SHREWSBURY SCHOOL CRICKET 2012
Despite the worst summer weather on record, Shrewsbury School cricket flourished throughout the spring and summer months, right up to the U15 ESCA T20 finals at Arundel and the U17 National 40 over final in Oxfordshire in September. In another outstanding year of achievement Shrewsbury School continues to provide the sternest opposition for all domestic and overseas teams. The reputation of our cricket continues to grow, but will be severely challenged in the season to come following the departure of our recent 1st XI, the most successful ever. Reputations take a long time to be established, but can be easily eroded and undermined. Therefore it goes without saying that our developing players and teams have a huge challenge ahead in 2013. The forthcoming tour to South Africa this December marks the exciting beginning of a new cricket era at school and a great opportunity for all involved.
The 1st XI squad, containing many of the team that won the U15 ESCA/ECB T20 in 2009 and the U18 HMC T20 in 2011, played with positive intent & maturity throughout the season, but were eventually frustrated as their time at school drew to a close. Another T20 semi-final defeat at the hands of Millfield School and a washed-out Silk Trophy was scant reward for a team that has provided the school with outstanding success, a great number of role models, excellent standards of play and at least two more professional cricketers. As an example of the dominance of this departing squad, here is their playing record since December 2010:
Played 56 Won 51 Lost 4 Drew 1 Abandoned 8
In addition our newly formed U17’s worked well with their coach Mr Hughes in progressing to the National Final, but eventually lost narrowly to an excellent Gillingham School. The exposure and experienced gained by this squad, containing a greater number of U16 & U15 boys, will hopefully underpin a similar run in 2013.
Mr Greetham ensured that the U15 XI again played well above expectations. They lost, narrowly and early, in the Lord’s Taverners Competition to the eventual winners, Denstone College, but gained revenge in the later rounds of the T20 as they went on to reach the ESCA/ECB T20 finals day. Here they came unstuck against the eventual winners, Bolton School, despite an outstanding 1st innings batting display.
ALL SCHOOL TEAMS RECORDS 2012P / W / L / A/C
50/50 / 10 / 10 / 0 / 7
20/20 / 8 / 7 / 1 / 0
Pre-season / 3 / 2 / 1 / 0
21 / 19 / 2 / 7
2nd XI / 7 / 6 / 1 / 9
3rd XI / 5 / 4 / 1 / 4
Under 17 / 5 / 4 / 1 / 0
16A / 4 / 3 / 1 / 6
16B / 4 / 2 / 1 / 1
15A / 18 / 13 / 3 / 2
15B / 8 / 6 / 2 / 2
15C / 5 / 2 / 3
14A / 14 / 10 / 3 / 6
14B / 10 / 5 / 3 / 2
14C / 7 / 7 / 0 / 6
129 / 100 / 23 / 52
As you can see from this table, the school did very well overall, if you consider wins (76%) to be the priority. We are obviously satisfied with these figures and feel that they reflect well on all the squads, but we take much more comfort from the continual progress and development of our players. This is not as easy to quantify, but as ‘headline measures’ of the progress, I would like to highlight three important facts.
Firstly since 2008 we have produced seven professionally contracted cricketers. Secondly, the Saracens XI, who won the Cricketer Cup this season for the first time since 1987, contained seven 1st XI players from teams since 2008 and two 1st XI players from this season and lastly, we now offer more hours of cricket coaching to Shrewsbury School boys, of all abilities, than ever before.
1st XI Cricket Report 2012
ALL MATCHES Played 21 Won 19 Lost 2 Drew 1 Abandoned/Cancelled 7
Pre Season Played 3 Won 2 Lost 1
T 20 Matches Played 8 Won 7 Lost 1
50/over Matches Played 10 Won 10 Lost 0 Abandoned/Cancelled 7
An early April start saw the team once again hard at it in our annual pre-season festival. As in the previous year, wins against Worksop College and Worcestershire Academy still did not provide the 1stXI with enough confidence to master Millfield School, who would also prove to be too good for us later in the season at Arundel.
From that loss in April until the beginning of July the 1stXI performed excellently and looked a very good bet to retain their HMC T20 title and go on to win the Silk Trophy for the third time, but one poor batting display and some poor weather put paid to their ambitions.
Henry Lewis captained the team for the second season with real authority and vision. He once again opened the innings on a regular basis and this season scored a good number of important runs. His back foot play was more assured and he often dominated the early exchanges of matches. His off-spin bowling proved less fruitful in the 50 over matches, but still remained a real threat in our T20 campaign. He has been an outstanding captain during the past two seasons. He will be a very hard act to follow.
Stephen Leach had another excellent season and scored a great number of important runs. He was not as prolific as he was last year, but as a cricketer he has grown up a great deal and has a real passion for the game that I know will take him a long way towards fulfilling his dream of becoming a first class professional cricketer .His grand total of 2704 runs (485 (2012) +1,051 (2011) + 673 (2010) +411(2009) +84(2008)) in five years as a 1stXI player speaks volumes for his contribution. He has been the backbone of the team and made real progress throughout his time. He has worked hard at all aspects of his game and I wish him luck as he sets out on his road to professionalism with a stint in Australia this winter.
Jack Hudson-Williams, despite offering his bowling to the captain, rarely dominated with the ball, but took great comfort in taking on more responsibility with the bat. His batting average of over 54 in our 50 over matches indicated his greater maturity. He has been a player in the 1st XI for the past three seasons and set the highest standards of fielding I can remember. His fielding performance in the T20 semi final loss to Millfield was simply the best I have seen. He is now living in in Western Australia, studying, and developing his cricket.
Jack Bailey scored just over 250 runs in all formats of the game this season, which hardly seems enough, but his willingness to work harder and occupy the crease often set up winning situations for the team. He really did improve his game and can be rightly proud of all he has achieved in the 1st XI. I am confident to say he is one of our most accomplished batsmen of this century but equally unsure that he will continue to play the game despite being blessed with so much natural talent. I must further congratulate him on his ability in the field and a number of outstanding catches during his career.
Rhuaidri Smith took his bowling to the highest level and consistently unsettled our opponents even on the flattest surfaces. His twenty wickets, most often taken with the new ball, made life easier for the other bowlers and again enabled him to stand out as one of the most exciting seam bowlers on our circuit. His dynamic and athletic fielding greatly improved our team performance time and again. His batting in 50 over matches was too fragile throughout the season and this is where he will need to focus his attention if he is to break into the Glamorgan 1st XI in years to come. By contrast he proved to be most valuable in scoring over 200 runs in our T20 campaign with his strong stroke play and athletic running between the wickets.
Alistair Pollock returned to service with real desire to bat and bowl with equal authority. He achieved both comfortably, but not, I sense, to the level of satisfaction he desired. He remains for me our most competitive all-rounder in recent years and he cannot in any way be faulted for his tireless commitment on the field. Over-critical of himself? Yes. Striving to win? Yes, always. It was fitting and pleasing for me to see him play such a major role in the success of the Saracens team this summer. He has been an excellent player for the past two years. Greater dedication to his athleticism and batting/bowling techniques will see him rise further up the ranks.
Jamie Board was our first choice wicketkeeper and did much to sharpen our fielding throughout the season. By working hard at his concentration and his technique during the past two years, he leaves a much better player. His enthusiasm rubbed off on his team mates and they became an efficient fielding unit around him. He has been a key factor in the success of this team and will now be seeking to improve his cricket further with a gap year in Western Australia.
Mark Prescott provided the essential grounding for the team this year. Despite his lack of consistent opportunities, he never complained once, but continued to support the team in every possible way. He not only sustained his position in the squad, but grew in stature as the season wore on. He was a key ingredient, underpinning the multi-talented squad. As the season went on, he remained in contention as a bowler and a batsman, and finished the season with the ball as strongly as any in the squad. His commitment and contributions over his career in the 1st XI singles him out for praise, but even more satisfying than this was his good grace, growing maturity and sensitivity to others.
James Aston to his great credit moved his career forward and become one of our very best T20 bowlers in 2012. In total he took some 27 wickets in all formats of the game, but could easily have got more if some of our close catching had been better. His improved ground fielding helped the team out, but it was his ever-present consistency and honest endeavour that made him such a valuable team member. He leaves with a high quality record and encouragement from me to continue the work he has done to date.
Edward Pollock had a dynamic and positive impact on the team. His batting stroke play is exciting to watch and brought him a harvest of 642 runs. As he contemplates the forthcoming tour and the 2013 season, he will surely wish to better his record. I think if he reflects, if only briefly, on some of his shot selections during the season, he will be able to map out his own route to improvement. His bowling did not offer sufficient control, but I know that he will be working hard throughout the winter to bring this skill back in line and make a more significant contribution with the ball.
Henry Blofield made a notable impact in the first half of term, but faded a little as the summer progressed. His contribution to the 1st XI and the U17’s was still important, but I know full well that he will be seeking to offer greater control and penetration as the South African tour and the 2013 season occur. A return of 17 wickets is encouraging during his first full season. His position in the 1st XI rarely opened up batting opportunities of real significance but the grit and discipline he showed against Millfield last April give me greater encouragement for the future. I know that he desperately wishes to contribute more with the bat and some winter work on his technique will greatly help him achieve that goal. A bit part player in 2011, he did not do himself any harm in performing with skill when he got the chance.
Matthew Gregson, Charlie Farqhuar and Will Mason for various reasons did not play a full part the squad in 2012 but I wish to put on record their contribution to the development and standards achieved. They all played their part in the success and the first two will have further opportunities next season.
1st XI Results - 50 overs matches
11th April v Worksop College (h)
Worksop 204 for 5 Shrewsbury 207 for 3 ( S.G.Leach 106 no)
Shrewsbury won by 7 wickets
12th April v Worcester Academy (h)
Shrewsbury 188 for 7 (E. Pollock 53) Worcester Academy 111 for 7
Shrewsbury won by 77 runs
13th April v Millfield (h)
Shrewsbury 121 all out Millfield 126 for 6
Millfield won by 4 wickets
21st April v King Edward’s Birmingham (a)
KES 83 all out ( J.Aston 4 for 17 , H.Blofield 3 for 18) Shrewsbury 87 for 1
Shrewsbury won by 9 wickets
Wed 25th April v Shropshire U21 (h)
Cancelled Waterlogged Pitches
Sunday 29th April v MCC (h)
Cancelled Waterlogged Pitches
5th May v Trent College (a)
Shrewsbury 253 for 5 (J.Hudson-Williams 70) Trent 135 all out ( R.Smith 4 for 9)
Shrewsbury won by 118 runs
9th May v Wrekin College (40 overs match) (h)
Shrewsbury 246 for 6 ( M.Prescott 64,A.Styles 63,R.Smith 63) Wrekin 7 for 1 ( 2 overs)
Match Abandoned Rain
12th May v Repton (h)
Repton 102 all out (R.Smith 5 for 24) Shrewsbury 103 for 1 ( H.Lewis 52no)
Shrewsbury won by 9 wickets
19th May v Sedbergh (h)
Shrewsbury 161 for 9 ( S.Leach 51) Sedbergh 138 all out
Shrewsbury won by 23 runs
26th May v Malvern (a)
Malvern 180 all out Shrewsbury 180 for 2 ( S.Leach 71 no , H.Lewis 71)
Shrewsbury won by 8 wickets
30th May v Myerscough College (40 overs) (h)
Myerscough College 143 for 7 Shrewsbury 145 for 5
Shrewsbury won by 5 wickets
16th June v Manchester Grammar School (40 overs) (h)
Shrewsbury 208 for 5 (H.Lewis 73, E.Pollock 66) Manchester 101 for 5 (30 0vers)( H.Blofield 3 for 16)
Match Abandoned Rain
23rd June v Warwick (a)
Shrewsbury 327 for 8 ( E.Pollock 73, J.Hudson-Williams 96, A.Pollock 83) Warwick 186 all out