Twenty20 Cricket Academy start the season with a close win
Easter Sunday and the sun shining over the Castle Ground in Farnham where the annual game between Twenty20 Academy and Farnham Cricket Club took place. Farnham were looking to make it three wins in a row after beating us twice in 2018, but with the hard work put in by all the players over the winter months the Academy boys were ready for the game.
Farnham won the toss and decided to bat first in the heat. They got off to a steady start and were 42 without loss after the first 10 overs with Academy opening bowlers Sam Partridge and Sam Felton-Smith coming hard at them looking to find that early wicket which they couldn’t find in the end by the skin of their teeth especially for Partridge who bowled a great spell of 5 overs for 29.
Captain Nathan Jones decided to make a change of bowling by bringing in new recruits Josh Huxtable and Tristan Greenleaf which led to the first wicket going down with Angus retiring hurt after a bad hit to the knee off Huxtable and then the wicket of Luke (who last year scored 50 off 23 balls against us) caught by Nathan off Tristan for just 6.
Farnham rebuilt well with opener Harry and Max joined by Max who frustrated the Academy bowlers and punished any bad balls given to them. With 10 overs left Farnham had given themselves the platform to go “big” with the score being 105 for 2 off 20 overs. Harry picked up a very well fought 50 where he showed great patience and skill especially of the spin of captain Nathan and seam bowling pair of Guy and Kieran. With Farnham going hard at the last 10 overs of the game trying to score as many as they can, Nathan brought seam bowler Will Gillespie into the attack and he got the big wicket of Harry for 55 caught by Tristan. Will ended up getting 3 wickets running through Farnham’s middle order and with two run outs as well off his bowling, Farnham finishing on 170 for 6 off their 30 overs.
Trying to remember everything they learnt over the winter, the Academy chase began, looking to turn the good balls into ones and twos and pouncing on any loose deliverers. The opening pair of Freddie Ferro and Alex Yates certainly did that off the first 10 really putting the Farnham bowlers under pressure and trying to get on top of the chase.
A big blow then came just before the first drinks break at 10 overs where Freddie, who was looking in fine form, started to suffer from heat stroke and had to retire. This brought in Bhuv Chopra in at 3 and he and Alex had to try and carry on from where Freddie started.
After 10 overs the Academy were on top at 62 for 0. The next 10 overs belonged to Farnham who only conceded 40 runs and got two big wickets of Bhuv for 6 and Tristan for 0.
At 20 overs the Academy were 104 for 2 needing 66 off 10 overs which was a tough task against a bowling attack who found their line and length and were making it tough for the Academy boys. But Alex, who was still in and showing great patience and skill for a young opening batsman, and Josh Huxtable, who earlier shone with the ball were ready for the task in hand. Together they put on a key partnership pouncing on any loose delivery, bringing the game back into the hands of Twenty20.
Then a mix up between Alex and Josh resulted in Josh being ran out for 14 off just 14 balls. This brought in captain Nathan Jones who looked to play a true captain’s innings and get Twenty20 over the line. He was so close to doing that with scoring a crucial and powerful run a ball 21 until he was caught by an early contender of catch of the season which Ben Stokes would have been proud of. This brought in Guy Fraser-Brown to try and see Twenty20 home with 9 needed to win off two overs.
Going into the last over Twenty20 needed three to win but with talented fast bowler Luke bowling Farnham still had hope he could pull off a miracle. He got the first ball spot which Yates dug out. The second ball was what Twenty20 wanted with it going sliding down the leg side and the umpire giving it as a wide followed by a repeat next ball which gave Twenty20 Academy the win in a great opening game of the season.
Special mentions have to go to Farnham opening batsman Harry who scored a classy 50 and Twenty20 opening batsman Alex Yates who batted all 30 overs and played an innings of great patience scoring 27 of 92 balls to play that crucial innings Twenty20 needed from such a young cricketer.
Everyone at Twenty20 would like to thank Farnham for the great of cricket and fantastic hospitality once again and all the players taking part showing what junior cricket is all about.
Next game for the Twenty20 Academy is for the B team this Saturday against Chobham Cricket Club in which is sure to be another great game of cricket.