Match Report 1 vs. Wynberg High SchoolFebruary 12, 2017 in South Africa
Our first match touring in SA was played at the picturesque Wynberg High School Ground.
Following a tentative hour where overcast skies and light drizzles ( reminiscent of the climate we'd left behind) threatened to put the game in danger, both sides decided upon a 45 over match. Captain John Oliver's intensive practice tossing a coin paid off when he won it and opted to bowl given the Trent Bridge-esque conditions. The usual pairing of Oliver (9-2-25-2) and left arm quickie Arman Khan (9-1-50-1) opened up with some incisive fast bowling. Despite several half-chances, the duo were unfortunate to have just 3 wickets at the end of their respective spells. However, the introduction of talismanic legspinner Jamie Percival produced three wickets in three consecutive Percival overs, giving Academy a very promising 77-6 on the opposition scoreboard halfway through their innings. Nonetheless, complacency and tiring legs in the field gifted the opposition batsmen with a chance to rebuild with a brilliant 7th wicket partnership. Between them, the two batsmen involved in this partnership scored 117 towards the final total of 201/8 that they went on to reach.
Despite strong bowling performances from Greg Macmillan (4-0-22-0), Adam McMurray (4-0-16-0) and Ruairidh Russell (5-0-26-1) in an attempt to restrain the opposition, and a wicket to Adnan Iqbal (1-0-9-1), we felt that we had let slip our tight hold on the match. Regardless of the scores though, there were some highlights in the field: Heginbottom and McMurray both made two difficult catches look simple and youngster Sambhav Chadha demonstrated composure above and beyond his years when he took a high catch with great skill. Once again, Fraser Gordon showcase exemplary keeping and picked up two thoroughly deserved stumpings. Overall, spirits were kept high in the field with a lot of noise and applause all round.
Whilst chasing 202 was never going to be easy in the unfamiliar, tropical South African conditions, a good catch, an unnecessary run out, and a controversial umpiring decision which the umpire himself admitted was wrong left the tourists reeling at 45/8. In general, the situation could have been better read, given the fairly low required run rate of 4.5. However, with experienced Russell and debutant Christopher Holdstock at the crease, we set to rebuild the innings. What followed was simply astounding: a solid and composed knock of 12(39) from Holdstock by a stupendous effort from Ruairidh Russell. With a 360 degrees range of shots and one of the coolest heads I'm the team, he lay the foundations for a monumental 74*(99), brimming with luscious drives and powerful legside shots. The confidence and serenity with which he compiled his innings was an illustration of true grit and determination in difficult times. His 15 boundaries on the huge outfield was equally remarkable. Nevertheless, we went on to lose the game by 68 runs having scored 133/10.
Whilst the eventual result didn't go our way, it was amazing to witness a true team perform in less than favourable conditions. Those who adapted we'll reaped the benefits and the rest of us can certainly learn from this. Thanks also to Mr Hariharan for what has been a great tour so far, Mr Menzies for some expert photography and Mr Pearce for some intensive but rewarding training.Read more