On an overcast evening the KCC Under 11 aside team travelled to Weeton to face Pannal Under 11 in their opening match of the season. Pannal won the toss and put our team into bat, on slow wicket with a heavy outfield.
Our opening pair Ben Ward and Harry Dawson marched out to generous applause and made a very solid start against some quick and straight bowling from the Pannal openers. With the last bowl of the 4th over Harry looking to force the runs, played a sweep shot and got a top edge to square leg that was well taken by the Pannal Captain. Lewis Francis came in at three, and was caught by the keeper after being foiled by a slower ball from Fergus Henry. Having lost two wickets in 2 overs, Tom Carrick strode to the crease with a dogged determination to stay in. Ben and Tom had an excellent partnership lasting 7 overs but with good straight bowling from Pannal the runs were hard to find and the slow outfield mean’t singles were the only option. Finally in the 13th over Tom succumbed to a fast straight delivery and Oli Ward marched out to make his debut for the under 11’s. The Ward brothers made a determined 5 over stand with Oli hitting a fabulous boundary – one of only two that our team would score during the match.
In the 19th over Ben Ward in an attempt to push our score on, tried to drive a full and straight ball that stayed low and his wicket was lost. Having batted for 19 overs, Ben returned to the clubhouse to warm applause and 20 runs to his credit. Will Balgue and Oli Ward dug in for the final 10 balls but due to some excellent straight bowling from Pannal, were unable to push the score on any further. Our innings closed on 43 for 4 wickets from 20 overs, which was a solid performance in difficult conditions, but felt 25 runs light of a par score for the wicket. The boys recharged on juice and biscuits before heading out with great determination and spirit to try and close down the Pannal lads.
Jake Stalker and Oli Ward our young U9 pace bowlers opened the bowling with some tight fast bowling leaving Pannal at a score of 5 runs after 4 overs – well behind the KCC run rate at the end of our 4th over. In their first match Jake and Oli were our stand out bowlers in their opening spell with Jake cleanly bowling the Pannal Captain in the 3rd over and Oli bowling 2 maidens back to back. Harry and Tom led the on field encouragement and the entire team put on a brave and effective fielding display. Josh Wheeler and Lewis Francis both made extremely brave catch attempts to well hit balls from Pannal and nearly pulled off two spectacular catches. Joe Newton and Tom Carrick at wicket also put their bodies on the line to prevent runs in what was a really gritty display of courage from all our boys on the field.
As time went on our bowlers failed to make further breakthroughs and the top order Pannal batsmen begin to take advantage of some wayward leg side bowling and played some very effective and powerful pull shots and quickly got the score board rolling. Our bowlers refused to help their cause further and I was delighted to see that we only bowled 1 wide during the match! In the end the Pannal batsmen proved too strong and in the end made comfortable progress towards their target hitting 6 boundaries along the way, 5 off leg side deliveries – something we will work on in training this week.
At the end of our first match I think we have a lot of real positives to build on for our future matches and was extremely pleased with how all the boys worked as a team whilst fielding, encouraging each other and fighting for the match right to the end. We have a young and inexperienced team at Under 11 this year who can learn much from their first match of the season, but who have have shown huge levels of determination, bravery and team spirit ! Well done boys!