Friday 18 May 2012: Hampstead U15s - 84 vs SNCC U15s - 75 for 9. Lost by 9 runs (cup).
SNCC lost the toss and Hampstead opted to bat under cloud-filled Hackney skies as part of a reduced 15 over cup game. Irfan and Arthur bowled a tight, consistent line starving their opening pair in the first four overs. Ben came on as first change and their batsmen launched an attack which relieved some of the early pressure we'd managed to exert. At the other end, Johnny struck back picking up two wickets in his first over with nice catches from keeper James and Irfan respectively. Hampstead found the gaps and took runs sensibly in spite of the damp, long-grass outfield. Arthur came back for his final over picking up a couple of wickets finishing with figures of 2 for 9. Johnny finished with an equally respectable 2 for 11. Zain picked up a wicket and bowled well but his last, and our final, over went for an untidy 15 which spoilt an otherwise solid bowling and fielding performance in slippy conditions leaving SNCC with a target of 85 to win.
Ben and James defended solidly against a quick opening attack but remained pinned down in the opening exchanges. James got caught trying to push the runs whilst Ben stuck to the task and kept the scoreboard ticking over. With a dazzling, boundary-busting century notched up the night before, Irfan arrived at the crease with high hopes. Irfan threw everything at it and lived dangerously before eventually mile-high skying one to their keeper. Ben's gutsy innings ended with 18 and by the half way point we were almost spot on the run rate. Arthur, Chay, Johnny and Zain were bogged down by a strong Hampstead bowling line up, each contributing a few runs before eventually falling in their efforts to chase the runs. With 11 runs an over required in the remaining 3 overs it was a tall order. This fell to Timon, Noah and Ishaq who threw everything into it. Noah finished with 8 before being run out in the run chase. A combination of uncharacteristic loose bowling and cool-headed batting meant that we finally ended with 75 for 9 just ten runs short of the target.
It was a fantastic team performance against a strong Hampstead side. The closeness of the games proves that we can compete at this level despite administratively being two leagues apart.