On Sunday the 19th of June, Wildfire Cricket Academy kicked off with the first match of our “season” (an unofficial time period from when everyone’s exams finished to when they started) against a Sri Lanka division 3 side. When we heard that we would be playing a division 3 club side we expected them to be under 19 like us, however when there were 5 20+ year old “coaches” for the other team we realised that our coach had intentionally been keeping us in the dark and not telling us that our first match in nearly 3 months would be against a national division 3 side meaning that we would be playing against grown men.
When it reached 9 AM and the other team only had 7 players we realised that their other members were running late and therefore we were forced to bowl first without even conducting a toss. Our rustiness in the 50 over format and in general showed as it took us 20 overs to break the openers 100 run partnership. Luckily for us following this wicket we turned it on and managed to get them all out with 12 overs to spare however they had put up a formidable total of 230. On my part I felt that I bowled extremely well and was unlucky to not get a wicket with the keeper dropping a catch and the ball just missing the off stump multiple times in my 5 over spell. Ultimately I finished with figures of 23/0 in 5 overs.
While we managed to bounce back well with regards to the bowling and fielding component of the game, unfortunately we let the match slip through our batting. With our star opener who plays for the district team having flown to India for a wedding, our top order crumbled and we never really managed to recover regardless of a heroic 75 run stand between two middle order batsman (one of which went on to score 60) and some fireworks from the lower order. Being the last down batsman I went in with no pressure on me as me and my batting partner were definitely not capable of even coming close to achieving the target however we managed to put on a show stitching together a quick 26 run stand with myself scoring 9 not out including two glorious offside boundaries. Unluckily my partner got out signalling the end of a brief resistance with team Wildfire beaten comprehensively after getting all out for 180.
All in all, regardless of the fact that majority of the players in the opposition team were quite literally twice our age and even with the absence of our star batsman, this was a game which we should have easily won. However, this was the first match in a long time, we managed to have a lot of fun and ultimately this is just the beginning of what is hopefully a promising season for us.
Demonstrate the skills and recognize the benefits of working collaboratively: As always, playing as a team with friends showed me the true importance of how working together can really provide unbelievable benefits on the field and using these I can adjust off the field accordingly.
Demonstrate that challenges have been undertaken, developing new skills in the process: Due to my extreme rustiness, in my first over I bowled 3 extras (2 no-balls and a wide), something that I hadn’t done since I was an unexperienced player, however I managed to calm myself, adjust my grip to a cross-seam grip to improve accuracy (something I had never done before), and then bowl one of the best overs of my life.