Shenfield High School

Shenfield dominate at St Albans 


Shenfield Cricket Academy ensured a place in the schools history by successfully defending their St Albans title in emphatic style. Having won the tournament last year losing one game in the group stages, this year they went one better. Reigate Grammar, Bedford Modern and St Benedicts were all brushed aside in the group stages, leaving rivals St Joseph's College in the final, who were keen to avenge their previous 2 defeats earlier in the season. On a rain affected first day we beat a strong Reigate Grammar school who we had lost too last year. (Insert stats) 

For the remaining 10 overs it hammered it down and the bowlers did fantastically with a soddened ball. They were helped by some fantastic captaincy, as Billings placed is outfielders perfectly. We had some lunch and headed home pleased with our start as the heavens opened. 


We met bright and early for an important day of Cricket, on arrival we were informed that the first two games would be 10 overs aside. We played Bedford Modern in the first game and struggled with the change of format. Having won the toss we elected to put a score on the board and our plan started perfectly. Captain Billings promoted himself up the order to great effect as after 3 overs we were (35?) and looking for a big total. However after he fell others went to hard to early as wickets tumbled with some poor stroke play and running between the wickets. We ended 75-8 scoring 40-7 off the last 7 overs, we needed to bowl and field well. This didn't happen as we struggled to mix defence with attack, leaking 10 runs an over without the need for many risks. After some input from the side highlighting the importance of building pressure through saving singles in the ring, the game changed. It was probably the first time all season that Matt had struggled with his field, but he had the maturity and skill to take it on board and implement within the game. As the pressure built wickets began to fall and the game was back in our favour (Put in who bowled well). With 12 needed off the final over they only managed 3 as Louis Pickering bowled and excellent last over. 


So with two from two and having already beat Reigate we knew that even a close defeat would see us make the final. Despite this we went into the game wanting to remain unbeaten and send a message to whoever we would meet in the final. And send a message we did hammering St Benedicts by (insert stats). 

Although the end result was convincing it was only due to us scoring 35? off the last two overs, with debutant King smashing the ball to all parts. Having seen him bowl and bowl well in the previous games, this was the first taste of what he has to offer with the bat and boy was it impressive. He ended on 25? from 6 balls with (insert stats). 

This gave us great momentum going into the second innings having made amends for a poor batting display in the first game. St Benedicts were never really in the hunt as the bowling and fielding was excellent. They ended on (insert stats) and we were through to the final for the second year running, only this year we were unbeaten and in some form. 


At lunch we were informed that St Joseph's College were our opponents and having beaten them in both the U'17 and U'19 National Cups, they were desperate to gain some sort of revenge. As the toss was made they surprisingly decided to field as we would have looked to bat for the 4th consecutive game. On our way out to the middle, conversations were overheard about how desperate they were to beat us which made for a tasty affair. The openers got us off to a great start as Kullar who was promoted back to the top of the order played some sumptuous strokes. He was matched by the equally impressive Tom Mann who dispatched anything full to the boundary with immaculate timing. After 6 overs we were well set (insert score). 

As both fell in succession it bought the inform Pickering to the crease and it was his innings that changed the game. He scored (insert score) and together with Ballington (score) they put on (insert partnership). Together they batted beautifully complimenting each other with differing stroke play, causing the captain and fielders chaos in the outfield. Pickering struck (insert sixes) as Ballington scored his boundaries in unorthodox places, mixing delicate stroke play with brash scoop and reverse scoops. As both fell King came to the crease and further solidified his all round credentials, hitting a huge six for an unbeaten (score). This meant his side finished on an imperious 187-4 and with arguably our strongest suit to come, it looked as if we were going to retain our title and inflict yet another defeat on our opponents.  


With the team on a high and some choice words from the opposition whilst we were batting, our want to win only increased. We started incredibly well picking up key wickets with some excellent bowling and great fielding. Again spin was our strength with Duke and Billings proving impossible to get away. Tom Ballington took 3 superb catches including one on the very edge of the boundary to remove the dangerous (insert name). As the runs continued to dry up the boys capped off a quite remarkable tournament with a coupe of direct hits to seal an emphatic win. St Joseph's finished 100 all out and were at no point in with a chance of victory, which highlights just how outstanding an all round team performance it was. What is even  more special is that we are the only state school team in the tournament, brushing aside private and grammar schools in emphatic fashion. With the Academy only getting bigger and better other schools with far bigger budgets and facilities are going to have to up their game as we seek to get even better. Next years target must surely be to beat Felsted in the U'19 National Cup having narrowly lost to them in this years first round. After this narrow defeat they went on to reach the final, comfortably beating strong private schools before losing to Millfield. Once again many thanks to Mark Illot for hosting a great tournament as we look to make it a hatrick of wins next year