On Sunday June 18 HBCC welcomed a touring party from Ivanhoe Grammar School, Melbourne, Australia. Ivanhoe were spending three weeks touring the UK starting in Scotland and ending in London. They had a three day stop in the area playing two games against Altrincham Boys Grammar and HBCC. To match their age profile HBCC fielded a mixed age junior team featuring players from ages between U13 to U17 captained by Bilal Ahmed.
HBCC lost the toss and were asked to field, Ben Hicks (U16) and James Bell (U15) opened the bowling and it was soon apparent that Ivanhoe were a very well disciplined and skillful team. No flamboyant stroke play for these Aussies more straight bat and brilliant running between the wickets. In the third over and with the score on 16 James Bell took the first wicket, clean bowling Perera for 5, James took a second 6 overs later but Ivanhoe had already reached 66 punishing anything short or wide. Bowling changes stemmed the run flow, Christian Dodson and Joe Fretwell Walsh (U15s) both bowled a good line and length and Ivanhoe only manged a further 21 runs in their combined ten over. Chris took a wicket and for a while it looked as if HBCC could get a foothold in the game. However the Ivanhoe batters adopted a patient wait and see approach, maturely waiting for Joe and Chris to finish their spells before tucking into young Theo Sharrock’s (U13) flighted off-spin and playing straight against Bilal’s pace. HBCC’s only other success came near then end of Ivanhoe’s 35 overs when Ted Mahon (U13) was bought on. Again it was line and length that did the trick and Ted removed Ivanhoe’s number 5. Their innings ended at 183/4.
After tea HBCC’s reply began with Anil Raza and Phil Dodd (U16s) but both were soon back in the pavilion with the score on 5. Jack Diggines followed shortly after to a stunning slip catch and it was down to James Bell and Ted Mahon to try to rebuild. They played the good bowling with great resilience but with each passing over the run rate mounted and the challenge was becoming ever greater. Ted was steadfast in defence and James tried to mount an attack including a huge six that must have landed in Mo’s kitchen, but once he was out quickly followed by Ben Hicks, triggered LBW first ball, the game was out of reach. Wickets fell at regular intervals as the tail gamely tried to make a match of it, including a couple of classy boundaries from Theo Sharrock, but in the end HBCC were dismissed for 97.
In truth the result didn’t matter, despite the blustery and damp weather the afternoon was a triumph. Ivanhoe’s players, coaches and travelling families were wonderful guests, immaculately turned out, impeccably behaved and gave us all a lesson the some cricketing basics. In return they were fulsome in their praise of HBCC – not surprising they thoroughly enjoyed Ann’s tea “the best on their tour so far” and they too appreciated the spirit in which the game was played.
Thanks must go to Ann Johnson for providing the tea, Roger Strong for umpiring, Steve Hough for arranging the fixture and to all the members of the Stormers for agreeing to switch their home fixture to allow the game to go ahead. Also thanks to Kevin Morris of AGSB for bringing Ivanhoe GS to the area in the first place. Let’s hope that when they return in three years’ time Ivanhoe GS will make their way to Brooks Drive again – and next time we’ll be ready!
HBCC: Bilal Ahmed(Cpt), James Bell, Jack Diggines, Phil Dodd, Christian Dodson, Joe Fretwell Walsh, Ben Hicks, Ted Mahon, Anil Raza, Theo Sharrock, Sam Turner-Wilson(wk).