2016 will go down as our best ever U15 Boys season; we played 16 matches, winning 15 and losing only our last match in coming runners up in the ECB National Club Championship (from over 1,600 clubs entered). We won the Winchester league, the Millard Cup, Hampshire County Cup, and the South & West regional finals. The batting honours were shared between Alex Ayers and Harry Trussler, and Alex kept very tidily, captained with great coolness and bowled a crucial spell in the regional final. Kieran Dunne was the leading wicket taker, followed by Harry, and the fielding was generally of a high standard throughout the season, particularly when under great pressure in the regional final and national semi -final, both of which we won by just 2 runs.
We were a young side, regularly playing 4 U13s (Casper Byers, Jack Good, Jake Nichols, Ned Andreae) and brought in an U12 (Jude Organ) for the regional and national finals, on the basis that if they are good enough they are old enough! There were significant contributions from most boys in the squad, with match winning partnerships from sticky situations in the County Cup semi -final (Angus Armstrong and Sam Burton) and the national stage 2 match at Ryde (Freddie Hazlitt and Jack Good). From early July we were able to call upon Freddie, Tadgh Patten and Zac Organ, and they all made a major impact and were instrumental in our successes.
There were some memorably tight matches – winning the County Cup semi-final by 11 runs, and then the final by 8 runs made nervous watching, but nothing compared with what was to come! After beating Ryde we went to the regional finals at Millfield School, and first up played Kingsbridge, the Devon champions who had gone on to beat Cornwall. A remarkably one sided match saw us rack up 180 in the 20 overs, then dismiss Kingsbridge for just 17 in 6.5 overs (5 wickets for Tadgh and 4 for Harry). Bedminster were our opponents in the final, and after we had posted 118 our opponents were sitting pretty with 5 needed off the last over and 4 wickets in hand. Alex had given the keeping gloves to Harry and took the ball, and the next 5 balls were dot, run out (by Zac), caught & bowled, 2 runs then run out (by Harry) going for a 3rd, then clean bowled, to put us into the national finals at Rugby School.
Our national semi-final opponents were Esher, we posted 121 and they looked very comfortable at 97 for 3 after 14 overs. A great spell by Alex Ingram got us back into the game, then electric fielding brought 3 run outs in a row, the last of which saw us squeeze home by 2 runs off the second ball of the last over. By the final our young team was running on empty, and we were comprehensively beaten by a very classy Barnt Green side from Birmingham. Despite the final loss, it was a memorable experience for the boys and parents, and the boys loved all the T20 razzamatazz – wearing coloured kit, PA announcing them to the crease and music. Eoin Morgan and Mike Gatting were there, the former presenting the medals, and they both gave their time to chat to our boys, to round off a memorable season for them.