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A mixed bag: Close encounters in a shortened season – U14B Season Review

By Aditya Muthukumar, Player, U14B

We were lucky to stage a season this year. But thanks to the efforts of the ‘great British public’, we managed to get the ball rolling albeit with some safety restrictions and boy did we have some matches. Packed with outstanding innings, fabulous bowling and absolute nail-biters, the Kites more than made up for the absence of cricket in an entertaining 8 weeks.

We started the season off with the local rivals in a friendly against Four Oaks Saints CC. Michael Shackleford and Tom Hanlon starred in a competitive 142-4. Quality bowling countered the Saints’ top batsman Rohit Jakhu as he scored 35 retired out in vain as we won by 34 runs. Read more about the match here.

Staying with local clubs, we faced off against Sutton Coldfield CC under cloudy skies. Openers Kian Eratne and Michael batted well in a partnership over 50, setting the foundation in a total of 117-6. Something to work with, Walmley’s bowlers bowled superbly, Adi Muthukumar, Ben Carruthers and Reuben Majithia picking up 2 wickets apiece, Sutton only managing 103-9. Find the match report here.

The first stumble came in the form of a low-scoring loss against Knowle and Dorridge CC. Captain Michael carried his bat in another fine 32 but with no one to support him, we only scored 98. Knowle & Dorridge CC chased that down with ease in just 14.1 overs.

4 days later, Walmley amassed 115-5 against Ambleside CC, Tom top-scoring with 32. However, several extras and a good batting display meant that Walmley were denied a win again.

The saying 3rd time lucky almost came true as the Kites took on Sheldon Marlborough CC in a thriller. Kian and Tom were brilliant with the bat once again as we put on 107-4 despite a tight bowling performance. After a steady first half, the run flow was squeezed leaving Sheldon Marlborough needing 28 off 3 overs. Much-needed runs made the equation 10 off 6. It was all drama as Sheldon snatched victory from the jaws of defeat in a last-ball triumph. Relive this game through the match report by clicking on this link.

Our next match took place more than a fortnight later due to rain. Harborne CC hosted us on a chilly and slightly damp day. A quick start paved the way to a decent total of 128, Tom Hanlon the star of the show yet again in a fantastic 35 full of boundaries. Walmley’s accurate reply with the ball resulted in Harborne scoring just 95-4. More on that here.

The final match of this abbreviated season was once again versus Harborne. After Walmley’s outstanding start with the ball, Harborne got things going towards the end, ending up with 111-4. After a reshuffle in the order, Kian and Michael formed a solid partnership on a slow, low turner. 48 to get off 5 overs, they accelerated and it all got down to the wire: a challenging fourteen needed off 6 balls. The top batsman this year Tom Hanlon struck 2 sublime boundaries in the over. However, once more, Walmley ended up on the wrong side of it and Harborne avenged their loss a week ago in an exhilarating 2 run victory. Read about the magnificent fixture here.

And that’s a wrap. In a season marred by the COVID-19 pandemic, Tom, Michael and Kian stood up with the bat, everybody chipped in with the ball, fielding improved as we went along and most importantly, everyone had fun. Thank you for reading my season review. Take care and until next year, that’s stumps.

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