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Cricket Reports

Welcome to the 2017 Cricket Season!

LAST BLOCK OF THE YEAR

vs BIRKENHEAD

01.07.17.

Following a drenched week, a full programme home and away was in doubt until 7.30 Saturday morning. To everyone’s delight all matches home and away were on, though outfields were damp and/or long and natural squares were soggy!

Birkenhead was returning to the fixture list for the first time in well over a decade. Their prowess on the Cheshire circuit was well known and we were looking forward to a strong end to the Saturday season. 

The conditions made bowling the only option on Bottom Level and School was happy to take to the field. They relentlessly worked their way through the opposition who had clearly had little experience of low slow puddings. Wright with 3 wickets came on late and the men from Wirral succumbed in 39 overs to 99 all out.

The sun shone after the last pasta of the year and victory proved never to be in doubt. Udwadia showed yet again in his debut season for Bolton what a stunning talent he has – speed of feet and hands are just two of the joys of spectating when Rehan bats. Eight overs and seven wickets remained when school reached their collective ton to win. 

The U15s made much lighter work of conditions on Middle in their 30/30 match. Observers thought the usual par score of 5 an over would be more than useful given the state of overhead and underfoot. But, as the unexpected sun began to shine, U15s made light of the opposition attack posting 163-4. In true end of season style, the captain involved everyone and an unusual seven different players took a wicket! The visitors were bowled out for 88 and a fine 75 run win was welcomed. 

The Under 13s started well with a 50 partnership; the innings was lit up by a smashing innings by Schofield – literally as well as colloquially as a mighty lofted six cracked the BSS office window by the sightscreen – a first! 134-7 in 25 overs was the target and Morris’ opening blast effectively won the game. In the end, all outfielders bowled but 2 wickets in three balls actually to finish the match gave Morris the match ball for the best figures of the year 6-7 in 2 ½ overs! U13 won by 66 runs. 

The seconds achieved one of their best wins of the season. They were eventually the second xi as Dad’s taxi and U14 transfers played. Young guest Jackson scored 36 and a five runs per over target were set in the lovely traditional surroundings of the Birkenhead senior square. Together as an attack better than often this year, school bowled their 25 overs well and, depending on sources, won by between 16 and 20 runs!

For a variety of reasons, this was the least experienced U14 team of the year and in a hard-fought close encounter, the team’s unbeaten record was to go by just 1 wicket!

The babes showed their strengths in this game - consistency will surely be a key aim for next season - and won well with Tripathi’s 40* impressing in chasing down their hosts’ 95-9. 

So not only was this a welcome reappearance of the fixture but also a successful Saturday finish with five wins out of six.

 

JULY 1 vs OLDHAM HULME GRAMMAR SCHOOL - U14S LANCASHIRE SCHOOLS' CUP FINAL

It was a bright and occasionally blustery day as the Under 14s headed to Fylde Cricket Club to compete in the Lancashire Schools' Cricket Association Cup Final against Oldham Hulme Grammar School.

Having lost the toss and been put into bat, the opening pair of Donohue and Blackhurst built a very steady partnership of 64 in 17 overs. Boundaries were hard to come by but the boys kept the scoreboard ticking over until Donohue tried to “go big”, missed and was bowled for a well-made 38. Blackhurst departed, stumped in the next over for 20 and was quickly followed back by Schofield who was caught behind for 0. Williams-Denton and Broughton looked to steady the ship but Broughton was bowled for 3, bring Jackson to the crease. Jackson ran well and Williams-Denton looked like he was batting on a different wicket to everyone else, ensuring the scoreboard kept momentum. The score was pushed up to 120 before Jackson for 17 was caught looking to accelerate the scoring even further. Williams- Denton was still there and maintained a good scoring rate with a succession of partners as the team looked to gather more runs. Spencer-McDermott was unselfishly run-out but had looked good for his 5, Waugh manoeuvred the ball well to finish not out for 7. Two wickets in the last over, Williams-Denton, looking to hit a six, was bowled for an excellent 51 and Longworth was stumped the next ball, leaving Tydsley to come in and make 1 not out. A final score of 167/8 looked competitive.

After a traditional cricket lunch, Bolton took to the field and the opening bowlers of Donohue and Williams-Denton were exceptionally impressive. Both showed great skill in bowling with discipline and cleverly controlled the swinging ball. In truth they were both unlucky not to pick up a wicket as both of Oldham’s openers played and missed on numerous occasions and simply could not hit the ball off the square. After 13 overs the score was 19/0. The run rate was climbing but Oldham had wickets in hand. The first change bowlers of Spencer-McDermott and Blackhurst also kept things tight leading the Oldham batsmen into rash shots. Then the breakthrough came with skipper Blackhurst taking the first wicket LBW. Spencer-McDermott then took 2 (LBW and bowled) in an over and Oldham were 30/3 off 18. Continued pressurised bowling, great fielding, particularly from Miller-Stenton, and catching further upped the pressure on Oldham’s batsmen. Three more wickets fell to the accurate bowling of Blackhurst before Jackson came on to replace him and took a wicket with his first ball. Williams-Denton was brought back and took a deserved wicket (caught at slip by Donohue, via keeper Tydsley’s gloves) before the spin of Hussain was introduced. He duly wrapped up the inning with 2 wicket in 8 balls, both caught. Oldham were all out for 50. A win by 117 runs meant that Bolton were the Lancashire Champions.

 

 

JUNE 24 vs CHEADLE HULME

For once, the forecast was proved wrong, for, after an excellent Cricket Dinner, most went home to the threat of rain from 0700 -1500. However the Bolton sun was shining as 2xi and two U12 teams started their T20 matches in admittedly damp underfoot conditions. U13, U14 & 1xi undertook the short trip round the motorway to CHS, the scene of many very high scoring triumphs for school over the years…but not this.

The home games were played in bowler friendly conditions. The seconds skittled our visitors for 62 with both Diggle and Nandalan taking three wickets. At 21-4, things looked grey but old hands captain Halai & m-o-m Nandalan saw things through to a six wicket win. The year 7 A team came up against a highly drilled and skilled side. 80-7 with Nirodi top scoring (32) would require top class bowling and fielding for a win to be forthcoming. At 25-5 with 2 run outs, a memorable win beckoned but numbers 6 & 7 were batting down the order and they cruised to a five wicket win. The B boys added to the pantheon of Top Level close finishes this season. CHS were all out for 69 with Malik posting our best figures of the day (4-8). Only four deliveries remained when the youngsters reached 70-8. Patel’s 14 was key in the two wicket win.

The Under 13s followed a busy but ultimately unsuccessful cup week by giving as many of the squad as possible the chance of some competitive cricket. Of the six, Smyth grabbed his chance best with 3 wickets in his 5 overs. CHS were however a formidable opposition and reached 171-5. Bolton replied with 77. The under 14s continued their undefeated season and bowled with customary zeal. The home side were dismissed for 90 and yet again Williams-Denton & Donohue lead the way with 27 each to a seven wicket victory. The firsts never got to grips with conditions very different from Bottom level. A bouncy strip well exploited by accurate short pitched bowling saw the top order collapse to 36-6. The eventual 101 all out was a recovery but not enough of one to avoid the second merit league loss of the year by seven wickets. 

So honours even with three wins and three losses – we look forward to one final Saturday block fixture – the resurrected contest with the always strong Birkenhead.

 

JUNE 17 v KING’S SCHOOL, MACCLESFIELD

Sporting Saturdays returned to where they should be in mid-season after the combination of weather and half term holiday meant we had suffered 4 empty days.

Games against our mid Cheshire opponents are often of high quality – prone to big scores or close finishes. Two of your correspondent’s favourite away individual innings from his team manager days occurred in Macclesfield – what was probably the first ever century outside the first xi by Mick Seddon for U14s in the early eighties and a then record equalling 153 for 1xi captain Nick Holt around a decade later.

On to the matters in hand – three junior teams went away with the u12 & u14 returning successful whilst a close enjoyable u13b team game went the way of the hosts. At home, u13a had 5 overs to spare in their 4 wicket win. Sibson-Finch’s 3-19 took the heart out of the Macc batting and 112-8 in 25 always seemed a dozen or so short - so it proved with Morris retiring on 36 and Schofield chipping in with a customary 20+. 116-6 overcame the opposition, in particular Willcock who bowled flippers and leggers to take 5-16.

No win on the Middle Level for the u15s - slightly under strength due to half the year being on DoE expeditions – but it was not for want of trying. KSM didn’t use quite all their overs with Dick the home side’s most successful bowler (4-16) and Cook’s bloody catch a memorable moment…lest dear reader you feel your correspondent’s language leaves something to be desired, it was literally bloody as his “whites” were no longer that colour and his finger nail was not at its best after holding on nonetheless. The outfield was fast and so 132 in 25 was a tough if reachable target. Two early wickets fell and a well placed field and tight attack left a hundred to make at well over a run a ball. An unbeaten century partnership by Munslow in the forties and Ramwell in the sixties – Toby now adding a flashing blade to his rapid bowling- failed but got tantalisingly close, unable to beat a field with 9 boundary riders for much of the last 5 overs. 130-2 was so near yet so far - and the lesson to learn was the several twos that were missed when big shots that didn’t make the boundary early in the piece were just singles – certainly enough to have forced the win were unfortunately missed.

That KSM unusually had no second xi suggested their senior picture was not perhaps as rosy as some years and so it proved. A very dead pitch made scoring less than straightforward -nothing off the back foot even more the order of the day than ever. Nonetheless, Bolton were able to challenge the 5 an over rate in their 40 - Ball, fresh from at least one opening spot in a Bolton League 1xi match over half term led the way with 60; Udwadia produced his almost default half century in the 198-5 total. A steady start made a bid to set the foundation but a killer burst of 3 wickets in 9 balls for Lord eviscerated the visitors and McGivern wiped up the tail with 3-6 in 19 balls. 88 all out with nigh on 10 overs in hand was a powerful win and consolidated our second  position in the North West Merit League  - our one defeat to Merchants costing us the current top slot as they have a 100% record.

As mentioned, faced with no second xi and needing to kick start the season, their festival being little over a fortnight away, our 2xi did have a fixture. An early morning start against a Stockport Grammar xi (they play no senior cricket in exam season as a rule) was a pleasant and useful exercise. With many who would be first teamers, SGS restricted us to 75 and they knocked them off for the loss of 5 wickets. 

So the sun shone, the mood was good and always the icing on the cake, school came out on top on the day with 4 wins over 3 losses.

Our Cups Runneth Over!

After the 1xi’s particularly heavy defeat to Sedbergh in the North West final of the seniors T20 competition, it was now the turn of the year group teams to test their mettles in the county cups –and to date all is going well!

Under 15s play Ribblesdale in the quarter finals after a fine victory over MGS – Toby Ramwell continuing to show real promise and speed as a seam bowler.

Under 14s’ progress –both in terms of quality and success – is impressive and they are now at the semi-final stage after a very strong performance against Blue Coats with Donohue scoring 60 of 179-4 with a 16 ball cameo from Williams-Denton (strike rate 250!) followed by a tough derby against Turton, of which the team nonetheless came out on top by 30 runs.

Under 13s beat Bury in May and now face The Deanery at Wigan C.C. for a semi-final place.

Under 12s took to the Bottom Level well most recently, scoring at over a run a ball and bowling out QEGS comprehensively – top scorer for the opposition was extras –a trait that will be addressed as it can be costly against the strong teams left in the competition at this stage.

So two semis and two quarters await this week – and, for the betting men amongst you, in a mythical market for school sport, six wins from four finals is NOT the longest of odds!

Report for Week 5 - 13 May

v MANCHESTER GRAMMAR SCHOOL

On the day of this year’s school reunion, much reminiscing was undertaken – how appropriate the cricket should be against the oldest of foes, your writer’s alma mater in Rusholme. What few would be able to remember was a day quite like this that generated such a raft of successes for Bolton.

The 1xi were asked to field in the damp conditions and the Mancunian attack exploited the overhead as well as pitch conditions well. It was slow going indeed – fortunately OM Udwadia continued his rich vein of form here against his former teammates and reached 45. The team as a whole crept to 136-9 in 45 overs. What followed was impressive, indeed maybe remarkable. Superficially the conditions had improved for the batting side but under (relatively) brighter skies school had the answer- the bowling attack had not shone often so far but, exploiting changing conditions well, captain Milnes, always known for his classic slow left armers, and off spinner Wright wiped out the MGS team after early seamer inroads. 9-2-11-4 for the captain backed up by Wright’s 3-5 helped by bafflingly swashbuckling lower order play by MGS meant to their coach’s dismay (or worse) the visitors were skittled out for 58 in 27 overs and a stunning 78 run win was school’s.

The Under 15s continued their solid start with a comfortable 5 wicket win on Middle Level. Ground fielding left something to be desired but coach Cooper was pleased with the catching and the visitors were all out for 115 – Ramwell generated pace and was a real handful in the damp (2-8) and, whilst the MGS opener’s 46 top scored on the day, Doyle’s 38 led the way in the reply and a comfortable three overs remained when the winning shot was struck.

Following defeat in the April fixture at MGS, the Under 13s had much to prove on Top Level. When the Manchester top order again showed their class in reaching 157-2, things were far from rosy. Over 150 is rarely anything less than daunting for the younger team, especially after some sloppy fielding. Were the year 8s to be overwhelmed? Much to the delight of coach, crowd and players alike, a sustained effort showed they weren’t to be intimidated – Morris 39, Waheed 30 were high scorers but seven batsmen all did their thing and 161-5 was enough to record a fine win and a clean sweep at home. 

Two Under 12 teams went south – again the A team found matters tough – and another close match went the opposition’s way despite school’s top score of the day of 61* coming from Old. The B team added to a whole gamut of close run affairs in the younger fixtures throughout the first half of the season -  MGS 104. One over to go, Bolton 95-8....but up stepped Burrows and Danson and a two wicket win followed with just 2 balls to spare!

The Under 14s are on a great run but could this continue on the road? MGS decided to bat despite the conditions – school’s double barrelled attack were soon firing on all fronts. Spencer-McDermott ended with 2-8 in his six overs, a very lively Williams-Denton (W-D) 2-17 with Longworth taking pride of place numerically with 3-20. Hosts all out 93 with one man getting 44 of those! Post pizza, the task was met with a generally steady approach. A couple of ungainly shots saw three wickets lost but W-D confirmed his genuine allrounder status with 42* and the seven wicket win sees the victorious run go on.

Thus, we can add a striking if a little unexpected 5-1 win tally to the memory bank for this generation – Sedbergh to come before half term…the third of the big three…could we continue our successful May run all the way to half term break?

Report for Week 3 - 5 May

VS LANCASTER R.G.S.

The 1st XI took to the field at home for the first time lapped by cold breezes and with zero sighting of the sun. However, still the drought continued and the wicket, possibly as expected therefore, was low and dead. Opting for the 40/40 format, old wizened watchers felt anything above 5 per over would make for an interesting match. The early trio of Hemmady, Ball and Southworth fell early with none reaching twenty but in his home debut, Udwadia was to show his pedigree again. Mixing textbook class and limited overs improvisation and flair, Rehan scored his maiden Bolton century in reaching 104. As in any such powerful definitive innings he scored over 60% runs whilst he was at the crease. Watson batted well in the sidekick role for 44 and 213-5 was posted in the pre-pasta session. Trying to find any part of the strip that was responsive led to a wayward start for Bolton bowlers and at 104-1 in 25 overs,  one good innings could give the Lancastrians a chance but tighter cricket all round saw 3 wickets fall for 21. Though a little loose again towards the end when victory was assured, the bowling/fielding unit was good enough over the forty to take an always pleasing 13 run victory against LRGS who were 200-9 at stumps.

Under 12s proved their learning curve would continue for another week. The White Rose Babes scored regularly and accelerated to 137-7 in their 30 overs. It was most pleasing to see that the top order had indeed built on previous experiences and kept up with the required rate. LRGS built the pressure and late order nerves saw both sides in with a great chance. For the second time in two weeks, Top Level saw the Boltonian last pair at the wicket. The U12s emulated the U13s and recorded their first win by the smallest of margins -1 wicket.

At home for the third week running, U14 management knew this would be the hardest match to date. LRGS were rarely able to dominate, but the balance tipped their way as Donohue’s final over sped off in all directions and went for 20+, 3.5 an over became nearer 4.25 and so the gauntlet was down. What followed after the openers had gone with over a hundred needed, was a show of quality ever maturing batting by Williams-Denton and Broughton. Starting slowly they forced the field back, took ever more singles, then launched the necessary super-duper hammering of a boundary barrage. Their unbeaten century partnership was a joy to see with Williams-Denton 65* & Broughton 46* - gauntlet well and truly grasped- third Saturday win by a resounding 8 wickets.

Close defeats were the order of the day unfortunately for 2xi and U15s. Trying circumstances such as the state of the wicket and lack of screens saw the senior team reach three figure but both coach and senior players reported it was never likely to be enough and defeat was by 4 wickets. Chasing 5 an over, a spirited effort in a well contested game saw the Colts fall some dozen short.

So, was it to be all home wins and an overall spoil sharing? No! as an impressively mature 62* from Schofield and a definitive all-rounder performance by Stevenson (21* & 3 wickets) gave the U13 a memorable 6 wicket win….and gave school a 4-2 winning margin!

 

Report for Week 2, Saturday 29 April

VS THE KING’S SCHOOL, CHESTER 

Four teams travelled to Chester to play Kings – who would rule? The firsts won the toss and batted. Hemmady fell having seen off the new ball. Ball notched another fifty, adding 80 with Udwadia. Southworth gave the innings real impetus and raced to an unsurprisingly rapid but surprisingly maiden 1xi half century. Their century partnership gathered ever more impetus and Udwadia’s 92 confirmed the class we knew from his MGS days. 234-3 in the allocated 40 overs represented all one could ask for in attacking but intelligent batting. The Cestrians started speedily but the prolific opener lost partners regularly and lively fielding - Lord produced this game’s supercatch – backed up tight bowling with McGivern & Milnes (2 wickets each). The softer underbelly of the home team was eaten into and KSC ended on 165-7 and a most convincing win by 69 runs claiming 15 merit table points.

The U12 A team were unable to change their fortunes round as they again fell short of the opponents but the B team started their season with a neat 21 run victory - Nirodi top scored with 33 as the youngsters reached 106-4; KSC could muster 85-7 in reply and victory was assured.

The U15 completed the travelling quartet and their first game of the season was a thrilling successful run chase. Living up to its reputation in dry weather, this match was a high scoring affair with nigh on 300 runs scored. Led by Parikh’s 62 and backed by swashbuckling Ali’s 41, the colts won a fine victory. 

At home, the senior team was the U14 – the grass of Bottom Level proved much to their liking. The visitors crumbled to 57 all out with this group’s fielding continuing to impress with keeper Tyldsley again setting the tone. Spencer-McDermott is Number One Boltonian with the ball so far and his 3-17 meant a second victory looked assured. Indeed, it was with the loss of just one wicket.

The U13 B had a rare fixture and thanks to two useful opening contributions from the quadruple barrelled pair of Miller-Stenton & Holt-Gregson, victory looked likely right from the start. 123-6 in 25 overs would be tough ask for any year 8 side and Kings showed little resistance with their only batsman making double figures twice (school invited him to bat again as Kings only had 10 players) 63-9 & then 92 a.o. meant another win was clocked up by 31 runs.

The U13A were soon under pressure with King’s’ Cheshire opener Liddle scoring a rapid half century. Wickets fell regularly after his departure but few would fancy chasing 141-8 at 5.7 an over even on a very dry Top Level. Stevenson followed his couple of wickets with a 20 and Waheed top scored with 29 but wickets fell far too frequently or so we thought – however the tail proved they knew differently and Price & Finch were the last pair undefeated at end and a total of 142-9 meant a nailbiting thriller went the home side’s way by one wicket.

The first full Saturday fixture saw an encouraging six wins from seven and we look forward to the first of the famed Big Three (Lancaster, Manchester, Sedbergh) next weekend. 

 

Report for Week 2, Midweek, 26 April

CUP MATCHES FOR THE SENIORS

The 1st XIi have excelled regularly in pursuit of the Kenyon Trophy for the North West Senior Schools T20. How high should hopes be this time around? After a stuttering first week, the team put in two much more convincing performances to go through from the group stage and book a semi-final tie at Sedbergh.

Drawn against hosts AKS Lytham, openers Milnes and Ball matched the weather and started bravely, putting on 44 before Milnes fell for 16. An unbeaten partnership between Ball and Udwadia put the opposition to the sword with a magnificent stand of 159 leaving the opposition a daunting 10 an over mountain to climb to pass 203. A spirited opening partnership of 52 suggested the merest threat but Unsworth clung on to a fine catch to break it and their innings declined to 121/8 as a result of some excellent fielding and improving bowling including a McGivern hattrick!

In the group final Altrincham couldn't sustain their momentum and tight bowling and fielding squeezed the run rate with Unsworth (4-16) mopping up their innings leaving a total of 91 to be chased. A classy knock from Watson (57*) supported by the again impressive Ball saw Bolton home by 9 wickets in the 11th over – many better signs especially in Bolton’s traditionally weakest area of fielding – even better will be needed as a semi-final at Sedbergh comes next.

Playing in the sister second XI 15/15 tournament at home, BSBD again met LRGS & Sedbergh….with one experienced Lancastrian giving it the cliched moniker of the Group of Death. LRGS v BSBD was match one and school held the opposition to 91-6 despite a nightmare over from the captain, for whom strict legside wides, a seaming pitch and few early season overs proved a lethal concoction. Diggle’s deceptive slow left arm into the wind was effective (the deception was that they are really really slow) and he, Makkan & Nandalan took a brace each. Slusarenko & Morgan looked to build to the run a ball target. Occasional cunningly mistimed slogs fell between the inner and outer rings but Morgan’s maiden half century was a delight - the 2 XI performance of the day and a win by 7 wickets was notched. Game 2 saw SS’s 105 prove too much for the Lancastrians so Match 3 was the decider. Unavailabilities of various sorts through the day were good in that all the 15 man squad played significant amounts of cricket but ultimately the BSBD performance became ragged and bitty to the point it fell apart somewhat shambolically. Once Phillips, Slusarenko and Morgan had all fallen cheaply 2 XI were never going to post a big enough total and 74-7 indeed caused the Sedbergh men no trouble at all and they used only 10 or so overs with the captain reprieving his one over offering from match 1. Diggle again took two wickets as BS lost by 8 wickets and Sedbergh progress.

 

Report for Week Ending APRIL 23

vs MERCHANT TAYLORS SCHOOL

vs MANCHESTER GRAMMAR SCHOOL

won 1 lost 4

 

The senior teams got their season going on the first day of term with two ultimately unsuccessful trips- the firsts at Crosby, the seconds at Rusholme.

Merchant Taylors’ pre-season tour was in many ways the difference between the sides as it was clear all the Bolton team looked rusty. The home team won the toss and batted on a firm wicket. Steady bowling couldn’t halt an opening stand of 70. Led by Unsworth (2-24), the balance shifted to Bolton as MTSC crumbled to 97-5. In a seesawing innings, catches were dropped and Merchants then recovered to 159-8. A brisk start saw Bolton reach 30 without loss but that rustiness soon showed and wickets fell with relentless monotony as 5 of the top 7 reached double figures but top scorers were Udwadia and Ball on only 19. Merchants ran out victors by 40 runs and notched the first merit table win.

The seconds must have thought the sky had fallen in, finding themselves at 6-5 but, battling through the rubble, Nandalan & Halai put together as good a recovery as one could expect in a seconds April fixture – 98-7 setting a 5 an over target meant they took to the field with renewed hope, but the MGS No. 3 was head and shoulders better than anything on show and his 40+ saw Manchester home by 7 wickets.

The three youngest teams also played M.G.S. on the first Saturday whilst a number of the senior squad and the U15s embarked on two internal matches in the bright blustery conditions – most seemed to enjoy a day in the sun whilst getting a little more time in playing conditions.

Much like the seconds earlier in the week, at Under 13 level, M.G.S. had THE outstanding individual and he showed the way as the Mancunians racked up 159-2 in their 30 overs.  A valiant effort was never up to the required rate and the year 8s reached 115-7 to lose by 42 runs.

At Bolton, the Under 12s inaugural match was something of an eye-opening wake-up call in many ways. In a 25 over match, Bolton batted first and several players initially looked the part but sadly none made double figures. It being the first game all members of the selected squad were able to bat and so BS scored 50 -10 and 62 all out! The Mancunians were able to knock these off for the loss of three and four wickets. A more than useful salutary opener for the Babes!

Leaving the best to last, the Under 14s, this year playing on the large middle level, won the toss and batted first. Donohue & Blackhurst built a steady opening stand but once MGS broke through they took wickets regularly and therefore inconveniently! Williams-Denton top scored with 28 but all found boundaries hard to come by. Spencer-McDermott and Tyldsley rotated the strike to good effect latterly – would 90-7 off 35 overs be enough? – 2 ½ an over rarely has been on this huge playing area. MGS scored quickly initially but two direct hits caused run outs and Spencer-McDermott was inswinging to great effect. Tight bowling and excellent fielding – Longworth 3 catches, Donohue a C&B, Hussain & keeper Tyldsley merit mention– meant the run rate was indeed challenging. Skipper Blackhurst rounded off the day with his first wicket and MGS were all out for 74 – a very fine first win for the Year 9s and the whitewash was avoided!

Week 0 - Preview

As Easter passes, our sporting thoughts turn to the Summer panoply of sports, in particular Cricket. The vagaries of term and religious festival times mean that, whilst the school reopens on the Wednesday immediately after Easter, so does the cricket season with the two senior teams both playing on the first day of term. 

The firsts are over on the coast at Crosby against Merchant Taylors. After many years’ discussion by generations of Cricket Masters and mutterings by schoolboy players over the worth of the inter-school friendly, many North-West independents are trialling a merit league for first elevens to interweave with the T20 competition and some longstanding traditional fixtures eg MCC which will remain win, lose or draw “friendlies”.

So this first match sees the inauguration of that competition. I will post the details as we get into the season, but hopefully this point-scoring league with such as not losing wickets and run rates being rewarded as well as a premium on winning will give just the boost the top end of the fixture list needs. 

Mr Compton is running the first eleven for his 16th season! ACRC sees much promise in the squad with seven of last year’s regulars remaining. Ben Milne leads the side, with Harry Bevan as vice-captain - with fellow experienced county players in the likes of Y13 Dan Southworth to spearhead the batting. Rehan Udwadia, who joined our Sixth Form from MGS, is a Lancashire Academy member and has already played county 2nd xi cricket – add to this the hugely talented array of Y11s and the side seems the most talented since the Hameed/Parkinson days.

With Mr Fernside again masterminding the seconds, they have the fullest possible of fixture lists whilst avoiding peak exam times and given the demise of more seconds from our regular opponents. Mr Fernside is delighted that, in early July, it is our turn to host the Quadrangular in which we have taken part against 1st xi opponents for the past two seasons. The aforementioned Y11 cadre and the famed Fernie fraternity of Sixth Formers of the most varied experience and ability should make for a fine season. 

Highlighting a couple of the younger teams, new U14 staff partnership of Messrs Moore and Partington have enjoyed the Winter Nets and, with new specific tasks and roles spelled out for many players and a new captain/vice-captain combo decided upon, they have a successful year in their sights. Mr Johnson’s experience and expertise at the U13 level is this year joined by Mr Brown, moving up with the players. Batting and bowling went well over Winter – the staff’s early season emphasis will be on fielding skills. The tactical elements of the game have been a priority during the off-season with the likes of match winning field setting to the fore. Dan Morris will captain the side once recovered from injury – Messrs Ashworth, Waheed and Schofield particularly caught the eye indoors. 

For the Bolton Cricket realist, perhaps there is no surprise that the driest of pre-seasons now features occasional frosts in overnight forecasts – but this will do little to remove the warm glow of confident expectation throughout all six teams for the battle ahead.

 

 

The 2016 Cricket Season Reviewed

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 1st xi 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 1st xi 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 2nd xi offers as wide a range of different fixtures and oppositions as possible to enable players of all abilities from years 11, 12 and 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 1st xi 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