Zurich Crickets Under 15s Triumph in Zuoz
Three matches and three wins mean Swiss Under 15 champions. Sounds simple, but so much more lies behind these victories and the cup that this team deservedly returned home with after the 8th Junior Zuoz Festival in May 2013. This is a team with depth, a team that has worked hard all season, that has suffered defeats and energy sapping injuries, a team that includes several club ‘veterans’, players who have been playing for the club for seven or eight years. Zurich Crickets has enjoyed success in Zuoz before with their Under 11 and Under 13 teams, but never at this level.
The wins against the three opposing teams were convincing. The team bowled exceptionally well, they batted well and gave little away in the field. There is no doubt that the ZCCC tour to Surrey earlier in the month benefitted this team well.
The captain Boakes has grown into his role this year, has led from the front, especially with the ball with which he was wonderfully economical in Zuoz, and at crucial times with the bat. He kept his field in order, showed awareness and engineered clever bowling changes to maintain pressure to prevent batsmen from settling and to keep them guessing. He was ably assisted by two national players of considerable experience.
Kruger is one of these experienced national players, and he was not only top tournament bowler, but also a batsman who played some superb innings, seemingly able to stroke the ball about on the off-side at will. Kruger is a bowler who has pace, but it is his ability to swing the ball both ways, to vary his pace while maintaining his accuracy that makes him uncomfortable for batsmen and which produces flurries of wickets. Four wickets for 18 runs in the final match alone says it all.
The other experienced team-mate was the ZCCC keeper Henderson who kept it tidy behind the wicket, and was as vociferous as ever in his encouragement for the team. Taking a catch in each of the matches as well as a crucial stumping against Lyceum Alpinum were just the tonic needed to buoy the side when wickets proved so hard to come by. He was justifiably the tournament’s third highest scorer with the bat, only losing his wicket once.
The bowling of this team was clearly a strength and they gave away few extras, far fewer than any other team. Medium pacer Kratky was accurate and consistent, putting the ball in the right places and constantly troubling batsmen. He was strong with the bat, too, and his quick-scoring, aggressive style meant he was the perfect middle-order batsmen. Coming in with the total already around the 70-run mark he twice accelerated the run-rate dramatically.
Das was our main spinner, a player who gets prodigious turn with his off-spin on almost any pitch. He took wickets at crucial moments, and his often perfect-length balls also enabled a couple of stumpings, while catches also went on offer. However, as was the case with most teams, catches proved increasingly hard to take because of the cold, which froze hands and fingers and made the ball feel harder than stone to catch.
Langford, one of the ‘veterans’ of the team, was still recovering from a long injury, but there was no sign of it when he came to the crease against Cossonay. He proceeded right from the start to bludgeon the ball away to the boundary. Das proved the perfect foil for Langford, getting him on strike immediately again after any single. This was clever cricket and the two of them slammed 32 off two overs to take our score well beyond the reach of Cossonay’s batsmen.
Another player back from a long injury was Kratka, the only young lady among so many gentlemen! Unable to bowl she set an example in the field as always. Her assertive but sadly too short innings with Nasrullah in the final match, when she scored a run a ball thanks to some brilliantly aggressive running, ensured a winning total.
It was Nasrullah, our newcomer in the team, who patiently rebuilt our innings after the loss of three batsmen in the final match. He hit out superbly in the final overs to take us to the total we needed against the hard-hitting Lyceum Alpinum, without losing his wicket. His innings demonstrated perfectly that every one of this team could score runs and was prepared to work hard for each other right down to the last ball.
Congratulations on a tremendous effort by the whole team.