Under 13s win last over thriller
By Mark Fransham
Fransham & Bharti: the new Stokes & Buttler
On a very hot evening, Kidlington under 13s gathered for their last 11-a-side league match of the season, a rearranged match against Bletchingdon that was cancelled in May's rainy weather. We last saw Bletchingdon at the end of April for a pre-season friendly which we narrowly lost, so we were hoping for some late season revenge.
Kidlington won the toss and decided to bowl first. KCC put in a cracking bowling performance, with eight bowlers all displaying what they have learnt during the season. Sam Fransham put in a tight four overs as usual (4-0-12-0). In the absence of our usual opener Ed Symes, Sam was partnered by newcomer Arnav Bharti (3-0-5-1) who was very impressive in his first game, bowling a tight line with movement in the air and off the pitch. He could have taken many wickets but was rewarded in his third over taking a caught and bowled off a slower ball to remove one of Bletchingdon's openers. Their number 1 and 3 then got stuck in with some solid batting. Opener William looked like he was headed for a retirement score when his partner Ben hit a ball straight back at bowler Neil Talmaki; Neil got a fingertip on it, it hit the stumps, and William was run out as he was backing up (think Mark Wood running out Kane Williamson in the World Cup). Amazing! Sam Fiddy then came in and also hit a fair few runs, ending 22 not out. Neil bagged a second run out, more conventionally this time, with a throw from mid-off that just brushed the bails off. Lewis Bray, continuing to impress with his bowling, was denied a deserved wicket when a skier was dropped by Marko. Next time it will stick! Bletchingdon ended on 95-3 off their 20 overs. It was a great bowling display by our players, marred only by some slow thinking in the field that meant three run out opportunities were missed. As it was over 30 degrees let's say this was the weather taking its toll.
So Kidlington went out to bat with 96 to win off 20 overs, a chaseable but challenging target. Openers Neil Talmaki and Aaryan Jagnani set a very solid foundation for the team, starting sensibly and cautiously, building towards 42-0 off the first ten overs. However Bletchingdon's bowlers began to fight back once Kidlington started to accelerate. Neil Talmaki was first caught for 17, then Jacob Evans was run out after a mix up with his partner Aaryan Jagnani. A mini collapse ensued in which then Daniel Hunt was run out and Aaryan caught trying to hit over the top of mid off. Things were looking gloomy for Kidlington by the end of the 17th when they needed 29 to win off 18 balls. Against the excellent Sam Fiddy, Arnav Bharti hit a beautiful cover drive for four, then knocked a single off. Sam Fiddy then clean bowled Marko Babic on the fourth ball of the 18th over. Instead of the usual celebration, the bowler held his head in his hands groaning 'oh no', prompting confusion from the fielders who thought he must have overstepped. Instead, his reaction was because he knew which batsman was coming in next.
Sam Fransham came on to the field to join his partner Arnav, the team needing 24 to win off 14 balls. Bletchingdon knew Sam's reputation, and knew he would either sky it for a duck or blow them away. Today it was to be the latter. He hit a four and a single off Sam Fiddy's remaining two balls to make it 10 off the over. Arnav and Sam then hit 12 off the penultimate over, leaving 7 needed from the final over. The first two balls went for three byes to the wicket keeper, leaving four to win off four balls. The next ball from Sam Fiddy was short and wide; Sam played a cracking cut shot for four to cheers from the nervous, watching under 13s, who poured on to the field to congratulate him and commiserate Bletchingdon on losing such a tight game.
After the senior teams did some world cup re-enactments last weekend, this was the under 13s turn! Neil's fingertip runout a la Mark Wood, Neil and Aaryan were our Roy & Bairstow opening pair, whilst Sam and Arnav were our Stokes and Buttler. A really exciting game and great to get a win. Well done everyone!
Many thanks also to Mo Talmaki for scoring, Sam Kimber for helping to set up and Dev Bharti for getting refreshments.