The last game of the junior season rolled around all too quickly. Both teams were light of some players due to the start of the school holidays which meant a comeback for Daniel "one armed bandit" Long and a promotion to the big leagues for Ozzy Reynolds as reward for his good form in the title winning under 10s.
Captain for the day was Isaac and he took his duties very seriously, not only sorting out the bowling order, but the batting too. What he didn't manage to do was win the toss, that fell Walton's way (it was to be the only thing that would) and they elected to bat.
Lucas opened up and with a precursor of things to come, the first ball was hit straight to Zach at mid on and a crazy run was called, Zach gathered and with a direct hit underam throw left the Walton opener yards short. One ball, one wicket. The Walton pair did well in the main, played some aggressive shots and it looked to be a pretty even contest early on. That was until Carter came on, firstly executing a run out with the help of Max and then taking a good caught and bowled to reduce the first pair to just 211 after 4 overs. The next pair was fairly uneventful, Zach took 2 wickets in his first over, before another run out in Isaac's over left the score on 226 after 8 overs.
A tight start for the little Vs became a deluge of wickets, Daniel marked his return with a wicket maiden before Lucas took 2 wickets - one with the aid of a lovely catch from Isaac, then Ollie got in on the act... his over started with a run out, and with the words of the Walton batter ringing in his ears "He's a slow bowler!" He took 2 wickets with his final 2 balls, both bowled (including the boy who called him "slow") to leave himself on a very long hattrick which may not be taken until 2020! Ollie finished with 3 wickets and the 3rd highest wicket tally in the team and a bowling average of just 8.57 - imagine if he was a fast bowler!
The last few pairs petered out, though notable achievements included Ozzy's first maiden of his u12 career, he performed admirably considering he is actually 3 years below his age group and has a bright future with both bat and ball by the looks of it.
Carter came back for his third over and another 2 wickets fell, a second caught and bowled and the obligatory run out, before Zach's last ball gave Max behind the stumps the chance to run out his 4th victim of the day. 17 wickets in all fell in the 20 overs, many to run outs which shows the standard the boys set in the field, and left the fairly unimposing target of 229 to win.
With the title won and the boys relaxed, they were sent out to express themselves with the bat, and express themselves they did! Ollie and Zach opened up and sent the ball to all parts, Ollie hit a lovely straight drive for 4 but for once played the supporting role, with Zach getting 32 at a strike rate of 200, including 5 fours and a square drive over point for 6! This all meant the the Vandals had already passed Walton's 20 over score after just 4 overs, rendering the rest of the game little more than a practise session.
The next pair kept up the batting dominance, though poor Cass (9) was a starved of the strike by his junior partner Lucas (21) which took Vandals to 265 after just 8 overs. What you don't want to see coming in to bat at that stage if you're a Walton bowler is Max "Boom Boom" Baldwin, and sure enough, the pain increased for the visitors, Max's first 8 balls went for 27, including 2 magnificent 6s, one over long off and one over long on, showing the value of playing straight. It prompted his batting partner Ozzy to comment "How can anyone even hit it that hard?!"
That was the end of the fireworks from the Vandals batters, though Isaac, Carter and Ary all batted admirably to push the lead into 3 figures - quite an achievement in only 20 overs.
MOM - Carter Robinson - 3 wickets and even the rarely seen moon ball made a reappearance!
So the end of an excellent years work from the U12s who finish with 9 wins out of 10 and top the NW Development league. Most importantly though, the boys all seemed to really enjoy themselves this year and all have improved throughout the year. Thanks to all the parents for all their help over the season ferrying kids, helping with scoring duties etc, etc, etc!