There is no sweeter sound than that of a leather cricket ball cracking the centre of a cricket bat on an early summer’s day, with the knowledge that there will be many more sounds and sights of this much-loved game, that we have craved for such a long time, to come.
The estate has been buzzing all week with the sights and sounds of cricket. From our youngest Prep boys in Y3 learning to bowl for the first time to our Upper boys honing their batting and fielding skills, the excitement building is palpable.
Fourth Former, Fred Dickson said after his games lesson on Thursday, “It feels wonderful just having the opportunity to play with my friends again whilst playing a sport we all love. We have all missed this so much so it’s great to be back doing it.”
Fixtures are back
While not everything is quite back to normal (several schools are still not playing, and much of our cricket has to remain in year group bubbles), we can look forward to a fairly full set of fixtures for both the Prep and Upper School. The National T20 is taking place, albeit with fewer schools than usual taking part; we have entered and will be playing Wellingborough on 4 May. We will also play Stowe in the U17 National Cup on 29 April. The English School’s Cricket Association (formerly the Lord’s Taverners Cup) will be played at U16 this year instead of U15, and we have been given a home draw against Oakham (date TBC). The David English cup, which is a national cup at U13, will be played at U14 this year. In this competition, we have a bye, so we are waiting to see who wins through.
“It feels like everything is back to normal again when you’re out on the pitch. I’d forgotten how much fun it is to be playing cricket with my team and I’m now really excited to finally be competing against other schools this season”, explained Fourth Former Oliver Simmonds.
To help prepare the boys, the Prep School have net sessions each lunchtime for the various age groups, and the Upper School have practice sessions on Fridays after school for the U14A, U15A and 1st XI squads.
Additionally, we have a team of club coaches to assist with the games lessons, and former Oundle Director of Sport John Wake will deliver some 1:2 sessions with our spinners and seamers. The 1st XI has an excellent link with Cricket East, and one of their county coaches will support Mr Brett with the 1st XI sessions.
Director of Cricket Gary Steer told us, “It was clear to see how happy the boys were to be working hard on their cricket skills, knowing that there would be a fixture at the end of the week against another school. Without doubt, it gives the boys more focus and certainly something to look forward to because that is the bit the boys love the most, playing fixtures.”
On Saturday 17 April, our 1st XI beat Framlingham College by four wickets in their first school fixture in over a year. With Framlingham winning the toss, Bedford went into bat first. Bedford posted 216-6 from 40 overs on a wicket that got better throughout the day, and built two strong partnerships to reach that competitive total. Framlingham got off to a very strong start with the bat, but the boys showed fantastic character and weathered the early storm. Framlingham were 72-1 at one stage, but were bowled out for 131 in 27 overs to give Bedford a fantastic 85 run victory to start the season.
Key batting performances:
Archie Houghton 63
Rowan Bascetta-Pollitt 40
Rohan Mehmi 37
Henry Warren 28
Key bowling performances:
Dilan Sheemar 6-1-10-3
Rohan Mehmi 4-0-21-3
Piratheesh Karunakaran 3.5-0-14-2
Archie Houghton 6-1-34-2