.

The flagship teams agreed on a 40/40 encounter but only around 50 were needed. Cheadle Hulme were inserted and whilst the first three visitors were at the crease a worthwhile total seemed possible. Fluck top scored with 38, but once Milnes started wheeling away with his ever more impressive slow left arm, either ability and/or experience were lacking in the batsmen and the visitors collapsed to 114 all out in just 28 overs. Milnes’ 5-14 were the best figures of the season. The frailty of Bolton’s top order has been a problem all year but, with Kay showing his classy determination in these last weeks of his school career, the introduction of the pedigree of U15 lefthander Hemmady has helped no end. A 70 opening partnership put flight to any hopes/fears (depending on one’s colours); Kay finished on 52 and the winning total of 115-4 was reached with over 16 overs to spare -probably the most convincing Saturday win of the year for the firsts.

Player of the Weekend: Jack Phillips

 

v MCC: 23 June

In weather that has rarely greeted this, our most prestigious fixture in recent years, a dozen or so guests basked under a sunny sky, with flitting clouds to relieve any thoughts of heatstroke, to watch the M.C.C. bat against the schoolboy attack. Tidy without enormous threat, the seamers were faced with an initially encouragingly positive approach by the visitors with London based Old Boy Jonathan Shaw leading the way. He had reached 39 having readjusted after a decade away to the pace of Bottom Level when 15 year old Kurtis Watson got one to move off the seam and claim his first of what promises to be many 1xi wickets. A monstrous spell of some 17 overs from Ben Milnes slowed the M.C.C. top order, but the 4 an over was accelerated as Panda, the Edgworth pro – and an IPL player – batted smoothly for a sweet 70. 40 overs and the 200 came up on the stroke of lunch and captain Roland Horridge declared to give school around 165 minutes to build an innings to achieve a tasty target.

The observers felt around 4 an over would get the school close so long as one of the top order trio’s experience and prowess led to at least one big innings. Sadly, captain Fraser Kay went very early and when Will Davidson and Dan Southworth were not able to build their own personal stays beyond too short for the team, school was struggling at 56-5 after 20 overs. Milnes showed some left-handed lustiness for 27 but the 40 run partnership between him and Watson ended and three wickets tumbled. Faced with the task of saving the match, at last school found an unexpected pair to attempt what seemed like a Herculean challenge given the performance of those higher up the order. Bradley Wright had so far this season failed to live up to expectations of at least one commentator and Will Lord coming in at No. 10 – some might suggest he has so far been a prime example of getting a nosebleed if he were any higher up the order! However, they really impressed as the visitors threw, or rather bowled, a plethora of youth and experience, spin and pace, left and right hand at them. Not without offering a couple of tough close catches, the pair took advice and buckled down towards their goal. Adding an undefeated 39 for the ninth wicket, they reached 147-8 and helped school to the draw that rarely looked likely but was ultimately proof of the many skills needed in conquering this sport’s myriad facets – a spirited effort indeed.

Report for Cups: Midweeks May and June

All four age group teams have had a busy few weeks, post half term & exam week, once the LSCA/LCB cup competitions got into full swing. They have played in any manner of venues, grass and artificial strips, home and away, even on club grounds, with all sorts of weather from scorching sun to drizzle; the U12s even played a round in the Sports Hall using eight a side rules to get a fixture played well over the deadline date!!

What is common to all as we approach the culmination of the competitions is they are unbeaten – all four teams are still going strong. The Under 15s are at Sefton Park for finals day –semis in the morning and hopefully the final in the afternoon. The Under 14s meet Lancaster RGS in their semi- final. Under 13s play Bury GS in the quarter final on 24 June. The Under 12s also have to overcome Lancaster to reach their final.

Let’s hope the teams continue their present good form to match that of the current weather and we can go into the Summer with at least one cup.

Weekend 6: 18 June

vs The King's School, Macclesfield

Won 4, lost 3

It seemed we were in for a full day as the Bolton weather had surely improved as the week progressed. Heavy rain in Macclesfield meant we were close to cancellation there but happily all 7 matches were played to completion.

No Under 15s as it was DoE weekend so the 1st xi were accompanied by two U12 teams and that rarity u13B on their way South.

The 1st xi were shorn of at least four first choices for a variety of reasons so Milnes captained the side for the first time and Nandalan, Slusarenko and Halai were novices indeed. Conditions -damp underfoot, cloudy overhead - offset the well-known short Macc square boundaries, so anything towards four an over in the 40/40 match would be challenging. Inserting the hosts, school gained the early initiative with two early strikes. A 3rd wicket 60 stand wrested the game back to KSM but Milnes and Thakrar with 3 wickets apiece put us in a strong position at 90-7. Lusty blows from No. 10 took the score to 138 all out but this set this callowest 1st xis an eminently gettable target. Early experienced bats fell early – Ball & Bevan promised to steer the team back on course with a 40 run partnership but once they fell in quick succession, the impressive spirited aggression of the Silkmen went through the longish tail with ease and at 97 a. o. recorded a 41 run win.

The 2nd xi were again victors in their last Saturday fixture of the year. King’s bowled first and a bad start saw the seconds reeling at 24-4. Ahmed joined the ever reliable Morgan (41) to set a challenging 117-9. The visitors’ top order did well for a while but then crashed to fall behind the required rate. We restricted them to 91-6 and a comfortable 26 run winning margin brought the twos’ weekend programme to a successful conclusion.

The Under 14s contest was very tight. In a 25/25 match, Macclesfield batted first and reached 85-6 with the Bolton highlight being 4 run outs. Unfortunately our famed hospitality meant 4 of our boys were also run out and we fell short –Munslow showed some class and grit and reached 38, but 81-8 meant a 4 run defeat.

The Under 13A team game on Top Level saw a resounding victory with good performances from many of the team – no-one notched over 30, no-one took 4 or more but the 132-3 total at over 5 an over would challenge most opponents. Blackhurst took 3-10 and Jackson added to his earlier 21* with 2-3 and the Macclesfield unit were rolled over for 68 to fall 64 short.

Their B team fellows played T20 in the dampness at Derby Fields. Ben Stone produced an impressive spell with 4 for 6 and the opposition set us 4 an over – not likely to be easy in difficult scoring conditions with players with little experience of 11 a side match play. Never able to get ahead of the rate, the boys reached 66-7 and lost by 13.

Both Under 12 teams were able to bring back a win. The B team game was always going to be a low scorer in the damp. We restricted the home team to 58-9. Man of the Match, Sibson-Finch scored an unbeaten 22 and, at 59-5, the match was won by 5 wickets.

The A team bowled first and found conditions difficult – fortunately scoring was equally tough. The best player from the hosts reached his 50 off the last ball of the 25th over, with wides the second highest scorer. Would the several missed chances mean 89-4 in 25 overs was too tough a target for a team missing two leading bats representing school in the North of England Tennis championships? Not at all – only two batsmen made it to the crease as Schofield backed up Stevenson, who brought up his first 50 for school to bring the scores level with two overs to spare and record that rarity a ten wicket win.

 

Player of the Weekend: Jacob Stevenson

 

Weekend: 5 June

vs The Grammar School, Leeds

won 1, lost 2, abandoned 2.

 

It was four weeks since the last weekend cricket and, as the pessimists feared, the first school weekend of June proved more like the Sedbergh cancelled day than the fortnight plus of sweltering near perfect cricket days since.

The Red Rose forecast was better than the White, but sadly little cricket was possible at home. A promising start saw debutant Hemmady and new captain Kay opening for the 1st xi, who had reached 64-1, when rains won.

Even legendary impermeability of sport-mad twelve year olds couldn’t survive as the Under 12s suffered the same RSP fate - but not before Morris hit an impressive half century.

Over the Pennines, it unexpectedly proved drier and T20 was the order of the day given the conditions.

The 2nd xi were our only victors – winning the toss, the twos scored 118-3; an impressive batting performance on a very damp wicket and outfield. As often this year, Slusarenko (42) & Morgan (30*) led with the bat, with Kanji chipping in with a more than useful 29. The White Rose men finished on 103 for 9 with Halai taking 3-20. There was one spell where our total looked under threat but their big hitting batsman went for 25 after two huge sixes. A fine and rare away win for the seconds in a game played in a very convivial atmosphere enjoyed by all the players and staff.

The Under 14s kept their opponents to 94-9 in their twenty but never got their act together and lost by some 30 runs.

The Under 13s’ game was an altogether more enjoyable and close encounter. Leeds were able to post just over the 4 an over rate, with Spencer-McDermott’s 3-13 our star performer with the ball in a total of 84-6. As per usual, Williams-Denton led the way with a sprightly 35 but no-one else were able to last long enough and a late mini-collapse, the U13s were all out in the last over for 78 -six short! 

Player of the Weekend: Roman Slusarenko

Midweek 5: 16-20 May

County cup week!

All the four age group teams played their first county cup matches of the year -successfully both in avoiding inclement weather and beating what the draws threw up.

The U15s bounced back from national cup disappointment to overcome local rivals Canon Slade.

The U14s beat regular football opponents Hulme Grammar Oldham by 7 wickets with Donohue and Williams-Denton continuing their fine form of the season to date.

The U13s and U12s both saw off new opponents – Radclyffe by 7 wickets & Pendle Vale by 6 wickets respectively.

Let’s hope for a dry end to the first half of the term as another round of matches are due before the half term break!

Weekend 4: 14 May

vs The Grammar School, Manchester

won 1 lost 5 

The middle weekend of Mighty May when we play the trio of our strongest opponents proved even tougher than LRGS as MGS were overcome only by the Under 14s.

The 1st xi had another chastening time in the field as MGS amassed 284-1 with the 158* by Perry ranking very high in schoolboy innings seen against Bolton. An excellent batting wicket allied to the all too familiar wayward bowling and a couple of spilt chances left the team with a gargantuan task made all the harder when both the senior players, Brownlow and Davidson went early. Milnes and Southworth forged a seventy run partnership before the drinks break and a shooter got rid of Southworth. Some spirited respectability ensued with a gutsy half century for Bevan but at 199 all out, school were beaten by 85 runs.

The Under 15s set a target of just under 5 rpo as Watson led the way with 47. Ball, Hemmady & Bowers produced useful vignettes but would 142-7 in 30 be enough? An early McGivern wicket was the only positive in the first 18 overs. Phillips Bowers & Watson slowed the rate effectively but half centuries for Poole & Poyser saw the Mancunians reach their target in the 29th and win by 8 wickets.

The Under 14s were our one beacon of success and some might say unusually it came via a fine effort with the ball. Parikh was his usual parsimonious self (3-5) but the key moment came with Doyle’s hat-trick! MGS were tumbled out for 70. Munslow anchored the batting reply and boisterousness from Birt crashed the final runs – a 4 wicket win with 4 overs to spare.

The youngest three teams all went the way of their seniors.

Both Under 12s team lost. The A team did very little with the bat - 94 all out in pursuit of 170-5. The B team’s first outing against a team that had played several matches saw some good signs. Patel & Miller-Stanton led the attack well after an impressive 50 run partnership from the MGS top order. 111 all out seemed to give the debutants some hope. This was confirmed when Davies and Miller-Stenton put on 50 for the second wicket. Inexperience saw both out in quick succession and the regular fall of wickets saw the babes collapse to 88 all out and a 23 run defeat.

The small playing area and dry conditions suggested the Under 13s match might be high scoring and what a feast of batsmanship spectators were in for! MGS amassed a huge 230 but undaunted Bolton chased and chased. Only losing three wickets, the boys fell 10 short with noteworthy knocks from Spencer-McDermott (41*) and the in-form pair of Williams-Denton (83) and Donohue, who couldn’t quite forge on to a century being 93* at the close. A 10 run defeat but a memorable day.

Player of the Weekend: Henry Doyle

 

Week 3: Midweek, 11 & 12 May

Two matches to highlight the range of what school cricket can be about.

The 2xi offers as wide a range of different fixtures and oppositions as possible to enable players of all abilities from years 11, 12 & 13 to continue and hopefully enjoy playing school cricket.

So a tough test against good friends Audenshaw’s first eleven. A strong batting line-up was evident as they reached 58-2 at halfway. Who else but Slusarenko to the fore- 2 in 2 and another potential hat-trick -it wasn’t to be but he finished with 3-14 as the visitors only scored at the same rate in their second half. From our batsmen’s point of view, their bowling was as strong as the batting with 5 men out for a duck. Ahmed (15) and Ball, guesting from 1xi duties, (30) reached double figures but we ended on 82-9. Good spirits throughout but the realisation that Audenshaw boasted a Derbyshire player was probably the key difference between the sides.

The current U15s are county champions and as such represent Lancashire in the National inter-county 40 overs competition. Cumbria came out of the hat as our first opponents which predictably meant a trip up to Sedbergh. Run rates will paint the picture of what transpired. Sedbergh batted never bettering 3 ½ an over for the first half of their knock. Up to 97 after 25 then 33 in the next 5, 38 in the next and 41 in the last 5 being a well nigh perfect example of how to pace an innings. 209-9 was the final total – could we aspire to 5 ½ over the full 40 overs? Ahead of Sedbergh at 1, 20, 25 -the same at 30 with 6 wickets left. Sadly only 4 an over in the final 10 and 173-9 meant a 36 run defeat – a disappointment to go out, but to a better side and hopefully a good lesson in building a game through all of its many phases in what was probably the longest game most of these boys had played. 

Two defeats but much good cricket and lots to learn!

 

Weekend 3: 7 May

vs ROYAL GRAMMAR SCHOOL, LANCASTER

won 2 lost 4 

After another washout against Chester, this was only the second full fixture of the season and school came off worse against old foes LRGS.

The 1st xi was ravaged by unavailabilities, illness and injuries, but the recurrent failing of Boltonians to stay at the crease and build an innings led to a collapse to 63 all out - still a desperately disappointing, even woeful effort. The team took to the field in spirited mood and took two early wickets, but that was to be it - an eight wicket defeat ensued.

The 2nd xi just failed to reach the three figure total at 99-6 in 25 overs. As ever, LRGS proved to be amongst our strongest rivals and came out on top by eight wickets.

Pleasingly, the U15s made it 2/2 wins. On Middle Level, the depth of all round strength of this squad saw wickets shared around though four catches were dropped. As in week 1, 112-6 in 30 overs did not seem like a winning Middle Level score. Jones again ensured success with sumptuous driving and a massive six onto the Sports Hall steps. Three cameos in the teens with wickets thrown away rather than developed innings backed him up to an extent - a four wicket win gives the U15 a 100% record but also leaves plenty to work on before the upcoming National U15 Cup match with Sedbergh.

Both the U14s and the U13s also found the Red Rose men too strong – Top Level was the venue for some quick U13 scoring with Donohue reaching an impressive half century (59*). 140 would win most 25/25 matches but sadly not this one and two further defeats came to pass.

After playing on what proved to be difficult surface away – the term cabbage patch came to mind - the U12s came back South with a convincing win. McKeown showed the boys the way (Amelia is from the Girls Division!), supported by Smyth, to post just 88-5 after a slow start. In a definitive team effort, we saw fielding, catching, stumping and bowling of a standard to put pressure on the opposition from start to finish. Schofield, Morris and Clarkson were amongst the wickets but especial mention goes to Horridge’s fielding – 3 direct hit run outs and a catch! LRGS subsided to 48 all out to give school a very fine 40 run win.

Player of the Weekend: Amelia McKeown

 

Midweek 3: 4 May

The popularity of the T20 format meant 5 1st xi winners emerged from the 20 entries at the group stage. The draw saw us having to play a quarter final but two plusses were a home tie and a beautiful sunny Bottom Level. The accumulated damage of the Winter’s eccentric weather and recent snow and rain meant the outfield was variously described as soft and slowish – the ball rarely came onto the bat off the wicket.

Merchant Taylors’ School, Crosby were the opposition and were to bat first. When, as in the previous match, the opponents’ star opener was out in the first over – Lavelle hooking to midwicket – school had an early boost. Davidson led the way with astute field placings and miserly off spin – 3 overs 3 for 4 – and the Merseysiders collapsed to 63 all out in the 15th over. It was to be no stroll in the park, as the target was only reached with 10 balls to spare. Kay’s attritional 48 ball knock for 15 held the side together and two glorious straight sixes from keeper Bevan saw school reach 69-7 -a tight 3 wicket win.

Old foes Manchester Grammar arrived for the semi-final to see the last stages and observers on both sides felt a run a ball would set a challenging target for whoever chased. Bolton were in first hopefully to set at least that target. After an early flourish, Davidson and Ball knocked the ball around to good effect to reach 93-3 to set up a dash for that 6 an over target. There followed what some might call an unexpected collapse (though others might be tempted to suggest an abject shambles) with 6 wickets falling for just 10 runs. The captain top scored with 24, MGS obliging with 19 extras - 103-9 would require the best bowling of the year from all the attack, shorn of the ill Brownlow. Sadly, it wasn’t to be as, for example, Unsworth’s first over went for double figures. The rest put in sterling work but lacked penetration - clean timing from Mancunian top order gave the visitors victory by eight wickets with two overs to spare. No Kenyon Cup this year!

The 2nd xi travelled North more in hope than expectation to fulfil the fixture against Stonyhurst 1st xi. Playing in the Lancashire countryside on a bright May afternoon was a delightful scenario. This tempered the match details somewhat - the home team amassed 156-2 in their allotted overs and school fell well short with 51 all out.

Player of the week: Will Davidson

Midweek 2: 25-29 April

The senior teams both played competitive short form games but with differing  outcomes.

The First xi travelled to Lytham to play their group matches in the Kenyon Cup, the North West element of the national T20 competition. The draw saw school on the main square against hosts, AKS. This proved to be a stroll in the sun as inserted AKS stumbled to 76-8. Milnes lead the way with 4-23. The top order of Brownlow, Davidson and Southworth dispelled any thoughts that batting conditions were tough with rapid scoring though all were out somewhat carelessly. Fewer than 9 overs were needed on the way to a seven wicket win.

The final saw school faced with Altrincham Grammar for Boys for the first time in memory. They had chased over 7 an over successfully and decided to bowl first – observers felt that rate would be par in a full match and school obliged with exactly 140-3 in the increasingly windy cold conditions, scoring fewer in the second ten than the first -a testament to gritty AGSB bowling – captain Davidson impressed with 40. When opener Craig - 70* in the first match - was out first ball, AGSB was clearly deflated and losing wickets regularly meant they were only ahead of BS’s rate for one over. The target was too distant and Brownlow’s class showed giving school a 10 run win as spots of rain threatened. We move on to the knockout stages.

The Second xi hosted one of two triangular group stages in the inaugural 2nd xi 15/15 event. Opponents were from strong cricketing schools Sedbergh & Lancaster. Bolton played LRGS first and posted a total of 76-8 in their 15 overs. Once again Slusarenko led the way with 25 supported by Newton with 16. LRGS knocked the runs off with an over to spare but not without difficulty. Sedbergh (128-8) then blew away LRGS (63-5) by 63 runs. This set Bolton up with an outside chance of glory if they were to beat Sedbergh by some distance. Like the Sedbergh side, this was a very tall order! Bolton struggled against the tight bowling and athletic fielding and could only put together just 52 runs. What happened next was nearly unbelievable; the very strong Cumbrians crashed to the bowling of Datta, who produced superb figures of 3 overs 1 maiden 5 wickets for 3 runs. Nandalan also took 2 wickets as the favourites crashed to 41-8. The tail rallied and wagged as numbers 9 and 10 scored the 12 runs required to go through to the final stage.

Player of the Week: Rishi Datta

 

Weekend 1 (23 April) v Queen Elizabeth Grammar School, Wakefield

School cricket’s first Saturday’s fixtures were the Roses clash with QEGS, with Bolton School coming out on top with 4 wins and 2 defeats.

The Under 12s had a chastening start to their school cricket careers. On a sunny but chilly Top Level, Schofield’s early wicket lifted spirits but the second wicket proved elusive for the eight bowlers used. The opponents put on over 80 – school wrested back some power in the last 5 overs with leg spinner Clarkson’s 3-26 the pick of performances. 130 at over 5 an over proved too difficult a task – captain Morris made 24 while Ashworth shepherded the tail well with 20 but a 36 run defeat ensued.

The Under 13s came back from over the Pennines with much better news of a win in their T20 match. 126-7 saw Donoghue and Williams-Denton retiring on 30. Broughton showed his all-rounder potential with wickets to add to his 29; The U13s eight bowlers restricted QEGS to 80 – a fine 46 run win.

Windswept and dry if bobbly underfoot on the Middle Level, the U14s also took an early wicket only for QEGS to take the score into the eighties before the next fell. Ramwell was the most impressive of the home attack, but it was hard to tell whether the White Rose team were happy that their 112-4 in 25 overs would be enough. Nip and tuck, runs and wickets gave both sides hope and with 6 overs to go a run a ball was needed – but Ali’s long levers continued to hit through the ball to good effect; he fell for 31 but Parikh’s 36* held the innings together, a role so suited to his batting style and temperament - the match was school’s with a 6 wicket win with 8 balls to spare.

As county champions 2 years ago, U13s lost to QEGS in the national competition but spawned this full fixture. Revenge was sweet with a win in the last over. QEGS posted 94-4 in their 20 overs but Jones top scored with 30 and the winning runs were hit by McGivern with an impressive 14 to finish.

A hard wicket greeted the 2nd XI – early success saw the Tykes reeling at 12-3 but things went downhill for the visitors from there with numbers 4 & 5 seeing them to exactly 100. School obliged with a similar crash of early wickets but had no-one to step things up – Ahmed’s fine 20* was not enough and 84-7 saw a 16 run defeat.

The very opposite wicket-wise on Bottom Level – the low and slow nature meant bowlers were always likely to have the whip hand. School chose to bowl but the seamers lacked early penetration, with the first wicket falling in the 13th. The inconsistent bounce and a brilliant run out by Kay spurred on spinners Milnes (3-26 all LBW) and Davidson to take control; going from 58-1 to 59-5 was insurmountable and QEGS’s eventual 129-9 in 45 overs seemed below par despite the challenging batting conditions. Leading lights Southworth & Davidson fell early but the now veteran opener Kay and relatively inexperienced Ball added 39 for the 4ht wicket. Keeper Bevan and Ball scored freely, the latter attempting to reach a maiden 50 and win the match in one blow, fell for 46, but at 133-6 in only the 26th over gave school a convincing four wicket win.

Player of the Weekend: Matthew Ball

Midweek 1: 18-22 April

School cricket 2016 started a little late with the first Saturday’s fixtures against Kirkham GS eventually all falling foul of the weather.

So the initial matches were for the senior teams on Wednesday 20th, under a perfect cloudless blue sky. The 1st XI’s quality couldn’t match that as they met Myerscough College OT in a friendly T20 match. All the opposition are on cricket related courses and this shone through as the Boltonian early season rustiness was hardly on show for them. School made 101 in their 20 overs with captain Davidson reaching an unbeaten 50 in the final over. Wayward bowling gave away early wides and Myerscough’s giant opener smote sixes off a couple of seventh balls to put them ahead of the rate early. School eventually lost by 8 wickets in the 16th over.

The 2nd XI fared much better. Playing Manchester GS, underfoot remained wet, so when MGS batted first, their 107 looked useful. Slusarenko ensured they got no higher with that rare achievement of a hat-trick, backed up by Morgan’s keeping. These two were to impress when school batted – the latter reaching an undefeated 25 and Slusarenko top scoring with 31 to ensure a 4 wicket win.

Player of the Week: Roman Slusarenko

 

The 2015 Cricket Season

Match Day 10 vs Merchant Taylors' School, Crosby

Short and sweet for the last news of Saturday play this season – a weakened Under 15s just failed to reach their target to lose by 4 runs. Under 12s and Under 14s won in style at home. The seconds won by nine wickets to end their fine season, led impressively by Zuhair Patel – a fine antidote to three defeats against first teams at the Rydal festival. This statistic however belies what an excellent experience the three days were. No Under 13s following their semi-final defeat earlier in the week to the dominant MTSC U13 team, so, crowning this final day, was an exquisitely judged declaration leading to a 25 run win in the last overs of the year for the first eleven. 

Thursday 2 July: Lancashire County Cup Final (U14s) vs Manchester Grammar School

An overcast day in Blackpool saw Bolton U14 take on Manchester Grammar School (MGS) in the Lancashire Cup Final, a replay of two years previous when the teams met as U12 finalists. On that occasion, Bolton were the victors, yet with MGS winning the block fixture earlier this season, it would be fair to say that they were favourites this time around. Nevertheless, unbeaten in four outings, the Bolton team were high on confidence, especially after a comfortable win against Lancaster Royal Grammar School in the semi-final only two days before the final itself.

MGS won the toss and decided to bat, hoping to post a big score and allow their strong bowling attack to pressure the Bolton batsmen into submission. However, on a wicket which was flat and true, the early pace of Watson and Bowers set the tone and restricted the MGS openers well, Watson taking the first wicket in the 6th over - MGS 25 for 1 - and Bowers the second leaving MGS 38 for 2 from their first 10 overs. The middle overs were even tighter for the batsmen, Pindoria's spin and Salisbury and McGivern's unerring accuracy yielding more wickets and few runs - 77 for 4 wickets after 25 overs. Then, having been 92 for 6 after 32 overs, the MGS lower order began to swing and the return of pace to the bowling attack allowed them the opportunity to splay the ball around. At the end of their 40 overs, MGS finished on 150. Not a big total, but more than Bolton had wanted and those watching expected.

The message to the opening pair of Bowers and Ball was clear: play your own game, play your shots, put the bowlers off their rhythm. First ball flicked of the pads down the leg side for 4 runs for Bowers. The two started extremely well, Bowers the more aggressive to Ball's watchfulness, racing to 54 for 0 from six overs. At which point Ball took the intiative and the two took the game well away from MGS, Bowers surviving being caught in the deep off a no-ball, going to 80 without loss from 10 overs, bringing the 100 up after 13. The only thing to stop the Bolton march was the weather, as black clouds loomed and rain droplets began to fall. There was no stopping Ball, first to his half century, soon joined by Bowers to put them 119 after 14 overs. With 5 more runs needed, Bowers hit out, a fine knock of 65. Enter Hemmady, a cool head to see Bolton home, which he did, hitting 4 to win in fine style - Bolton reach 154 after only 21 overs.

A fine display by the whole team in the field and with the ball, always positive and keen to encourage, and an outstanding display of aggressive batting by the opening pair to beat MGS and become champions. The team will now enter the national competition, facing the champions of Yorkshire in September. We wish them well.

Week 10/11: Midweek Matches

County cup semi-finals for the three younger teams produced a mix of emotons, quality and outcomes.

The Under 12s went to old rivals MGS and, truth be told, suffered quite a cricketing lesson. MGS opener Valentine retired at 30, the 2nd wicket pair produced a half century stand and with 65 at the halfway point, the writing was well and truly writ large. School tightened up in the second half but 115-8 in 25 overs would require all the batsmen in this side’s weaker skill to come on strong. Sadly they came off badly. 28-9 in the 11th over with Mancunian Sandanshiv taking 4-3 is unsurmountable. Last wicket pair Spencer-McDermott and Tyldesley(21) more than doubled the score, the youngsters scored 65 and lost by 51.

The Under 13s welcomed Merchant Taylors’ from the coast – appropriate for those visitors as, stacked with county players, we were unable to force them onto the defensive throughout, and coast they did to 164-7 in 30 overs. 5.5 an over is a great rate in any schoolboy cricket; Ramwell salvaged some pride with 2-17 but overall we were second best as 33 extras, Merchants’ top score confirms. Only numbers 9 & 10 made double figures in reply as we slid to 61 all out in 22 overs to lose by 103 to one of the strongest junior sides we have seen at Bolton this year.

The toughest of opponents are any team from Lancaster RGS. The School Under 14s were county champions in Year 7 but stumbled last year – this would be no cakewalk. Playing the full length 40/40 match the regulations demand on a warm afternoon, the  five seamers plus Pindoria attack were impressive with only a couple of Phillips overs proving costly. Pindoria‘s tantalising leggers were as deadly as ever (3-16) giving no respite from the seam strength. LRGS posted a challenging 156 nonetheless. Top of the order saw three scores of 30+ in response - Bowers (36) Ball (37) & Hemmady (32*); this meant this powerful unit had over 30 balls to go when they reached 157-5 to take them to the final at Blackpool C.C. with a five wicket win.

Match Day 9 vs Cheadle Hulme School

Cricket was played in real cricket weather for the last June fixture against local rivals Cheadle Hulme.

Home saw just u13 and u14 fixtures as there was no 2xi opposition.

Contrasting fortunes as the Under 13s were undone by a classy half century by Stanniforth of CHS. Playing on the middle level, the seam attack never threatened enough and Parikh’s threat was nullified somewhat by the classy No.3. 130-7 at over 5 an over would require the Year 8s’ highest total of the year; it was not to be as only Parikh of the top 6 reached double figures. Ramwell & Ali each reached the twenties as CHS’ lesser bowlers took up the fight. 106-7 was not a poor score but, truth be told, CHS were worthy winners from the start. 

Under14s enjoyed the luxury of the grass of Bottom Level. Wickets fell regularly as CHS slid somewhat ignominiously to 60 all out with the wickets shared out. At 11-3 the reworking of our batting order looked to be a chancey choice, but Diggle and Larkin enjoyed their day in the spotlight. Larkin’s 30* was particularly good to watch and further convinces your correspondent that rarely have we had such a depth of talent in one year. 63-5 with 50 balls to go was another convincing success by 5 wickets. 

The Under 12s returned to winning ways when six wicket takers shared the spoils in bowling CHS out for 94 in the 22nd over. At 37-0 in the 9th a significantly higher total was threatened but this group have a wide pool of bowling talent. Despite losing the first wicket without a run on the board, the youngsters needed fewer than 20 overs with a maiden unbeaten half century for Donohue(52*) who brought up that half century with a six to also win the match.

The Under 15s were involved in a run-fest. Over 320 runs were scored – Bolton batted first and despite not using all 25 overs scored at well over a run a ball helped by 36 extras. No-one passed 30 but speedy cameo 20s came from Newton, Ali & Mattison in reaching 161 all out. CHS scored reasonably quickly but lost wickets rapidly also, with Mattison taking 4-22 for his best ever school allrounder performance. At 112-8 in the 20th, Bolton were confident. At 150-9 a little less so –and when the last ball was due, our 8th bowler Foster was faced with all possibilities. CHS were 161-9. Delightfully for Bolton supporters, he bowled the incumbent batsman and the Colts had a one run victory.

Cheadle Hulme has always been a happy hunting ground for our batsmen; it was here four years ago that Thompson & Hameed broke several school batting records for such as individual scores and partnerships. This year school bowled first and steadily throughout with only an odd over of right arm spin going for much above 4 or 5. Shaw’s best figures of this 1xi season (3-30) helped restrict CHS to 217-8 in their 45. All bar one Bolton batsman got into the teens but this was opener Kay’s day. As suggested earlier, this is our happiest hunting ground for big scores and a maiden century was the outcome for the diminuitive opener. Out for 100  in the 39th over. Bolton needed another 30 runs – the last of these off the fifth ball of the last over – perfectly timed victory!  

Match Day 7 & 8 vs The Grammar School at Leeds and King's School, Macclesfield

Meteorological mayhem over these two weeks has hit us as the forecasters were way off target.

Thunder in a long period of heavy rain was due against TGS@L so all matches were cancelled –it never came. Showers passing through was the most common offering from the men at the met for KSM, but the rain was far too persistent for anything worthwhile at home. Further south, the 5 away teams splashed on – so much so that even scoring in the books was well nigh impossible, hence lack of detail in the reports!

With several 1xi players unavailable, the 2xi travelled a little light and reached 92-9 in their T20 innings against a side that impressed, especially in the field. KSM were possibly the best 2xi we have faced and reached their total of 93-2 in 16 overs to win by eight wickets.

The Under 14 had a close run affair.  Batting first, school managed to get over the century mark with Ball (29) again top scoring. With top score of the match coming from the King’s number 5, the result was always in doubt. Phillips took a crucial wicket in the last over to give the U14 a 2 run win.

The Under 13B side restricted KSM to 85 in their 20 overs – secret weapon Inkster took 3-0 in 4 (balls not overs) to finish off any resistance. The difficult conditions required someone to take the match by the scruff of its neck and, wow, did we have someone to do it! – Ali retired at 32 –often a total that takes a long while to accumulate, but he did it in 7 (balls not overs) – six boundaries: a welcome 6 wicket win.

Both Under 12 A & B came off worse – suffice it to say, spirits bodies and scorebooks were damp returning home with two defeats for the youngsters.

Week 8/9 - Midweek Matches

Cup quarter finals for the three younger teams created significant joy.

The Under 12s played old rivals QEGS Blackburn. In a spooky mirroring of the previous round, Williams-Denton (30) again retired as required by the rules and again just 82 were amassed in the 20 overs played, this time for 4 wickets. 4 an over should not be enough but this is a fine bowling unit. QEGS crumpled to 37 all out; this time it was Williams-Denton’s turn to lead the way with 3-7– in the end giving a mighty 45 run win margin.

The Under 13s welcomed former Saturday opponents, Liverpool College. Put in, the side did not quite use up its 30 overs being 122 all out – an impressive 60+ run opening partnership between Parikh & Doyle (25) set a strong base but soon wickets fell regularly and Golland 25* from number 7 was again key in reaching 122 all out – would 4 an over be enough? Indeed it was as Ramwell produced one of the best spells of seam bowling we have seen this season: 5 -1-7-5 should win any match and so it did – the Merseysiders reaching just 36 all out – a win by 86 runs. 

The Under 14s progressed again being little troubled by Turton. Bowers fell very early but an 80+ partnership by Ball & Hemmady set the team on its way to a formidable 147-8 in 20 overs. Turton scored at over 5 an over but this was never enough with Bolton’s depth again showing as Salisbury confirmed his all-round ability adding 3-8 to his cameo 14*  to see us to a 42 run win as Turton ended on 105-9.

Week 7 - Midweek Matches

Cup fever resurfaced as the younger teams played their next matches in the county cup, all having won before half term. 

The Under 12s played local rivals Turton. Friendships became “foeships”! Williams-Denton reached 33 and retired as required by the rules – he returned in the last over as only Jackson of the others contributed effectively and just 82-9 were amassed in the 20 overs played. Four an over was not a particularly strenuous rate but with the 5 main bowlers on show, Jackson, doubling his seasonal wicket haul, lead the way, 4-17 his best school analysis to date. Turton were dismissed with 9 balls left for just 54 – in the end, a convincing 28 run win margin.

The Under 13s played St Peter's from Wigan, who arrived with district and county players on show. A fiery spell from our openers soon had them on the back foot – only one player was to reach double figures – extras (25) being top scorer –a tendency that needs attention. The other pleasing tendency of this group is run outs – St Peter’s had no holy guidance as 4 players fell this way and they were all out for 85. Less than 3 an over did not seem too tough but a steady fall of wickets against a useful attack soon proved otherwise. Golland held the side together from the middle order and the side got home with 2 wickets and 2 overs spare - 89-8.

The Under 14s were little troubled in defeating Deanery High by 9 wickets. Bowers returned to form with an impressive half century as he led the chase to pass the visitors’ 87 total.

The Under 15s T20 match was against another local rival, Rivington & Blackrod. Confidently batting first in blustery conditions, R&B built on a solid start (37-0 off 9) and accelerated as per the manuals, doubling the score in the last third of the innings to reach 100-4, Nandalan & Thakrar each bagging a brace. Haydock was a most impressive presence for visitors. The chances of following last year’s U15s as county winners and repeating their own U13 triumph evaporated as a stumping and three run outs, including leading light Southworth, made the task very hard. Actually ahead of R&B ‘s halfway run rate, the steady loss of wickets was stemmed only by Mattison’s cameo 22. 81-8 meant a 19 run defeat in a well below par performance.

Match Day 6 vs Sedbergh and Manchester Grammar School

Fred Kenyon Trophy – North West T20 Cup

Semi-final - beat MGS

Final - lost to Sedbergh

Friendlies against our strongest opposition, Sedbergh were played “below” the 1xi’s cup final - playing both Under 14 & 15 B teams for one of the first times ever stretched resources but meant that we have now offered over 20 boys from each of the four younger age bands competitive cricket during the season – long may this continue! 

Under 15B, having enjoyed a rare victory before half term at Ripley, fell to Earth with a bump. Sedbergh amassed 146-7 in 25 overs. Later in the innings, Foster and Connor took a couple of wickets but the Sedbergh opener’s 75 would have graced many an A team. A run a ball is tough for any team and the inexperience showed as Bolton subsided to 69 all out with only opener Patel (27) reaching double figures - a sobering 77 run defeat therefore. 

The Under 15A team found themselves on Bottom Level and the overhead conditions and a low bouncing track made scoring difficult. Sedbergh reached 137 with 3 lbws, and wickets shared for the home side. With 25 for the last wicket and 74 for the visiting Mullins, this was a recovery from 24-4 and 86-5. Southworth (63) put together his best knock of the year for school. 28-3 was not the start hoped for; no-one could stay with Southworth long enough for the 4.5 rpo target to be met, indeed no-one else made double figures and the team fell 22 short.

The trip up to Cumbria is as long as any on the calendar and various detours and traffic holdups meant the four away teams arrived somewhat under-prepared for what is usually the hardest visit of the season.

The Under 14A team were involved in an intensely fought very high quality affair in the Cumbrian dales and gales. The 156 Bolton made batting first was agreed on all sides to be a most competitive total. Phillips (39) top scored backed up by quickfire 20s from Hardy and Jones. In the field, the team bowled to a good standard with Pindoria and Ball’s slow stuff highly restricting. However the class bat on the day was Sedbergh’s opener. Phillips’ MoM allrounder status was let down by a dropped couple of chances so the home side only lost 3 wickets and won with an over to spare but this was approaching what we know this group at its best can do. 

The Under 14B debut fixture was not so close. Outstanding cameo moments were youngster Munslow’s 3 wickets, debutant Winstanley’s powerful swing bowling and Barnett’s class with the bat. Sedbergh reached 116 all out but the lack of match experience proved too much as the B boys accrued 89 to lose by 27 runs.

The Under 13s came up against a much more powerful team. Playing any school match never mind an Under 13 25/25 match, a target rate of over a run a ball is intimidating. This is what BS faced as the opposition’s Wheating twins put on 60 for the second wicket. 15 4s and 7 6s illuminated the SS score of 153-6. Gibson & Doyle’s 4th wicket partnership fell just short of 50 and the required rate hit double figures – no further heroics and 107 -9 meant a deficit of 46 runs. 

It was left to the babes on Top Level to fly the Red Rose flag. With the captain required by his professional football club to play his last match of the season (in June!!), one felt batting depth might be lacking on form shown so far. The eventual total of 97-7 was described as average by a source close to the team. Broughton top scored with an undefeated 31 and his 35 run partnership with Barker-Smith proved pivotal. This group is increasingly seen as being better with ball rather than bat inhand. So it proved again. The opposition did what the manuals suggest and were 29-0 halfway through their innings and then were 51-2 needing 45 of 8 overs with wickets in hand.  They collapsed losing the next 8 for 21 … regular readers will not be surprised that Blackhurst was the main man with 3-13 and a run out to his bowling. The 25 run win avoided the whitewash and the early season block successes are distant memories with only two Saturday wins out of 13 against strongest rivals MGS & Sedbergh.

Week 6 - Midweek Matches

Cup fever hit all five teams as the younger teams played their first matches in the county cup, all having had early round byes and the first eleven continued their quest to retain the Fred Kenyon Cup as North West T20 champions.

The weather remained far from summery and proved to be the main worry as, pleasingly, none of the opposition were able to offer much by way of a challenge, as our teams all produced their better form.

The Under 12s played Crompton House. Reduced to T20, the team still chalked up a huge total with Donoghue making 29 and both Jackson and Williams-Denton retiring as required by the rules once they had reached 30. 145 would be a tough ask for any opponents. Crompton House were not up to the task and everyone bowled in their innings – Miller-Stenton taking 3-5 and, as ever, Blackhurst impressed a double wicket maiden in his only over. 26 all out gave us a 119 run victory.

The Under 13s travelled to Liverpool. West Derby batted first but crumbled to 36 all out with Ramwell again producing a useful if expensive spell (well – relatively!) of 3-18. The required total was reached calmly in 12 overs (40-1) for a nine wicket win.

The Under 14s dodged the weather to overcome local rivals Little Lever. LL could only post 76 and after a few hiccups, Hardy proved his little known worth as a batsman with a sprightly 32*. 77-5 gave the side an untaxing 5 wicket win.

The Under 15s were also drawn against Crompton House. This age group’s rules are actually T20 so there were no meteorological constraints on length but conditions were still far from pleasant– par at this age is usually seen as a run a ball, so 122-5 just bettered it –new names stepped up to the batting block with Nandalan(42) and Sykes(36) putting together a fifty partnership. The captain used a range of bowlers as the visitors never seriously threatened the total. Ahmed wiped up the tail with 3-8 as the 79 all out total gave us a comfortable 42 run win.

The first eleven trekked to Chester where overcast conditions saw the ball rule the bat throughout. Put in, the home side were bowled out in the twentieth over for 106. Senior seamers, Bowers and Brownlow each took three wickets leading boundary commentators feeling that this was 15-25 short. The arrival of spin surprisingly caused the brittleness of the Boltonian top order to show through. 61-4 at the halfway point kept Bolton favourites but  82-5 with 30 balls to go, things were level pegging. KSC gained momentary favouritism with the loss of the eighth wicket at 89. This run a ball target saw a flutter in supporters’ hearts (had there been any) but Ball (12 in 12) boldly hit the first ball of the last over ball for four and a two wicket win means we progress to the semi-final against the old enemy MGS. 

So the perfect cup week took us into half term with spirits high – the challenge of Sedbergh on 06.06.15 awaits however.

Match Day 5: Saturday 16 May vs Manchester Grammar School

Blustery above ground, slightly slippery underfoot after overnight rain, but so much better than the previous two Saturdays – which way would the cricket go – up or down? 

A verdant strip emerged sweatily from under the covers so it was no surprise that MGS chose to bowl in the first team 40/40 match. A good decision as Milnes went in the first over – Southworth’s debut lasted longer but he fell to a medium if not long hop from the nagging left arm over – Brownlow on seasonal debut joined Davidson but soon fell. Davidson (64) played the proverbial captain’s innings as wickets fell regularly – when he was out, the end soon followed - 134 all out with 15 balls unused. Ground fielding was not at its best but all bowled well and with 6 overs to go 36 were needed. MGS opener Udwadia carried his bat– your correspondent knows him well as the leading bat from the outstanding county U13 2013 squad - what a talent at 15! A four off the first ball of the fortieth overtook the total to 136-6 and gave MGS a 4 wicket win. 

A jaunty opening partnership of 74 between Slusarenko (36) & Morgan (34) gave the Under 15s early dominance but both fell within an over and the rest didn’t quite double the total -144-9 in 30 was certainly a defendable total. With the inspired decision to open with Jesani plus three run outs, we saw MGS reeling at 15-5. Few sides can recover from such a slough. The sixth wicket pair amassed a stubborn 30 but the MGS tail mirrored their top order losing the second five wickets for 13. 58 all out saw Bolton sail to a significant winning margin of 86. 

Classic seesaw cricket at the start of the Under 13s – MGS lost 3 early wickets to Ramwell (3-31) but saw off the usually deadly spin threat of Parikh & Round. The fourth wicket pair then put on 116 taking apart the school attack in the last quarter of the innings. Roy’s 88* was as good an innings as anything seen at Bolton this year- an imperious knock for a thirteen year old and 162-5 in 30 overs was a massive total. When the Bolton top order disappeared even more quickly than MGS’ had, the writing was on the wall and so it proved as the last wicket fell in the 27th with half the Mancunian total: 81 all out and an 81 run defeat.

The away fixtures were all short on success for Bolton.

The Under 12A team did a sound enough job keeping the home side to 108-9 in their 30 overs; Blackhurst was again leading wicket taker with 3-25 but the significant score of the day came from the MGS No. 6 with  a vital 40 coming in at 36-4 and only losing his wicket in the last over. The least effective team innings to date saw just one score in double figures and 65-9 as a team total meant defeat by 43 runs. 

The Under 12B team was firmly brought down to earth after their win the previous week. In horse racing parlance they lost by a distance. MGS scored at over a run a ball to amass 183-7. A collapse of mammoth proportions saw us slide to 47 all out – one can hardly imagine what the MGS-LRGS match at this level would be like. 

The Under 14 team also came unstuck after a strong performance in the field. The management were buoyed by several good bowling spells with Pindoria taking 4-19 backed by a pleasing fielding show and MGS posted 106 all out. The mood was shattered as the team fell away to 61 all out, with the only innings that passed 20 being Bowers junior’s in the 55 run loss. 

Sadly therefore, the direction was down but spirits need to be raised for the coming week. No Saturdays for the next two weeks but all 5 teams have cup matches this week so we hope to go into half term on a high!

Match Day 4: Saturday 9 May vs Lancaster Royal Grammar School (LRGS)

Another foul day befell the Boltonian cricketing cognoscenti for one of the season’s traditionally tough fixtures against RGS Lancaster. Those in the know expected close matches especially after the chastening day at Chester.

Serendipity touched us as Wednesday’s washout saw the need for a rethink by the fixture gods on the T20 front. We were drawn against LRGS and whilst we were without Brownlow, the date was indeed used for our T20 cup match. So bedecked in the warming amber and black, the firsts squelched into the field. Scoring would surely be difficult and so it proved with the youthful medium quick attack of Lord and Ratnaweera leading the way in pressurising the Northeners. Lord’s best 1xi spell to date saw figures of 3-11 and 68-8 looked to be 10 to 15 short though better than the 38-6 score mid-innings suggested. Cruising seems a strangely relevant description given the conditions and 59-2 backed this up. Davidson led the way with 29 though some hearts fluttered as run outs contributed to a stumble – 69-5 with 13 balls to spare however was a convincing win. 

The other two home fixtures were an Under 12 double header.

Playing the 25/25 format of the county cup, the A team overcame an early textbook run out (from the chapter headed How NOT to Run between Wickets!) and then struggled to get the rate above three an over. Williams-Denton top scored with 21 and two late seven run overs helped to push the score to 82-5. Tight bowling by the front line, led by Blackhurst (2-7), meant no Lancastrian took control, indeed none reached double figures and at 50-6, the 32 run margin signalled a fine win.

The fact that the Top Level saw the B team’s debut game in the cold and damp contributed to a contest of varying standards but ultimately generated plenty to work on coupled with a degree of enjoyment. Broughton captained impressively, leading the batting with the day’s highest score at home of 31 and juggling his men’s array of abilities in the field. The plethora of extras, especially wides, confirmed the lack of experience of both attacks. Bolton batted before lunch and reached 99-6 including a spirited 21 from the last three batsmen. The LRGS reply stuttered with 2 run outs. Hunter and Lynch both bagged a brace and an all out total of 80 gave the U12B a 19 run win.

Matters were similar in Lancaster – sadly home rather than school wins.

In their 30/30 match the Under 13s eventually succumbed to two big hitting middle order batters. Holding the opposition to 46-1 after 19 overs, things looked on for a close fought low scorer but the 8 an over onslaught that followed would be hard to overcome and so it proved. Chasing 133-3, only Gibson stood up to the challenge with over half the runs scored (32*) and the team slid to 61 all out – a chastening 72 run loss.

The Under 14s were set an even bigger total as contributions throughout the LRGS innings amassed a formidable 143-4. Losing Hemmady very early was offset by a 50 partnership from Bowers and Ball but Lancastrian Bradford produced the day’s best figures of 4-14 and this talented team again stumbled again to end up just short of the ton to lose by 44 runs.

Match Day 3: Saturday 2 May vs King's School Chester

It wasn’t even a good day for rugby or football never mind cricket as the third Saturday of the season saw opponents from a third different county. Having seen off Lancastrian and Yorkist threats, Bolton was unable to make it successful Cestrian weekend as the away matches were rained off - all three home fixtures opted for T20 and did at least beat the rain, though not the opposition. 

The visiting Under 13s batted first and, led by No. 1’s 36, set Bolton a run-a-ball target. Fielding was difficult and last week’s run outs did not materialise. Bolton battled away but could never exert enough control as King’s School Chester reached 119-5 with Gibson taking 2-14. Supporters huddled together for warmth whilst the players did their best to show some fire. Doyle top scored with 38, but the youngsters were never ahead of the rate and fell just 3 runs short at the death.

King’s School Chester Under 15s showed aggression from the first ball and Bolton bowled too many poor balls to really trouble the visitors, who amassed a significant 130-6 with innings of the day coming from Sethi with 60*. Southworth again led the way with a speedy 31 but neither he, nor indeed anyone else, stayed long enough to put Bolton School in the driving seat. Three run outs didn’t help, and the final score of 121-8 saw a second undefeated start come to an end.

Masters of suspense, the Second XI did not let the spectators down. King’s School Chester again batted first, but dropped catches were sadly as common as wickets. 48-1 after 10 became 120-6 after 20, with Makken producing his best school figures of 3-18. At 65 without loss in the 10th, chattering teeth produced smiles. However, 2 wickets in the 11th – including top scorer Haslam (31) – slowed things, and 12 were needed off the last two. In true Seconds style, they lost 3 further wickets and scored 11 to notch 120-6. So not content with two last over results in two, we have a third match – that rarest of beasts – tied!

All three away matches started but didn’t finish, so May brings us down to earth with a bump with no wins, two losses and the one tie.

Midweek Matches 1 & 2 vs Manchester Grammar School (MGS)

In successive weeks, the two senior teams met MGS in T20 matches.

On 22 April, the seconds travelled to Rusholme and were soon under pressure in the field. The opening partnership was broken in the seventh over with 35 on board. The next wickets to fall were off the last 2 balls of the 20th. The opener Manton scored 70 and MGS had upped their total to a useful 133-3. Patel M. and Ball led a ferocious reply and Bolton also lost their first in the 7th but had reached 53. Haslam followed absolutely immediately but Kanji joined Patel who was out in the 17th for a belligerent 54. Well high perfect timing saw the winning run coming with just 3 balls to spare to bring a six wicket win– a powerful start to the season.

On 29 April, MGS firsts came our way and in damp conditions against tight bowling were never able to force the rate up to a run a ball – which seemed like the par for the day. Indeed, with Milnes again clocking up the best figures (2-19) and Brownlow’s seasonal debut yielding a miserly 4 overs for 16, the MGS total of 104-7 looked 10 or so short. Bolton found conditions equally difficult. Brownlow top scored but only managed a somewhat disappointing 21. 48-2 in 10 became 69-4 in 14 and the target had reached the elusive run a ball. Promoted from their success the previous week, Patel and Ball were at the wicket in the last two overs and a soaring six into the screen from the former and a lofted four from the latter saw Bolton home by 4 wickets quirkily again with 3 balls to spare to complete a rare but pleasing double over the old enemy!

Match Day 2: Saturday 25 April vs Queen Elizabeth's Grammar Schook, Wakefield (QEGS)

Flushed with the success of the first week, all six teams took on our new Roses fixture with a mix of confidence and trepidation.

The 100% record was lost but the two defeats were by single figures of runs and on the last ball, and two of the four victories were commanding!

The Under 12s met up with a player with a strong reputation and in fine form and were on the end of a rarity –a junior century. QEGS’ opener Khan scored 103 out of his side’s 148-4 in 25 overs. Spencer-McDermott was by far the most successful of Bolton’s nine bowlers with 3-28. The scoring of 139-9 total is an impressive if unsuccessful response. Jackson’s 41 was the top score – sadly he was one of four run-outs – running between the wicket and calling suggest themselves as a theme for next practice following this nine run defeat.

The Under 13s had to battle with the surprisingly wet conditions on Top Level and were never able to accelerate much beyond three an over ending up with 84-8 in their 25 overs, with Gibson top scoring with a typical 26. QEGS started solidly but once one opener had been run out – classically to a misfield – Bolton exerted a stranglehold. Unusually, two more run outs followed to back up the choking effect of spin twins Parikh (3-5) and Round (4-10) to cement a 39 run win.

Notoriously as viewed by the cricket afficianados, this is Duke Of Edinburgh weekend. QEGS were hit particularly hard in both Year 9 and 10 matches. Bolton’s numbers were further reduced by the Year 8 and 9 rugby tour.

The Under 14s had met their opponents as U13 county champions in the 2014 national competition and lost in the rain. Despite needing to be augmented by an U12, victory never looked in doubt as Bowers junior scored 47 backed up by classy 20s from Watson & Hemmady to post 152-4. Set more than a run a ball to win, the weakened White Rose team fell away to 75 all out with regular Pandoria taking 3-21 and Barnes impressing on a rare appearance with 3-1. Revenge by 77 runs for the Year 9s.

The Under 15s showed what team work is about as four top order batsmen each scored rapid fire thirties in a stunning 158-3 in 20 overs. A flourish from the visiting No. 6 stopped Mr Hughes's rampant team winning by three figures as a young QEGS side finished on 60-7 giving school a 98 run win.

The seconds had started their campaign with a midweek last over T20 win against MGS, and their fixture was even closer. Bolton batted first with a jaunty 25 from Kanji; 46-4 at halfway became only 101-7 as Halai’s 27 was top score but wise old heads felt the total was perhaps 10 runs short. Sadly so it proved as Shaw’s stunning spell of 4-3-3-4 was the highlight; QEGS were 47-5 at halfway – would the one extra run or one extra wicket prove decisive? With judicious hitting the 14 runs needed in the twentieth over were reached off the last ball to win by seven wickets. Great watch; gutting result!

The firsts travelled over the Pennines in good heart following their opening win and returned in quite excellent mood having completed a monumental 171 run victory. Posting a run rate of around 5.5, things looked good at the break. Kay and Milnes built a solid opening partnership but the highlight of the day was the middle order performances of Ratnaweera, with a maiden half century (59) early in his career and Bowers senior with a dashing 63, proving late in his that he is indeed the all-rounder he has always claimed to be! Ball (31*) wielded the willow to good effect late on and 243-7 was posted. None of the Yorkshire batsmen even reached 20 –Milnes again was leading wicket taker (3-23) and debutant Unsworth chipped in with 2-2 to finish off the innings at 72 all out. What a great start for the flagship team in the two extra fixtures for this season!

Match Day 1: Saturday 18 April vs Kirkham Grammar School (KGS)

Early Easter adds two extra fixtures to previous lists – and remarkably the mid April date saw weather we’d be happy with all year ..... and a set of results, too!

All five teams won in convincing manner to give the season its best possible start.

The first XI, fielding just three Year 13s, played a 45/45 match and, after losing an early wicket, the day’s decisive partnership of 119 between Captain Davidson and opener Milnes set the foundations for a potentially massive total but the last 15 overs were to see the loss of 8 wickets and only 64 runs: 187 on a dead pitch was a reasonable if somewhat disappointing total. Lord and Bowers were the seam bowling opening attack but it soon became clear that our traditional spin triplets – off, leg and sla – would be pivotal. With only their number one Nathan showing any guile and guts in scoring over half the runs, Kirkham subsided to 76 all out; Milnes took 4-20, Kay 3-7 and Davidson 2-0. An admirable win – indeed cricket buffs might add an admiral win - by 111 runs. The new fixture with QEGS Wakefield over the Pennines next week will prove much harder!

No 2nd XI offered by KGS so on to the age group games….

The Under 15s six man attack soon dealt with any threat from the opposition batsmen with only one reaching double figures. KGS were skittled out for just 70 in less than 20 overs; Millun Jesani wove his esoteric magic to generate the best figures of 3-7. Sixteen overs later it was all over, despite the hiccup of losing two wickets for ten runs. Morgan top scored with 28 not out including the winning runs with a six to win by seven wickets in a pleasing team effort when coasting would have been tempting; the 15s start the season well.

The Under 14s were equally efficient – the visitors were inserted and reached 83 all out again relying on one man who scored a rapid 30 in six overs; Pindoria bamboozled all who faced him and took 3-12. It was pad rash for most of our top order who hadn’t bowled as Hemmady and Ball with 36 not out scored at a run a ball on the way to a ten wicket win.

The Under 13s looked to have most on their plate when half the side fell for 24 but anchorman Parikh helped to double the score and then the inexperienced duo of Munslow and Birt belied their previous school record putting on an unbeaten 49 to take the score into three figures. Even more bowlers were used by the year 8s and again only one Kirkhamian reached double figures. Donaldson’s 3-3 in 3 overs showed symmetrical superiority; the side won by 48 runs.

Debutants are always hard to judge and everyone had a chance to show their prowess with the ball as all bar the keeper bowled for the Under 12s! An irksome 34 run partnership for the 5th wicket saw the visitors reach a total of 81-5 in their 25 overs. Losing a wicket before a run off the bat had accrued in reply gave watchers a few palpitations but Denton-Williams retired at 31 and Donoghue reached a tidy 22 to leave over 10 overs in hand when the victory total was reached – a maiden 7 wicket win to complete the whitewash.

The 2nd XI start the midweek matches with a tough trip to MGS and all seven hope to be in action against QEGS Wakefield in the new Roses clash next Saturday. 

 

The 2014 Season

28 June - 5 July: Final Round-Up of the 2014 Season

Due to a rain ravaged morning, only u12 and u14 away at Cheadle Hulme could be played. 

Under 14s lost by just 7 runs in a close encounter despite a valiant later order attack in which Millun Jesani scored his maiden school half century. Under 12s succumbed to a heavy hundred run defeat with CHS reaching an impressive 164-5 featuring a century for their opening bat. 

Monday saw the Under 15s go north to Netherfield CC as Lancashire T20 champions to take part in North of England finals day. Unfortunately, they chose this day for possibly their most abject batting of the season and 64 all out was never likely to be enough. Durham champions Durham School passed the score with ease. Suitably chastened, the team faced the Yorkshire champions Birkdale in the 3rd 4th play off. This was a far closer affair. Despite one or two hiccups, the White Rose side were held to 111 which this often underrated side passed with an over to spare. 

The second of the 1st XI’s flagship midweek fixtures came against the XL Club (full report below). Originally an itinerant team for high quality players over forty (hence the name) a recent change of policy has widened membership and this saw XL captain Old Boy Peter Sydall bring a strong outfit including a handful of returning alumni. The quality of their attack only brought the best out of Will Davidson. Will confirmed he is in the form of his life with a majestic maiden century scoring over half the school’s runs, but school’s total of 220 was never enough against a highly experienced line up and we lost with ten overs to go by 7 wickets. 

The Under 12s’ recent  poor form meant they faced a monumental task against MGS in the county cup semi-final.  Sadly the old enemy scored at a more than useful 5 an over to reach 126 and the inability to combine well struck boundaries with clever singles that had been evident through the season left  us 58 runs short at the end.

The final Saturday saw Merchants unable to raise 2nd XI or U15s, so we finished the season on bottom level with a Bevan challenge match, both brothers being captain of our teams on the day. Younger Harry has bragging rights as the U15s won in the last over by 6 runs! The Under 13s ended their year with a crushing 69 run win. Joe Ball and Ronak Hemmady scored 40s on the way to an impressive 131-4 in 25. MTS were never up for or in the fight and could only muster 62-9 with one opener scoring just 16 in the 25 overs. Tom McGivern led the way with the ball grabbing 3 wickets.

Away from home, sadly the Under 12s’ very poor form of recent matches continued. Least said here….30-8 is always likely to be a losing score.

The Under 14s finished with a strong T20 win by 20 runs. Dan Southworth’s season ended with a flourish notching 56 in a 118 total and several chipped in to bowl out MTS for 98. 

The 1st XI played on what we old timers call a sticky dog. With what is almost certainly the youngest ever 1st XI taking the field when captain James Barker joined Liam Jenkins on the unavailable list at 12 hours’ notice. In another old time touch, this was the one ‘timed’ match of the year. No-one could build a significant innings and we eventually declared on 130-9. A flurry of early wickets gave the team a glimpse of success but a cavalier innings from the Crosby No. 7 saw them home to victory by 5 wickets. 

So this shortest of seasons comes to an end. In what was broadly a dry couple of months, we were hit by 4 wet Saturdays, so the overall feeling is an unfulfilled one from the point of view of the traditional fixture list. Cup successes for the 1st XI and Under 15s were the high spots but few teams performed consistently well. The potential is there – a young 1st XI, chastened somewhat, will hopefully gain from the experience –with only 2 regulars leaving, we look to them to lead the way in an even more successful 2015.

Monday 30th June vs XL Club

The Bolton School 1st XI met representatives of the Forty Club for a great afternoon of cricket.

Will Davidson scored a stunning century against the experienced bowlers of the Forty Club, and received the Man of the Match award from Peter Syddall, the Forty Club Captain. He played many classy shots in his chanceless innings of 124, and helped the 1st XI reach a total of 218.

Despite the best efforts of the 1st XI, the strong batting line up of the opposition proved decisive and they passed the school's total with overs to spare.

However, this was a great opportunity for the Bolton School team to play against cricketers with years of experience and good technical ability. The Forty Club, or XL Club, is one of the largest wandering cricket clubs in the world; it was originally created for players over 40, but now its members are aged over 35. The aim of the club is to set up Schools and Youth XIs fixtures, with the hope that by pitting their experienced members against young cricketers, they will inspire the highest standards of performance and behaviour in the best spirit of the game.

1xt XI vs XL Club

Monday 23rd - Friday 27th June: Mid-week Cricket

Woe, Woe and Thrice Woe

The upbeat nature of most recent results has to be drastically toned down for this week. 

The Under 14s won their quarter final of the county cup against St Josephs with ease but were forced to play their semi-final the very next day. Whether fatigue played a part is open to question, but faced with Ribblesdale, the school that had won the competition as year 7s, we under-performed. The battle of the champions, for we won the rain delayed year 8 final earlier this year - was a low scoring affair – too low in our case as we could only manage 71 in our 20 overs. Ribblesdale only reached the target in the last over but our reign was a short lived one. 

The 1st XI travelled to Pudsey as North West T20 champions for a Roses clash with North East winners, Woodhouse Grove. With Hameed missing due to some injury concerns, we knew it would be a major mountain to climb. WGS opted to bat and at 59-1 at the half way point, the school team had bowled tightly and breaths were bated for a close encounter. The carnage of the next 10 overs was a delight for the White Rose and a disaster for the Red as the final total of 218-2, with runs coming at an average of two and a half a ball, was formidable. Shell shocked, the young team subsided to 86 all out. 

Two days later a very different match, the pinnacle of the traditional season, was scheduled. The annual MCC fixture had been washed out for the previous two seasons but we were delighted to host the team representing the premier cricket club in the world in dry if not overly sunny weather. With former school 1st XI captain Tom Liversedge opening, the MCC amassed 204-3 by lunch after 51 overs. The rate of just four an over was achieved the help of some aggressive fast bowling from Chris Brownlow and the varied spin attack of Milnes, Davidson and Jenkins. MCC captain Roland Horridge declared at this point giving us around three hours to attempt to overhaul the target or not lose all our wickets to hold out for a draw. Inexperience and too many run outs against such a ‘wily crew’ saw us lose all ten for 113, not before Will Davidson confirmed his class scoring over half the side’s runs with a gutsy 57.

IMG_4324_sm

The two teams prior to lunch with the MCC declaring on 204-3

Saturday 21 June vs the King's School, Macclesfield

School came out on top with 5 wins, 2 defeats

U12A lost by 4 wickets
BS: 89 all out - Maini 26, Gibson 26*, uniquely lost 7 wickets in 12 balls for no runs 41-1 to 41-8
KSM: 90-6 Round 3-27

U12b won by 10 wkts

U13 won by 10 wkts

U14 won by 9 runs
BS: 98-9 in 30 overs
KSM: 90-9 Thakrar 4-11

U15 won by 18 runs

2nd XI won by 53 runs
BS: 146-4 in 25 overs Grant 43 Khan 36
KSM: 93 all out Worsley 3-8 on debut

1st XI lost by 8 runs
KSM: 203-8
BS: 195 all out

U12s County Cup match vs St Wilfred's

U12 progressed to county cup semi-final, beating St Wilfred’s by 9 wickets.
StW: 70 all out, Parikh 3-10
BS: 71-1, Gibson 31

Friday 20 June: U15 County Cup Regional Finals

U15s Cricket Team

The county Under 15s T20 finals day was another scorcher. School faced MGS in the semi-final. Manchester batted first and opener Blood was soon going like a train at one point hitting 27 in 6 balls. With several dropped catches we seemed to be expressing a death wish but once the opener was out, the blood also metaphorically drained from their innings – Southworth and Lord allowing less than 10 runs from the last 6 overs restricting MGS to 111 all out. Early wickets fell regularly and at 50 – 4 things were balanced but an undefeated partnership between Bevan and Ratnaweera (45*) saw us comfortably through to the final.

There we met AKS Lytham who had amassed a stunning 168 in their semi. They were put in and, transformed, we fielded tightly to restrict them to 94 all out – Bevan impressed behind the stumps and youngster Thakrar produced career best figures of 5-13. With lusty blows from Borrows and Milnes, an unexpectedly serene passage to the victory total transpired as Bevan and Ratnaweera were again together at the close of 97-4. 4 overs to spare and a victory by 6 wickets meant this sometimes underrated band had become county champions and massive congratulations must go to this squad for a series of excellent team performances.

We now meet the Durham champions in the Northern area semi-finals on June 30th.

Wednesday 18th June vs Rivington & Blackrod

U15s Win County Cup Quarter-Final

Arriving as reigning U14 county champions with a Captain who had scored a century for Lancashire U15 the day before, Rivington and Blackrod U15 were seen as a tough county cup quarter final opponent.

Rampant bowling and a boundary catch to dismiss the in-form batsman soon disproved this as Rivington were restricted to a mere 64. This total proved well within our grasp losing only a handful of wickets en route to the finals day at Vernon Carus where old enemy MGS await in the semi-final. 

Saturday 14th June: Roses Weekend

For the age group teams, the weekend started with an all too rare outing for the U13B team as we hosted visitors from St. Ethelburga’s, York. In a T20 match, we scored 104-7 with both Joe Brown & Dan Sykes scoring 25. Captain James Larkin used a full array of bowlers but it was our smart fielding and their poor running leading to 5 run outs that were particularly notable and a comfortable win for Bolton ensued.

Come Saturday against the Grammar School at Leeds, the U15s were well beaten only managing 91 all out. The White Rose colts knocked them off for the loss of two wickets.   

Man of the match for their U14 outfit was Zaidi who top scored with 30 and took 3 wickets. Whilst their 110 looked below par at lunch, we struggled with no one staying the course and fell 20 short.

After one or two recent setbacks, u13 were back to their juggernaut best. The home side managed only 82-8, with our correspondent hearing good things of Adam Salisbury and these were easily reached for the loss of only 2 wickets.

Contrasting fortunes for the u12s! At home the A team must have fancied their chances when Chris Round’s 5 wickets saw the visitors to Top Level reach only 71. However, keener fielding and disappointing batting- not one Boltonian reaching double figures – meant we were 3 runs short when the last wicket fell.

Saurav Nandalan with 33 and keeper Henry Doyle with 66 excelled with the bat for the u12Bs helping them reach 154-7. This is a well nigh unique high total over the years from our Babes' B team. The Grammar School at Leeds reached a respectable 129-8 but this win meant we shared the spoils across the 6 Roses matches with Leeds.

1st XI vs GSA Leeds

1st XI Cricketers

Over the weekend, the 1st XI cricketers faced off against the Grammar School at Leeds.

Having won the toss and chosen to bat first, the Bolton School team got off to a promising start with Captain James Barker and Fraser Kay forging a solid platform of 72 on which a challenging total might be posted. However, once Leeds broke through, wickets tumbled and momentum was slowed. Matthew Hotham regained the initiative with some hard hitting in a jaunty 22. Despite Kay falling 3 runs short of a deserved maiden half century, the school posted a modest total of 151 – 7 in their 40 overs, adding only 79 in the second twenty overs.

Chris Brownlow bowled as hostile an opening spell as we have seen from him to blast through the Leeds top order batsmen, and the Yorkshiremen never really threatened the total. Steady bowling supported by good fielding created the pressure to cause more wickets to tumble.

Alex Cunliffe provided the most successful support for the dangerous Brownlow. Brownlow took 3-28 and Cunliffe 3-24 as GSA Leeds collapsed to 93 all out.

An all-round fine performance from the young 1st XI team secured a 58 run victory.

Monday 9th - Friday 12th June: Crazy Cup Capers!

Playing indoors did not hinder the U12s, who overcame St Joseph's to progress to the 4th Round of the County Cup

U12s

Doffing their academic caps after a week of school exams, all four year group teams were in action this week in the county cup competitions. The poor weather that dogged the first half of the term meant we were close to or beyond “play by” dates. When the forecast was wet, we felt we would need to be inventive and so it proved.

Both the u12 and u13 had to play indoors. The u12 were at home -accurate bowling by Praharsh Parikh and Chris Round kept St Josephs below 70 and, though the potential match winning top order all succumbed to rash shots, they had done enough and we were home with 3 wickets and 2 overs to spare.

The u13 won their competition last year, but it was not to be so this time around. Their national campaign as county champions had fallen at the first hurdle in a very wet Yorkshire and weather driven fate hit them again. After two potential club venues were under water, they too went indoors at Saddleworth’s sports hall. The home team, like ourselves, brimming with district, area and county players, were held to 80 in 20 overs but early wicket losses meant we were always behind the rate and fell a hugely disappointing 20 short.

The u14 went to Bury Grammar. Ben Sykes led the way with 45 with the bat supported by his captain Dan Southworth and Zak Howarth – the 127-6 was a highly defendable score and so it proved. Weather intervened again, but Bury were reeling at 26-7 and so the match was ours.

The u15 met up with ESSA in the round of 16. Possibly shocked by the bright sun, the u15s produced a very shoddy fielding performance but Charlie Unsworth with 3 wickets and Eshan Ratnaweera with 4 were eventually too straight and quick for overwhelmed opponents. Eshan finished the ESSA innings off with his first ever hat trick. The total was passed in speedy style in 35 balls with a lusty 30 from Dan Southworth.

The draw demanded the u12 played twice in a week. Crompton House were the next opponents and this was the icing on the excitement cake. Being bowled out for 73 with nearly three overs of their 25 left, the U12 knew things would be tough. No one scored more than 20 but scoring proved equally tough for our visitors. Indeed, top scorer of the day were the 20 extras we gave away and when Crompton House were one run behind with two overs and two wickets to go, like the weather things looked good for them. Praharsh Parikh bowled a wicket maiden and Edward Clarke’s stunning catch off Tobi Ramwell’s first ball of the last over gave us the narrowest of wins.

So three of the four year group teams are now at the quarter final stage in the LSCA County competitions and they are hoping to emulate the success of the 1st XI who retained the North West T20 Cup last month and await their North East opponents also at the quarter final stage..this time nationally.

Friday 23 May vs Sedbergh School: North-West T20 Cricket Final

Victory over Sedbergh School saw Bolton School 1st XI become the North-West T20 Cricket Champions and Fred Kenyon Cup Winners, for the second year running. They defeated Sedbergh School by 7 wickets.

T20 NW Winners V Sedbergh

The 1st XI celebrate becoming the N-W T20 Champions

Despite a promising first wicket stand by the Sedbergh openers, accurate bowling created the pressure which prompted a series of dismissals through their innings and prevented them from generating any real momentum. Liam Jenkins was the leading wicket-taker (2-27) but it was a good all round performance in the field that restricted Sedbergh to 122-6 off their 20 overs.

Despite losing England U17 captain Haseeb Hameed in the first over, Will Davidson and Liam Jenkins created a solid platform from which to develop the run chase and a fifty partnership between Davidson and Chris Brownlow put Bolton in a strong position to threaten the Sedbergh total. Thoughtful batting in the closing overs by Ben Bowers enabled victory to be secured with an over to spare, with Will Davidson celebrating his classy batting perfomance with an unbeaten half century.

The Bolton School team now await the outcome of the competition on the east side of the Pennines before playing the final to decide who will represent the North of England on Finals Day at Arundel Castle on Friday the 4th of July.

Saturday 17th May vs Manchester Grammar School

With the very late Easter and one call off already, this was to be one of only two Saturday block fixtures before June!

Manchester Grammar School were the opponents – for some the biggest match up of the season. It’s the derby match: MGS and Bolton School meet across many sports, and this is one of the longest standing fixtures. It all made a great build up for what proved to be a superb day for cricket!

A somewhat bereft 1st XI came close in a 45 overs match, falling 12 runs short of MGS’s 187-5. Early indiscretions put the side under pressure, but the two Matthews, Hotham and Ball belied their inexperience to bat well and come close to the home side’s good but gettable total. There was no 2nd XI match as MGS were unable to raise a team.

The U15 XI was unfortunately well short of the 147 total set by MGS, ending on 101.

The U14 XI enjoyed the rare delight of a home game on the main square, or at least, both sides’ bowlers did. Having bowled out MGS for 101, taking lunch outdoors on the steps of the pavilion, the Bolton School team and supporters held high hopes. The innings started with serious hope of success, but subsided to 74 all out. MGS were significantly better in the field and their opener Pooler’s 60 was head and shoulders above any other innings.

The full U13 XI are finding things a little tougher this year. Ronak Hemmady anchored the team to 135-5 with a sound 41* but a good game saw the Mancunians gain some little revenge for our win in the 2013 county final. They reached 136 -5 to win by 5 wickets.

The U12 XI match started with a bang! MGS batted first – with the first three balls being wide, wicket, legside leg byes! Michael Gibson was the pick of the Bolton attack with 4 wickets but, with long boundaries, MGS’s 90-6 in 30 overs was a challenging score. Early wickets fell; Praharsh Parikh and Henry Doyle consolidated, but both fell with the total in the seventies. With one over to go, Bolton were 86-9. Tobi Ranwell had had the first laugh with that early wicket and was certainly not phased by the situation; he had the last laugh, too, as he hit the next two balls for 4 and ended with 30* to give Bolton its only win of the day!

Wednesday 7th May: HMC Twenty20 Competition North West Semi-Finals

The 1st XI team played Merchant Taylors in the semi-final and emerged victorious with a total score of 156-3.

In the group final, the team played Lancaster Royal Grammar School and, with a final score of 152-3, beat the opposition by 7 wickets.

Captain Haseeb Hameed scored a century in each game.

Tuesday 6th May: Lancashire County Cup 2013 Final

U13 Lancashire Cup Winners

The 2013 U13s Team were unable to play the Lancashire County Cup match against Merchant Taylors at the end of the 2013 season. Therefore the match was played at the start of this year's season and in beautiful sunshine at Formby Cricket Club on the 6th of May.

Despite succumbing to the pressures of the occasion, the Bolton boys managed to win the match and claim the 2013 Lancashire Cup!

The win was fully deserved: the improvement shown by this team throughout the previous season has been clear to see. One defeat as a Year 8 side to Leeds is in stark contrast to the same team’s results from Year 7. There has been clear development and progression in terms of numbers representing school, team morale and leadership. All boys contributed throughout the year either with bat, ball or with outstanding fielding.

County cup semi-finals for the three younger teams produced a mix of emotions, quality and outcomes.

The Under 12s went to old rivals MGS and, truth be told, suffered quite a cricketing lesson. MGS opener Valentine retired at 30, the 2nd wicket pair produced a half century stand and with 65 at the halfway point, the writing was well and truly writ large. School tightened up in the second half but 115-8 in 25 overs would require all the batsmen in this side’s weaker skill to come on strong. Sadly they came off badly. 28-9 in the 11th over with Mancunian Sandanshiv taking 4-3 is unsurmountable. Last wicket pair Spencer-McDermott and Tyldesley(21) more than doubled the score, the youngsters scored 65 and lost by 51.

The Under 13s welcomed Merchant Taylors’ from the coast – appropriate for those visitors as, stacked with county players, we were unable to force them onto the defensive throughout, and coast they did to 164-7 in 30 overs. 5.5 an over is a great rate in any schoolboy cricket; Ramwell salvaged some pride with 2-17 but overall we were second best as 33 extras, Merchants’ top score confirms. Only numbers 9 & 10 made double figures in reply as we slid to 61 all out in 22 overs to lose by 103 to one of the strongest junior sides we have seen at Bolton this year.

The toughest of opponents are any team from Lancaster RGS. The School Under 14s were county champions in Year 7 but stumbled last year – this would be no cakewalk. Playing the full length 40/40 match the regulations demand on a warm afternoon, the  five seamers plus Pindoria attack were impressive with only a couple of Phillips overs proving costly. Pindoria‘s tantalising leggers were as deadly as ever (3-16) giving no respite from the seam strength. LRGS posted a challenging 156 nonetheless. Top of the order saw three scores of 30+in response - Bowers (36) Ball (37) & Hemmady (32*);this meant this powerful unit had over 30 balls to go when they reached 157-5 to take them to the final at Blackpool C.C. with a five wicket win.