Whalley Range U10s v Stretford U10s. Forget about The Hundred – how’s this for a format? (a match report)

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Send your match reports to king@kingcricket.co.uk. We’re only interested in what it was like to be at the game, so if it’s a professional match, on no account mention the cricket itself. Equally, if it’s an amateur match, please go into excruciating detail.

King Cricket reader Stuart writes…

If The Hundred wasn’t enough, 2021 has thrown another new format my way: junior pairs cricket.  Even having negotiated ever-shifting bonus points systems and playing regulations in club cricket for years, this came as a bit of a shock.

This is the scoreboard at the end of the recent game against Sale. I don’t have any photos of the Stretford game so thought this would do.

You may ask: “287 off 16 overs? No wickets? A score of 287 when chasing 246?”

In U10s pairs cricket, you start with 200. Teams are 8-a-side and everyone bowls two overs. Batters (it’s boys and girls) bat in pairs for four overs each. If you’re out, you carry on but lose three runs. “Runs, they’re called runs in cricket, not points.” 

Wickets can’t be recorded on the scoreboard as they always go past nine. And the game doesn’t stop when one team has won. You just carry on to complete the 16 overs. Overs can only last a maximum of eight balls even if there are a succession of wides or no-balls.

There’s a soft(ish) ball, yellow, and nobody wears pads but some wear gloves, apart from the keeper. 

Is it aimed at a new audience? What about existing cricket fans?

Range batted first and made a decent start. But then one pair were dismissed six times in nine balls for a punishing -18. Cue much bat throwing.

One of the great nervous parent moments came when our son batted for the first time ever, neatly clipping one through midwicket first ball. After reaching a busy 8 not out, he was bowled last ball by one that bounced at least three times.

Stretford faced a target of 239 and started slowly. But then one of their players – a giant who I’d unwisely referred to as “the beast” in front of the parents – took control. Our son took a catch behind the wicket off the bowling of our Lancs U10 player. It was tight. A technically impressive display from their impressive 7-year-old put Stretford ahead.

With four balls left, there was still a sniff of a chance, but Stretford held out, winning by 10 runs even though they batted second.

Everyone wore white and the teams didn’t have daft names.


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  1. Wonderful match report, Stuart, thank you. It has cheered up a wet and windy afternoon for me no end.

    But I simply refuse to believe that teams from Whalley Range are not known as “The Whalley Rangers” or some such, thus having a fairly daft name by dint of the actual place name. Might I propose “The Stretford Enders” for the opposition?

    On the matter of The Hundred and the like, Daisy’s biggest (and more or less only) beef about the whole thing is the daft names. She describes them as an insult to the intelligence. It’s not good news if Daisy thinks someone or something is insulting her intelligence, it really isn’t.

    Reverting to the U10s match, was it played on a turf pitch or a non-turf pitch?

    And might I ask whether, towards the end of the match against Sale, anyone hollered from the crowd, “everything must go, Sale”? They missed a trick if they didn’t.

    1. Having lived in Sale (and Whalley Range for that matter) at a time before Google could competently determine what constituted a local search result, we have to tell you it was incredibly hard to find local retailers online.

  2. Hope this Stokes news isn’t a sign of something really bad having happened

  3. In a startling development, The Oval Invincibles are sued for a breach of the Trade Descriptions Act and is expected to be forced to change its daft name.

  4. I note wickets now cost 3 runs. I’m pretty sure when I was playing U13s it was 8 runs. I wonder if the price of a wicket goes up through the age groups or there was a decision to lower the cost if favour of more expansive stroke play?

      1. Five runs. The price of a wicket in my U13 days was five runs.

        I’m trying to work out whether my record would have been better or worse had the price been three or eight. I think eight would have been better for me and three worse, because I did have a tendency to take wickets while also tending to score slowly but surely when batting.

        Quite right Richie Bob – a mere three runs for a wicket is outrageously low.

  5. I learned two things today that may make subjects of the Kingdom feel a little better/worse about themselves.

    George Bailey has become Australia’s chief selector. I didn’t even realise he’d retired from his playing career! Bailey is only the tender age of 38.

    The second-ever Olympic gold medallist in golf was George Lyon of Canada. He played cricket for Canada and once held the highest score in club cricket there (238 not out). He won gold in golf at the 1904 St Louis Olympics at the age of 46. He crossed the Atlantic for the 1908 London Olympics to defend his title – but due to a players’ dispute, he was the only golfer to turn up. For this elite level of attendance, he was offered the gold medal by default, but refused to accept it.

    There weren’t many golf courses in late Victorian Canada, so Lyon had only started playing the sport at the grand old age of 38…

    1. I too once turned 38, and immediately upon turning tried turning it away. But apparently that’s not how ages work. I was stuck with it one entire year before things got even worse.

      1. I get the feeling George Bailey has made the wrong career move and should have taken up golf instead. At the very least, he might have got a Netflix deal out of it.

        I don’t thinking turning the age around would have helped him much DC, wouldn’t it make him the grand age of 8Ɛ?

        Though perhaps this would be acceptable ∀Ɛ≪ δ

  6. I’ll try to answer some of your questions.

    Bizarrely, to me, the loss of runs per wicket stops at u10. In u11s, if you’re out, you’re out. I’ve asked but not got a clear answer on the thinking but it seems different leagues have different rules. Doesn’t seem a good way to help players develop to me.

    It means some players bat for a long time while others get the classic cricket experience of playing but neither batting nor bowling.

    No, we’re not The Rangers and no-one has names, unlike junior football’s seemingly de rigeur use of predator animals. Calling it u10s seems to attract the youth audience. Having nets on Fridays and the bar being open gets the parent audience, well part of it.

    Not quite your point but the ends at Stretford would be Former Council Tip End and Chip Shop End.

    I’ll keep the Sale quip for another day, Ged.

  7. All on grass wickets this season. Decent surfaces as well. Forgot to answer that one.

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