Under-nines match report

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3 minute read

Bert writes:

What an exciting start to the season it has been for the Old Filchonians Under-nines Junior Development Squad. The first match of a new season is always a fascinating one, with the crowd and coaches wondering whether any of the players remember their techniques, the rules, or which end of the bat to hold. It is also the best gauge for seeing just how much your children have grown since last August. Bare ankles seem to be very much de rigueur this season, while parents shuffle about uncomfortably, trying not to appear tight-fisted to the other parents, but secretly thinking ‘there’s another year in them pants yet’.

Bert Jr. has come to this match straight from the rugby season, during which he spent most of his time standing and watching what was going on. Now that standing and watching is what he should be doing, he has taken to rugby tackling his fellow fielders during the matches. He is one step away from becoming a decent all-round sports boy, that step being to know which sport he is supposed to be playing and when.

The first match was a very tense affair. Filchonians batted first, but tight bowling limited them to 269 in their 16 overs (look up the rules of U9s cricket). So now it was over to the bowlers, who are of course the same people as the batsmen. A middle four-over spell was especially tight, with one bowler finishing with the remarkable figures of two overs, two maidens, two for minus six. It all came down to the final over, with Filchonians having 17 runs to defend. As a senior member of the team, Bert Jr. was entrusted with the ball. I really need to have a word with the coaches about the level of trust that can be placed on Bert Jr’s shoulders. So, in finest Cricinfo style, here is the commentary on that last, decisive over.

15.1 Five runs. A mistimed massive swipe trickles into the leg side (obviously), and is nicely fielded as the batsmen take a run. The crowd are getting quite vociferous – “Don’t throw it – run it in” – but the ball has gone for four overthrows anyway. Now what’s going on? The umpire is coming over to tell the parents and coaches to shut up and let the boys play. Now the parents are shuffling around staring at their feet.

15.2 Four runs. A well-flighted ball on off-stump, pitching just full of a length, massively swiped to the boundary (square leg, obviously) for four vital runs. Will this bowler ever learn that a ball that only bounces once will always risk a boundary?

15.3 Five runs. Chaos in the field! Another massive swipe to leg, another single, another pick up, another four overthrows. The umpire is watching the parents closely now, but all they are doing is shaking their heads in unison and muttering swear words to each other. Three needed now from three balls.

15.4 Dot ball. That’s a better length from the bowler, reaching the batsman fourth bounce. The batsman takes a massive swipe at it anyway, but misses and the ball goes through to the keeper. Amazingly, the keeper does not hurl the ball at the wickets. Wild applause from the crowd at this unusual restraint.

15.5 Wicket. Gone, got him this time! The massive swipe was never on to that ball, and the ball rolls under the bat and onto the stumps. Six needed from the last ball now.

15.6 One run. A massive swipe into the leg side is carefully fielded, and a desperate yell of “Nooooooooo” from the boundary prevents the overthrows. The match is over. Filchonians have won by four runs. The umpire is coming to have another word with the crowd, who are dispersing quickly.

So a tight finish to the match. The teams shake hands. The coaches call for volunteers to collect the boundary cones. The parents try to get the kids into the cars because it’s a school night and it’s already past bedtime and mum is not happy about these late nights as you should see his behaviour the day after cricket. The players, against all instructions, are in the bar buying crisps. Man of the Match goes to someone’s dad for that final, match-winning shout.


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  1. Ill with laughing. Not sure if it was “Now the parents are shuffling around staring at their feet” that cause the worst damage or “That’s a better length from the bowler, reaching the batsman fourth bounce.” Utterly tiptop

  2. One hopes it is Mama Bert helping Bert Jr. with his math homework.

    The over started with the Filchonians needing to defend 17. After 14 runs from the first five balls, somehow the opposition needed six to win. After they managed a single off the last ball, the Filchonians somehow won by four.

    This is clearly disturbing. I propose we type “math” in the comments section till Bert shows progress in arithmetic.

    1. A trick of the scoring system, DC. As Raj worked out, it’s minus three for every wicket. The point of the game is to allow the batsmen the opportunity to bat and develop their skills – if they were actually out this wouldn’t happen. In a later match the final innings score (done properly) was 24 for 16. Not the best match, that one.

  3. ‘That’s a better length from the bowler, reaching the batsman fourth bounce.’ I thought I’d overcome snorting in public.

  4. I have spent the past hour leafing through my MCC Coaching Manual and haven’t found any reference to the ‘Massive Swipe’

    Would you care to talk me through it please?

    1. The keys to this shot are footwork (none) and keeping an eye on the ball (don’t). In terms of shot selection, it is usually played to any delvery that leaves the bowlers hand, and sometimes to others as well. It is a very productive shot, especially on the odd occasion when the bat makes contact with the ball. Canny fielding captains can aim to nullify the effectiveness of this shot by placing all available fielders in arms reach of ech other either side of square leg. Note, however, that this WILL NOT prevent the batsman from using the shot to every delivery all the same.

  5. I suppose a wicket carries a penalty of 3 runs which explains the differential.
    *pats self on back for thinking beyond maths into the realm of common sense*

  6. Top match report Bert. “Don’t throw it, run it” may just become my new motto in life.

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