We welcomed Broxbourne to the top pitch on a warm, still and bright summer evening. As with our last game, a couple of the boys were due to arrive late so we agreed that we would bat first.
Ollie and Spencer opened the batting and in an uncharacteristic start Spencer was back in the shed before the first over had been completed, lofting an easy catch in what turned out to be one of an exciting series of early catching opportunities for the visitors.
Skipper Jack joined Ollie and – as if Spencer’s premature departure wasn’t enough fair warning – both boys carried-on where Spencer had left off, playing an exciting but nevertheless unapproved game of ‘cricket chicken’, where the batting team presents the opposition with numerous catching opportunities.
Luckily, this peculiar brand of cricket was only to last for another over or two – presumably the boys realised it wasn’t much fun and that playing proper cricket shots was far more enjoyable.
And so it came to be; a flurry of boundaries, a maximum for both boys and lots of sensible singles had the scoreboard ticking along very nicely.
Ollie was first to retire (his second of the season), to be replaced by Dan who simply carried on where Ollie had left off with more boundaries and a maximum, too.
Meanwhile, a resurgent Josh joined Dan after Jack’s second retirement of the season, Josh playing some wonderful, textbook drives and cuts to the boundary, the best of which was a firm Ian Bell-esque front foot check-drive down to the long-on boundary.
Dan was unfortunately run out just shy of his second retirement, with the scoreboard now showing 139-1 after 15 overs.
Freddie ably supported Josh, who was also to fall run-out a couple of overs later, and so Dylan joined Freddie to complete the overs with his maiden batting innings.
We closed on 181-3, the HJL’s second highest run score across the U12A league for 2015 so far.
Following a very quick break, skipper Jack gave the new ball to Thomas and his partner-in-crime Kobie.
And not unlike last week’s game at Hertford, the opening bowling attack proved to be very effective.
Thomas conceded just a run in his first; Kobie then knocked off the bails in his first with a cracking delivery and then we witnessed an amazing hat-trick (all bowled) in Thomas’ second over.
Fortunately, there was a brief period of respite so everyone could catch their breath, during which the visitors dug-in, taking the score to 32-4 after the first six-over spell.
Maintaining his attacking field, Jack asked Nav and Dylan to come in at first change.
Both boys bowled very well, continuing to apply pressure. Dylan was first to strike, clean bowling their remaining opening batsman, Noah (demonstrating stubborn resistance in a fine innings of 26), and Nav forced a top edge (caught Dan) with his lofty off spin, reducing Broxbourne to 58-6 after 11 overs.
The Park boys continued to display the high standard of fielding we’ve become accustomed to: we enjoyed several instances of the boys fielding in pairs all around the boundary, popping-up the ball with sliding saves for the following fielder to hurl back in to the ‘keeper.
Spencer was particularly sharp at mid-wicket with several albeit unsuccessful run-out attempts, while Josh, Dylan, Will and Ollie (behind the stumps again) all made notable contributions.
Jack brought Freddie and Dan into the attack to see if he could clean-up the tail with a bit more pace and the plan certainly worked with Freddie delivering the second outstanding bowling performance of the day, taking three wickets (all bowled) in his three overs for just three runs – a no-ball on his 18th delivery.
Jack brought Will and himself on to close out the innings and, while the visitors’ tail fought back valiantly, they were to close on 114-9 after their 20 overs.