Put the date in your diary, Sunday September the 9th, venue the County Ground, Hove.
Sussex League T20 Finals Day
Match One – East Grinstead 2nd XI v Preston Nomads 2nd XI (11.00am)
Match Two – East Grinstead 1st XI V Roffey 1st XI (3.00pm)
The contrasting victories in Sunday’s Semi finals said a great deal about the club and the direction the Board has been pushing towards for some time now.
The 1st team without the services of Leo Cammish, Lewis and Brad Hatchett, came back to form after a sticky month when problems with availability and selection have held them back in their quest for back to back Premier League Championships. Batting first East Grinstead posted 211 in their 20 overs with a magnificent century from Finn Hudson-Prentice. Finn helped himself to 12 fours and 8 sixes in his 71 balls faced, only to fall in the final over attempting his hundredth run in boundaries. Despite a spirited opening partnership of 80 the scored-board pressure proved too much for Middleton CC and as the wickets began to tumble any realistic hope of reaching their target rapidly faded as Captain Will Adkin took 4 for 31.
If this game was spectacular the Second XI provided the game of the season so far at Saint Hill. With three of their squad being asked to play up with the firsts their arguably young weakened team took on Ifield in what always was going to be a tight game. Batting first Ifield posted 145 for 5 in their 20 overs, perhaps a little under par on the true Saint Hill track. The stats don’t tell the whole story though. Phil Norman bowled expertly for his 3 for 19 proving that there is no substitute for experience and cricketing nous. While the positive optimism of youth was ably demonstrated by young George Cave who managed to bowl three overs of slow left arm spin left handed taking 1 for 19 with at a vital time in the innings. Normally a right-handed fast medium strike bowler he needed to protect a broken finger on his bowling hand. George was in the first team squad before his injury and the lessons he observed on keeping the game tight were patently well learnt. Add to this feat his rapid 12 not out to guide the team to victory and you would on any other day have the man of the match.
The chase began with Tom Beswick 30 and Max Stow 11 moving along nicely before star bowler Jgar Parekh who had already removed Alex Evans LBW for 1 bowled both Phil Norman and Will Taylor for ducks. This setback brought 17 year-old Morgan Lapina-Amarelle in to bat with Tom Beswick. Well behind the run rate and running out of batsmen they decided to start pushing for quick singles, turning ones into twos and forcing the errors in the field. A regular boundary eased the pressure and when Tom fell going for another big hit it brought another fearless youngster to the crease, in 15 year old Zac Riley. Two youngsters with an average age of 16 were all that stood between Ifield and a place in the Final at Hove.
Playing on a good pitch against good adult bowlers the occasion didn’t faze them. They have listened to their coaches and learnt to play straight and read the line and length. Playing each ball on its merits and trusting perhaps the best surface they have played on, they increased the scoring rate with good shots and placement so that even when Morgan was out for classy 30 Zac was still there going along confidently, it was suddenly a possibility that a spectacular victory was on the cards. Enter the aforementioned George Cave hitting a six and a four to set the scene for the winning four to appropriately be stroked away with 2 balls to spare by Mr. Riley on 44 not out.
The mature Ifield side left the ground wondering how they had the lost the match which they were confident of winning for 80% of the game. I wonder if they realised that they were beaten by our recently re-organised coaching structure under Phil Andrews, by our willingness to give the youngsters a taste of the adult game if we deem them able. They were beaten by the club policy of bringing them along in teams with experience and maturity to learn what it takes to be a first team player or perhaps more importantly play the game at the best level they can achieve and desire. We are lucky that the team that won the Premiership contained seven players who are East Grinstead through and through and the Board’s wishes is to replicate this in the years to come with all 11 players.
Before next season we want to continue the progress in bringing the whole club closer together by amalgamating the player, managers and coaching committees into one working management unit so smoothing the communication and transition of players up through the teams so ensuring a balanced selection policy of youth and experience in all the sides. Add to this the announcement that the Board has agreed to revive the East Grinstead Cricket Club Academy next January for eight weeks. This will provided first class coaching through the age groups for any player wanting to enhance his ability and learn more about the the game, the East Grinstead way. A formal notification will follow shortly, but the reports above seemed to provide the ideal example of the rewards of getting the transition from Junior to Senior Cricket formally sorted, The George’s, Morgan’s and the Zac’s are our future and we witnessed on Sunday a tiny glimpse of that future, thank you guys, keep learning your game.
Richard Dewing, Chairman EGCC