Cricket: Bede's Crowned U15 National Champions

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Bede’s became the ESCA National U15 One Day Cup winners after a convincing 56-run victory over Merchant Taylors’ School, Crosby at Oakham School. In a competition with over 1,100 entries, Bede’s saw off the likes of previous winners Wellington College, Tonbridge, Hampton and Kings Taunton in the earlier rounds to set up the final against the team from Liverpool.

On an overcast morning, Joe Sarro won the toss and chose to bat first. This looked like it had back-fired when Ben Matthews was run out in the first over without facing a ball by an excellent piece of sharp fielding.

From 2-1, Bede’s put together the largest partnership of the day (84 runs) for the second wicket with Scott Lenham and Tom Naish slowly changing the momentum of the match back towards Bede’s. With both players well set, Scott was out for 33, by the unusual dismissal of hitting his own wicket as he slipped playing a pull shot.

However, this mishap only brought Henry Crocombe to the wicket who shared the second highest partnership of the day (81 runs) with Tom.This partnership put Bede’s in a strong position of 167-2 with 10 overs in hand, however in cricket the game can change very quickly, and the score suddenly became 170-4, as Henry and Felix Sheppard were out in quick succession.

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Fortunately for Bede’s, Tom was growing in confidence and was striking the ball magnificently scoring runs all around the wicket. He was joined by the captain, Joe Sarro and together they put on a quick fire 38 taking the total beyond the 200 runs.

In the process, Tom scored his maiden century, playing with skill and calmness, as he negotiated the “nervous nineties” with no difficulty as all. It must be said that the Merchants’ boys were exemplary in their behaviour as each player congratulated Tom on his magnificent achievement.

The innings ended in a flourish with Joe scoring a quick-fire 40 runs to take the total to a challenging and excellently compiled 234-6 off 40 overs on not the easiest of pitches.

Bede’s knew that if they took some early wickets the pressure would be on the Merchants’ batsmen and this duly happened when Henry Crocombe removed the opposition captain in his first over with the help of wicket keeper Tom Naish, who was having a dream match!

Merchants then followed the Bede’s example with their second wicket pair putting on their highest partnership of the day (53 runs). This partnership was finally broken when Archie Lenham (Year 8) made up for an earlier dropped catch by running out the dangerous No3 batsman. Jack Sampson got into the action by clean bowling the opposition wicket keeper cheaply, and Merchants’ were suddenly 69-3.

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Merchants’ re-grouped again and were building a second high scoring partnership (32 runs), when Scott Lenham made up for running out his opening partner by pulling off a stunning catch to give Ben Matthews the first of his two wickets in the over.  Merchants were suddenly 101-5 off 22 overs and were staring defeat in the face. Bede’s kept up the pressure with Joe Sarro changing his bowlers regularly to ensure that the batsmen could not settle.

Tom Naish took his second catch of the day to give Scott Lenham his first victim and then Felix Sheppard became the second Bede’s bowler to take two wickets in an over leaving Merchants’ on the brink. One of the biggest cheers of the day was when Archie Lenham, an undoubted star of the future for Bede’s, took a wicket in his first over with his beautifully-flighted leg-spin. It was left to the captain, Joe Sarro, to wrap up the victory by clean bowling the last man, to send the team into raptures.

Tom Naish was named man-of-the-match for his century and two catches, but it was most definitely a team effort, with all the players making important contributions.  

This National title ended an incredible season for the U15 team, who also won the U15 County Cup and the Blackshaw Cup. Commenting on the victory Neil Lenham, Deputy Director of Cricket and U15 Coach said of the team’s performance, “The school is very proud of this team's record breaking achievements. Winning three titles including the National Cup is testament to a lot of dedicated hard work, a tremendous amount of individual skill and a brilliant all round team performance.''

With the 1st X1 also winning the Langdale County Cup this season, it has proved to be one of the best in Bede’s successful cricketing history.  At Prep School level, both the girls and boys won the U13 County Cup, with the boys also reaching the semi-finals of the National Cup.

1sts Reclaim Langale Cup

Bede’s alumni have also enjoyed success at a professional level with Delray Rawlins signing a pro contract for Sussex and scoring a century on his international debut for England U19s, and Luke Wells scoring a career-best 258 against Durham and an unbeaten 90 against Leicestershire.

Bede’s Director of Cricket, Alan Wells summed the season up saying, “This is a fitting conclusion to an unprecedented season for Bede’s cricket right across the Trust.  These performances demonstrate how deep the talent pool at Bede’s really is.”