WARWICK School’s U14A team won the County Cricket Championship in nail-biting fashion as they won a tense final against KES Birmingham by ten runs in a 30-over match.
As county champions, Warwick School will represent Warwickshire in next year’s U15 national competition known as The Lord’s Taverners Cup.
Warwick School, whose team featured four boys from Leamington and Warwick, won the toss and elected to bat first and this looked a good decision as their county openers Diggory Lynch and Rob Yates looked largely in command as they reached 39-0 after ten, before posting a half-century partnership in the 12th over and the century partnership in over 20.
Eventually Yates was out to KES’ leg-spinner Elphiston for 46 from 59 balls after an opening stand of 116 and Warwick tried to increase the scoring rate with wickets in hand.
Instead Lynch was bowled round his legs in Elphiston’s next over for 62 from 89 balls and the attempt to hit out further had some success, but also a steady clatter of wickets as Warwick closed on 150-7 in 30.
The two spinners – Elphiston 3-29 and Kulkarni 6-0-23-0 respectively – were the most successful and economical bowlers.
The teatime pundits believed this was a very competitive score, but possibly ten or 20 short of what Warwick might have hoped for after the opening stand.
KES started well in pursuit, partly helped by another left/right opening pair and an associated large number of wides. Eventually Bailey was caught behind off the last ball bowled by Oliver Whitby (4-1-12-1).
Cue Warwick’s first change bowlers Lynch and Charlie Curtis – effective all season at drying up runs just when batsmen were looking to score – and so they did once more, with Lynch’s figures being 5-1-14-0 (including two consecutive fours in his final over hit by Hussein) and Curtis 6-0-20-2, as they created the pressure that led to a suicidal run-out.
This left KES 55-4 after 17 overs, with the run-rate climbing above seven, and things looked difficult for the Birmingham side.
However, KES started to attack, with De (36no) taking the attack to the Warwick spinners accompanied by Hussein, until he was snared by Marcus Farthing’s leg-spin and Bartley, who hit his first ball for six and then, aiming for his third six in eight balls, was caught near the mid-wicket boundary for 19 off the bowling of Farthing, who finished with 3-28 from four overs.
Even then, at 105-8, KES kept battling, and only 30 runs were needed off the last four overs.
Warwick chose to turn to two previously unused seamers – Yates and Colia Louis – who bowled extremely well, with Yates’ two overs only costing eight, while Louis’ first over – the 28th of the innings – only cost one run and yielded a wicket and effectively ended KES’ hopes.
KES closed on 140-9 as Warwick became the first ever winners of the John Marshall Trophy and progressed to the national stage of the Lord’s Taverners Trophy next year.