Pilgrims 175-7 (C.Taylor 49, F.E.Taylor 28);Canford Cygnets 116-8
(F.E.Taylor 3-30). Won by 59 runs.

Arriving at Bryanston School for the annual Stour Cup tournament, there was a great sense of both anticipation and excitement among the team with it being the first game of the much-beloved cricket ‘Week’. It was decided that we would play against the Canford Cygnets and Bryanston against Clayesmore in the first round of matches. Pilgrims captain Fergus Taylor won the toss and, on what looked like a flat, albeit dry wicket, elected to bat. He himself and Elliot Whiting, already notorious for averaging 5.4 on the previous (and his first) cricket Week, opened the batting, with the latter, of course, taking the first ball. The opening batsmen went about their work in diametric opposition, with Taylor smashing 28 off 11 balls; frustratingly for him he didn’t see much of the strike with Whiting heaving at most balls, yet struggling to get it off the square. He went for 3 that, needless to say, further lowered his Pilgrims batting average… Following their departures in the fourth over – we had started reasonably well being 36-2 off 4 overs – there was a mini collapse as we slipped to 68-5 from 11 overs. However, to our benefit, Charlie Taylor rescued the innings with a well-struck 49. Dom Bell finished the innings well by taking 23 off the final over, rendering our final total 175-7 off our 20 overs.

Given the fast outfields and reasonably small boundaries we knew that, while 175 was a decent score, we would need to bowl and field accurately to restrict Canford, last year’s tournament victors, to below our total. Things didn’t start particularly well with Canford scoring 13 off James Vitali’s first over. However, he (2-21, four overs) and Andrew Nurton (0-23, four overs) fought back well and managed to get us through the power play without suffering too much damage. Tight bowling in the middle overs from Tom Minchin (1-17, four overs), Tom Kerridge (2-22, four over) and Fergus Taylor (3-30, four overs), coupled with a steady loss of wickets by Canford meant that the game was well out of the opposition’s grasp, with 59 runs required for victory from the final over. Interestingly, James Vitali’s final over the T20 was blocked out by Canford for a maiden. We had won by 59 runs and were already looking forward to facing the Bryanston Butterflies in the final.

GAME 2:

Bryanston Butterflies 122 (D.Bell 3-15, A.Nurton 3-29, T.Kerridge 2-11).Pilgrims 125-6(F.Taylor 67).Won by 4 wickets.

The  Pilgrims, having lost the toss, took to the field buoyed by their previous display with the ball. Traditionally we have not been the best of chasing sides and so we knew that it would be imperative to hold onto our chances and restrict Bryanston to a sub par 140 total. Tom Minchin (1-23, four overs), having impressed on his Pilgrims debut in the previous match, opened the bowling and set the tone with a tight first over that went for just 3. His fellow opening bowler, Andrew Nurton (3-29, four overs), supported him well and, thus, following the end of the six over powerplay Bryanston were 41-2. Yet, during the middle overs Bryanston began to assert themselves in the game, continuing to score at a good rate, and looked in a strong position to set a decent total when they were 95-4 off 13 overs. However, as a result of some superb bowling from Tom Kerridge (2-11, four over) and Dominic Bell (3-15, four over), we managed to wrestle back control of the game to bowl Bryanston out for 122 in the nineteenth over.

 We knew that, providing we approached the chase with the right mind-set, 122 was a very gettable total in 20 overs. Once again Elliot Whiting and Fergus Taylor took to the field as the opening pair and once again they went about their work diametrically opposed to one another: Whiting managed to block the first ball of the innings before chipping to midwicket playing across the line second ball; Taylor took a slightly steadier approach than he did in the first match, knocking the ball around and anchoring for the first part of his innings before exploding in the second half, being dismissed in the thirteenth over for 67 from 32 balls with our total at 107-4 and the game all but won. Despite the loss of a further 2 wickets, we got over the line with four wickets in tact and 3.8 overs remaining. It was a comfortable victory in the end and an all-round good team performance. It was great to win the tournament and an excellent start to The Week.