Saturday, May 27 was an exceptionally fine day to be an Andrean. From that lonely island we call "Varsity Cricket,” 15 of our young lads did the School's community and legacy proud by showing remarkable sportsmanship and saving their best performance for their final league game. All 15 players contributed both on and off the field in positive, productive ways to help in the effort.
Coming on to bat first, the side reached their top score (46) of the year, nearly doubling their total from mid-May against the same UCC squad, which now included their deadliest pace bowler, Faiz Khwaja, who earned two of their 8 wickets on the day with his extremely fast attack. Undaunted, Basel Arsalan (6 runs), Ben van Eeden (8), and Jacob Crocker (7) all batted for close to an hour, providing leadership in their partnerships, while inching the score ever higher on this cloud-covered but thankfully rainless affair. In fact, six of our nine batters knocked out at least a run on their own – our highest percentage all season.
The lads were delighted to have withstood the opposition's bowling onslaught for a full 30 overs – another first on the season. Even newcomer, grade 12 phenom William Deo smacked a quick single and was hungry for more when he and his able partner, Martin Skachkov, were forced to retire "not out."
After the break, your Saints entered the field knowing full well that the practiced bats of their opponents had banged out over 350 runs against them in the two games previous. And yet our boys remained resolute. Five of them were given the challenging honour of bowling against this juggernaut, and if not for a couple of critical overs costing 15 penalty runs, the game would have lasted much longer than the 12 overs UCC took to eclipse our score.
Regardless, co-captain Ben earned two brilliant wickets from smashing one set of stumps and having his fearless wicket-keep Thomas Childerhose expertly snag a catch behind. Our bowlers were able to get UCC batters to awkwardly hit a number of catchable balls high in the air. Unfortunately, our fielders were unlucky not to be positioned near enough to secure the outs, dropping only one possible drive close in at "Silly Mid-off."
Co-captain Mikey Bahen enjoyed another stellar outing, bowling a near-perfect 3 overs for only 3 runs given.
Game over, coaches were perhaps the most impressed with their young charges' after-game patience, respect, and heart-felt insight shared, carefully considered and offered for well over an hour's worth of problem-solving suggestions and plans for moving forward with this "original three" Andrean sport.
For the first time, not having a single player who had learned any game skills or benefited from home country/non-school team experience definitely put us at a disadvantage against opponents richly populated by such. Regardless, the hard work, warm camaraderie, and personal improvement was appreciated by all and now brings us to our second Annual Old Boys' Game, to be held next Sunday. We so look forward to hosting over a dozen of our graduates to the grounds to reminisce and play a little of that beautiful game we call cricket (with apologies to all soccer players...)
SAC 46 (for 8) UCC 47 (for 2)
Story by David Kyle, Coach