Match Report
Warwick School Boys-U15A vs  RGS Worcester
On: Saturday, 20 Apr 2024
Venue: Away

After washouts in our first scheduled fixtures, it was encouraging to see the sun shining and some signs of warmth as we set off for Worcester. On a pitch which looked in reasonable condition given the circumstances, but which was likely to misbehave, especially as the game wore on, we were not disappointed to be inserted by RGS.

We started well through McGrory and Larucci, both of whom were watchful, whilst also being alert to the opportunity to punish loose balls. We had reached 37 without mishap and both batsmen looked set, so it was a surprise when Larucci departed for 13, having played on to a rather indeterminate back foot push to a short, but slow, delivery from RGS's left arm seamer, Khalid. This sparked a mini-collapse, as first Shannon was sent back for a duck following an ugly swipe across the line and then Askin was trapped in front. At 49-3 we needed a partnership and thankfully that's what we got. Protherough initially took a little time to play himself in, but with McGrory continuing to score steadily and a large dose of extras (RGS would eventually concede 51, including 32 wides), the total ticked steadily upwards. McGrory had just passed his fifty with successive boundaries and all seemed set fair for a century stand, when Protherough tried to turn a full ball to leg - dangerous on a slow, low pitch, even when in - and sent a leading edge sailing skywards to be gratefully pouched at point. Once again this sparked a mini collapse to keep RGS hopes alive. Trend was somewhat unlucky to have a full-blooded drive snatched from the air in a brilliant one-handed catch. O'Reilly was then bowled, before Sanyal nicked off first ball. At 156-7 we already had a reasonable total, but support from the lower order helped to push it further beyond RGS's reach. 22 were put on by McGrory and Leaver, and they may have gone on still further had McGrory not been trying to give himself a chance of a century as the sands of the hourglass slipped away. A couple of fine boundaries, including one maximum, gave him some hope, but in the end he holed out for 72 from just 68 deliveries: an intelligent and well-constructed knock which had held our innings together. Leaver and Hargett batted nicely together for the 9th wicket, taking us past 200, with Leaver departing in the final over for 15.

Chasing 208 always looked a tall order on a pitch with little pace and untrue bounce, especially with the range of bowling options which we possessed, but the task became harder when Leaver picked up a wicket in just the second over, as Loyal drove straight to Shannon at cover on the up. Leaver would go on to pick up a wicket in each of his first four overs: the second opener offering him a comfortable return catch; the number three pushing to Gillard-Brown at mid off; before the fourth wicket saw a more traditional opening bowler's dismissal as McGrory profited from an edge. Leaver was unable to complete his fiver-for, but still ended with figures of 5-1-23-4. With O'Reilly(3-0-14-1) picking up the number five batsman in the 9th over to another McGrory catch it was all over bar the shouting. There was still time for some effective lower order hitting from Fincher, who cleared the ropes twice, but he became Walmsley's second victim in a spell of 2.2-1-1-3, interspersed with run outs by Hargett and Trend as we completed the victory in the 16th over. The terrific one-handed catch, which was taken nonchalantly by Leaver to bring proceedings to a close being the pick of the bunch.

A decisive victory to start our season, but with room for improvement as we look to Monday's 20 over game against Solihull: some quite loose bowling saw us gift RGS 18 wides in their final total of 60, with extras the top scorer.

Man-of-the-match: McGrory for 72 runs and two catches.

'champagne moment': Leaver's one-handed catch.