On a slightly cooler day the NCU U11s took on Cambridgeshire u11s in what proved to be not only a fantastic game but a tremendous exhibition of cricketing skills by both sides.

In a nail-biting finish the NCU effected a run out off the final ball to win by 5 runs.

Taking first use of the pitch the NCU amassed 226/3 off their 45 overs with all five batsmen contributing to an above par total.

A solid opening partnership of 68 by James West (24) and Seb Yeates (21) set the tone of the innings going at 3.5 per over.

Michael Hollway gave a bit of impetus when he joined the fray scoring a rapid 27 before he was involved in a run out with, skipper for the day, Ben McCausland.

Unperturbed by the mix up, Ben when joined by Adam Leckey, set about the Cambridgeshire bowling and scored his second half century in as many days to set a daunting total.

The pair put on an undefeated 122 with 5 boundaries apiece. Ben finished with 56 off 58 balls and Adam 51 off 62.

The Cambridgeshire bowlers toiled largely in vain but their ground fielding was superb and commitment to the cause was evident.

Their reply to the NCU total got off to the worst possible start with Max Willmott removing their captain with the 3rd ball - a beauty that nipped back and clipped the top of middle and leg.

At the fall of the first wicket Reuben Thain joined Ralph Hayward at the crease. Willmott and Matthew Collum (5-2-9-0) bowled tidily at the start and the two batters played themselves in patiently.

The introduction of the change bowlers released the shackles somewhat as the NCU spinners struggled to reproduce the same levels of consistency from the previous day.

Hayward and Thain showed a good range of shots as the required run rate began to come down and an ominous partnership developed. When Hollway had Hayward caught at gully the partnership ended at 152 with Hayward’s dig of 70 including 12 boundaries.

The NCU sniffed an opening and, with the return of Willmott and introduction of Leckey to the attack, started to turn the tide.

With Willmott’s first ball of his second spell the tenacious Thain departed for a well crafted 52 including 8 boundaries.

The game then ebbed and flowed - a miserly over was followed by an expensive one with an inside edge here, a wide there and the generous sprinkling of parents and coaches watched on completely enthralled by the contest.

If the Cambridgeshire fielding display set the bar high, the NCU one surpassed it. Three run outs and some excellent catching clawed the victory away from their opponents and was instrumental in restricting them to 61/8 in the last 12 overs.

The standard and commitment shown in the ground fielding, on a fairly undulating surface, was exceptional and at the conclusion of the game the boys were rightly commended by the sporting opposition coaches and parents.

Needing 12 off the final over, a great catch by Ben McCausland, running backwards in the covers, and a smart bit of fielding by bowler Max Willmott sealed the victory leaving NCU outright victors by 5 runs.

And breathe........

Next up Zeal Academy (from San Francisco) in the final game.

SCORECARD

NCU
J West lbw b Willington 24
S Yeates lbw b Hayward 21
M Holloway run out 27
B McCausland not out 56
A Leckey not out 51
Extras 47
Total (3 wkts, 45 overs) 226

Fall: 1-68 2-76 3-104

Bowling: P Kaul 5-0-18-0; C Michell 8-0-37-0; J Deudney 6-0-29-0; T Morris 3-1-12-0; R Hayward 5-1-16-1; B Willington 4-0-13-1; Z Wynne-Jones 4-0-34-0; B Turner 5-0-22-0; A James 3-1-12-0; R Thain 2-0-17-0

CAMBRIDGESHIRE
R Hayward c West b Hollway 70
A James b Willmott 4
R Thain c Yeates b Willmott 52
C Michell run out 18
R Breech run out 2
S Harrison b Leckey 2
B Turner c Heasley b Willmott 4
P Kaul b Leckey 1
Z Wynne-Jones c McCausland b Willmott 2
T Morris run out 7
J Deudney not out 0
Extras 59
Total (all out, 45 overs) 221

Fall: 1-7 2-159 3-176 4-180 5-182 6-192 7-193 8-200 9-220 10-221

M Willmott 9-0-41-4; M Collum 5-2-9-0; M Hanna 5-0-24-0' J Dornan 3-0-17-0;
D Henry 6-0-34-0; A Leckey 9-3-30-2; M Holloway 5-0-27-1; J West 3-0-16-0

(pics courtesy of Andy McCrea).