Following a winter of indoor nets and some excellent practice sessions, the new Cricket season started on Saturday with a block fixture against St Lawrence College, Ramsgate. On a beautiful summer’s day, we contested some superb matches and although we were beaten by some fantastic individual performances by St Lawrence students there was plenty to build on from our sides as we look ahead to the next few months.

The Under 12A team faced a strong St Lawrence team and struggled to impose themselves on the opposition. Eltham batted first and against an accurate bowling attack only Max Dugard with 20 runs troubled the bowlers and some poor shot selections saw 7 Eltham batsmen bowled. A total of 75 runs was never going to be a big enough total to defend and some powerful hitting by the St. Lawrence opening batsmen saw them reach the total for the loss of only 1 wicket in half the allotted overs.

The Under 13A team chose to bat first in their match and were 113 all out in 25 overs. Theo Austin and Ethan Fiore batted well on a difficult pitch. Eltham came out knowing they had to bowl well to defend their relatively low score but St Lawrence looked good with the bat, going on to win the match by 7 wickets, finishing on 114-3. The Under 13B side were made to bowl first and limited St Lawrence to 129 in their 25 overs with Tom Stringer the pick of the bowlers. The boys were unfortunately then unable to follow up with the bat as they found themselves 86-7 at the end of their overs, losing the match by 43 runs.

The Under 14A team got off to a rusty start to the season as they played a St Lawrence team with two exceptional players. Having let the opposition get to 66-0 off 10 overs, the boys recovered with Matt Arman and Charlie Smith sharing 6 wickets and restricted St Lawrence to 144 all out. In reply, Eltham got off to a very slow start against two excellent leg-spin bowlers. 12-1 off 10 overs didn’t give us much of a chance although Charlie Reynolds and Benji Davies both went past 25 and started to build momentum. Ultimately, the boys had left themselves too much to do in too little time and lost by 47 runs. The Under 14B team were the only side to win on the day chasing down St Lawrence’s total of 103 in 25 overs. Charles Nortey and Tristan Wijewickarama were the pick of the bowlers and although Eltham lost three early wickets in their chase Cameron Macheath and Tristan steadied the innings. Cameron top scored with 33 and it was left to Avi Sharma to hit the winning runs with 5 overs to spare.

The Under 15A team lost by 59 runs against a good St Lawrence side. Eltham was put under pressure early on but persevered in the field and 4 wickets for Alex Gallo and 3 for James Bush limited St Lawrence to 174 all out. Eltham got off to a very poor start in reply although Reyhan Taraq batted very well for his 42 on his debut for the school and Marcus Arman entertained the crowd at the end with 26 quick-fire runs as Eltham finished on 115. The Under 15B team lost the toss and were made to bowl first, St Lawrence batted well and went on to make 185-3, with Will Harwood getting all 3 of the wickets. Eltham started their batting strongly and were 30-0 but then poor shot selection led to the fall of a few wickets and the boys were only able to post a total of 93, losing the match by 92 runs. Will Harwood and Henry Courtney both passed 20 with the bat.

The 1st XI team won the toss and batted first against St Lawrence on Saturday. Sam Smith and Ken Dixson made a good start with Ken scoring 31 before Eltham lost a few wickets around the half-way point of the innings to leave themselves 100-4. Ben Day then joined Nico Murlowski at the crease and the two of them built a fantastic partnership of 136 in less than 20 overs. Nico scored a superb 104 off 85 balls with 5 sixes and Ben got to 50 on his debut for the school. However, Eltham’s total of 250-7 in 45 overs proved not to be enough as St Lawrence responded with an incredible run chase of their own. The St Lawrence opening batsman ended up on 150 not out accompanied by his partner who scored 72 not out as Ben Day was the only bowler to take a wicket. The unbeaten 207 runs partnership was truly astonishing to watch and led to a St Lawrence victory.

A tough set of opening fixtures but plenty for the boys to learn from and targets to improve. The school has fixtures against Colfe’s, Sevenoaks and Judd this week and Kent Cup matches will also be starting soon as we hope this weather continues!