Aldershot U9's vs Wield U9's, Sat 9th July

Wield, 288-10 were beaten by Aldershot, 294-11

And so to the final game of the season. Aldershot asked for a team of ten so for the third time this year we obliged and this time Alex batted twice and Olly and Alex shared the extra overs. We were put into bat and I was late arriving fortunately so did not witness the carnage in the first six overs leaving us on 185-7. The artificial wicket produced amazing bounce and catches were taken by the extra fielders. By the end of the second pair Wield had staged a slight recovery to 199-7 thanks to a couple of fours from Josh, the season’s highest scorer. Thomas and Max came in and steadied things, Thomas smashing three 4s and Max one – 228-7. Alex and Olly arrived and went further to raise the total with Alex hitting four 4s but unfortunately another couple of run-out wickets fell taking us to 256-9. Will came in to join Alex and immediately got to work – four 4s and four overthrows later we finished on a very defendable 288-10.

Now, our away teas this season have been poor, apart from the amazing spread laid on by neighbours Medstead at the start of the season. However, Aldershot offered a pretty good selection with cookies and biscuits, different flavours of squash and tea and coffees for the adults too. A fine break between the innings with much discussion about the season all round and we slid into the second innings feeling replete thanks to a very hospitable Aldershot.

As ever, Maddy and Summer opened the bowling and the bounce worked for Wield as well. Both took catches and Aldershot stuttered to 228-3 after some fine hitting from Louis - two 6s and five 4s. Josh and Maxim stepped up and despite another 6 hit, two more wickets were taken by Maxim in his second over (bowled and hit wicket) and Aldershot slowed down to 248-5. Wield were maintaining the pressure, would Aldershot be able to withstand the speed and accuracy to come? Thomas and Olly pressed on and indeed the scoring slowed yet more - Olly took a wicket and Aldershot were 265-8. Max, Olly and Alex bowled the next four overs and another wicket fell but the accurate bowling also gave Aldershot the chance to hit the ball and with the final pair to come Aldershot were sitting comfortably on 301-7. Will bowled the first over and almost immediately took a wicket. Three dot balls and only two runs later, 298-8. Alex came in and did the same: as we know from Twenty/20 games it’s the dot balls that do the damage and it was beginning to tell – 294-9 with two over to go. Will, fired up and pawing at the ground, steamed in and bowled them twice, on a hattrick and reduced to 284-11 it could yet be Wield’s! More dot balls followed, but unfortunately also a couple of 4s and they just managed to pull it back finishing on 294-11. What a final game!

This match demonstrated the resilience of the team, the ability to withstand the pressure and produce a good total despite the early wickets lost. The fight-back also showed grit, catching and run-outs under pressure, bowling to the death and coming so close to victory. The whole team should be proud of this performance, despite the result! It leaves Wield with an eight out of nine win tally for the season, hopefully sufficient for us to win the league for the second time in four years. A terrific record for one of the smallest, if not the smallest, cricket club in Hampshire.

Rupert Cazalet