The youth cricket season is up and running with matches coming thick and fast.
Wirksworth & Middleton’s kwik cricketers got their season off to a winning start with victories over Mickleover’s A and B teams on Friday at Duffield. Playing their first competitive games for the club, the team put in solid performances with both bat and ball. In this format, everyone bats and everyone bowls. On this occasion W&M proved too strong for the opposition in both departments and won each match comfortably.
Having had to concede a match the previous week through a lack of enough players, the under 11s faced a strong-looking Brailsford team. Fielding first, the Wirksworth seam attack bowled with good pace and accuracy on a slow green wicket. Harry Wanford, Charlie Mellor and Richard Tunnicliffe bowled superbly but only Tunnicliffe could bag a wicket.
Matthew Charlton, making his hardball debut, somehow managed to bowl the ball through the stumps without dislodging the bails. However, the pick of the bowlers was Josef Whitfield with the amazing figures of 3-2. With the support of James McCabe, Kyle Pearce did a great job behind the stumps for the first time, not conceding any byes. Unfortunately, excellent fielding and bowling from Brailsford meant W&M struggled to get the ball away, leaving them 27 runs short.
W&M are fielding two under 12 teams this season, with the Kingsfield team getting the season underway at Matlock on Wednesday. The six girls and two boys did a reasonable job bowling first, but strong batting from Matlock’s final pair and too many extras allowed Matlock to post a net score of 170. W&M batted sensibly but couldn’t quite get hold of the Matlock attack. Nevertheless they managed to reach net 161 in their innings, with the fewer extras conceded by Matlock making all the difference.
W&M under 13s came to their second fixture with points in the bag thanks to Clifton having to concede the first match, but, playing Matlock on Sunday, the lack of match practice didn’t seem to bother their first four batters (Tim Shepherd and the three Olis: Marchington, Prince and Julian) each of whom had to retire having reached (or exceeded) 25.
The Matlock team will have wished that extras had also retired at 25, but its contribution of 42 took W&M’s total to 150 from 20 overs. Having had little chance to bat, Jamie Toms returned 3-8 with the ball and Oli Prince wasn’t satisfied with his 25 runs so also took 2-17 in his three overs. They had Matlock all out for 91 in 18.1 overs to complete an excellent morning’s work.
Clifton under 15s came to Wirksworth on Tuesday and put the home side in, which resulted in W&M being all out for 99, with Nina Smedley scoring a fluent 26 and Michael Wilson a typically forceful 25. Bowling first in early May is always a gamble, but doing so and bowling your overs slowly is never going to be good for your batters.
Sure enough Clifton struggled to 80, finishing in decidedly gloomy, chilly conditions. W&M fielded tightly, gaining one run out, and bowled well, Jak Canham taking a caught and bowled and Tom Lansley bowling three overs for just two runs.
A late April start for the under 17s saw them lose heavily away to a strong Belper Meadows, Watson and Horton reaching 33 and 37 respectively and Slater retiring not out on 50, with only Jack Griffiths, Lewis Heap and Gareth Bates getting a wicket for W&M.
A total of 150 was a tall order, especially with only ten players, but only Michael Jefferiss applied himself with the bat to get 22 of W&M’s 39 all out.
Playing at Denby a week later, W&M u17s scored 96-6 in their 20 overs, which Denby overhauled with two overs and seven wickets to spare. W&M will be aiming to rally and make full use of home advantage in their next two matches, before starting their cup run.