Mulgrave Cricket Club, Whitby, generously hosted Year 9’s District Cup 20-Over semi-final against Caedmon College Whitby on Tuesday afternoon. With glorious sunshine beating down on a spectacular venue, the scene was set for what would turn out to be a nail-biting encounter.

Captain, George B won the toss and elected to bat. Walid G and Taryn M, both in Year 8, opened the batting against a very good Caedmon attack, who moved the ball with pace in the early overs, keeping Walid and Taryn on the back foot, scoring very few runs in the process. However, with each bowler limited to four overs, Walid and Taryn’s patience was rewarded, as they were able to pick up runs in the middle of the innings, before Walid was bowled for 6. As the innings wore on Taryn grew in confidence and played a fantastic array of shots, driving, pull, and cutting his way to numerous boundaries and a superb 46, before being caught out on the penultimate ball of the innings, attempting to hit a boundary to bring up his half century. Captain George ably assisted with 10, before being temped into a shot which saw him caught out at Point, and Tom K notched 3 not out. St. Augustine’s finished the innings on 100-3, giving Caedmon a very achievable target to chase.

The Caedmon battling line up was very strong, high up the order, but their lack of experience in the tail gave a confidence boost to the St. Augustine’s bowling attack, who knew that if they could dismiss the Caedmon quality, early, they would have a chance of victory. Removing the early batting order proved a difficult task though, and despite the pace of Taryn and Tom G, and the spin of Walid, the Caedmon openers raced to 33-0 in four overs, and a heavy defeat for St. Augustine’s looked likely.

Walid’s spin was causing the openers problems though, and it was leg-break that brought the breakthrough, as Walid took the first wicket of the innings, clean bowling the batter, before trapping a second for LBW, he finished (2-30). Taryn took the third of the four quality batsmen with a delightful fast ball to middle stump, leaving Caedmon on 56-3.

With Caedmon’s hopes resting on their opener, who was playing superbly, the game was poised for a fantastic finish. The impressive Vinny C took two wickets, with the help of a wonderful catch from Alex M at Mid Wicket, and Caedmon moved on to 83-5, with their opener on 49 not out, and their target of 101 edging ever closer.

Up stepped that man, Taryn, who lured the batsman in to strike out, only for his shot to fall short of the boundary and straight into the safe hands of Tom K at Long On. The match had turned. Victory was within reach for Year 9, if they could just remove the final four wickets for 16 runs or fewer.

Caedmon picked up a few odd singles and byes to make for a nervy finish but Taryn (2-16), Vinny (4-23), and Tom K (2-13) ripped through the tail in double-quick time, and dismissed Caedmon all out for 96 with three overs to spare, to secure the victory and a date in the final in couple of weeks’ time.

The match was a fantastic advert for school cricket, and both sets of boys were a credit to their schools.