A Strong Season for Hall Cricket
29 Jun 2017
Thanks to Karim Pal for the following report.
2017 has been SEHCC’s most successful season in recent memory, with a promotion in the league and a victory in Cuppers, the inter-college cricket tournament. The league season saw a wide variety of players representing the Hall. We also entered a 2nd team for the first time, allowing a more diverse range of players to partake, including an increasing number of women.
We set out on our Cuppers campaign in high spirits, hoping to emulate SEHAFC’s inspiring football Cuppers victory earlier in the year. The first round saw us come up against tough opposition in a Pembroke team which included two blues. However, on the tricky pitch, important wickets were taken by Kusal Lokuge and strong batting from Jack Rogers allowed us to post 155, a target which proved too high for Pembroke. The second round saw a regulation win over Trinity, the highlight being a 6-13 from Ed Hart as we restricted the opposition to just 73. We knocked these runs off in just over ten overs to progress to the quarter-finals, against tournament favourites Hertford. Having won the toss, we put our opposition in to bat. Tight bowling from Fergus Neve allowed us to restrict their run rate in the first ten overs. Following a rain delay Hertford came back out swinging with an important 70 from one of their ‘sloggers’. Chasing 132 on a difficult pitch, Rogers stepped up to the plate again, calmly passing 50 before next-year’s captain Jeremy Steed wrongly gave him out, something he is yet to live down.
This was followed by a flurry of wickets which pushed our run rate upwards. With the pressure on, Neve took control of the chase, calmly dispatching a six in the penultimate over and earning himself man of the match for his performance. His batting crushed Hertford’s hopes of retaining their title, with Teddy Hall finishing off the remaining runs and progressing to the semi-final.
Our next opposition was St Catz. They won the toss and chose that Teddy Hall would bat first. A slow start put us below the par run rate. We looked to be in trouble but gritty batting from Rogers enabled us to push through this difficult start. The last eight overs saw Rogers take apart a sub-par Catz attack with shots all-round the ground. A pair of sixes in the 19th over was of particular note. Off the penultimate ball of the innings, Jack hit a single down the ground to bring up a stunning hundred, the first in recent years for the Hall. Sitting on 179 we took to the field confident in our bowlers, who were yet to put out a weak performance. This confidence was well placed as, again, dangerous bowling from Neve took the scalp of their star player and pushed the run rate well beyond their reach. To rapturous applause the team left the field, the third Teddy Hall sports team to reach a Cuppers final this year.
The final was set for Friday of 8th week against the combined team of Merton and Mansfield. Our team saw some changes, with Rogers unavailable, a last minute injury to Tom Dyer ruling him out and Michael Carey returning from a season-long injury. Arriving to the ground in high spirits we were greeted by a particularly green wicket, which would provide assistance to our varied bowling attack. Winning the toss, we elected to bowl first, a decision which had served us well so far in the tournament. An early wicket from Ben Jenkins put M&M on the back foot from the off, with solid support from Bertie Mills and Ed Hart at the other end. Following the lifting of the fielding restrictions Lokuge entered into the attack, the only player apart from Neve to play in every round of the tournament. Lokuge was immediately rewarded with a wicket, in keeping with his strong bowling performances throughout the Cuppers campaign. Very quick bowling from Hart and wily spin from Angus Murdoch created further inroads into their batting order. A tight end to the innings left M&M with just 98 from their allocation of overs. We entered the interval confident, though very aware of our opposition’s defence of 108 in the semi-final. This caution proved to be worthwhile as shrewd tactics and good areas meant the pitch proved tricky to score on, with openers Tarquin Stephenson and Hugh Lilburn both falling cheaply. Neve came out at three in an attacking mind-set, but was caught prematurely in his innings, slog sweeping towards the longest boundary. With the run rate rising and the pressure on suddenly the dream of a St Edmund Hall Cuppers double seemed to be fading. However, the mature and calm Michael Carey stepped out to the middle and guided us towards the finishing line. With Sam Henson as his partner, Carey ensured that the run rate rose above one a ball for the first time, in the penultimate over of the match. With the crowd on the edge of their seats, the game was won with two fours flashed through the offside from the blade of Carey, who earned himself man of the match for his unbeaten 27, at a rate of above a run a ball.
This was Teddy Hall’s first cricket Cuppers victory in recent years and was won deservedly by a team that had a real strength in depth, with representation from over 20 different players throughout the competition. A special mention should go to our player of the tournament, fresher Jack Rogers, who put in multiple match-winning performances for the team and injected commitment and energy not seen in SEHCC before. The cricket club has provided a great link between members of the JCR, MCR and SCR as they compete side by side. It has been an honour to captain such a successful team and represent the Hall in a Cuppers-winning side. With a young team, the future of the cricket team looks bright and I am sure next year’s captain, Jeremy Steed, will continue the development of the team.