Zurich Crickets U14s travelled to Surrey in May
Four matches of cricket played in Surrey in as many days for Zurich Crickets CC’s Under 14 team. In early May, over the long Ascension weekend between 9th-12th May, the Surrey-based Twenty/20 Company scheduled some excellent opposition for the Swiss club XI from Zurich. In a team that boasted a mix of experience with a number of new faces the Zurich Crickets Under 14s acquitted themselves more than well and were unlucky not to return home with at least a couple of wins against some quality English teams.
As one spectator in Surrey rightly observed, the Zurich Crickets team, despite their lack of experience in playing on grass wickets and restricted training and playing opportunities, rose to the occasion superbly, and threatened to pull off some fine victories against tough opponents. Their match against the Twenty20 Academy team on the first day saw them take the game down to the final over. And despite a poor score against Rokeby School 1st XI, they bowled superbly in an effort to defend 63, claiming four early wickets, and only conceding defeat in the 17th over. In the final match against Guildford CC after having posted an excellent total, with the whole team chipping in, Zurich Crickets were again pipped at the post.
Obviously, winning is not everything! Four matched played and four matches lost, but a wealth of new experience gained, the realization that we can compete at this level, the joy of being able to defend one’s wicket against class bowling, and hit the big boundaries when the occasion arises, and learning to adjust fields correctly to defend or attack. But also the opportunity to form new friendships and cement old ones with team-mates both on and off the field. The team grew on this tour, in confidence, in skill, in the knowledge that they were now a team with more potency and depth, but also with new strengths.
Among the many highlights there was the stunning trademark two-handed diving catch at midwicket against Rokeby by Russell, our one guest from Basel Dragons, as well as his aggressive innings against Rokeby, and his cameo against the Twenty/20 Academy at Deando Ruxley when he looked as though he would seal a victory for us together with Goss, who batted superbly for us, before we ran out of overs and had to concede the match by three miserly runs. All the more disappointing as the Twenty/20 Academy had found it unbelievably difficult to score runs off our bowling, but we gifted them so many extras in wides, despite Kruger’s three wickets for 14 runs, Goss’s two for nine, and Nasrullah’s two for twelve!
There was Henderson’s 35 not out when he batted through the whole 20 overs against Rokeby 1st XI. His attempt to stabilize the batting unfortunately was in vain, as it turned out. We lost by only 24 runs having restricted Rokeby wonderfully with some tight bowling, in particular the ever reliable Kruger, the in-form captain Boakes, and the excellent and pacy Collins, who we were delighted to have back with us again after having lost him last summer to Solihull of England’s West Midlands. He was consistent and economical, while his 3 wickets for just 5 runs against Rokeby in the 3rd match was outstanding.
And finally, there was the tremendous fight with the bat sparked by Baumann’s final innings against Guildford when he patiently saw off three quiet overs at the crease before deciding to let loose with a couple of well-placed boundaries and some hard running between the wickets with the fast improving Nasrullah. In this match everyone was given a chance with the bat and Stuker, Das, Zulfiqar, Collins and Millar made the most of it. We only lost three wickets, but retired five batsmen, who all scored quick runs. Unfortunately, we fell foul to Guildford’s only batsman to score runs (34), having dismissed six others very cheaply.
Our hosts were gracious and exemplary, the matches were played in the perfect spirit, the grounds were the stuff to dream of, and even the weather was on our side. We look forward to returning to this part of the world in 2014, hopefully with much the same team at Under 15 level. Many thanks to Neil Bunting and Darren Talbot of Twenty/20 Company for organising the tremendous fixtures.