On Tuesday 13th June, a group of year 9 and 10 students competed in the ‘Chance to Shine- Chance to Compete’ under-15 cricket competition held at Wolverhampton Cricket Club. After the year 7 and 8 team performed so well in the under-13 competition, it was a tough act to follow.
There were 8 teams in total that entered the competition from across the West Midlands which made the competition that little bit harder, yet all to play for. In our group were Q3 Academy, Shireland Academy and The Royal Wolverhampton school- certainly no easy group!
First up were Q3 Academy who we knew nothing about, except for the fact that they were wearing cricket whites which usually means that they can play ball! This certainly proved to be the case at the start of the match as they punished us for sloppy fielding mistakes made by the team in the first innings. However, some (very) fast bowling from Sufyaan K (year 9) and Uzair A (year 10) capped Q3’s runs at 45 from a 7-ball over. West Walsall continued the pressure as they chased the lead in the second innings with some clever batting from Mohammed I (Year 10) and Rajab A (year 9) making victory ours with one over left to come.
Next to play were The Royal Wolverhampton School who again donned cricket whites and expensive bats. We batted first and batted extremely well, thanks to Danyal K (Year 9) and Junaid J (Year 10) who opened up and set the bar high, hitting 40 runs between them before having to retire. Brothers Uzair and Rajab Aziz continued the trend hitting fours and sixes for fun which gave us a lead of 88 runs- impressive stuff! The Royal batted next but were thwarted in their attempt to chase the lead due to some brilliant bowling, particularly from Mohammed I and captain Adil H (year 10). Second victory in the bag.
Last to play in the group stage were Shireland Academy- hot favourties to win the competition. We could see why as we struggled to find any boundaries during the first innings, having to make do with single and double runs from a series of accurate bowling. We took what we could from each ball and ended up with just over 50 runs with Shireland left to bat. Shireland’s opening batsmen hit through the ball to chase our lead until they reached 44 runs with 2 overs left to play and only 9 runs needed to win the game. West Walsall rallied together and tightened up their fielding to overcome what seemed an almost impossible task of keeping Shireland at bay. Special shoutouts go to Junaid J and Adil H for some brilliant bowling under pressure on the last 2 overs as well as Danyal K, our superstar wicket keeper who made sure nothing passed him. Shireland only managed to make 5 runs from the 2 overs, making us the winners of our group which progressed us through to the final.
The winners of the second group, RSA Academy, had also won 3 out of 3 matches so the stage was set for an interesting final showdown. RSA won the toss and elected to field first- game on! Junaid and Danyal opened the batting for us and certainly did not disappoint as they struck boundary after boundary early on, giving us a more-than healthy lead. After 20 runs, batters had to retire and so Rajab and Uzair were up fairly quickly who also did not disappoint. They also struck fours and sixes with ease, as did Adil, totaling our runs to nearly 90 until the first innings were over. RSA responded in the second innings early doors by slogging as much as they could, however, pin-point accurate bowling from all the boys allowed us to take some wickets and keep their score to a mere 40 runs, crowning us champions of the tournament and taking home gold.
Overall, it was a brilliant day out with a great display of team work, determination and skill acquisition on show from the lads, especially as most were fasting. It was the first time we have entered this competition so the pupils were elated to come out on top and all conducted themselves in a professional manner and played with real heart throughout the day which was fantastic to see. They were a credit to themselves and our school. As well as gold medals, pupils won a ‘Chance to Shine’ cricket helmet which they have kindly donated to the school which will be displayed for all to see.
Adil H (captain)