Last Sunday on a day made for cricket, Kingholm Park hosted The Foster’s Cup Final between the respective cricket T20 midweek Division 1 and Division 2 winners, Panthers and John Walker & Son (St. Michael’s CC junior midweek side).
An exciting match was anticipated with Panthers firm favorites in the eyes of many, having gone through their league campaign undefeated and the current cup holders.
However, the match proved a great advert for midweek cricket with John Walker & Sons fielding a really young side (seven players aged under 16) and upsetting the formbook to produce a tremendous seven run victory when the match still undecided with two balls to play.
John Walker & Son’s captain Levi White decided to bat first on winning the toss. 52 runs were put on the board before the first wicket fell, that of Lulham for 32 caught by wicket keeper Nomi Butt off a spiraling top edge from the bowling of the impressive Fahim.
Despite losing the quick wickets of Connor Lynch and Finlay Jack, 1st X1 skipper Holmes anchored the innings batting soundly before he retired on 45. Ross Lamb batted the closing overs out sensibly, with another couple of wickets falling at the other end, finishing undefeated on 23.
The John Walker & Son innings finished on a competitive 122 for 6 after their allotted 20 overs. For Panthers, Adnan bowled a tight four over spell taking two wickets, with Haroon Khan and Murad taking one wicket apiece.
In reply, opening bowler Kyle Jordan bowled with great variation and took the first four Panthers wickets to fall, including the dangerous Foster and Butt.
At 22 for 4 Panthers appeared out of the match, but a hard hitting 50 run partnership between Fahim and Muna put the pressure on the change bowlers White and Jack and was starting to change the complexion of the match.
However, an amazing catch by 14 year old Ross Dalling at mid on off the bowling of Jack to take the wicket of Fahid for 32 was probably the match defining moment, and then Muna was bowled for 17 shortly afterwards.
Going into the last over, the responsibility to bowl the last six balls of the match was given to 14 year old Ross Dalling. Panthers needed 15 runs to win and despite a valiant partnership between Tanzeel Ur Rehman and Shazad Rasul, “Ice Man” Dalling held his nerve and cool (unlike several parents watching!!) to capture the remaining two wickets for only eight runs, the Panthers ultimately finishing just short.
The Victorious J. Walker & Son XI
Mention must be made of the ground fielding of John Walker & Son, especially the youngsters, Dan Turner making numerous first rate diving stops that contributed massively to the overall result and proving that practice does indeed pay dividends.
The match was played competitively but in the right manner and the Panthers have to be congratulated for accepting their surprise defeat with great dignity.
Panthers skipper Tanzeel Ur Rehman commenting on his sides season said “Firstly I’d like to congratulate the John Walker & Son team on their win. The Saints Juniors’ have done really well this year with the support of their experienced and overseas players, and they look like they will become top players in the future.
“For us it was disappointing to lose the final which would have given us ‘3 in a row’ in the Cup to go with our 3 League titles in the three years since forming the Panthers.
“It was a really good game of cricket and edge of your seat stuff at the end, but unfortunately for us we just couldn’t get over the finishing line.”
The winning captain Levi White, reflecting on the perfect end to the 2016 season for his side commented “Today was a fantastic team performance and everyone played their part, whether they were batting, fielding or bowling. It’s also a great achievement for the team consisting of seven under sixteen players to overcome the Panthers team which has been the strongest team in the competition over the last three years. Credit to the Panthers for playing the game in the right spirit today.”
Thanks too must go to Foster’s for their sponsorship of the cup competition, St. Michael’s Cricket Club for hosting the final with Kingholm Park in fantastic condition, but mostly to both sets of players for putting on a superb show for all those watching.
Scores: John Walker & Sons 122 for 6 (T. Holmes 45 retd, E. Lulham 32, R. Lamb 23 n.o. ; Adnan 2-17) : Panthers 115 all out (Fahid 32, T. Ur Rehman 20, Muna 17, S. Rasul 12 n.o. : Jordan 4-10, Dalling 2-12, White 2-30)
You Can Win With Kids!
“You can’t win anything with kids” is an infamous sporting faux pas uttered by Alan Hansen when assessing Man Utd’s chances of winning the English Premier League back in 1995.
Fast forward 21 years and many a local cricketing sage could have said the same thing about St Michael’s Cricket Club midweek side (J Walker & Son X1) going into this year’s John Henderson & Son competition, having only won a solitary game in the previous 2015 season.
However, under the new captaincy of 15 year old Levi White, together with the support of qualified Australian coaches Ethan Lulham and Kyle Jordan, 2016 has been a season of success for the junior section of Saints.
In the 11 games played so far this year (with a possible 2 more to go), the Saints youngsters have won 9, lost only 2 and as a result have been crowned champions of Division 2 of the midweek league and have progressed to the semi-final of this year’s local T20 cup competition.
J Walker & Son XI
Key team performances for the side were the first game of the season against Dumfries Colts, where a three wicket win gave the youngsters the confidence that not only could they compete this year, but they could also win. A hat-trick of victories of HealthPros (who dished out heavy defeats the year before) were very satisfying, as was the 48 run victory over a strong Dalton side back in June.
However, the most pleasing aspect of this season so far has been the development of the players themselves and the individual growth that can be seen by all. Individual performances of note have been produced by Levi White (3 wickets for 8 runs vs Health Pros), Finlay Jack (22 runs and 2 wickets for 8 vs Dalton), Connor Lynch (28 not out vs Galloway), Ryan Geddes (5 wickets for 12 vs Health Pros), Reece McNay (4 wickets for 19 vs Dalton), Dan Turner (1 wicket for 11 vs Shipwrecks), and Ross Dalling (3 wickets for 12 vs Burgh Boys).
To further support the view that this Saints team is truly a genuine junior side, the total number of overs bowled so far in the season has been 220, and pleasingly for everyone connected at the club, 157 or 71.4% has been bowled by a youngster under 16 years of age.
Ask the young men themselves why this change has come about and they will tell you that the training / coaching they have received over the last few years at the clubs junior sessions every Monday night – especially this year with Australians Lulham and Jordan – has seen the sides batting and fielding particularly improve.
In summary, this season is the coming together of a progressive youth policy at St Michael’s. Having taken some tough but character building defeats in previous season, everyone connected with the club commendably stuck to their guns and kept giving this talented crop much needed game time.
However, the main credit must also go to the youngsters themselves, for showing true loyalty, sticking with their friends / teammates through some tough defeats at an early stage of their cricketing development when the easier more selfish option would have been to walk away. Thankfully these outstanding young men stood firm together and they are now reaping the rewards for their endeavours.
Looking forward to next year, it will be interesting to see how the Saints youngsters respond to playing the “big boys” in Division 1. However, with talks at an advanced stage to see the return of Australian coach Kyle Jordan to the club in 2017, it should be a happy and settled side taking up the challenge in front of them.
Any youngsters keen on taking up the great game of cricket, or already experienced, no matter what age or ability and want to become part of the prosperous Saints junior set up is more than welcome. For further information please contact club Chairman Sandy McNay on 01387 710713 or 07842013884.
Saints U12s Given Valuable Lesson By Langholm Counterparts
Last Sunday saw St Michael’s Cricket Club’s under 12 side host Langholm CC in the sides’ first outing of the summer.
The Under 12 XI
Following the flooding at Kingholm Park at the beginning of the year, the junior section of St Michael’s Cricket Club were kindly donated replacement kit by The Lords’ Taverners. The U12 side and the club as a whole would like to thank Dave Pemberton and his department of The Lords Taverners for their much appreciated gesture and support.
Saints U12s “won the toss” and chose to bowl in the 15 overs a side match.
The mainstays of the Langholm innings were openers Wilson and Jardine who put on a 94 run partnership. However, within this total the Saints youngsters bowled 43 wides, 21 byes and 6 no balls, which meant that only 24 runs had actually came off the bat in 13 overs.
Langholm’s innings finished on 108-2, Wilson top scoring for the visitors having retired for a quality 21 and Rory McLeod and Mikey Turner claiming the only wickets for Saints.
In reply, Saints got off to a bad start with opener Jack Barnett running himself out and things didn’t get any better from there.
Showing the Saints bowlers the importance of bowling a consistent straight line and length, H Donaldson, Henderson, W Donaldson, C Park, Hislop, and J Park all claimed wickets at regular intervals.
For Saints only Mikey Turner spent some time at the crease finishing on 7 not out, as the hosts’ innings finished on 45-8 from their 15 overs.
Congratulations to the Langholm players for a fine display and a well deserved 63 run victory, and special mention must go to Duncan Elliott and the other Muckle Toon coaches for the excellent work they are obviously doing with the next generation of cricketers at Langholm.
For the Saints youngsters this was the first step on learning what it takes to be successful in the game of cricket. Langholm bowled 43 runs less in extras (wides, no balls and byes). While Langholm would still have won the game, reducing extras to the same level as the opposition would have made the game a lot tighter and interesting.
When batting, spending time at the crease and not running yourself or your partner out unnecessarily is something that will be discussed and worked on at future junior training sessions.
Having said all that, the game was a valuable learning experience for all involved and one that was enjoyed by everyone.